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There are numerous references and allusions to religions and ideologies in Lost. Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Mysticsim are among the religions in Lost. Because of the mysterious occurrences on the Island, and the varied predispositions of its inhabitants, many different religions and ideologies are explored in Lost.
Faiths of the Characters
Out of all of the main and minor characters in Lost who have been revealed to be a follower of a certain religion, Christianity is the most prevalent.
- Jack Shephard (Protestant, according to his wedding and his father's funeral, though these may just be the reflections of his wife and father's wishes. Jack is personally skeptical about many spiritual ideas, and is perhaps irreligious.)
- Kate Austen (Protestant or Catholic, she has referenced St. Lucy and called Edward Mars on the Catholic Holy Days of Obligation. Her wedding with Kevin was probably Protestant, possibly Catholic)
- Benjamin Linus (possibly Christian; unknown denomination)
- Charlie Pace (Anglican or Roman Catholic)
- Desmond Hume(Anglican or Roman Catholic)
- Eko (Roman Catholic)
- Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (Roman Catholic)
- Eloise Hawking (Roman Catholic)
- Rose Nadler (Christian; unknown denomination)
- Carmen Reyes (Roman Catholic)
- Brother Campbell (Anglican or Roman Catholic)
- Eko's monsignor (Roman Catholic)
- Sarah Shephard (Protestant)
- Kevin Callis (Protestant)
- Yemi (Roman Catholic)
- Amina (Roman Catholic)
- Daniel (altar boy) (Roman Catholic)
- Claire Littleton (Mysticism/Astrology)
- Lynn Karnoff (Mysticism)
- Sayid Jarrah (Muslim)
- Essam Tasir (Muslim)
- Ben tells Locke, "God doesn't know how long we've been here, John. He can't see this island any better than the rest of the world can." ("Dave")
- One of the literary references is Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. ("The Whole Truth")
- Ben asks Jack if he believes in God. Jack turns the question back on him, and Ben suggests Jack's existence on the Island (a spinal surgeon, when Ben has a fatal spinal tumor) is proof of God. ("The Cost of Living")
- The scene where Ben tries to get Locke to kill his father has the distinct aura of a sacrificial ritual. ("The Brig")
- Though Jack has not stated his beliefs, he has been often used as a contrast to Locke's faith in the Island. This includes Jack's denial in the existence of both fate and miracles.
- Pierre Chang remarks "may God help us all" if the rock wall in the Orchid is breached. ("Because You Left")
- Ms. Hawking says "may God help us all" if Ben fails to unite all of the Oceanic 6 within 70 hours. ("The Lie")
- In S.O.S. Rose asks Bernard what God has to do to get his attention.
- The deceased show up regularly in what appears to be ghostly form and interact with the living.
- When being pursued and shot at in the outrigger canoe a time shift occurs prompting Sawyer to shout out "Thank you Lord!" ("The Little Prince")
- When the shift sends them into a raging storm he takes it back. ("The Little Prince")
- Locke's father's presumed surname is Cooper, meaning Locke's real initials are J.C. (reference to Jesus Christ).
Throughout the show, Christianity is referred to the most among other religions and ideologies. Some explicit references are made through the characters own practices, and other implicit references are found in the storyline, mostly to reflect the general concept of "Faith" more than the specific religion.
