Over the past decade we have seen an increase in movie themes that originate from comic book stories and characters. Probably the most successful among the comic book films is The Dark Knight Trilogy starring actor Christian Bale.
Batman is a fictional character, a comic book hero, created by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. Bob Cane came up with the idea of Batman in 1939 after the success of Superman in Action Comics, which prompted editors at the comic book division of National Publication (later known as DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles.
Many of our regular readers will note that I have often used Batman as an avatar and in some of the artwork appearing on this blog page. This is mostly due to the fact that “comic book heroes” are a metaphoric representation of the life of an occultist. Heroes of comic –book lore keep their identities secret and assume the role of a superhero during the night. Often times, dramatic scenes occur in books and films during the full moon. The special powers of each particular superhero represent psychic abilities that are expressed during nightly astral projection. Ideas of a “Justice League” and “The Avengers” are symbolic of astral and physical occult lodges.
There is also the psychological themes of the underdog being able to overcome a monstrous enemy, similar to ideas expressed in Biblical mythology like the story of David and Goliath. There is an excellent essay on the symbolism behind the creation of superheroes in the classic work entitled Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes , written by Chris Knowles. On page 146 of the said we find the following:
“Many of the leading writers in the early days of comics were diaspora Jews who created their heroes in the shadow of anti-Semitism. Stories of persecution were very fresh in the minds of the young Jews who created characters like Batman, the Thing, and the Hulk. Jewish or not, many comic readers (and creators) are often bookish and sensitive young lads, prone to harassment by bullies in their school days.”
Here we see two aspects in the creation of the comic book hero, one psychological and the other inspired by occult history. In many cases, both of these aspects are used to develop a story. This is evident in the case of the comic book hero Batman, as we will shortly see.
Before we continue further into this discussion, we will review the basic storyline of Gotham City’s famed hero. Although Batman stories may vary, due to different interpretations by various writers, there is a consistent theme in Batman’s origins. Wikipedia, under the topic of Batman, states:
“The central fixed event in the Batman stories is the character’s origin story . As a little boy, Bruce Wayne is horrified and traumatized to see his parents, the physician Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, being murdered by a mugger in front of his very eyes. This drives him to fight crime in Gotham City as Batman.”
Various stories may incorporate different views as to how the character Bruce Wayne was inspired to use the “bat” as a symbol to fight crime. In the movie Batman Begins, Bruce Wayne has a phobia of bats that he eventually overcomes and uses what he once feared as a symbol of his own internal being, and incorporates such to represent his mission against the forces of crime. This has been a central theme in Batman mythology. Another important point that must be considered in this discussion is the Batcave.
The Batcave is Batman’s secret headquarters, consisting of a series of subterranean caves beneath his mansion, Wayne Manor. It serves as his command center for both local and global surveillance, as well as housing his vehicles and equipment for his war on crime.
Here we see that the home of “batman” is in a subterranean cave, “benath the earth” and below the Wayne Manor. Is it possible that the “spirits” of civilizations long ago can still be alive today, entering the imagination of artists and writers inspiring them to resurrect their stories in fictional portrayals?
Meet The Mayan Bat-God
The Cult of the Serpent written by Balaji Mundkur, mentions the following on page 109:
“The bat god is perhaps one of the early if not earliest members of the Zapotec and Maya pantheons…He is represented by an effigy in jadeite found in Zapotec mortuary urns from Oaxaca, Mexico and by images in clay known as “the god of Glyph L” and portrayed as a seated man with a bat’s face for a mask.”
In Maya mythology, Camazotz (alternate spellings Cama-Zotz, Sotz, Zotz) was a bat god. Camazotz means “death bat” in the K’iche’ language. This god inhabited Xibalba, the Mayan underworld. He was the lord of death, healing, and rebirth. He was the God of the Caves and is described as having the body of a human with the head and wings of a bat. According to the Mayan sacred book of initiatory rites Popul Vuh, he resided in the Bat-house located in the Underworld, a labyrinth of caves through which huge bats flew.
Interestingly, in the newly-released Dark Knight Returns, an animated presentation, we find a very significant depiction of Batman that completely solidifies the fact that our comic book hero is a modern manifestation of Camazotz.
