Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hannibal Rising analysis - part 4: Lecter's relationship to the Jewish sanctuary lamp


Avove left: Contemporary blown glass and bronze ner tamid (eternal flame) by artist David Ascalon.[a] Above right: Reconstruction of the menorah of the Temple created by the Temple Institute. [Image from the Wikipedia 'Menorah (Temple)' page, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.]

In part 3 of the analysis, it was mentioned that there is a single candle burning by Hannibal's bed in the scene in which he injects himself with thiopental (truth serum). Within a certain context, this candle represents a sanctuary lamp. A sanctuary lamp, also called an altar lamp, is a light that shines before the altar of sanctuaries in many denominations of Jewish and Christian places of worship.

In Jewish tradition
In Judaism, the sanctuary lamp is known by its Hebrew name, ner tamid, which is usually translated as "eternal flame" or "eternal light." Hanging or standing in front of the ark in every Jewish synagogue, it is meant to represent the menorah of the Temple in Jerusalem as well as the continuously burning fire on the altar of burnt offerings in front of the Temple. It also symbolizes God's eternal presence, and is therefore never extinguished. They are also intended to draw parallels between God and fire, or light, which is emphasized throughout the book of Exodus in the Torah.

These lights are never allowed to dim or go out, and in the case of electric problems, often alternate emergency energy sources are used to prevent it from diminishing.

The eternal light is central to the story behind the celebration of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. When the ancient Maccabees rebelled and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem, they rekindled the eternal light. However, there was only oil sufficient to keep the flame burning for one day, and it took eight days to bring new oil. Miraculously, according to the story as recounted in the Talmud, the flame continued to burn until the new oil arrived.

Today, Jewish celebrations of Hanukkah include the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah or "Hanukkiyah," which has nine branches, including one for the candle used to light the eight flames (candles or wicks in oil) recalling the story.[b]

A silver Hanukkah menorah. [Image from the Wikipedia 'Menorah (Hanukkah)' page, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.]


Recall from part 3 of the analysis that the Hannibal Lecter's surname originates in an Ashkenazi Jewish occupational surname, Lichter, meaning someone who made candles or possibly someone who tended a light. The fact that the candle in the young Hannibal's room, which represents a ner tamid and thus a Jewish menorah, goes out at the moment when Hannibal awakens from his flashback, represents, in accordance with the above, the idea that God is 'no longer present', i.e., that by at least this point, Hannibal has no trace of God left in him. Hannibal Lecter, in fact, represents evil Jews, and the symbolism of the candle going out indicates that God is no longer present in these Jews, i.e., the evil Jews Hannibal represents have no trace of God left in them.

a. Image from the Wikipedia 'Sanctuary lamp' page; David Ascalon - Ner Tamid, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia.
b. Wikipedia, 'Sanctuary lamp'. Web, n.d. URL =


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hannibal Rising analysis - part 3: Hannibal Lecter's relationship to candles


A candle is shown burning in Hannibal's room at Lady Murasaki's house, just before Hannibal injects himself with truth serum.

The surname Lecter is related to the name Lechter, which is derived from the name Lichter. Lichter is a German and Jewish (Ashkenazic) occupational surname for someone who made candles or possibly for someone who tended a light, from an agent derivative of from Middle High German lieht, Yiddish likht 'candle', 'light'.[a] Due to this name symbolism, we see that Hannibal Lecter represents Jews, within some context.

We note that in the scene in the movie in which the young Hannibal injects himself with truth serum so that he can recall information that might help him apprehend Grutas, there is a candle burning in Hannibal's room (as shown in the above screencap). At the moment of Hannibal's flashback to the point at which he was rescued (as a boy) in the snow, after having escaped from Grutas and his men at the Lecters' hunting lodge, we observe that at the exact point at which one of his rescuers cuts a chain that had been placed around Hannibal's body by Grutas's men, Hannibal awakens from the flashback, and the candle, which has by now fully burned down, goes out. The symbolic meaning of Hannibal's candle going out, will be discussed in part 4.

Above: Hannibal awakens from his drug-induced dream (left), at the exact moment of his recollection of the chain around his neck being cut after he had escaped from the childhood hunting lodge (right).

a. Ancestry, Lichter Family History: Lichter Name Meaning. Web, n.d. URL =


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lecter series - unified analysis - part 52: Representation of the classical planets


MESSENGER false color image of the planet Mercury. Mercury is
similar in appearance to the moon: it is heavily cratered with
regions of smooth plains, has no natural satellites and no substantial
atmosphere.[a] [Image from the Wikipedia 'Mercury (planet)' page, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.]

In antiquity the classical planets were the non-fixed objects visible in the sky, known to various ancient cultures. The classical planets were therefore the sun and moon and the five non-earth planets of our solar system closest to the sun (and closest to the Earth); all easily visible without a telescope. They are the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.[b]

In part 59 of the Manhunter analysis, it was observed that Hermetic tradition draws a set of correspondences between the seven classical planets, the seven metals, and the seven bodily organs.[c] In specific, it was discussed that the planet Mercury corresponds to quicksilver and the lungs, with Hannibal Lecktor representing Mercury. (In Manhunter, the spelling 'Lecktor' is used, instead of 'Lecter'.) One thing to be discussed in this post, is how several of the other major characters in Manhunter also represent classical planets.