Most of the explicit references to Christianity, both general or specific, were made through Mr. Eko's thread, given his assumed priesthood. After killing two of the Others in self defense, Eko takes a redeeming vow for 40 days and nights, reminiscent of Lent tradition (or Israel's 40 years in the wilderness, Moses' 40 days on the mountain, Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness) during which he abstains from talking. In the 40 days, Eko sculpts a staff from a tree branch, carving into it a cross and various Bible scriptures which he continued to add after his vow ended. The last carving is revealed by Locke to be: "Lift up your eyes and look north." John 3.05, though actually a reference to Ezekiel 8:5. John 3:5 is actually "Jesus answered, 'I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.'" (NIV) ("The Cost of Living")
On the way to the Beechcraft, Eko obtains a cross from the dead body of his brother, Yemi, which becomes another personal item of his. Eko loses his cross during the Swan's implosion, before getting it back from Locke in a kind of symbolic exchange of faith. The survivors use crosses to mark the graves of Shannon, Boone, and other deceased fuselage passengers. Their use of Christian burials distinguishes them from the Others, who use rituals inspired by Hinduism in their funerals. ("The 23rd Psalm") ("The Cost of Living")
Before Eko joins the Middle section survivors, Rose, a devout Christian, played a key role in helping her peers come to terms with their faith and cope with their suffering. Among those she helped was Charlie, whom she comforted over Claire's kidnap by Ethan by praying for him. Later, she helped Locke in restoring his faith in the Island, before it was shattered by his visit to the Pearl. ("Lockdown")
Eko enlists Charlie's help in building a Church. Eko never finishes building the church. Locke later used this site when he built his sweat lodge, in which he is visited by a vision of Boone. This juxtaposition suggests a similarity between the prophetic visions of Christianity and the visionary traditions of Native American faiths. ("Fire + Water") ("Further Instructions")
Locke's mother, Emily Annabeth Locke, claims that Locke was immaculately conceived, although she misuses the term, implying that Locke did not have a human father. ("Deus Ex Machina") When the fuselage survivors put Benjamin Linus into the Swan's armory, he hangs on the wall in a manner which is reminiscent of the crucifixion. ("Dave")
In This Place is Death when Locke is injured, Christian Shepherd speaks to him about the meaning of sacrifice and as Locke approached the wheel with is torn and battered body shows major symbolism to Christ and the cross.
Locke's sacrifice to save the Island and subsequent ressurection could be analogous to Christ's sacrificial death and ressurection.
Eloise Hawking sacrificially sends her son Daniel Faraday to the island with foreknowledge of his death. This corresponds with the Christian concept of God intentionally sending his son Jesus Christ to die as an atoning sacrifice. ("The Variable")
The end of the season 5 finale scene with Jacob, Ben, and Jacob's enemy strongly paralleled the story from the Book of Job.
- Dave's urging of Hurley to over-eat, and to throw himself off of the cliff, a reference to the temptations issued by Satan to Jesus during his 40-days in the desert prior to his public ministry. ("Dave")
- Rose considering her healing a miracle. ("S.O.S.")
- One of the books in Jack's office is the Bible. ("A Tale of Two Cities")
Other general references to Judaism and Christianity are also made, predominantly through the names of the characters:
Hell is mentioned in a mythological sense. Hell is also a place of judgment in the Christian religion where one goes if they have not accepted Christ as their savior and atonement for their sins. Hell and Heaven are generally associated as opposites.
Hell comes from Middle English from Old English from Norse (hel) The Norse concept of the underworld is usually the source listed for our concept of Hell. The word means covered or hidden. It is related to the Greek Hades or underworld. The Hebrews believed in Sheol – an existence to which all were sent. Today most people of the Jewish faith tend to emphasis life in the present and do not put much emphasis on the afterlife. The Bible uses the word 'Gehenna', from the valley of Ge-Hinnom, a valley near Jerusalem used as a garbage dump – where refuse was burned. The early Christian teaching was that the damned would be burned in the valley just as the garbage was. The image of the Devil decked out with the pitchfork has no Biblical basis. The Book of Revelation in the Bible talks about a "Lake of Fire.”
Catholicism is brought into the storyline by three prominent characters: Charlie; Mr. Eko; and Desmond; in addition to other occasional references.
As revealed in his flashbacks, Charlie Pace is raised a devout Catholic, and was an altar boy. Charlie detaches from his religious roots for a while, when introduced to the world of drugs and fame in his music career. However, in the events of Claire's kidnap and influenced by Rose's strong faith, the traumatized Charlie finds remedy in turning to his faith and asking God for help, although he regresses again shortly when he comes to the heroin-filled Virgin Mary statues, at the Nigerian Beechcraft. Temporarily, the statues are interpreted by Claire as a sign of Charlie's religious tendencies, before the truth unfolds. After his arrival at the survivors' camp, Eko also played a critical role in influencing Charlie's faith attachment. Charlie soon approaches and befriends Eko, and helps him in building the first known church on the Island, out of wood that Eko marked as "good". Later, Charlie is visited by vivid dreams of a constantly endangered Aaron, with his mother and Claire appearing as angels and Hurley as John the Baptist in variations on Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ, asking him to save Aaron. When Charlie confides in Eko, he guides him to the possible relation of saving Aaron and baptism. Influenced by Charlie's urges, Claire approaches Eko who baptizes her and Aaron upon her request, making them both, accordingly, Catholic. As a final testament to his faith, Charlie does the sign of the Cross right before he dies.
