Chapter Twenty-Two
Is It Appropriate to Interpret Symbols Observed in Yellow Submarine?

Though Part One of this book should demonstrate that the enormous deadline pressure overshadowing the production of Yellow Submarine prohibited any inclination the Co-Creators may have had to insert hidden meanings and coded messages, there is still a strong argument to be made for the symbolism that appears in this film, whether it was unconsciously selected or not. Indeed, as with any great work of art, powerful symbolic imagery can often be identified that was not consciously implied by the artist, writer or composer. Throughout history great artists have testified to experiencing the creative force flowing through them, and being scarcely conscious of what they were creating until it was done. Yet, just like The Beatles before them, the Co-Creators of Yellow Submarine insist that they just wrote and drew what came into their heads. Except for writer Erich Segal who acknowledges that he was following a tried and true method of a classical mythological quest with the story, all the other Co-Creators deny any suggestion that they deliberately used symbols or metaphors to carry any subliminal messages within the film.

It is a subjective and perhaps unfair process to interpret another's work of art. And yet, interpret we did, as if we cannot help ourselves with anything Beatles-related. The public tends to examine the works of The Beatles so closely and with such repetition that they are frequently interpreted like Holy Scriptures.

It is a subjective and perhaps unfair process to interpret another's work of art. And yet, interpret we did, as if we cannot help ourselves with anything Beatles-related. The public tends to examine the works of The Beatles so closely and with such repetition that they are frequently interpreted like Holy Scriptures.
Take, for example, the entire industry that grew up about the myth that Paul McCartney had died and been replaced by a double -- the secret of which could be decoded by clues left on album covers and in various lyrics. In Chapter Twenty we discovered that "We all live in a Yellow Submarine" has become a symbolic phrase for environmentally minded groups, and in the 1960s the song "Yellow Submarine" was used as an anthem against the Vietnam War by the American peace movement.

An example of one of the rumors that was both furthest from the truth and yet hardest to squelch was that the Yellow Submarine was deliberately designed to resemble a pill capsule and therefore must be a reference to the hallucinogenic drugs that would "take you to Pepperland." Despite the vehement denials of its Co-Creators, even today, people assume Yellow Submarine was made by people hallucinating on drugs as an open invitation to the viewers to do the same. If you know how difficult animation artwork and design truly are, you would see how impossible it would be for stoned or tripping people to produce a feature film of this quality.

But it is a different sort of altered consciousness that we are concerned with in this chapter. We are going to look at the collective unconscious and the theory that any "great work of art has something that strikes a chord inside our collective being; something we understand on a visceral, ancestral level, without consciously acknowledging it. This theory can explain why certain works become instantly beloved classics; it's because they follow a certain pattern that resonates within our subconscious and we are inextricably drawn to them and inspired by them."
An example of one of the rumors that was both furthest from the truth and yet hardest to squelch was that the Yellow Submarine was deliberately designed to resemble a pill capsule and therefore must be a reference to the hallucinogenic drugs that would "take you to Pepperland." Despite the vehement denials of its Co-Creators, even today, people assume Yellow Submarine was made by people hallucinating on drugs as an open invitation to the viewers to do the same. If you know how difficult animation artwork and design truly are, you would see how impossible it would be for stoned or tripping people to produce a feature film of this quality.

But it is a different sort of altered consciousness that we are concerned with in this chapter. We are going to look at the collective unconscious and the theory that any "great work of art has something that strikes a chord inside our collective being; something we understand on a visceral, ancestral level, without consciously acknowledging it. This theory can explain why certain works become instantly beloved classics; it's because they follow a certain pattern that resonates within our subconscious and we are inextricably drawn to them and inspired by them."


The Beatles may have objected to having their lyrics and album cover designs "translated" to meanings entirely foreign to them, but they also were known to do it themselves on occasion. In the Beatles Anthology video, John Lennon is quoted as saying that the name for the group "The Beatles" came to him in a vision of a man on a flaming pie. The man said to him "You are the Beatles with an A".. This quote is considered to have been made in jest, however, and in other official sources, John Lennon has said he used the A to suggest a link to the Beatniks, while Paul McCartney has said he always appreciated the reference to the "beat" of rock and roll music. Sir Paul followed up this inside joke by calling his next solo album "Flaming Pie" in May of 1997. We asked the late Derek Taylor, Press Officer for The Beatles and for Apple Corps, for his interpretation of Yellow Submarine. Even Derek Taylor, who knew these four individual personalities so well, had to refer to "The Beatles" as a concept when he described Yellow Submarine and what made it great.

