The first season of True Detective captivated the viewing public this year, topped only by Breaking Bad in attention and critical praise. While the Internet is rife with theories and analysis, few have succeeded in plumbing the depths of the story in its proper fullness. While Vigilant Citizen did produce an adequate overall analysis, several important points were missed relating to specific religious symbolism, as well as the numerous philosophical references given by Rust Cohle (played by Matthew McConaughey). In this analysis I will give the full significance of the first season of True Detective, which ranks as one of the most revealing films of the occult underground since Eyes Wide Shut.
The opening sequence lays out a heavy dose of symbolism that cues the viewer into the dark meaning of the series as a whole: we see key images such as backwoods evangelical revival, strippers, the emblematic tree, a playground, several butts, a black eye and telephone imposed over a child’s head. The meaning of the entire series is thus not merely the conflict between Rust and Marty in their personal lives, or the elite Satanic rituals, but the impact of the spiritual degeneration that has occurred over just 17 years, from 1995 to 2012. In other words, the spiritual effect that the infernal powers have brought about over just the last 20 years have resulted in a massive decline in the moral status of American society as a whole. True Detective is therefore a survey of that degeneration and demonism, juxtaposing what appears as a grotesque, Southern Gothic backwoods existence ruled by an older bloodline (the Tuttles), with the so-called “normal” American family of Marty Hart.
As the series begins, we see an offering of a dead girl in a prostrate pose praying before a tree, wearing a crown of twigs and marked with a spiral symbol. Detective Rust Cohle is immediately aware of the ritual connotations of the killing, noting the “meta-psychotic” nature of the crime. Educated readers will recognize the “meta” prefix as referencing notions like metaphysics and meta-narrative. As I’ve detailed before with Spielberg films and Philip K. Dick works, meta-narrative is associated with this higher level discourse, as is found in “twilight language.” I wrote:
“In semiotics, particularly in Plato’s Sophist, simulacrum is intended to fool the viewer into thinking the copy is the real thing. The copy takes on a life of its own, yet viewed in scale it would clearly appear that the copy is not real. This is a perfect analogy for the nature of film itself, as well as the role of the director. The writer and/or film director is creating a simulacra of the real world with models and pictures, piecing and placing them together in a certain way, just as Roy does with the model train and city he has built. One may think of the simulated beings in Blade Runner or the simulated world of The Matrix here. Spielberg has mastered this art of simulation, and is presenting a simulated reality world – that of UFO-invaded America that is intended to produce a certain effect in the population. Can this be taken to a larger scale, to which Spielberg and the director himself is a “toy” of the larger, galactic forces or entities of the cosmos? Are we a Greek scale of being, being “played” and “directed” by the celestial hierarchy?”
What is applied to the “director” here applies to the thinking of the “meta-psychotic,” who sees a direct connect between his victims and ritual items as copies of the real items. In the same vein, the notion between “twilight language” is the writing of a script with reality by higher celestial entities, be they angelic or demonic. Here, the Tuttles are practitioners of “old time religion” – a primal form of voodoo and ritual magic. Mystical toponomy also comes into play, as Louisiana is the setting for the series, where the Tuttle bloodline has long held sway, having combined their beliefs with the indigenous Santeria and vodoun superstitions. Cohle immediately senses this, functioning as the series’ prophet/priest, having himself spent years in narcotics enforcement, as well as losing his daughter, resulting in his “touching the darkness.” A committed nihilist at the beginning, Cohle espouses the very worldview of the Satanic elite – a Nieztschean eugenics stance, combined with eternal return, where materialistic chaos returns to its beginning in endless spirals, associating Cohle’s own mind with the recurring spiral symbolism in the series. Humans are “sentient meat” that happened to develop the “mirror” of consciousness accidentally, and ever since, man is engaged in a perpetual self-delusion of convincing himself he is a “person” with meaning. Cohle the philosopher scoffs at these notions, having immersed himself in so many years of battling the darkness. Nietzsche famously said, “And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you,” which perfectly describes Cohle.
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