Skyfall: the Scorpion on Bond’s Hand

skyfall-2012-james-bond_daniel_craig_drinking_scorpion

Rarely can one encounter films that are so vividly archetypal and so innerly consistent as Skyfall. It is watertight, and the pun is intended. Almost all of its themes and images revolve around Scorpio/Pluto. I literally choked when I saw Bond drinking with a scorpion on his hand. Was someone doing it on purpose? Was an astrologer involved in shooting that film? Of course not, because masterpieces are always created unconsciously. And Skyfall is a masterpiece, to my mind.

Transiting Saturn and Pluto are in mutual reception now (i.e. Saturn is in Scorpio, which is ruled by Pluto, and Pluto is in Capricorn, which is ruled by Saturn). That means they strengthen each other’s attributes and if we use this time wisely and attune ourselves to these cosmic energies, depending of course on how they touch our individual charts, we will be able to transform ourselves by discarding what is unnecessary (Saturn) by letting some parts of ourselves die (Pluto). The harmonious combination of Pluto and Saturn gives enormous strength. What makes the Skyfall Bond so compelling to me is his wisdom and experience (Saturn) and spiritual power (Pluto). He does not need cool gadgets or a keen sniper’s eye because he has the real power that comes from within. And he is no spring chicken, but a mature, seasoned old soldier. Eventually, he is the last rat to survive because he has learned to master his own darkness. When M was reciting the verses of Tennyson, I felt shivers down my spine.

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Always strives and never yields: who could find a more perfect summary of the Pluto/Saturn collaboration?

So, what is the hero’s journey in Skyfall? It goes down, down and down, and in the end he emerges from the darkenss and  is standing proundly on the rooftops of London.

Psychoanalysis

Bond has to work through a childhood trauma, the untimely death of his parents. The free associations test (brilliant scene) reveals his complexes and shows where he is weak. The final destruction of his family home is a symbolic representation of his overcoming of childhood wounds. There is clearly motherly transference between him and M. He loses her in the end but gains independence and maturity.

The descent

First, the title. Skyfall. At the beginning James Bond “dies” and falls into deep water, with his eyes closed, unconscious. The fall is mighty, indeed. He enters the realm of Scorpio, the personal unconscious. Symbolically, a fall is a result of excessive pride (see the Bible for reference). Isn’t this the first Bond who had to learn the value of humility? When he returns, he is humiliated further, being unable to pass the usual tests that every agent has to undergo. Like in Inanna’s descent myth, he is stripped of almost all of his powers (no new technology, no cute gadgets and old age creeps up on him – in short, Saturn takes its toll). The rest of the story is Bond’s redemption and resurrection (resurrection being his hobby, as one of the most catchy lines of the film reveals).

A little bit later on the whole MI6 is forced underground because precious secrets have been revealed and agents’ lives are in danger. There is a secret tunnel under the Scottish house. There are marshes surrounding it.

There is infallible logic hidden in the three descent scenes shown in the movie. In the first one, Bond is shot and falls into deep water, unconscious. He is forced to confront his darkest fears  complexes. He is passive in that scene, but paradoxically it is that fall that is a wake-up call for him. He is ready to be reborn and to redeem himself.

In Shanghai, he tries to obtain information from the Turkish terrorist, but fails and the terrorist tumbles down to his death. If we look at the terrorist as a symbolic representation of Bond’s shadow, we can see that scene as Bond’s attempt at repression. He is still afraid to confront his own darkness. However, the effort is not fruitless. He sees the woman (anima, which in Jung’s psychology is man’s guide to his unconscious) who will lead him to the real villain. The struggle was not in vain. She is distant, unreachable, dreamy and unhappy. A classic damsel in distress in need of being rescued.

Finally, in the marshes, Bond descends together with a villain into the deep waters. He overcomes him, which shows that he has been finally able to integrate the dark energy of his shadow. Unlike in the first scene, he is no longer passive here. Having won the fight, Bond shoots a flare (i.e. light of consciousness) and ascends. Powerful imagery.

The subconscious mind

This is where the descent leads to. The real action in this film takes place in the shadows, in the invisible realm of emotions. Powerful staff if you are sensitive to it.

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11 Responses to Skyfall: the Scorpion on Bond’s Hand

  1. Very insightful and well written. I wasn’t going to see the movie, but now I have to!

  2. Rajul says:

    Great insight. Only now am I able to watch the movie, in its deeper messages. Thank you.

  3. Pingback: Jung and the Archetypes of Transformation (Rebirth) | stOttilien

  4. fallenAngel says:

    Well written article with very valid and interesting points. Thank You. Movies are art, and I have always liked Bond movies. Indeed, SkyFall has significant depth and was the first time I started to like Craig as Bond. I took the liberty to link this article with some brief thoughts about transformation/rebirth archetypes of C.G. Jung.

    • Thank you. I appreciate your feedback. In fact I saw the movie one more time yesterday, just on a whim. Now I understand it was just synchronic with Easter as the time of regeneration. I am more than happy to be quoted in your blog, which, as you know, I value very highly.

  5. Henry Jekyll says:

    I must admit that reading your posts definitely serve to increase my fascination and curiosity with the significance of astrology within the framework of my life. Another enjoyable read.

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