Derek Taylor: There was this zeitgeist which they represented, which was extremely warmly disposed to the human race and to the mode of goodness. And the central song is "All You Need Is Love". The overall message of the title song is that "We all live in a Yellow Submarine", and all our friends are all aboard, there's no limit to the number of friends we can have aboard. It's really like a kind of eternal ark. A Yellow Submarine is a symbol for some kind of vessel which would take us all to safety. The message that good can prevail over evil is quite an old one.


Almost six months after the film's debut in London, The Beatles released the soundtrack album "The Beatles Yellow Submarine" on January 13, 1969 in the USA and January 17 in the U.K. The liner notes on the Capitol Records release of Yellow Submarine are credited to Dan Davis, who capitalized on the mythological undertones of the film's screenplay by humorously tracing the Pepperland story back to one of the earliest examples of English literature, Beowulf:

Somewhere during the hours between the years 700 and 750 (anno Domini), a brother from the Northumbrian monastery wrote of a youthful thane of King Hygelac (King of the Geats) named Beowulf ... a hero. A super-hero who arrived from far by sea to rescue Heorot ... a feasting hall built by a benevolent old king called Hrothgar ... a feasting hall that exuded the pleasures of food and music and perpetual celebration and all that was raison d'être... a feasting hall which for years had been ravaged by the villainy of an evil spirit named Grendel. Having already proven his metal as a good-guy combatant par excellence (by the conquering of a picturesque sea monster and a victory over Breca in a swimming match), Beowulf goes forth to rid the once beautiful Northumbrian landscape of destructive Grendel ... a demon who indeed perishes when his arm is delicately dislodged from its socket by Mr. Wulf. The kingdom is saved (albeit after disposing of Grendel's mother who took unkindly to the action) and Heorot restored with the pleasures of food and music and perpetual celebration and colorful beauty ... a restoration which permits bigger and better glorias to be raised to the local gods addressed as Wyrds.

Some 465 years later (1215), an English king named King John signed a Magna Carta at a roost called Runnymede ... an act of prodded royalty which liberated barons and bumpkins to roust with a greater degree of carefreedom.

Some 561 years later than that (1776), a Virginia gent named Jefferson quilled a Declaration of Independence in, of all places, Philadelphia and shipped it to a king called King George which hypothetically rid a small group of new-world colonies from crimson-frocked enforcers from a faraway land ... taxations without representations vanished and the colonies flourished freely under a hero named after the colonies' capital, Washington. (Ruffled feathers on both sides of the sea have since been plucked.)

And in 1968 -- some 1,218 years anno Beo (A.B.); 753 years anno Magna (A.M.); 192 years anno Declaration (A.D.) -- bad people (Blue Meanies) still force their wills on good people (Pepperlanders) and demolish the human and physical landscape of beautiful pleasure domes (Pepperland). And Agnes -- the inquisitive baby sitter next door in California, United States of America -- will be pleased to know that there are still heroes around of the calibres of Messrs. Wulf, John, and Jefferson ... there's John, Paul, George and Ringo and their attending Lonely Hearts Club Band who sail from one place (Liverpool) at the invitation of a benevolent but old leader of another place (the Lord Mayor of Pepperland) to rescue the pleasures of food and music and perpetual celebrations and colorful beauty from the villainous hand of less-than-beautiful people (Blue Meanies) who act under the supreme guidance of the most evil spirit (Chief Blue Meanie). The Beatles come by sea (through the Seas of Monster, Time, Music, Science, Consumer Products, Nowhere, Green, Phrenology and Holes) -- each puddle supporting a lively cast of characters in a YELLOW SUBMARINE captained by Old Fred (also leader of Sgt. PLHCB) where they prove their heroic metal by outwitting a sea monster (Vacuum Man) and outswimming competition (School of Whales) even before they reach the shores of the besieged undersea kingdom of Pepperland. Once arrived at target P., they triumph over the Chief Blue Meanie's primary evil-tempered henchmen (par exemple: the Lanky Apple Bonker who assaults his prey with Baldwin apples; the corpulent Hidden Persuader with a penchant for underhanded unscrupulence; the abdominal Snapping Turtle Turk who chomps at the slightest bit; the Belligerent Butterfly Stompers who perform the tasks that any evil butterfly stompers worth their soul would perform with supreme acuity). The good guys win... the hero-Beatles triumph once again and restore the pleasures of color and music and all that's beautiful ... a restoration which permits bigger and better glorias to be sung to the reigning god of Pepperland addressed as Love.