Catholicism is further referenced through Eko's own Flashbacks, which introduces his Catholic priest brother, Yemi. Both Eko and Yemi were raised in a devout catholic faith, before Eko strays to the life of crime to save his brother. After Yemi is later kidnapped by Eko's accomplices in the Beechcraft, Eko takes his place in church posing as a Catholic priest, before truthfully embracing his new role through an overseas internship that Yemi was signed for. Later, the reluctant Eko is sent to Australia by the Monsignor to investigate the claim of Joyce Malkin, a devout Catholic, that her daughter, Charlotte, miraculously rose from the dead. In spite of his disbelief, Eko is stopped by Charlotte at the airport, to deliver him a message from the dead Yemi, asking him to strengthen his faith. Honoring Yemi was the motivation for Eko's attempt in building the Church, which also served as his means of Redemption, before Yemi visits him in a dream, after which he embraces the pushing of the button as his new redeeming task. In his final moments, Eko is confronted by several images of characters (presumably generated by the Monster) from his past, including Yemi, who repeatedly ask him to "Confess" the traditional Catholic step toward Redemption. When Eko refuses, he is soon attacked by the Monster which ends his life.
Desmond Hume was a Novice in a monastery in Eddington, Scotland and is under Brother Campbell. The monastery's source of income is producing wine under the Moriah Vineyard label. He was once engaged to Ruth whom he left when he felt a higher calling after meeting Brother Campbell. Ruth wears a Rosary and has a prominent Crucifix on her wall. ("Catch-22")
Desmond is also seen crossing himself a number times before turning the Fail safe key. ("Live Together, Die Alone")
Other Island survivors with a Catholic background include Hurley, who is raised by a devout Catholic mother for whom he buys a large gold Jesus statue, and who strongly denounces the idea of curses before a series of unfortunate events strikes her whole world after her son wins the lottery. Hurley also prays when trying to fix the DHARMA Van showing that at least some of his mother's belief has rubbed off on him.
Catholicism is mentioned very briefly in one of Kate's flashbacks as well. As revealed by Marshal Edward Mars in their short call, it was the Catholic Feast of the Assumption (Celebrated on August 15th (8/15)). He then goes on to say, "How many holy days have come and gone since you last called?" She also mentions that she went to Sunday School as a girl and that her alias, "Lucy" was inspired by St. Lucy. A greater significance to Kate's choice is indicated because the feast Sawyer throws for the castaways occurs on Dec. 19, the Feast of St. Lucy. ("Left Behind")
Among the significant references, there is the notation, "Sursum corda", found on the blast door map, meaning "Lift up your hearts", which holds a notable explicit reference, since it is the phrase often used in addressing the Catholic mass in the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Locke's anger management meeting was in the meeting room of a Christian church, as stained glass is visible. This church may be Catholic, as identified by the church exterior which includes a white statue of the Virgin Mary.
The memorial service for Christian Shepherd was held in a Catholic church.
Ms. Hawking and Ben Linus meet in what appears, from the candles and statues, to be a Catholic church or chapel. ("The Lie"). Later after appearing to pray and lighting a votive candle Benn tells Jack the story of St. Thomas.
Seven Deadly Sins
Several references to The Seven Deadly Sins have been theorized.
Pride (Jack), Envy (Jin), Wrath (Locke), Sloth (Shannon), Greed (Sawyer), Gluttony (Hugo), Lust (Boone). As well several of the symbolic animal equivalents have been seen: Pride - Horse (Kate's Horse); Envy - Dog (Vincent); Wrath - Bear (Polar Bears); Sloth - Goat (Nigerian goats); Greed - Frog (Sawyer's Tree Frog); Gluttony - Pig (Wild boars); and Lust - Cow (Mikhail Bakunin's cows at The Flame).
Seven Holy Virtues
Several references to The Seven Holy Virtues, have also been theorized.
Chasity (Juliet), Temperance (John Locke), Charity (Charlie), Diligence (Ben), Patience (Rose), Kindness (Claire), Humility (Richard).