In the following, all material inside quotes is taken from part 1 of Paracelsus's Coelum Philosophorum, as it appears in The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus (Ed. Arthur Edward Waite).[d]

As stated, Lecktor (shown at left) corresponds to Mercury. "Concerning the Nature and properties of Mercury: All things are concealed in all. One of them all is the concealer of the rest - their corporeal vessel, external, visible, and movable...No name can be found for this liquefaction, by which it may be designated; still less can it be found for its origin. And since no heat is so strong as to be equalised therewith, it should be compared to the fire of Gehenna. A liquefaction of this kind has no sort of connection with others made by the heat of natural fire, or congelated or coagulated by natural cold. These congelations, through their weakness, are unable to obtain in Mercury, and therefore, on that account, he altogether contemns them..." As mentioned above, in the system of Hermetic correspondences, Mercury corresponds to quicksilver and the lungs.

In addition to representing Mercury, Lecktor also represents the sun, since, as mentioned in the Manhunter analysis, some of the FBI personnel in Washington are, metaphorically speaking, 'worshiping' him as if he was a sun god (with Washington representing the ancient Egyptian city of Heliopolis, the seat of sun-worship in ancient times). "Concerning the Nature of Sol and its Properties: the seventh after the six spiritual metals is corporeally Sol, which in itself is nothing but pure fire. What in outward appearance is more beautiful, more brilliant, more clear and perceptible, a heavier, colder, or more homogeneous body to see? And it is easy to perceive the cause of this, namely, that it contains in itself the congelations of the other six metals, out of which it is made externally into one most compact body. Its liquefaction proceeds from elementary fire, or is caused by the liquations of Mercury, with Pisces and Aquarius, concealed spiritually within it. The most manifest proof of this is that Mercury is easily mingled corporeally with the sun as in an embrace. But for Sol, when the heat is withdrawn and the cold supervenes after liquefaction, to coagulate and to become hard and solid, there is need of the other five metals, whose nature it embraces in itself - Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, Luna..." The Hermetic correspondences with the sun are gold and the heart.

Finally, Lecktor represents the planet Jupiter, since, as mentioned in part 59 of the Manhunter analysis, he represents the 'presence' of the god Jupiter. "Concerning the Nature and Properties of Jupiter: In that which is manifest (that is to say, the body of Jupiter) the other six corporeal metals are spiritually concealed...He has affinity with the liquefactions of all the other metals. For the more like he is to some other nature, the more easily he is united thereto by conjunction..." The Hermetic correspondences with Jupiter are tin and the liver.

The characters that correspond to the remaining four classical planets are listed below.

Paracelsus describes Saturn as standing outside the other six entities, observing them.[e] Since Bloom is a psychiatrist, he stands outside of, and observes, mankind, indicating that he represents Saturn. In the Hermetic system, Saturn corresponds to lead and the spleen.

Dollarhyde represents Mars, and therefore also Ares, the Greek god of war or, more properly, the spirit of battle. Ares represented the distasteful aspects of brutal warfare and slaughter.[f] Hermetic tradition associates Mars with the diaphragm and iron.

As indicated in the Manhunter analysis, Molly represents Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty and sexuality, whose Roman 'equivalent' was Venus; therefore, she represents the planet Venus. In Hermetism, Venus corresponds to copper and the kidneys.

Recall Dollaryde's association with the moon - he commits his murders on a lunar cycle. This is why he is attracted to Reba - she represents the moon. In the Hermetic system, the moon corresponds to silver and the brain.

The above discussion brings to mind our discussion of the god Abraxas in part 40 of this unified analysis, in which it was observed that in Gnostic cosmology, the 7 letters spelling the name 'Abraxas' (Greek 'ΑΒΡΑΞΑΣ') represent each of the 7 classic planets. Since Lecktor wants to become Abraxas, he must alchemically 'unite' with the other natures (Luna, the moon - Reba; Saturn - Dr. Bloom; Venus - Molly; and Mars - Dollarhyde).

a. Wikipedia, 'Mercury (planet)'. Web, n.d. URL =
b. Wikipedia, 'Classical planet'. Web, n.d. URL =
c. Waite, Arthur Edward. The Hermetic Museum, Vol. 2. Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck. p. 266.
d. Paracelsus. The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus. Ed. Arthur Edward Waite. Mansfield Centre, Connecticut: Martino Publishing, 2009. pp. 5, 6, 10.
e. "Of his own nature Saturn speaks thus: The other six have cast me out as their examiner." (--Paracelsus, The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus, Ed. Arthur Edward Waite, 2008, Kindle Edition, Kindle Locations 87-88.)
f. 'Ares'. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 18 Nov. 2016. URL =


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hannibal Rising analysis - part 2: The hidden plot


The other Hannibal Lecter movies that have been analyzed on this blog (Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal) have all been found to contain 'hidden plots', that is, there are things going on beneath the surface of these movies, that the audience does not see. This is also true of Hannibal Rising, and its hidden plot is discussed in the below.