Humanistic psychology suggests that symbols do not originate in the intellect, but rather in the irrational depths of the psyche. Dr. Rollo May concluded that "the psychological problems in our day are related to the disintegration and loss of symbols and myths around which man finds meaning in his life.... The myths of society are what give a person the ability to handle anxiety and to face death and to deal with guilt. Myths are man's means of communicating meaningfully on the ultimate problems of life, loneliness, guilt, death, and alienation." To Dr. May, the original meaning of symbols was "drawing together".. Legendary analytic psychologist Dr. Carl Jung believed symbols were carriers of psychic energy and that they supplied the psychological and organizational foundations for social life. Joseph Campbell believed that living mythological symbols awaken and give guidance to humanity. Dr. June Singer cited the power of symbols to lead the individual on the way to becoming what he or she is capable of becoming.

Symbols play a central role in the integration of the personality. They direct us to the center of our being and heal and mend our alienation from life, according to Campbell. Psychologists and philosophers have long been warning us that without meaningful myths or symbols, a world-wide cultural instability is developing which leads to increasing anxiety and mental, emotional and spiritual disintegration. This explains why stories like Yellow Submarine, the Star Wars trilogy, and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings are immediately embraced. They fill a great void in our collective longing for meaningful symbols and myths. Since in the case of Yellow Submarine, the mythological correspondence was far from deliberate, one could argue that the symbolical interpretations presented in this chapter are simply coincidental. Whether accidental, coincidental or miraculous, the sensory overload of images and color provided by the film's designers is rife with opportunity to interpret second, third and even fourth levels of meaning. It is the author's contention that a force greater than those who co-created the Yellow Submarine, greater even than The Beatles, was at work on this project, in order to create a new archetypal vehicle for the message that good and music and love can vanquish all evil, without the use of violence.


The character of John Lennon in Yellow Submarine remarks that their voyage was reminiscent of the mythical voyages of Ulysses. The American promoter of the film capitalized on this comparison as well, in a seven and a half minute promotional film called "The Mod Odyssey", which according to Al Brodax, was screened in U.S. theaters before the American release in November 1968. The narration for the Mod Odyssey deliberately links Yellow Submarine to the classics and innovators in both literary and artistic traditions.

The Mod Odyssey: Most motion pictures begin as stories. Yellow Submarine was inspired by a song -- a mod odyssey of a man who sailed away to live beneath the sea. From Homer to Tolkien, authors have been fascinated with the literary possibilities of impossible voyages and journeys to lands of fantasy. The most lasting work of Dante, Swift, Wells, and a handful of others have been based on odyssey situations. In selecting "Yellow Submarine" for The Beatles first full length animated film, King Features, producers of the movie, were standing on firm literary ground.

Adding greatly to the popularity of the odysseys conceived by Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, Jules Verne, and some of the others, have been the marvelous illustrations which have become nearly inseparable from the text, perfectly reflecting the authors and their time.
In animation, of course, the illustrations are even more important than the words. In bringing The Beatles' mod, op-art world to the screen, the producers used every means at their command and invented many new animation techniques. The British magazine Punch observed that the Lennon/McCartney songs used in the film seemed to have been conceived and brought forth in the pure, simple spirit of mystical innocence like the paintings of Chagall. And like Chagall's works, the film tries to include everything in the world to make up its own cosmos. The animation style ranges from storybook simplicity to pop art and psychedelic shimmer.

The film, of course, is not all eye-popping visual effects. As in other odysseys there is an assortment of odd and outrageous creatures, most of them, if not all, inventions of satire. Says supervising director George Dunning, "Satire has become part of our daily diet. We can include things in a cartoon today that wouldn't have even been put in a live comedy years ago." There are the "Blue Meanies", a screeching spoof of badges everywhere. And there is the "Boob", a put-on of pseudo-intellectuals. There's a Lord Mayor, a caricature of the older generation, and a gaggle of grotesqueries that will keep audiences guessing their inspiration for years to come.