- Orthodox Christianity was only referenced in the storyline through mentioning Fyodor Dostoevsky, whom Locke and Ben speak of while debating his famous book, The Brothers Karamazov. Dostoevsky was in fact an intensely faithful member of the Russian Orthodox Church, which reflected in most of his work and in particular The Brothers Karamazov. In their debate, Ben picks a line from the book, "Men reject their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and honor those whom they have slain," to use in exploring Locke's own motivations and his position on Faith.
- Dostoevsky also wrote a book called The Demons or The Devils which was a critique in fiction of the atheist and anarchist represented by Russian philosophers like Bakunin, the namesake of Lost's Mikhail Bakunin.
- St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow is in the background when Sayid kills Ivan Andropov. ("He's Our You")
- Protestantism was implicitly referenced twice in the storyline, both through apparently Protestant weddings. The first was the wedding of Jack and Sarah, and the second was that of Kate and Kevin Callis.
- A single explicit reference to Protestantism was made by revealing Francis Heatherton's earlier involvement in a rock band called "The Protestant Reformation".
- The title of a Kate-centric episode is the same as that of a series (and its first book) by a pair of Evangelicals that is centered on a fundamentalist interpretation of the Book of Revelation. ("Left Behind")
Elements from Judaism factor into the show's mythology and symbolism as well. It should be noted, though, that no single character has explicitly acknowledged Judaism as their professed religion as of the end of Season 5 . Also, many of the references to Judaism are taken from the Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh, which is also used by Christians as the Old Testament. Often, these references are made by characters with Christian backgrounds.
The writers occasionally make explicit references to Judaism in the titles of the episodes. For instance, the names of both Season 1 finale episodes, Exodus I and Exodus II, are named after the second book of the Torah. It tells the story of the Hebrews' departure from Egypt, under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. In the finale, the survivors are also forced to consider departing their camp and heading to the Swan station, after hearing Rousseau claim that the Others are coming. Later, the writers refer again to Exodus in the finale of Season 3, when the castaways journey to the radio tower. In this episode, Naomi refers to Jack as "Moses." Another such reference is the name of the Season 2 episode, which refers to the the 23rd Psalm in the Bible, also known as the Shepherd Psalm. In this episode, Eko and Charlie recite this Psalm together. Eko recites it again in his final confrontation with the Monster. Claire tells Eko that her baby's name is Aaron, and they discuss how the name was also that of Moses's elder brother (the spokesman of Moses to his own people, and also to the Pharaoh). ("The Cost of Living") ("The 23rd Psalm")
The writers' use of the Pillar of Smoke is another reference to Judaism. According to Exodus, a pillar of smoke led the Hebrews through the desert in their journey to the Promised Land. In the Bible, the pillar of smoke is a manifestation of God. On the Island, however, pillars of smoke appear to be malevolent rather than divine. One pillar of smoke seems to constitute the body of the Monster. Another column of smoke signaled the presence of the Others (according to Rousseau). In a more neutral sense, Jack and Sayid agree to use black smoke as a signal before heading to the Other's decoy village.
The scene where Ben tries to get Locke to kill his father has been cited by fans as a backwards version of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. The wine made by the monks at the abbey Desmond attends, Mount Moriah, is named for the site of the sacrifice.
Islam is introduced in the storyline by a leading character; Sayid, who is of Muslim faith. Like many other characters, Sayid can be considered to have undergone a transition towards faith and spirituality, which in his case became a strong factor in helping him atone for his past. Given the nature of Islam as a wide range system of beliefs, overlapping the fate and free will dilemma, as well as views on redemption, a number of Sayid's actions and emotional struggles on the Island can be explained in the light of its inspirations. During the past seasons, Sayid was seen practicing a number of Islamic rituals, as well as making faith-inspired decisions, referencing his faith at both explicit and implicit levels.
