Head and Decapitation
The separation of a head from the rest of its’ body symbolises the separation of mind from matter; and the separation of the Rebel from its’ karma (The Great Work).
MEDUSA, the monstrous GORGON of Greek mythology, is decapitated by the hero PERSEUS.
JOHN THE BAPTIST, who baptises Jesus, is beheaded as a punishment by HEROD, who also sentences Jesus to death.
STAR WARS – the robot C3PO has his head removed and replaced several times in the Star Wars saga.
DJEDI (or DEDI), the magician of ancient Egyptian mythology, can magically reattach the decapitated heads of animals in order to resurrect them. The notion of resurrection denotes the Rebel’s ‘new order’, when the Rebel rebuilds its’ body.
The 9-headed water serpent of Greek mythology, HYDRA of LERNA, is decapitated by the hero HERACLES (aka HERCULES). In some versions of the story, the Hydra can regenerate its’ lost heads. For more on the number 9, see the Number section in the Symbolism section.
APOLLO, the Greek God, slays the dragon/serpent (PYTHON) who guards the centre of the Earth (represented by the OMPHALOS stone). In some versions, Apollo beheads Python. In the Gnostic influenced sci-fi novel “VALIS”, by PHILIP K. DICK, we are told that THE HEAD APOLLO equates with Jesus, Buddha and Saint Sophia. Also, “The Head Apollo is about to return…” The decapitated head of a statue of Apollo is in two 17th century paintings by the Spanish artist JUSEPE DE RIBERA: “The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew” and “The Sense of Touch”.
THE SIMPSONS – In the opening credits of episodes from 2009 onwards, 2 boys remove the head of the statue of Jebediah Springfield, which falls onto the head of Ralph, who is holding an ice cream cone. Ralph tosses the cone into the statue’s eye. For more one eye symbolism, see the One Eye section.
SIR GAWAIN, one of the mythical Knights of King Arthur, beheads the GREEN KNIGHT, but only on the condition that the beheaded knight can return the same gesture a year later.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) – movie based on the MARVEL COMICS superhero team of the same name. KNOWERE is a remote criminal outpost in space, built inside the giant severed head of a CELESTIAL. The Celestials are powerful cosmic beings who had been created by rebellious cosmic beings. Knowhere floats along THE RIP (the extreme outer edge of all spacetime with no specific physical location). Knowhere acts as a makeshift port of call and observatory of the End of the Universe for intergalactic travellers of all species and from all times. The Celestial’s brain facilitates instantaneous transportation to anywhere in the universe. Knowhere is administered by a telepathic dog. In the movie, the protagonists enter Knowhere through the only ‘eye’ that is seen on screen – a large circular entrance.
RAHU, the demon God in Hindu mythology, is decapitated by VISHNU as punishment for drinking the elixir of immortality. But being immortal, Rahu’s head and body chase the sun and moon in revenge, then swallow them, but the sun and moon escape. This swallowing is reminiscent of the Greek god CRONUS who mistakenly swallows a stone (the OMPHALOS stone), believing it to be the God ZEUS.
HUMBABA (aka HUWAWA), the monstrous giant in the ancient Mesopotamian legend “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, is decapitated by GILGAMESH (in some versions, by ENKIDU, or by both). Humbaba guarded the Gods’ abode: THE CEDAR FOREST. Gilgamesh fails in his quest for immortality.
“Dr Seuss’ The Lorax” (2012) – animated movie. A gold statue is decapitated. The statue of a person has the ‘John Travolta’ pose, i.e. one arm up, the other down – an occult stance.
PEREDUR, of old Welsh legend, travels to the court of King Arthur. Later, he is shown a severed head on a salver and learns that the head belonged to his cousin, who had been killed by the Nine Witches.
GOLGOTHA (aka CALVARY) – the name of the site where Jesus is crucified. The name GOLGOTHA means ‘place of the skull’ (from GULGOLET (Hebrew = skull)). There is uncertainty on why it is so named, but old Jewish legends suggest that it refers either to the skull of ADAM (God’s first man), or to a skull shaped hill at the centre of the Earth where a serpent’s head had been crushed/bruised. In one legend, NOAH says that the body of Adam should be buried in the middle of the Earth. Another legend says that when Jesus is being crucified, his blood flows down the cross and into the skull of Adam, so the skull is like the Holy Grail that contains Jesus’ blood. The cross equates with the mythical WORLD TREE, which denotes a ‘world axis’ or central axis around which everything revolves.
SKULL AND CROSSBONES – a symbol associated with several religious organisations, e.g. the Freemasons and the Knights Templar. The 2 crossed bones denotes the cross on which Jesus is crucified.
ODIN, the Norse God, consults the severed head of the wise giant, MIMIR, as an oracle of wisdom. Previously, Odin had encountered Mimir who guarded a sacred well. Odin wanted a drink from the well, but Mimir agreed only if Odin sacrificed one of his eyes, which he did.
ORPHEUS, a hero of ancient Greek mythology, is murdered and dismembered. His severed head floats on water (like Noah’s Ark? The Spirit of God?) and ends up on an island. A snake had tried to eat the head, but Apollo turned the snake to stone. Orpheus’ head becomes a divine oracle.
BRAN – the King of Britain in Welsh legend. Brân is mortally wounded, so requests his companions to cut off his head. He instructs them to take his head with them on their wanderings, telling them that it would not only provide them with entertainment and companionship but would also remain uncorrupted as long as they refrained from opening a certain forbidden door. If that door were opened, they would find themselves back in the real world and would remember all their sorrows. Eventually, they were to take the head and bury it on the White Mount in London. The head was buried in London, where it kept away all invaders from Britain until it was finally unearthed.
SAINT JAMES (the Greater) – one of Jesus’ apostles is beheaded as a punishment by King Herod.
More to come…