I've been getting caught up on my Olympics Opening Ceremony viewing. As stated, I was not home on Friday evening so I had to record it. I was at a Lughnassadh (Lammas) ritual gathering. It rained. We all got wet -- which was kind of nice, actually. And it produced this magnificent rainbow. My husband got one good snap of one end of it, with his cell. You can also just make out the traces of a quickly dissipating second rainbow that started to form alongside it. But it was one of those magnificent, full bows that you could see from end to end, arching over the trees. I was about dumbstruck, not only because it was a beautiful ending to our ritual, but because we were seeing it at the exact same time as this year's Olympics was kicking off, replete as it is with rainbow imagery.
That said, it's taken me a while to plow through my recording of the ceremony... mainly because it's just awful. When it comes to the performing arts, I'm a "less is more" kind of person, so on that score, this show utterly failed for me. I get that Great Britain is rich in history and great literature. It's also produced many great musicians. But did we really have to hear to them all? I hate medleys. They insult my intelligence.
Perhaps the goal was to obscure all the esoteric imagery, because there was a lot of it. I guess if you can't achieve subtlety in scripting your subtext, putting your audience into total, sensory overwhelm is the next best thing. There were some beautiful images and tableaux in both the film montages and the arena performances but they were nearly lost in rapid-fire smash edits, dizzying camera angles, and what I can only describe as a huge, overcrowded mess.
The spiritual imagery started right from the beginning as did the assault on the senses. The opening film featured an electric blue (pearl) dragonfly (immortality) emerging from the water at the source of the River Thames, marked by a stone reading:
Isles of Wonder
This stone was placed here to mark the
source of the River Thames
source of the River Thames
The dragonfly was just a blue blur, moving about as fast as electrical current.
We followed the flight of the blue dragonfly as it zipped up and over the serpentine curves of the river...
until it reached the stadium where we saw the triple goddess holding a painting of a swirly, blue person, alongside the 2012/Zion logo and rainbow-colored overlapping spheres.
Champion cyclist Bradley Wiggins started off the ceremony by ringing a bell made at the White Chapel foundry which made our own, ahem, Liberty Bell. I happened to glance up just in time to catch this Jacob's ladder imagery and it took me a moment to understand that the stargate over this man's head was a bell... about to produce a tone.
The stadium show started in ancient, agrarian England and it's all just incredibly Pagan: Maypole dancers, Glastonbury Tor, and a "world tree" perched on top of the tor instead of St. Michael's Tower or any of the churches and other man-made structures that have been there through the centuries. As discussed Glastonbury Tor is a symbol of the primordial mound and while trees and towers are both symbols of the spine through which kundalini ascends, the tree is the richer archetype.
As an aside, just as I was posting this picture of the Maypole, my daughter came into the room to ask me about pole dancing. She just read Stephen Colbert's I Am A Pole (And So Can You), which contains a pole dancer image -- his nod to the arguably inappropriate, full-frontal nudity of Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen. I was in the process of trying to break down, for a ten year old mind, the sexism and objectification of the stripper industry when it suddenly occurred to me that pole dancing is a tragically reduced form of goddess-kundalini imagery. I just never thought about that before. Huh...
But back to the Olympic "carnival." The pastoral scene was disrupted by a "salute" to the industrial age and the beginning of modern warfare. The world tree was ripped out by the roots...
and the tor (primordial mound) birthed a labor force to give their bodies to the Industrial Revolution.
It bears mentioning that the war industry is specifically decried as "Satanic" in the William Blake poem, sung so beautifully by a boy soprano in the beginning of the ceremony. But even in the industrial sequence we were treated to more kundalini imagery. Smoke stacks were raised quicker than Melusine's tower (spine).
Between these smoldering towers, a river of fire snaked its way through to ignite a sphere.
Then, in a somewhat surreal sequence, more rings floated into the scene looking like some kind of spaceships, merging with the freshly forged, ascending one.
Then, of course, they came together to form the Olympic symbol with all it's overlapping spheres and vesicae piscis. But I thought it was interesting that when they were in place they started raining light. The image put me in mind, more than anything, of the Aton with its beams reaching down with the key of life.
Coalesced completely into the Olympic symbol, one of the rings -- probably the one that was just made in the kundalini foundry -- is gold (alchemy). This alludes to the imagery in the promo discussed here, in which molten steel hardens into base metal only to be transformed by the rainbow into shimmering, alien figures.
The less said about the celebration of children in hospital, complete with giant Voldemort and Mary Poppins army, the better, but the upshot of that was... well... You know, when we got home Friday evening, we came in right around this point and all I could say was, "Is that a... giant... baby? What the..."
Said Matt Lauer, "I don't know whether that's cute or creepy." I gotta go with creepy. But it certainly cements the themes of birth and renewal. (I should also add, in fairness to the freakish Voldemort war, that Harry Potter is entirely rooted in Western Alchemy.)
All of this took place in the giant, blue-lit circumpunct that is the Olympic Stadium.
And speaking of rainbows, I was very amused by Saffy's African get-up in the brand new "Olympics" episode of Absolutely Fabulous that aired this weekend. It certainly is a coat of many colors and right on her forehead is a rainbow shaped pattern.
I have little question after watching this ceremony that there was more at work here than the workings of the subconscious. That's a pretty seamless ascension narrative weaving its way through the utter chaos of the show itself. But then, the ascension process is painful, disruptive, and nigh well insufferable at times, too.
As for the much discussed possibility that this could be a first contact, "Disclosure," potential alien war thing... I don't know. Maybe.
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