James Cameron made a movie which has become a worldwide phenomenon. He wrote the screenplay in the 1990’s and it sat on a shelf for the best part of seven years. That screenplay was recently released as the movie “Avatar”. It is the highest grossing movie of all time and has been nominated for nine Academy awards. I’m a bit of a sci-fi buff; among my favourite authors are Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke and Frank Herbert. With this in mind I went to see “Avatar” and was completely blown away by the scope of the film. As I was watching it I realised that, either purposely or by default, James Cameron had included a number of subtle messages in “Avatar”. What are those messages you ask? Well follow me and let us explore together.
Avatar’s lessons for the Spiritual Warrior and Seeker of the Way
You might say that Avatar is just a movie, there are no spiritual lessons or life lessons in it, it is purely entertainment on a massive new scale. Well, whether it was intentional or not, I feel that James Cameron included a number of subliminal messages in the script and on-screen action which, considering when it was written, were well ahead of their time.
In our own mythologies, there is always reference to the “first ones”, the “mother goddess” or some other primal source for our creation. Even the Bible indicates in Genesis that there was a supreme intelligence behind the creation of our planet and the life upon it. For example, in Egyptian mythology, there are the swirling chaotic waters are known as “Nu” from which “Atum the creator” sprang forth. 1 While “Atum” is identified as male, “Nu” is definitely female. She can also be identified with “Gaia” from Greek myth and “Eurynome” from Pelasgian myth. 2 These female “first ones” can be traced back to the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear.
Why am I talking about feminine “first deities”? Because the Na’vi (the people) of Pandora worship “Eywa”, a mother goddess who keeps the souls of all the Na’vi and other living creatures on Pandora within her until it is time to be born. After death, the soul returns to “Eywa”. The Na’vi believe they can commune with the souls of the departed through linking with “the tree of souls” which provides a direct link to “Eywa”. Could this actually be the “tree of life” or “world tree” from many of our own ancient myths? If so, then “Avatar” the movie is drawing upon some of our most ancient archetypes. I was moved by the depth of the connection the Na’vi have with “Eywa” and their departed ancestors. My realisation was that there is something basic in our lives that we have forsaken for the pursuit of the future.
As a Spiritual Warrior, I feel the urge to return to more basic systems of belief without the dogmatic intervention of conventional religions. This first message then is:
Avatar reminds us where we come from. Cherish and care for the Earth (Nu, Gaia, Eurynome, Eywa) and she will continue to provide us with the nourishment we need to survive.
Is there more that Avatar can teach us?
The Na’vi of Pandora are peaceful people. They believe all life is sacred and should be honoured. This includes paying respect to the plants and animals that are harvested or killed to provide sustenance. Does this remind you of something? How about the hunting rituals of the North American indigenous peoples? Many nations in the region from the arctic circle to the Gulf of Mexico performed ceremonies celebrating the spirit of the animal they were about to hunt. 3
Over and above these ceremonies are those that date back to Palaeolithic times and the hunting rituals performed by early humans. Paleolithic art includes a kind of hunting magic which was practiced prior to and after hunts. However, interpretation of western European Palaeolithic cave art as shamanistic hunting magic is not universal. 4 The second message then is:
All life is sacred, including those we rely on to provide us with the sustenance we need to maintain our lives.
There are still more messages…
Avatar brings us the Na’vi from Pandora who are a people born with nerve endings growing from their heads and braided into what looks like hair. This braid is called a ‘queue’ and they use the nerve endings to bond with animal life on Pandora. This bonding is called ‘Tsahaylu’. It is a permanent bond that is formed for mutual benefit. The Na’vi are able to ride or fly on the backs of the ‘Pa’li’ or ‘Ikran’ (Direhorse or Mountain Banshee)5.
The bond can also be made with the “Soul Tree” so that the Na’vi are able to commune with “Eywa” their deity. In this complex ecosystem, the Na’vi understand that all of the flora and fauna on the planet, including them, are connected to a central all-encompassing spiritual existence. This is a reminder that:
All life is energy that is being utilised and radiated in different ways. We are connected, one to the other, seeking ‘gnosis’ or communication with the divine spark that motivates us all.
The ‘Tsahaylu’ that the Na’vi practice is learned by Jake Sully, the central character, when he is ‘dreamwalking’ in his Avatar (artificially engineered Na’vi body motivated by a human whose DNA is fused into the body – it is controlled during a dreaming state = dreamwalking). This transfer of consciousness is reminiscent of reincarnation which occurs when the soul departs from the dying body to re-enter and animate a new body, generally without retaining the knowledge of a previous existence. The ‘dreamwalker’, however, is aware that they have a human existence.
Adding to the ‘cycle of birth, death and rebirth’ and aiding in the transference of consciousness is the fact that the entirety of the planet’s ecology acts like the synapses in a human brain. The root systems of the trees are able to process and convey information at amazing speeds. “Eywa” is able to be contacted through this bonding and the information storehouse is then accessed by the Na’vi. Part of the information stored in this system is the essence or energy of those Na’vi who have died. These ancestors can then be contacted in a form of spirit communication.
