Who hasn’t seen this ubiquitous symbol? It’s one of the most typical motifs signifying the balance between opposing forces in the world- but also the ever alternating phases of destruction and creation, of overwhelming overturning of the status quo so the new can be created.
And that is perhaps the most ever-present Jungian archetypal motif: Deluge and Creation.
Deluge refers to the Flood, if we take the original motif: the ever present story of the flood that killed everything on earth, except for a man and a woman, and a boatful (or other means appropriate) of animals to repopulate it.
The catastrophe and destruction is clear – flood kills everything. But there is also the motif of Creation in there, hence the reason why last time I said it is actually a pair of motifs that go hand in hand: After the flood, the world is created once more from (presumably) better quality forefathers.
Of course then, Jung took this motif and classified it as archetypal- and it is easily the most used motif in stories and creative writing, comics and movies out of all of them.
The hero’s journey often walks on its traces- the world is destroyed (or under destruction) by a terrible menace or evil, and the Hero rises to stop it, and jump start the Creation once more, be it in the form of reconstruction or complete back-to-basics rebirth of the world/setting that has been saved.
Symbols for these two motifs are overabundant: From the yin-yang image I started this newspost, to the triple spiral and the swastika (pre-nazi), to fire symbols and dragons swirling around their own bodies and the Uroboros (the snake that eats its own tail) and the triquetra, across all cultures and stories in antiquity Deluge and Creation have been depicted in motifs full of swirls and movement that clashes with its own self.
We come across the motif in modernity nearly everywhere as well, but less in visual motifs and more in the clash of color, with desaturation referring to Deluge and oversaturation to Creation (a good couple of movies capitalizing on the color version of the motif were Smallville and Equilibrium).
In this still, which is the character that is the agent of Deluge, and which one of Creation based only on what they're wearing?
Visual motifs of Deluge and Creation in modernity often may include the clash between Nature and Technology (Watership Down and Secret of Nimh do a good job of that), with Nature being Creation (often represented by the Tree of Life symbol, more or less naturalistically) and Technology (often represented by modern versions of the archaic Deluge/Creation symbols, like the Skynet logo) the Deluge.
I would also think that it is no accident that in Lord of the Rings, it’s the Elves that have the strongest connection in Nature and the good guys that sport the logo with the flourishing tree, and the Orcs/Mordor that has the black tower and the technology of Saruman, with logos of a blood red dilated eye (as of the dead) on black.
Who would be the good guys, if you knew nothing about either side, just based on their banner?
The motif of Deluge is used to incur strong emotional reactions in the audience, of impeding threat, death and desperation, priming for maximum impact of the antagonist’s actions.
The motif of Creation is used to inspire solace and hope, and usually it is by such symbols that movies end, to soothe the audience after catharsis has taken place- a rising sun, a blooming flower, a flourishing tree.
What such motifs can you find in your comics, if any?
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, May 6, 2017
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