From a script described as a sort of open-end Rorschach filled with Joycean puns ("Are you bluish? You don't look bluish."); in a new style of animation described by its director and designer as "Miles from the average concept of cartoon characters with large heads and little legs" (Dunning) and "Picaso-ish in its use of space as line to achieve movement." (Edelmann); and with the mind-bending sounds of The Beatles, Yellow Submarine breaks new ground in the art of animation. Just as Swift and Carroll changed the history of literature, as Chagall and Picasso brought new life to art, The Beatles are revitalizing the art of animation. It's a truly mod world where medium and messages meld. The new art of the psychedelic 60s.

As noted above, the designers of the album cover of the Capitol Records release of "The Beatles Yellow Submarine" decided upon a tongue in cheek comparison of the storyline to Beowulf, a heroic poem thought to be the highest achievement of Old English literature. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Beowolf was composed between 700 and 750 A.D., but did not appear in print until 1815. Originally untitled, it is named after the Scandinavian hero Beowulf, whose exploits and character provide its connecting theme. Although there is no evidence of a historic Beowulf, other characters, sites, and events in the poem are historically verified.

In Denmark, King Hrothgar's Mead, Heorot, has been attacked over a period of 12 years by nocturnal visits of an evil monster Grendel, who devours and carries off Hrothgar's warriors. Young Beowulf, Prince of the Geats of Southern Sweden, arrives with some of his warriors and offers to eliminate the monster. After an evening of feasting, the King retires, leaving Beowulf in charge. Grendel attacks during the night and eats one of Beowulf's warriors. Beowulf comes to the rescue and mortally wounds Grendel by tearing off his arm. The next night, Grendel's mother seeks revenge and kills one of Hrothgar's men. Beowulf retaliates the next morning, killing her. After rejoicing at Heorot, and receiving princely gifts from Hrothgar, Beowulf returns home to King Hygelac of the Geats.

In the second part, King Hygelac dies in battle (true to historical record), and after the King's son dies, Beowulf ascends the throne. His reign lasts for 50 peaceful years until a fire-breathing dragon ravages his land. An aging Beowulf eventually kills the dragon, but he is mortally wounded in the fight, and the poem ends with his funeral rites and a lament.

The three battles of Beowulf are against evil monsters and enemies of the whole community. Beowulf was considered a champion of goodness and light vs. the forces of evil and darkness. The obvious parallel to the characters of The Beatles in Yellow Submarine vs. the Blue Meanies and their goal to make the whole world blue was inspiration for the liner notes of the LP.

Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is another modern example of a story that was instantly described as a classic because it follows the same Hero's Journey pattern as Yellow Submarine. Using an underdog hero (Frodo) whose main strength is his compassion, a foe is vanquished against seemingly insurmountable odds. There is also a similarity in fables like The Snow Queen, and the work of Tolkien's friend, C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia, where the good creatures are not killed, but turned into stone or ice by the villains. The Pepperlanders are also not killed, but turned into flat grey cut-outs. J.R.R. Tolkien was an authority on early English literature, and in an argument that echoes Lennon's cry of "stop interpreting me like the Holy Scriptures!" he poked fun at the critics of Beowulf for missing the point by looking too deeply for hidden meanings. He was concerned critics had become so involved with the poem's meaning that they had lost sight of the work itself. Tolkien was also outspoken in his criticism of those who read allegories and hidden meanings in his own works, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, but privately he did recognize that many parallels to other myths indeed existed. "He chided those critics who had become so muddled in scholarship that they did everything but read what the works they were writing about said," wrote Daniel Grotta in his Biography of J.R.R. Tolkien.

In 1936, Professor Tolkien spoke directly to this problem in his lecture presentation of "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" to the annual Israel Gollanez lecture at the British Academy, a lecture still considered to be the finest exposition on Anglo-Saxon literature in the century.

"In brilliant, witty, and poetic language... he began by gently poking fun at one of his predecessors as Rawlinson Professor, Dr. John Bosworth. Tolkien proceeded from the critics to the monsters. "It is the strength of the northern mythological imagination that... put the monsters in the center, gave them victory but no honor, and found a potent but terrible solution in naked will and courage..."

In keeping with the Beowulf tradition, both Tolkien and Edelmann used monsters to challenge their heroes. According to Lee Minoff, the author of the original Yellow Submarine story, however, it was Paul McCartney who first insisted the film Yellow Submarine should include a threatening monster. "Monsters are good," Minoff recalls hearing McCartney say.