Among the main explicit references, comes Praying (Salat), which Sayid was seen practicing on and off the Island with different mindsets. Hence, comes its importance in portraying his Faith Journey. Prior to the crash, a flashback of Sayid revealed his employment of praying as a means of approaching Essam, to fulfill the task he was blackmailed into by the CIA. His desire to claim Essam's body to provide a proper Islamic burial delayed his flight, causing him to board the fated Flight 815. Furthermore, during his time on the Island, Sayid was seen on the Sailboat praying again, this time, however, as a means of connecting to God, to strengthen his faith and attain a spiritual support, before what could be a deadly confrontation with the Others. Another reference to praying was made, when Sayid visited Shannon's grave, and left his praying breads at the cross, in what also seemed to be a symbol of bridging between religions. ("The Greater Good")
Position on burials. Sayid suggested the burial of the deceased bodies from The middle section and opposed Jack's practical decision to burn them along with the fuselage. He felt that neither he nor Jack had the right to make such a decision which may disregard the wishes and religious beliefs of the deceased. ("Walkabout")
After the death of Essam in Sydney, the Australian government prepared to cremate his body, having no one to claim the body. Sayid was compelled to claim the body of Essam in order to avoid the cremation of his Muslim friend. ("The Greater Good")
Salvation. After torturing Sawyer, Sayid departs on a solitary journey. ("Confidence Man")
Testimony of faith. While hanging up in Rousseau's trap and thinking he would die, he is heard saying the Islamic testimony of Faith (Shahadah), which are the last words a Muslim says before his death, if able to. ("Solitary")
Belief in Qadr, fate or divine destiny. One of the doctrines of Islam is Qadr, fate or divine destiny. Fate is one of the persistent themes of Lost.
Although it is not certain, Sayid is most likely a Sunni. Evidence for this includes that he is from Tikrit (per "House of the Rising Sun"). Tikrit is part of the predominantly Sunni area of Iraq. In "Solitary", while he tortures a prisoner named Falah, he refers to Shiites in a manner that implies he is Sunni: "You want me to stop, Falah? … Your Shiite friends have already implicated you in the bombing. You planted the device in the Bathist headquarters, didn't you?" He was a member of the Republican Guard, a force made up of primarily Sunni Muslims. Although Qadr is a doctrine common throughout Islam, it is emphasized in Sunni Islam as one of the six articles of belief. Sayid refers to fate in a way that implies he at least partially believes in it: "On the way to the funeral I told you that Michael had been compromised by the Others, and then you asked me how we might take advantage of that. I believe fate has given us our answer—the boat." In general, however, Sayid speaks and acts as if his words and actions can have a direct effect on events, which implies a practical belief in free will. ("Live Together, Die Alone")
In Season 4, a Qur’ān, the religious text of Islam, is seen on Ben's bookshelf as is a book titled Kings of Love: The Poetry and History of the Ni'Matullah Sufi Order and Caravan of Dreams by Idries Shah, a Sufi writer. ("The Economist")
New Age spirituality
- New Age ideologies borrow from a number of different naturalistic religious schools of thought, including Buddhism, Taoism, Shamanism & Aboriginal cultural veins discussed above.
Other New Age References
Native American beliefs
- There is a sweat lodge at the commune and Locke builds another sweat lodge on the Island for the purpose of undergoing a vision quest. ("Further Instructions") Normally, in Native tradition, vision quests entail going out into the wild, fasting for at least three days, and having no communication with the outside world. This brings one to a state where one has visions. These visions are supposed to be guidance on which path to take in life. One goes into a sweat lodge for the sake of purification. Stones are heated to the point of glowing and place within the center of the lodge, where water is poured over them. The heat and the steam of the lodge can be likened to a really intense sauna.
- A Black Rock Spirit, in Native American mythology, figures among the superhuman guards that defended an island of bad spirits located in the middle of the ocean.
- Black Rock – Hawaii. This promontory came to be designated as one of three great 'Uhane Lele, a sacred point where souls of the dead leaped into their ancestral spirit land.
- The book Red Man's Religion: Beliefs and Practices of the Indians North of Mexico by Ruth Murray Underhill is visible among the books on Ben's shelf. ("The Economist")
- The various animal appearances have totemic qualities.
- Locke often acts in a quasi-shamanic fashion and claims to be "a man of faith".
- Boone's vision of Shannon being killed by the Monster was very like a shamanic vision-quest.
- The spiral on the tie-dyed T-shirt given to Desmond by Hurley is a symbol often found in primitive art.
- Above all Shamans mediate between the human and spirit worlds with the help of animal spirit guides. They are also known for their healing abilities. In that sense there are a lot of parallels between the themes appearing in the series. Especially the animals encountered symbolise certain virtues (unlike sins as mentioned elsewhere on this page) in Shamanism.