Remember that birth and death are not the totality of human existence. We are multidimensional beings who manifest in physical form to learn and progress towards enlightenment.
By developing this ability to commune with their flora, fauna and each other, James Cameron’s Avatar, gives the Na’vi a form of metaphysical sight. This is a spiritual insight into the nature of things and other beings. It is conveyed in the movie by the phrase, “Oel ngati kameie”6 which translates as “I see you” and is explained in the movie as being able ‘to see into a person to know their heart’. Does this have parallels in our society? It certainly does. New Age culture has borrowed a term from Hinduism that has a similar meaning to the Na’vi phrase ‘I see you’.
Namaste – I honour the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honour the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.
If Avatar could be seen to contain these messages, where does that leave us?
I’m not going to go all hyper-metaphysical here, however, I do believe that the popularity of Avatar arises from the fact that it speaks to us on such a variety of levels. The Pathfinder in me, my wolf spirit, was touched by the messages I have outlined above.
As a Spiritual Warrior and Seeker of the Way, I would like to reinforce Avatar’s messages, intended or not.
- Care for our planet so that all life may abide here in peace and harmony.
- Honour the sacrifice of the animals that sustain our existence, as all life is special in the eyes of the Universe.
- We are all of us, divine beings in our own right, connected through a sharing of spirit/energy.
- Birth leads to death which is not an end but a new beginning.
James Cameron, thank you for Avatar and its subtle messages, intended or not. Namaste – I see you.
***UPDATE 21 March 2010***
One more thing which I feel needs to be said is that the theme song to Avatar has messages of its own. Check out my thoughts in “Avatar Song I See You – Hymn or Love Song” and tell me what you think.
Indeed Allrock…Avatar had a profound effect on me, it was seminal in terms of being a life changing metaphor for humanity………have you watched the series with Keiffer Sutherland called ” Touch”…these new media explorations give life to that inner river of consciousness that is floating us downstream towards greater awareness and awake states that speak of our energy connections…very wonderful!! It’s pretty fantastic isn’t it………I love it because for me it speaks of an undercurrent yet buoyant force of positivity which I am sure will take us all to higher ground, irrespective of what the doomsday messengers are saying!!
Glad to hear of a group of people who together advocate and celebrate Avatars message………..I can remember leaving the cinema and thinking to myself….I, the world will never be the same…..this movie touched the subconscious awareness of everyone who saw it….whether they know it or not. Like setting a silent alarm that will go off at just the right moment in every persons heart….so the soul can speak it’s truth!!
As a member of forum group dedicated to Avatar the stories I have heard coming from people that have had experiences with the film, and the often profound life changes they have gone through are simply astounding. One of the things that struck me most is the strong connection the film builds in people over our connection to our “Ancestors”. Some people speak of a deeply personal feeling as in their words they were forced through self-reflection on our actions. As a people they felt a strong desire to make restitution for the actions of their ancestors in the past. They speak of seeing our world and its issues from their heart, their view on our world changed forever. I have honestly never seen anything like this and asked a lot of questions myself as to where James Cameron pulled the spiritual/cultural references for the film as it changed my whole outlook on life and the issues humanity faces. I myself never attached to the films fantasy. I saw it as a mirror story reflecting some of the most profound issues people in our real world are facing today. I feel the tools used in the film have the power to impact real change in our understanding of humanity’s issues. Many other filmmakers surely have taken note.
Thank you for posting your comments and sharing your experiences. I am not sure about many other film makers utilising the same tools as James Cameron did in Avatar, however as Ursula has indicated in her comment to you, the television industry is and has been venturing into this aspect of human consciousness for some time. Series like Sanctuary, Fringe and Touch have the ability to continue to deliver these messages to humanity. It is our responsibility to listen and understand them.
I once wrote: “There are no coincidences as we create our reality through manifest choice. Coincidence is merely the aggregation of choices bringing us into synchronisation with others on the same path. Synchronicity is then mistaken for coincidence by those yet to discover the path. ~ Timberwolf 2010”
Your group and other forums like it are those who have found their synchronicity through the messages contained in Avatar. That is a wonderful thing. Spread your light far and wide.
I hope to see you and your friends drop by Timberwolf HQ from time to time and leaving more illuminating comments.
First of all, I`m new at your site and really enjoyed the Avatar and others articles I have seen.
I would like to just add some comments. Something I immediatly thought when people asked me to watch Avatar is that, from a ufological point of view, if the media is already allowing this kind of information get published in this comprehensive way, that is the huge film Avatar, it is because they are somehow preparing us with this knowledge. I believe that some decades ago this kind of information would never have been given out to our massive civilization so this film is a large step forward. And why not, a massive mind revolution is coming as in other films like “Odyssey 2001”.
Thanks from your newest site fan
PS: Uhm I could not understand exactly what you mean by “Spiritual Warrior and Seeker of the Way”. I would be pleased if you could write a text showing us what is to be one 🙂
Welcome Peaceful Warrior.
I apprecaite your input and point of view in relation to the Avatar film. As to your question, “What do you mean by ‘Spiritual Warrior and Seeker of the Way’?”
