Thursday, June 10, 2010

Avatar and the Warrior Princess

One of the central themes of Avatar is the feminization of the Pandoran Government and Religion. Mo’at is the spiritual leader of the Omaticaya Clan, Eywa is the feminine goddess of the planet and the Neytiri is the warrior princess of the clan. Eytukan is the leader of the clan as long as he maintains the blessing of Mo’at. Tsu’tey is also a leader into battle, or the hunt, but is not the leader when it comes to spiritual things which is the basis of leadership in the Na’vi system. Thus the male is the figure head ruler of the clan but the female is the true leader in this culture. But in this article I want to focus primarily on Neytiri and the role as a leader in the clan.

Neytiri was to be the successor to Mo’at as the spiritual leader of the clan and the interpreter of the will of Eywa for various activities that the clan participated in. Neytiri was responsive to the will of Eywa in not killing Jake in the beginning of the movie and of being willing to take him to the home tree. This would indicate that Neytiri was very sensitive to the spiritual issues of her clan and her willingness to suppress her desires for the good of the clan and to accomplish the will of Eywa. In addition Neytiri was a warrior princess and when necessary she was able and willing to use physical force to take care of a problem. Neytiri was going to shoot Jake when the seed of the holy tree rested upon her arrow and she was willing to not kill to be obedient to the will of Eywa. She delivered Jake from the animals attacking him. She recognized that a special message was being communicated about Jake when all of the seeds landed upon him. She was willing to disobey her father’s command to not bring any Avatar to the clan’s home, and she was willing to save Jake from Tsu’tey’s attack. Neytiri was a warrior and a servant to her goddess, she was a warrior princess.

As we have discussed before James Cameron appears to have used the Bible as his original source of symbolic issues. The warrior princess symbol is also expressed in the Bible. This concept is first expressed in Genesis 3:15 where God says that He will put enmity between the woman and the serpent and between her seed and the serpent’s seed. This text gives us some clue to the conflict between the great serpent Satan, and the woman – mother Eve.

The next literal example of a warrior princess is that of Jael in Judges 4-5. God has allowed Israel to be subservient to Jabin king of the Canaanites because of the sins conducted in Israel. God has raised up a judge and a prophetess by the name of Deborah. She alerts a man by the name of Barak that God has called him to deliver Israel and he will get the glory of defeating the general of the Canaanite army. But Barak states he will not fight this battle unless Deborah goes with him to the battle. Deborah agrees to go with Barak in Judges 4:8-9. Deborah also prophesies that if she goes with Barak, Barak will not get the glory of defeating the opposing general Sisera but that the glory will go to a woman who will kill the general. Barak is willing to not receive the glory to be sure that he wins the battle. So in fulfillment of the prophecy Sisera, the Canaanite general flees from Barak because the Lord had delivered his armies into the hands of Barak. When Sisera flees providence directs him to the home of Heber the Kenite because there had been peace between Sisera’s king and the house of Heber. When Sisera arrives he meets Jael Heber’s wife and asks for sanctuary. She offers to give him something to drink and to hide him n the tent and if any man comes looking for Sisera Jael was to tell them that she had not seen anyone. After lying down to rest Sisera falls asleep and while he is sleeping Jael kills him by hammering a tent stake through his temples. She thus has the honor of killing the opposing general in the time of Israel’s great tribulation.

The next part of the symbolism of the warrior princess is spoken of in Romans 16:20 “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly…” This text states that God will subdue Satan through the efforts of His church. In Bible symbolism a woman always represents a church. A good woman represents the church of God, and an evil woman the church of Satan. See II Corinthians 11:2; Jeremiah 6:2; Revelation 12; and Revelation 17. God says that He will use His church to win His great war against Satan and even refers to His church as His battle horse. “…for the Lord of hosts hath visited His flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.” Zechariah 10:3

So in the Bible God’s church, symbolized by a woman, is described as a warrior princess, a suitable bride for Jesus. Jesus as the Warrior king, has a bride who is able to fight as well. Thus just as Jake and Neytiri are suitable for each other on several planes, so God and His church are united as husband and wife, and are a warrior couple as well.

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