Devil’s Advocate, Charmed and Things in Threes
In all societies and religions, there are particular symbols and representations that apply to spirituality. Everybody can identify with the meanings of a statue of Buddha, or a Crucifix. But many movies and TV shows seek subtle representations and symbolism to evoke the strong feelings we have with all things spiritual. As authors of Biblical FanFic, we strive to reach that goal and evoke those feelings even if the reader does not identify that it is happening. Where else can we find symbolism to seek a deeper meaning from the entertainment we experience?
Take a look at the shapes, colors and layout from this scene in a Catholic church…
And compare it to the colors and shapes in this scene from The Devil’s Advocate.
There’s a similarity in the colors, shapes, and layout of the scene that immediately punches close to home with anyone who has experience with Christianity and church. The desk is laid out like an altar, with sculpted artwork (that later comes awesomely to life) behind it and there are even three candles in each sconce on the wall, as seen flanking the altar in the church scene picture above. Granted, the colors in The Devil’s Advocate are darker, but it adds to the mystique and the anti-Christ feel of the whole movie (and with a title like that, we’d expect nothing less).
Going even further than the three candles, we can see symbolic representation in shows like Charmed, with the logo/symbol of the Triquetra:
…which can represent anything threefold, but in Christianity represents the Holy Trinity: A loop for each the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. While Charmed was not a “biblical” show, it had a lot of representations with which people could connect based on the subtleties. Piper, Phoebe and Prue (later Paige) kept their Book of Shadows on an altar upstairs, surrounded by historical memorabilia and meaningful objects, which is often the same as in a Catholic church:
The reason for this similarity is not always intentional by the producers of such a show, but rather simply historically accurate. Pagan rites have many similarities to Christian rites, and are often handled in the same way. Spell-casting in such shows (and in actual Pagan/Wiccan ceremonies) clearly mirrors the blessings done over the Eucharist in Catholic churches with the use of incense, bells, blessings, kisses, motions and songs… Everything has roots in the same purpose: to bring the power of an entity higher than ourselves into something we can tangibly use, express and interact with.
Because of this, Biblical FanFic serves a similar purpose and follows a similar path. Even if a story is entirely fiction and treated as such, reading a fictional story with Biblical influence helps bring the feelings we have about spirituality and the importance of higher beings, written history and power-infused objects home. These symbols also represent our fear of evil, because really, what good is a story without some kind of bad guy/entity? When we read about these things, we recognize the similarities between the fiction and our histories as human beings.
In truth, all our beliefs are not truly so different, just spoken in a different language and represented with varying tools. Imagery in The Devil’s Advocate reminds us of church. The Book of Shadows in Charmed reminds us of the Bible and the invoking of spiritual elements in television shows even as light-hearted as Sabrina The Teenage Witch are representative of the inborn desire we all have to connect with higher beings, higher powers and remember how the histories became ritual and practice. Everything is connected, and for that reason, Biblical FanFic is an amazing way to be in touch with your spirituality through recreation.
I’d love to hear your comments on where you’ve recognized symbolic representations of spirituality in movies and TV shows!