There is a scene in this animated presentation where Batman fights and struggles against the Mutant leader, the main villain in the story. Batman is badly injured during the fight. Fortunately, 13-year-old girl Carrie Kelley, appearing in a Robin costume, comes to his aid. She then rescues the injured Batman and tends to his wounds as the tank-like Batmobile drives toward the Batcave. Once inside the cave, Batman walks into the darkness, removing an item of his costume every few steps. When he is totally nude, standing in darkness, he utters a few words of resolve until a large Bat appears. When Carrie, the 13-year-old girl asks Batman’s assistant, Alfred, what the hero is doing? He replies by saying that he is ‘looking to find the source of his strength,’ in so many words. Scenes such as these have been enacted in ancient mythology for thousands of years. It can be seen in the famous epic of Ishtar’s Descent into the Underworld. Singer Erykah Badu portrayed the same when she undressed herself in the Window Seat video. It represents the same thing that is depicted in the scene of this Batman animated feature, rebirth and renewal. Unfortunately, modern-day society is out of tune with the natural process and its symbolism.
“In the Popol Vuh (Mayan Bible), the bat is a great angel who descended from heaven in order to behead the first Mayan people, who were made of wood. He is the same heavenly Bat who in the Popol Vuh advised Ixbalanque and Hunab Ku what they should do in order to become victorious in the ordeal within the cavern of the Bat God… The Bat God has the power to heal any type of sickness; yet, he also has the power of cutting the silver cord of life that unites the physical body to the soul. The Nahua Masters invoked the Bat God to ask him for the healing of their disciples or for healing of their profane friends…. The Tzinacalli (house of the bat) existed within the secret chambers of that temple of mysteries; it was a broad chamber with the interior aspect of a somber cavern, where the rituals of initiation to attain the higher degrees of Ocelotl (tiger) Knight and Cuauhtli (eagle) Knight took place. Upon the lintel of the small door concealed within the interior background wall of the cavern (a door that gave access to the temple), hung a great obsidian mirror; and on the floor in front of that small door burned a bonfire of pinewood.
The candidate for the initiation was taken to the Tzinacalli where he was left alone during the very late hours of the night. Previously, he was directed to walk in the obscurity towards the light of a bonfire, and once in front of it, to talk to the Guardian of the Threshold: “I am a child of the great Light; darkness move away from me.” The bats then began to screech and to tumble through the air upon the head of the candidate. The pinewood fire slowly diminished until only embers were left in it, which reflected upon the mirror. Suddenly, emerging from the gloom with a very noisy flapping of wings, and releasing a terrifying howling, a human shadow appeared who, with bat wings and maxtlatl around his waist, struck with his heavy sword and threatened to decapitate the intrepid invader of his domains.
Woe to the candidate who withdrew in terror! A door that until then was hidden in the rock opened in silence, and at the hinge post a strange person appeared who pointed the way towards the outside world of the profane, from where the candidate had come.
Yet, if the candidate had enough presence of courage and he dauntlessly resisted the assault of Camazotz (the God of the bats), the small door hidden in front of him was softly opened, and one of the Masters approached to encounter him; the Master then found and incinerated an effigy molded in amethyst paper that had the likeness of the candidate and that was hidden within the shadows of the cavern; meanwhile, the other Masters welcomed the candidate and invited him to enter into the temple. This ritual symbolized the death of the passions of the personality of the initiate in his passing from the darkness into the light….Through the tests of this ordeal, to which the candidates of the initiation were submitted in the ancient schools of Nahua mysteries, their animal soul was sometimes depicted as a bat, because like the bat, the soul is blinded and deprived of its power for the lack of the spiritual light of the sun….As vampire bats, the depraved and the avaricious ones fly down upon their prey, and afterwards they lazily go back into the gloomy caverns of their senses where they hide from the light of the day as those who live within the darkness of ignorance, desperation, and evil….The world of ignorance is governed by fear, hate, greed, and lust. In it wander men and women who are only floating listlessly to and fro upon their passions. Only when the human being comes into the realization of the spiritual verities of life does he then escape from this underworld,..”
This process of initiation, though rarely understood, is found in all schools of thought. The life and death of Buddha, Krishna, Jesus Christ are identical to those initiated in the mysteries of the Bat God. The stages of initiation are steps taken to renew the soul after acquiring one.
The Bat God has a home in the mysteries of the Necronomicon Tradition today. Initiates of the Asaru Culture have consistently maintained the chthonic rites of old. We also see another interesting paradigm here. It is one that my friend and sometimes rival Dan Harms must answer.
Harms often ask how is it that can turn a “fictional” story into a magical one, and use it as a basis of occult workings. My question to Harms is; why take ancient gods and portray them in modern fiction? Maybe fiction is not a medium of things that are unreal, but a symbolic language used by occultists to keep the power of other worlds in the hands of those who know how to use it.
Our Gods Wear Spandex, cited earlier, mentions the following on pages 148-150:
“Here again, we see the unadulterated power of myth in action. Miller unambiguously depicts Batman as a spiritual force that possesses Bruce Wayne for its own purposes. And Wayne needs this demonic spiritual power to regain his manhood.”
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