- Polar Bears: the ability to navigate along the earth's magnetic lines, solitude, fearlessness, dreams, death and rebirth, creature of visions, mystics.
- Frog: common bonds with all life, cleansing, understanding emotions
- Horse: freedom to run free, protector of travellers, endurance, guide for overcoming troubles..etc.
- Spider: weaves the web of fate, understanding patterns of illusion, shapeshifting
- Boar: becoming invisible in times of danger, past life knowledge, rooting out the truth...etc.
- Moth: ability to confuse enemies, ease of of movement in darkness and reaching light, transformation..
Australian Aboriginal beliefs
- Locke was planning on going on a walkabout. The tour in the show was geared towards tourists but in Australian Aboriginal beliefs, a walkabout is a means of communing with the spirits and oneself and is done alone.
- The Uluru in Isaac of Uluru refers to a sacred site of the Australian Aboriginals also known as Ayer's Rock.
- Many of the Glyphs resemble Aboriginal artwork.
- "Dharma" and "Namaste" are terms relevant to Buddhism. (Season 2)
- In season five episode, "Jughead" ("Jughead"), Latin is said by Julia to be the language of the enlightened. Enlightenment in Buddhism is known as "Bodhi" and refers to the extinction of raga (greed), dosa (hate) and moha (delusion). Source
- The number 108 has great significance in Buddhism  and a number of Eastern beliefs.
- When Jin passes Sun's friend after asking if he can "see his wife", a statue of the Buddha is visible in the corridor outside the room. ("...In Translation")
- Locke tells Sun that he didn't find what he was looking for until he stopped looking. There's a Zen Buddhist koan that goes "To find something stop looking for it." ("...And Found")
- The Four Noble Truths. The central tenets of Buddhism are called "The 4 Noble Truths." The Four Nobel Truths can be best summarized as this: The first Truth is the reality of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, death is suffering, loss of what one wants is suffering, grief is suffering; attachment leads to suffering. The gist of this truth is that life involves suffering.The second Truth is that want, seeking immediate gratification, over-valuing sensory stimuli leads to the suffering stated in the first truth. The third Truth is that of relinquishing attachment, letting go in order avoid the trap in the first two truths. The fourth Truth expresses following a path that leads to a cessation of suffering by following the Eight Fold Path.
- The Eight Fold Path. Additionally, the following of the four noble truths involves walking the 8 fold path. The Noble Eight Fold Path is a response to the Four Nobel Truths. It consists of that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
- In the thousands of years since the time of Siddhārtha Gautama (the historical Buddha), there have been innumerable developments in Mahayana, Theravada, and Tantryana (esoteric) Buddhisms, in Sri Lanka, India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, making it difficult to determine central tenets over most of Buddhist history in most places where it exists or has existed.
- The slide show in Room 23 contained the phrases, "We are the causes of our own suffering," and, "THINK ABOUT YOUR LIFE". These may be references to the Buddhist Four Noble Truths. The video also contained a quote from the Buddhist text Dhammapada, "Plant a good seed and you will joyfully gather fruit," and it also contained an image of the Buddha. ("Not in Portland")
- While Ben is a prisoner in The Swan, his orange shirt gets torn, making it match the style of a buddhist monk's robe with the right shoulder exposed.
- In Through the Looking Glass as Jack drives to the funeral parlor he is listening to a song by Nirvana. Achievement of Nirvana is the ultimate goal of Buddhism.
- The test given by Richard Alpert to a young John Locke resembles the test given in Tibetan Buddhism to determine whether or not someone is a tulku or reincarnated holy man. ("Cabin Fever")
- "Dharma" and "Namaste" also have meanings in Hinduism.
- 108 is also a sacred number to Hindus.
- Colleen's funeral included dress and procedures reminiscent of Hindu customs.
- Richard Alpert is the birth name of Baba Ram Dass, Hindu/New Age guru.
- "Achara" is a Hindu concept synonymous with "Dharma".
- The Om is shown on a Thai boy's t-shirt. ("Stranger in a Strange Land")
- Cattle can be seen near the Flame. In Hinduism cattle are sacred. In the trailers for Season Four, a cow appears.
- Bernard talks to Jin about karma, a central concept of both hinduism and Buddhism.
