The sword is a valuable and sometimes uncomfortable tool to use when seeking the truth of who we are.
I love Quentin Tarantino movies: Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2 are my favorites. Together they are a modern retelling of the most sacred text in yoga, The Bhagavad Gita. I could write 25 pages about why I see a sacred journey in this bloody film, but here is the gist of our heroine’s journey to Soul Freedom.
Beatrix Kiddo is Black Mamba—the deadliest member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad lead by Bill, her ex-lover. The movie opens with her having hung up the blade in an effort to have a ‘normal’ life for her baby. She is pregnant in a wedding dress when she is beaten by the Viper Squad and shot in the head by Bill, her teacher.
Beatrix wakes from a coma with a razor sharp focus, similar to Arjuna’s—the hero in the Gita; she wants sweet bloody revenge.
She first kills Copperhead, who gave up the blade to play the role of Perfect Suburban Housewife. Then in an hematic display of lethal swordplay, she kills the Crazy 88 who guard Cottonmouth. Cottonmouth traded in the blade to become a heartless Tokyo crime boss who earned her opulent lifestyle by terrorizing everyone. Quite spectacularly, she dies under Beatrix’s sword in the snow.
Amazing scene soundtrack—Quentin is a god.
To the average eye this movie might just seem an excuse for Tarantino to get his sanguinary freak on. Looking deeper, Beatrix’s journey, like Arjuna’s, is symbolic.
She is slaying her inner demons; the housewife, the Crazy 88 and the heartless opulent terrorist.
In Volume 2 she kills Sidewinder, who traded his blade in for booze and strippers. Finally she takes on her rival California Mountain Snake, who represents everything that Beatrix used to be. Rather than weep for the past, Beatrix plucked out California’s eye and left her to die at the hands of her animal totem—the Black Mamba.
Quentin is bloody brilliant.
She is a mother, her child is alive, she loves Bill and she still has to kill him. When Bill asks, “You liked killing all those people didn’t you?” Beatrix tearfully admits, “Yes.”
Upon claiming herself as a mother, a lover and a deadly slayer of the false and a ruthless seeker of Atma (True Self), Beatrix can now step beyond her teacher. She makes his heart stop in the most loving death scene I’ve ever seen.
She powerfully and symbolically steps out of normal and into her Truth—she is free and drives off into the sunrise with daughter and Samurai Sword beside her in a kickass convertible.
There are times we avoid the sword, or hang it up to regroup, be soft, or figure out something. But, there it hangs on the wall waiting until it is necessary for us to go even deeper within ourselves and get closer to our Truth.
The sword is a valuable and sometimes uncomfortable tool to use when seeking the truth of who we are. While I wouldn’t recommend it for every day use, it can be used with grace and compassion.
In fact, it must be.
In most depictions of Hindu Deities, there is some element of sword, as well as some element of compassion. Together they are quite powerful. So don’t be afraid to use the sword when we need to.
Remember, if we are wise, we will always use it with heart.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Alicia Wozniak/Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Video still from “Kill Bill”