Well, I believe in spiritual freedom and the ability to express that idea openly, therefore I am a Spiritual Warrior as to accomplish this I am apparently shouting against the thunder of organised religous beliefs. As for being a Seeker of the Way, this arises from the fact that I seek the way to bring my journey and discoveries to others. This then encourages others to find the path to spiritual enlightenment. Being a teacher and a pathfinder are true wolf totem attributes which is why I call myself Timberwolf. I hope this has helped to clear things up for you.
All interesting and thought provoking comments. Can I add a couple of observations? First, there is a huge potential dialogue about man/humanity and the Gillette & Moore concepts of life stages. Alas, our current failure to tackle climate change shows we still neglect eywa.
More simply though, as a Reiki healer and former Aikido novitiate, Avatar has done a wonderful job of visualising/virtualising a description of Ki in a way everyone who saw it can now easily picture. This is a potential paradigm shift in world perception and energy.
Second, immediately after the movie I googled Jake Sully. Nothing. But I did note there was a Jacques Sully in Paris in the Napoleonic period who was an emancipator — a freer of slaves. Add the French-sounding Na’vi accent and, well, who knows.
Thank you. My sons both loved this movie so….
PS: I love in Avatar how when you choose an Ikran to be your flying companion you know it by whether it wants to kill you or not. In my own journey I have noticed those deeper energies which feel like they will annihilate me when I approach them to face my shadows, my cultural blueprints… I search within their depths and feel crushed until the vulnerability turns to strength and out I fly, the phoenix rising from the ashes of my now crucified past self to the new me!!
I love how Jake’s cup is so empty, his legs so tired of the world he’s come from, I love how his BIG heart means he gets chosen, seemingly all out of his control……but so resonating with who he truly is….it’s like his destiny is inevitable, I love that!!
I love how Neytiri’s instinct is to leave the dumb ass behind but she foregoes that mind set she’s locked into and follows the “signs” ….I often feel that….life speaks to me and it’s thankfully is so much louder now than my logical ego mind…which by the way is more and more giving up and saying….oh ok. I’m comin!!!
Avatar is a sign….the world is changing as we head into 2012….woo hoo wooping and hollering all the way down the slide of life with a big YES, here I come!!
You are so welcome, you will live to rue the day you invited me to come back and speak some more ha ha!!! Not true I am sure. I came to your site through surfing the net for “tree” images to inspire my new card/book/website project I am beginning to work on and the soul tree was an obvious space to visit and then, Voila, there you are. I love your site and am currently navigating my way through it… WOW lots to be inspired by. Just recently I began to fully acknowledge that the joy/excitement of intellectual stimulation means as much to me as the enlightening headway I make on my journey towards conscious awareness. I love it when my mind lights up and my heart is there for all of it….lovely communion. There’s affinity in much I encounter here on your site. My wolf like shepherd sits at my feet as I write…….she of the black wolf face with light hazel eyes and benign demeanour who frightens the daylights ( me chuckling) out of unawares who can’t see how gentle but knowing she is, she created a hoematoma in her right ear that has caused it to flop and now she just looks like a puppy …..my property is called Shambhala and I am yet to read what you have written about that………..so here I am and so much of your site yet undiscovered.
I’ll be back!!! Cheers Ursula
I agree with your “take” on Avatar and more…..myself a soul quest seeker, I found it gobsmacking…absolutely magnificent and such an incredible spiritual metaphor for man/woman-kind!! ALL my chakras were spinning like you wouldn’t believe when I came out of my first ( not last) viewing….and the world I stepped out into had changed, I could feel it…forever!! Fortunately I went with a spiritual companion of like resonance and we debriefed…fully.. there are so many conscious and subconscious messages, so profound and I will go all metaphysical….. because to me that’s what’s real….I live my life through spiritual symbology, every thing that happens to me is a reflection of my soul’s journey………I can’t help feeling that an avatar energy used James Cameron’s creative genius, what else would or could be more perfect!!!!
We human’s haven’t been lost for centuries when we strayed from our earth centered ideologies, we just had to grow our brains to be capable of embracing spiritual reality and now they’re powerful enough, our minds we can come home to what makes sense again……….led in part by Avatar. Everyone who sees it can “feel” it whether they consciously know it or not…thanks for this site. Just magical …thanks a lot…..Ursula ( my name means bear and I quote you… These female “first ones” can be traced back to the constellation of Ursa Major, the great Bear)
Ursula…wow. What more can I say? It is comments like these that make blogging a rewarding past-time. Thank you so much for dropping by and reading the article. I’m glad you enjoyed it and hope to see you back again.
Thank you for this wise post. I believe that Avatar did not leave anyone untouched by it, but the opinions are divided. It seems to me that the overall reaction to the movie reflects the stage of spiritual development the individual viewers are at. Some seem to read the spiritual message and understand it. Others dismiss it with brutality for diverse reasons including spirituality. Those with open and evolving mind most certainly anticipate a sequel.
.-= Dominique´s last blog ..Quote of the day =-.
Dominique…it gives me great pleasure to see that others are on the same path as I am. Thank you for your comments and come back again soon.
Alchemy once again. When two seemingly unlike phenomenon come together to “make something else” we have alchemy.
I love it…thanks for writing the article.