The DHARMA Swan
symbol is a bagua, with the swan neck forming a yin-yang.
- The black and white theme is about duality, a central tenet of Taoism.
- The DHARMA logos feature symbols from the I Ching which is used as a divination method in Taoism.
- Tai Soo owns and believes in a "destiny book", which is a book of predictions and omens based on Taoist beliefs.
- Boone Carlyle wears a singlet featuring the number 84, which is a reference to Ying & Yang, a central tenet of Taoism.
- A yin-yang symbol appears in Juliet and Rachel's apartment. ("Not in Portland")
- The new logo for the Hanso Foundation looks like a stylized yin-yang symbol (The Lost Experience)
Locke's descent into the Well to the frozen wheel is similar to many stories about a hero's descent into the underworld such as Dante's in the Inferno, Innanna's in Sumerian mythology or any number of Greco-Roman heroes, including Christian as a spirit guide such as Virgil in the Inferno or the Sybyl in the Aeniad.
: A John William Waterhouse painting of the classical Greek myth, Pandora's box
, resembling the Hatch
- The Apollo candy bar. Apollo was the Greek god of the sun, archery, medicine and music.
- Apollo was the child of Zeus and Leto. Zeus saw Leto walking by a lake and transformed himself into a swan to seduce her. Hera, the wife of Zeus, found out Leto was pregnant and closed all lands to her. She found sanctuary on the newly formed floating island of Delos which because it wasn't really land was free from Hera's command. But Leto could not give birth because Hera would not let her daughter Ilithyia, goddess of childbirth go to Leto. No child could be born without her assistance. Hera was eventually tricked into letting her daughter to go Leto. Apollo and his twin sister Artemis were then born while the Island was surrounded by Swans.
- The Helios Foundation is a location in the book Bad Twin. Helios was one of the Titans, the gods that were overthrown and replaced by the Olympians. Specifically, he was the god of the sun, the precursor to Apollo.
- Linus, as in Ben was the name of three of Apollo's sons. The first son of Apollo named Linus was killed by his father during a contest. The second son of Apollo named Linus, was by the woman Psamathe, the daughter of the King of Argos. She feared her father and gave away the child Linus to be raised by shepherds. He was torn apart by dogs upon reaching adulthood. The third son of Apollo named Linus by the woman Terpsichore taught music to Orpheus and Heracles. This Linus was killed by Heracles with his own Lyre. [Source]
- The references to Apollo may be linked to the philosophical and literary concept of dichotomy known as the Apollonian and Dionysian. This concept is named from two contrasting Greek gods. Philosophers and writers who worked with the concept include Frederich Nietchzse, Ayn Rand, Plutarch, Robert Heinlein, Jim Morrison, Carl Jung and Stephen King. The essence of Apollonian/Dionysian thought is the tension between the principles of individualism versus wholeness,primal nature vs civilization, and darkness vs. light. The most famous utilization of the concept was Nietzsches' "The Birth of Tragedy."
Further Greek References
- Persephone is the name both οf a character in the Lost Experience and daughter of Zeus and Demetra, the goddess of agriculture, in the Greek mythology. Persephone was kidnapped by Pluto, the god of Hades. Demetra was very angry and did not allow any crops to grow. Zeus decided to create a compromise between the two gods by allowing Persephone to live six months by her husband Pluto and six months by her mother Demetra. It's a clear myth of the circle of seasons and life and death.
- The Hydra, like Cerberus, was a monster that Hercules battled in his 12 Labors, and was another offspring of Typhon and Echidna. The myth states that Hydra had nine heads but the Dharma logo has only six. Each time Hercules cut one head, another two appeared in its place. Hercules' nephew Iolaos then scorched Hydra's wounds to finally kill the Monster, but his help resulted in another two labors being added to Hercules' list.
- The Hydra also appears in a story of Apollo. Apollo's bird captured the Hydra and attempted to blame it for the bird's own mistakes.
- The statue could be a reference to classical Greek sculpture.
- The Staff symbol is a caduceus, and was the staff of Hermes (often confused with the Rod of Asclepius). While the staff later belong to Hermes, it originally belonged to Apollo.
- Kronos is a fictional company shown in an ad in the soccer game Desmond is watching on television in a bar. Kronos is a titan, father of Zeus. ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")
- The medusa spider is so named for the paralytic quality of it's poison. Medusa was one of three monsterous sisters, the Gorgons whose gaze turned people to stone.
