Passin’ the Hat: The Shape of Water and the Ancient god Dagon
The “Shape of Water” is the latest movie production by Guillermo del Toro, a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer and novelist. He has left an impressive movie trail in his wake with hits like Hell Boy, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Pacific Rim. His imagination combined with his cinematic style sets him apart from the formula driven Hollywood standards. The Shape of Water centers around a mute women named Elisa.
She is an isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab’s classified secret — a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.
The Death of Samson 23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.” 24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the one who laid waste our land and multiplied our slain.” 25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. - Judges 16:23-27 (NIV)
I have noticed the Hollywood machine frequently highlights ancient gods outlawed in the Bible. These ancient gods are humanized and presented as affable characters to condition the mind of the observer. The creature in the movie sounds very familiar when compared to the ancient god Dagon. According to ancient mythology, Dagon was the father of Baal. He was the fish god (dag in Hebrew means “fish”), and he was represented as a half-man, half-fish creature.
Even the Vatican is connected to Dagon and you see the similarities between the Pope’s mitre hat and the fish creature, Dagon. I do not believe these ancient gods stopped being worshiped and their influence on the Vatican in modern times is quite apparent. Why would the Vatican who claims to be the spiritual leaders of the Most High ever incorporate Dagon into Church symbolism?
The Shape of Water is an indirect or direct callback to the days of Dagon worship. In ancient times the followers of Dagon certainly loved Dagon to worship it. In the movie, Elisa, must have fallen in love with the creature to risk her life freeing him. I do believe there is more at play here because ancient mythology speaks of the Temple of Eliza related to Dagon! So one letter was changed and in the movie Eliza becomes Elisa. Sounds like there is a homage happening here if not reverence.
Do I even need to ask what are the chances of this? The very act of observing while beliefs are suspended must leave a person wide open for the ole’ energy siphon. There is a pattern here of bringing back the ancient gods re-imagined and subtly including elements of the ancient past. Changing one letter is synonymous with tomato or tomoto. The human mind still associates it with the fruit tomato. We will have to wait until December to see what else ancient is peppered in this movie.