Jun 24, 2013

The Starship and the Canoe

Kon-Tiki is a 2012 Norwegian historical drama film directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg about the 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition. The role of Thor Heyerdahl is played by Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen. It was the highest-grossing film of 2012 in Norway.

I loved it. I mean, six muscular, tanned, half-naked Norwegians on a raft, drifting in an equatorial current towards Polynesia... what's not to like? Abercrombie and Fitch meets Jacques Cousteau. But that's not what I'm writing about today. I'm writing about the idea that the 2012 film, and the original 1947 expedition, were thinly veiled ancient astronaut theory. What does a primitive balsa raft drifting from South America to Polynesia have to with space travel? Well, maybe everything.

The Solar God

Let's begin with Thor Heyerdahl, the leader of the expedition. Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing and fertility.

Thor Heyerdahl named his expedition Kon-Tiki, after a supposed Inca Sun God. He hand paints an image of his solar deity on the sail - note the beard. The beard is odd since it represents the deity of a people who grew no beards, but then you get into the meat of the matter, because Thor's Tiki God is actually a "white man". Let us not forget the solar symbols painted onto the sails of the Santa Maria, another vessel that crossed from east to west with the sun, and discovered the "New World".
Heyerdahl claimed that in Incan legend there was a sun-god named Con-Tici Viracocha who was the supreme head of the mythical fair-skinned people in Peru. The original name for Viracocha was Kon-Tiki or Illa-Tiki, which means Sun-Tiki or Fire-Tiki. Kon-Tiki was high priest and sun-king of these legendary "white men" who left enormous ruins on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The legend continues with the mysterious bearded white men being attacked by a chief named Cari who came from the Coquimbo Valley. They had a battle on an island in Lake Titicaca, and the fair race was massacred. However, Kon-Tiki and his closest companions managed to escape and later arrived on the Pacific coast. The legend ends with Kon-Tiki and his companions disappearing westward out to sea.
There is a magical scene in Kon-Tiki where the camera starts with the voyagers on the raft, arranged in a 6 pointed star, and then zooms out to the Pacific ocean, and then to outer space where we see the stars and the curve of the earth, the moon, and then back again. It's never said outright, but you certainly get the the symbolism of ocean=space, and island=planet.
"The ancients saw the ocean not as a barrier, but a road." ~Heyerdahl
The thing about Thor is that his theory of Inca migration to Polynesia is still highly controversial. The well-considered and scientific theory is that Oceania was populated from the west. It almost seems as if he were looking for a good Sun God story, and he invented an eastern Pacific migration theory to support it.

In Kon-Tiki, Heyerdahl is constantly telling his fellow sailors to "Have faith in Tiki" and finally the engineer calls him on it: "Thor, this isn't a religion". But obviously, it is - the oldest Cargo Cult on earth.

Route 101

The Kon-Tiki Expedition lasted 101 days, a highly charged number at Gosporn.

101 in her many guises

101 represents the Divine Feminine, or Shekinah, in graphic form - The "0" is she, guarded by twin masculine pillars. We see this representation over and over again in Masonic architecture and symbolism. I was intrigued, because the 101 represents not only atomic bombs, but also stargates, time travel and warp speed.

The Dogon

But this is where it gets strange, when the film creates a crab "stowaway" character. Thor finds the crab hiding between the balsa logs at the start of the voyage, and he welcomes it along for the ride. All through the voyage, Thor is checking on the well-being of the crab, and at the end of the voyage, the raft wrecked on the outer reef of Raroia atoll in the Tuamotu group, the crab jumps safely ashore.

Coincidentally, I've also been reading VALIS, by Philip K. Dick:

In VALIS, Phillip K. Dick claims that Horselover Fat (his alter ego) experienced DNA memories of his ancestors voyaging from another star. That star was Sirius, which is also the brightest star in the earth's heavens, and also, the one most revered by Masonry.
The primordial source of all our religions lies with the ancestors of the Dogon tribe, who got their cosmogony and cosmology directly from the three-eyed invaders who visited long ago. The three-eyed invaders are mute and deaf and telepathic, could not breathe our atmosphere, had the elongated misshapen skull of Ikhnaton, and emanated from a planet in the star system Sirius. Although they had no hands, but had, instead, pincer claws such as a crab has, they were great builders. They covertly influence our history toward a fruitful end. ~P.K. Dick
A curious sync is that the traditional Polynesian sail is called a "crab claw", by its characteristic shape. The shape makes little aerodynamic sense, but all kinds of religious sense. If crab clawed aliens really did visit this island earth in chariots of the gods, we might find evidence in our unconscious repetition of certain symbols.


endpointithaca.com/blog said...

hi michael -

been syncing with your last couple of posts, so thanks and a lot and as always compliments on your tidy writing.

anyway, a quote by George Crabbe, in an email i got after work today -

There anchoring, Peter chose from man to hide, There hang his head, and view the lazy tide In its hot slimy channel slowly glide; Where the small eels that left the deeper way For the warm shore, within the shallows play; Where gaping mussels, left upon the mud, Slope their slow passage to the fallen flood.

- George Crabbe, The Borough, letter 22,'Peter Grimes'

Michael said...

Thanks for the comment. You reminded me that Olympic swimming star Buster Crabbe played both Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers - sounds pretty Dogon-like.

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