Near the beginning of the film, while Grutas and his men were in the Lecter family's hunting lodge (above left), one of them discovered Hannibal's identity from a scrapbook that was there (above right). After the cannibalization of Mischa, and Hannibal's subsequent escape from the hunting lodge (and then later, the orphanage), he arrived at Murasaki's residence (below left). While he was there, Murasaki found out what happened at the lodge, by overhearing Hannibal talking about the incident in his sleep (below right), and she decided that she would enable Hannibal to get revenge on Grutas and his men.

Murasaki began to carry out her plan by training Hannibal to be what one could describe as a warrior (above left). She then set up things so that Hannibal killed a butcher, to cap off his training: Lady M. went with Hannibal to the market where the butcher worked, knowing that the butcher would insult her, as he had done in the past (as indicated by the fact that he knew she was Japanese). One clue that Murasaki pre-planned for Hannibal to confront the butcher, was that during the scuffle in the market, she turned out to be carrying a knife (above right), which she used to keep another man at bay while Hannibal and the butcher were fighting (below left). Later, Hannibal went looking for the butcher, found him near a lake, fought him (below right), and then beheaded him with a sword.

Not long after Hannibal killed the butcher, inspector Popil made his first visit to Murasaki's residence (as shown at left), to investigate the butcher's death.

Murasaki later provided Hannibal with an alibi for the butcher's killing - recall the butcher's severed head being discovered gored on a post (above left), in a scenario such that it could not possibly have been placed by Hannibal (which, in fact, it was not - it was instead placed by Murasaki). The intended next step was for Hannibal to go after Grutas and his men. Hannibal returned to the ruins of the hunting lodge, and found their dog tags (above right).

Later, when the inspector made what appeared (to the Hannibal Rising audience) to be only his second visit to Murasaki (as shown at left), he said on arriving, "This isn't a social call." This was ostensibly only his way of indicating that he had come over to discuss serious matters (which he had). However, another implication of his statement was that there had been additional visits since Popil and Murasaki's first meeting (these visits having been hidden from the film's audience), which were social in nature. The point is that for some time prior to this supposed second visit, Murasaki and the inspector had been having a sexual relationship. Evidence that Lady M. knew more about Popil than it seemed she could have, based only on the first meeting between the two, includes there being certain things she said to Popil during this (again, supposed) second visit, which indicated that she already knew he had lost family during the war. The implication is that he must have told her this during one of his intervening 'social calls'. At some point while the two were together, prior to this 'second' meeting, Murasaki let Popil know what Grutas and his men had done at the Lecter hunting lodge. Eventually, Popil convinced her to let him bring Grutas and his men to justice, rather than let Hannibal kill them.

The plan established between Popil and Murasaki included her being a spy in Grutas's camp. She developed a sexual relationship with Grutas, with the idea having been to get information out of him which could later be used to convict him as a war criminal. Later, Grutas kidnapped her (see screencap at left), with his idea having been that he could draw Hannibal into a trap.

In the sequence of scenes on Grutas's houseboat at the film's end, it appeared Lady M. was in impending danger of being killed by Grutas. While Hannibal, who had been able to board the houseboat, was walking along a passageway approaching Grutas's cabin (above left), Grutas went inside an adjoining area (above right) so that Hannibal would not see him. Then, as soon as Hannibal entered Grutas's cabin, Grutas appeared from behind him and fired a single gunshot (below left), which appeared to strike Hannibal in his back; but, Hannibal was protected from the bullet by a weapon (a tanto, which is a kind of short sword), that he had hidden underneath his jacket (the tanto with a bullet hole in it is shown at below right).

Following the above, Hannibal turned the tables on Grutas, physically incapacitating him by slicing his Achilles tendons (above left). Murasaki's hands had been only tied loosely behind her back (above right). Lecter himself didn't notice this until after he had disabled Grutas, and by then, he was set on killing him; so he wasn't particularly worried at this point about whether Mursaki was trying to deceive him in some way.

In the above-described final showdown between Hannibal and Grutas, the culmination of which is shown at left (with Hannibal on top of Grutas, whom he then kills), Lady M. needed to have Hannibal win the confrontation, and quickly; for if inspector Popil arrived before or during the confrontation between the two men, and arrested Grutas, then later, the press and/or some other party might have found out about the aforementioned sexual relationship between Murasaki and Grutas, and that Murasaki and Popil had been working together, and had themselves been having a sexual relationship. Popil would have been called out for using unethical methods to apprehend Grutas. Note that by the time of the confrontation between Grutas and Hannibal, Grutas was the last member of his gang still living (besides a man who had escaped to Canada, whom Hannibal kills at the movie's ending).


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