- The animistic beliefs of the Etruscan ancestors of the Latins (who founded the Roman republic and empire) were predicated on the idea that all aspects of nature (including human acts) were controlled by spirits called "numina." These were thought for the most part to be insentient and limited in influence, guided instead by fate or destiny (order). It was not until the advent of Greek tradition that the pantheon of Roman gods were anthropomorphizing.
- Some events on the Island appear to happen spontaneously but at crucial moments:
- The Romans also engaged in ancestor or "genius" worship. They believed that once a person died, his or her spirit remained to protect and give strength to the family. Images of dead family members were made, kept, paid respect to, and passed down through generations as a way to connect to the gods and the mysteries of the universe.
- Families play an important role in Lost, with some appearances by deceased family members:
- Romans used augurs to read the flight of birds and determine whether a course of action already decided upon met with the approval of the gods. This was NOT a way to tell the future. Specific information of the methods used by augurs to produce auspices is limited, therefore making a reading of birds on Lost may not be possible.
- A large bird startles Jack, Locke, Kate, and Hurley in the Dark Territory shortly before the Monster attacks them. ("Exodus, Part 2")
- A similar bird startles Hurley, Sawyer, Jack, Michael, and Kate as they move through the jungle toward the Others' beach camp. ("Live Together, Die Alone")
- Claire sees a flock of seagulls and gets and idea to attach a message to one, in hopes that scientists studying the birds will find it. ("Par Avion")
- A flock of birds flies over Sayid, Locke, Kate, and Rousseau as they reach the barracks. ("Par Avion")
- The Wheel of Fortune is a Roman and Medieval symbol often represented in art and Western literature as eight-spoked. The goddess Fortuna, as fate, controlled the four stages of life and spun the wheel as she pleased. She was also known to favor the bold. The distinction between fate and free will is an important theme throughout the series.
- Locke going into the jungle to kill Jacob is a reference to The Golden Bough, a Roman myth whereby a priest-king that lives in a sacred spring is murdered by a disciple who becomes his successor. ("Follow the Leader")
- Gilgamesh (an answer in Locke's crossword puzzle) and Enkidu were heroes in the Sumerian epic, The Tale of Gilgamesh which many credit as the Mesopotamian equivalent of the Greek Heracles.
- Mikhail has lost an eye and has seemingly come back to life at least twice. The Norse god Odin gave his eye to drink from Mimir's Well of Wisdom to gain omniscience. Regarding his immortality, Odin hung from the World Tree, Yggdrasil for 9 days and nights, pierced by his own spear in order to find that very Well.
- Alvar Hanso's first name means elves, a magical creature in the norse mythology. There are elves in the other germanic mythologys too (including Anglo-Saxon), but seeing how Hanso is Danish it should be a refrence to the norse version.
- Hoth (Some Like It Hoth) is a version of the name Hod. Hod is a blind god in Norse religion, and the son of Odin. He was mislead by Loki, and tricked into killing his brother, Balder, with an arrow of misteltoe. This is how Hod introduced death into the world of the gods. The death of Balder was the first in a chain of event that eventualy leads to Ragnarok (end of the world) in Norse cosmologia.
- The philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a deist who claimed that the Christian doctrine of original sin was contrary to man's natural tendency toward good deeds.
- A cult is defined as a (usually relatively small or new) non-mainstream group of people who share the same belief system. They are not usually as established as organized religions.
- The Helios Foundation mentioned in Bad Twin was a cult.
In Chapter I of his book, Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud discusses a letter he received from his friend, the French novelist and mystic Romain Rolland. In this letter, Rolland describes what he calls the "Oceanic" feeling—a feeling of eternity, a deep and innate connection with all things, a "oneness" with the world. Rolland, a "man of faith," sees this oceanic feeling as being the primal source of all religion, but itself independent of any particular religion. Freud, an atheist and avowed "man of science," disagrees. While he admits that many people may experience this oceanic feeling, he locates its source not in some mystical feeling of connection, but in an infantile helplessness experienced when confronted with a hostile world and the subsequent longing for the protection and guidance of the father. For Freud, this oceanic feeling is "sustained by fear of the superior power of fate."