Art and Design
Funga wants to highlight a film that is very special and close to its heart – AVATAR. In this post, I will mainly discuss the first movie, although I also hugely enjoyed the second one and recommend it.
Avatar came out 13 years ago in 2009 and broke all box office records. It is the highest-grossing film of all time, generating an estimated 2.9 billion dollars. Directed by James Cameron, it was part of a 3D revolution.
In an interview, James Cameron acclaims one of the movie’s successes to the fact that it is something for everyone, no matter what age or gender. When I first watched the movie, I was still young and liked it for different reasons than I do now. The symbolism within the film has also taken on an entirely new meaning that, to me, portrays many commonalities with a psychedelic trip. Avatar portrays humans as evil, possessed due to their desire for personal gain. This clearly warns of the dangers of separateness from nature, corporate greed, and exploitation. Cameron has said that “Avatar asks us to see that everything is connected, all human beings to each other, and us to the Earth.”
“In the film, Avatar, there are many elements that are reminiscent of ayahuasca and South American indigenous traditions, though Cameron himself has stated that it was North American indigenous cultures that were the primary inspiration for the Na’vi and their cultural life-ways. We learn in the film that the Na’vi’s spirituality is not just a system of belief, but actually grounded in direct experience of their deity, Eywa, which is described as the consciousness of the planet Pandora itself. What makes the communication possible is the transfer of consciousness through energy and electrical signals.” (read more about the connection between Avatar and Ayahuasca here and watch a Youtube video on the subject here)
Below I have also added an analysis from Mike Robbins that I really enjoyed and think are important points that should be reflected upon:
Three of the most important messages we can take away from Avatar and use in our own life, work, and relationships are:
1) Honor the sacred – A central theme of the film is the way in which the Na’vi (the native species of the moon Pandora where the story takes place) honor the sacredness of their land – specifically Hometree (where they live) and the Tree of Souls (where they worship). They have a deep sense of reverence for these important places and for all of Pandora.
How well do you honor your own space? How much reverence do you hold for where you live, where you work, where you eat, the planet, and more? So often we forget that the “sacredness” of any place is more about how we relate to it, than about the space itself. We have the ability to bring a sense of sacredness to anywhere we are, at any time.
2) Connect with Spirit – The Na’vi worship a mother goddess called Eywa. Eywa is the center of the Na’vi’s universe and their reverence for her is displayed in a beautiful and palpable way throughout the film. In all that the Na’vi do, there is a direct connection back to their relationship with Eywa.
There are breathtaking scenes in the film showing large groups of Na’vi chanting and praying around the Tree of Souls – as a way to honor, connect with, and access Eywa’s power, wisdom, and love.
How consciously do you connect with Spirit in your own life? We often get so busy that we don’t take the time to connect with Spirit in a deliberate and meaningful way in our daily lives. We also sometimes get too caught up in the external – thinking we have to go to a specific service or gathering, practice a particular form of prayer or meditation, or do something else externally in order to tap into our connection to Spirit. While any of these practices can be important, none of them are necessary – we can connect with Spirit at any time, in any place, and for any reason.
3) Remember our interconnectedness – The way the Na’vi live in harmony with their land and all living creators is one of the most profound and awe-inspiring elements of Avatar. There is a deep respect and appreciation for all living creators and for all elements of nature that the Na’vi truly embody. A great example of this is how the Na’vi warriors bond with their Banshees (the four-winged creatures they fly around on). Once they bond – which they do both physically and energetically – they are bonded for life and work together as one. The first few scenes in the film where we see the Na’vi warriors connect with their Banshees literally took my breath away and had a visceral impact on me as I sat in the theater.
How consciously interconnected do you feel towards other people, living creatures, and our planet in your daily life? It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the illusion of separateness – we think, talk, and are reminded of all the ways in which we are different, disconnected, and isolated from one another, living creators, and the earth all the time. However, most of us have had experiences in our lives where we’ve felt a deep sense of interconnectedness – not just with people we know and love, but with all of life. In those moments, we’ve seen, felt, and touched the depth of our true nature. When we consciously tap into this, we remember that at the deepest level – we are all one.