Thoughts on the mysterious yellow powder from “Mother!”

Thoughts on the mysterious yellow powder from “Mother!”

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Last weekend, for the first time in my life, I went to the movie theater to watch a title for the second time. It?s nice to rewatch a terror movie because you?re not terrified anymore. That?s good because you can pay more attention to the details. Speaking of which, details is the last thing you?ll miss watching ?Mother!?. If you didn?t watch it yet, please do before reading any further. In case I?m not clear: SPOILERS AHEAD!

The whole piece is very mysterious, but the most enigmatic part is the yellow powder Jennifer Lawrence character drinks with water. What does it mean? We know the movie is filled with metaphors, so what metaphor is that?

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The writer and director, Darren Aronofsky, already gave us some hints about that matter, as you can read in this interview. Quoting him:

[the yellow powder] it?s harkening back to Victorian novels and this idea of a deeper connection for her and the house.

Keep that information somewhere on your mind for now, you?ll need it later. Let?s break through the appearances of the concoction itself throughout the movie.

We see the mother drinking the mysterious liquid three times:

  1. On the first night, right after she caught the man (Ed Harris) ? also known as Adam ? throwing up in the toilet.
  2. On the second day, right after she caught Adam having sex with the woman (Michelle Pfeiffer) ? also known as Eve.
  3. On the second night, right after she caught the cupbearer (Jovan Adepo) on her bed with the whisperer (Stephanie Ng Wan).

The thing in common between those three events is that she caught them. People were doing things she was neither aware of or agree with.

It?s pretty obvious that the whole story until know refers to the book of Genesis. After the guests leaves, the couple have sex and sleep. On the next morning, she realizes that she?s pregnant. After His (Javier Bardem) rush to write, she says: ?I?ll get started on the apocalypse?. Literally, she meant last night mess. Metaphorically, that?s the bible last book, also known as Revelations. The next thing she does is to throw away the powder into the toilet. This last apparition has a difference: it happened right after something she controls. She wanted the baby! Instead of swallowing both the situation and the medicine, now she knows exactly what she?s doing.

We can assume the time span between the current and the next scene is about 9 months, from the day she gets pregnant to the day the child is born. As the house is refilled with guests, things starts to happen again.

First, a war. Fists, blades, guns, everything. After minutes of action, the couple passes through some hungry old ladies, just before the baby ? also known as Jesus Christ ? is born and quickly faces death. The mother then commits her first murder, followed by several more. He saves her from being beaten, which brings her to destroy the floor, in response to the house essence?s death. That rage still echoes and drives her to explode the whole house, bringing silence.

What these things have to do with the yellow powder? Well, without further thoughts, nothing. But the last paragraph?s bold words are the movie representation of the apocalypse seals. I?ll be quoting the Revelations book using the King James Version of the bible, and comments by Ernest Renan on Frederick Charles Cook?s book, with preterist views. Note: these comments were written in the XIX century, which is the same period as the Victorian Literature, as you may recall from the interview I?ve mentioned earlier.


Revelation 6:3?43 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.4 And there went out another horse [that was] red: and [power] was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

Renan interpreted the Second Horseman to be symbolic of The Great Jewish Revolt and the insurrection of Vindex. During The Great Revolt, civil war broke out among the Jews, just like the war that happens inside the house in the movie.


Revelation 6:5?65 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a denarius, and three measures of barley for a denarius; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

That happens very quickly in the movie, as the couple stumbles on a group of starving old ladies while on a rush to have their baby, but it fits perfectly in the book?s narrative.


Revelation 6:7?87 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

The death of the baby is the movie?s most shocking scene. It?s a checkpoint both as the middle seal and as the irreversible part of this mother story. From this point, the end is certain.


Revelation 6:9?119 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled.

Revenge, you say? Watching her son die triggers on mother a series of killings, only stopped by being lynched.


Revelation 6:12?1712 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;13 And the stars of the heavens fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.14 And the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

When saved by her husband, she feels the house is already dead. This triggers an anger in the character, which makes her break the floor, just like an earthquake.


Revelation 8:1?61 And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.4 And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel?s hand.5 And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast [it] into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.6 And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.Revelation 16:11 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

Renan noted about the ?silence?: it indicates that the first act of the mystery has ended, and another is about to begin. The movie shows this as the creation cycle on the very first and very last scene, as we manage to see three different ?mothers? with the same beginnings and endings, although only one?s story is fully described. The silence is the gap between a mother and another one.


Revelation 6:1?21 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

Renan interpreted the First Horseman to be symbolic of the Roman Empire, with Nero as the Antichrist.

So, if the yellow powder is actually the Antichrist, this gives me uncertain conclusions: could it be a contraceptive medicine? How could she get pregnant if she drank it three times in the span of two days before copulating? What does it have to do with the ?idea of a deeper connection for her and the house?, as Aronofsky describes?

This is not a full theory, just some thoughts I had after watching the movie for the second time. Surely it can be wrong, but also can be a step further into uncovering this ?secret?. I decided to write this because I couldn?t find anything similar to these thoughts anywhere else yet.

For you who read all the way through here, I wanna thank you and also know what you have to insert or correct about this matter. Leave a comment!


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