If nothing else, however, the one thing all the Co-Creators can agree upon, is that there was no deliberate or conscious effort to make a film with classical, mythological or symbolic meanings of any kind. And remembering the "Paul is Dead" rumor mill, one must be careful to avoid over-interpretation of symbols that the Co-Creators did not intentionally include.

Heinz Edelmann: It was a communal effort, done under pressure, so nobody had the time to really control one's input. Submarine is the ultimate piece of white noise. There's so many things that went into it uncontrolled, that everybody really can build his own levels of meaning out of that. It became a sort of reservoir of the collective unconscious at the point of the flower revolution.

Al Brodax: All I wanted to do was a love story; and good/evil, you know, the basics, with The Beatles music.

Erich Segal: [Conscious allegorical or mythological theme?] Absolutely not. But all great stories are mythological quests like that.

Heinz Edelmann: I knew that part of my subconscious would go into these things, but I chose to disregard that. I simply did not want to know what's happening. I mean, otherwise, I couldn't have done the work. I simply chose not to know what subconscious influences and things went into the work.

Alan Ball: There was one very nice coincidence, in fact. It always amazed me. When the Apple Bonkers first appear and start dropping apples on all the people and then you mix through to the main title which said Apple Films Presents.... And when I went to the first screening we'd never seen that before because Apple, as a company, was only formed half-way through the film. So, everybody burst out laughing thinking these apples dropping on everybody was part of this Apple Films Presents. That took us all by surprise. It was pure coincidence. The two pieces of film hadn't come together until the final showing.

Jack Stokes: No, I think it's fairly obvious what we were after. I don't think there's any different [meanings]. There are one or two little types, I suppose you might say, in there, but basically it was just, "Good Wins In The End",, if you like. It's kind of an adventure story. I mean, the first part was basically a travelogue, and the second part was an adventure story. If you would like to think about Lord of the Rings, or something of this sort, it's really, basically, the same thing.

Sir George Martin: I think [Yellow Submarine does have meaning for today's generation]. I think that one of the nice things about the Yellow Submarine movie is that it seems to be perennial. People enjoy watching from each generation. In a way, it is like The Beatles themselves. You know, The Beatles seem to find a new audience each time another generation comes along. I think Yellow Submarine fits into that category. It's kind of timeless because it is good and evil, and I'm great believer in good, and I'm a great believer in hope for all people, that goodness will prevail. I think that's a story that Yellow Submarine conveys to young people.

Bob Balser: Many times it's very interesting when somebody does something, and they have somebody else look at it, and freely see or analyze it. I know that a lot of little kids look at Yellow Submarine and just love it. It works on so many levels, I mean, just what you're talking about, in terms of the mythology and in terms of it somehow seemed to have evolved into what it is. It probably was because it was a synergy between all of these creative people coming together. It's something I never really thought about until this moment when you were mentioning it to me.

John Coates: We knew we wanted to say something about The Sixties and that whole scene. There was a certain consciousness of doing that.


The turbulent 60s were revolutionary for status quo symbols. The convention and conformity of the 1950s was being challenged by the emerging philosophy of "All You Need is Love." The film, The Beatles Yellow Submarine, concretized this theme and the essence of "the Sixties" in an appealing visual format. Whether the creators of the songs and the film were aware that they were reflecting the mass consciousness of the times matters little in the perspective of humanistic and transpersonal psychology. It appears that the Co-Creators of Yellow Submarine were driven by the level of excellence they admired in The Beatles, and the love they felt for the group was expressed through their film. The result neatly fits the pattern established by others inspired to create a classic; a pattern of a mythology repeated through the ages in innumerable forms.

The co-creation of the Yellow Submarine coincided with a rebirth in culture of the symbols of love, peace and musical freedom. This movie reflects the period of its creation, coincidental or not. In a time when our society was in great need of meaningful and positive symbols, this vibrant 87-90 minutes of color and music offered a collective springboard to a life with more meaning. For all but the most jaded spirits, watching Yellow Submarine never fails to lift sagging spirits, after watching it once or a hundred times. The reasons it rings so true may be contained in some of the symbolic analysis provided here.


Once again, note that the following symbolic analysis is entirely that of the author, Robert R. Hieronimus, and to the best of his knowledge, none of these possible interpretations were considered by the artists or writers while they were in the process of creating the film, Yellow Submarine.

The very title of the film can be seen to represent the act of creation, or creativity. Throughout history Yellow has been used to symbolize the sun, fire, spirit or mental activity. It represents an active, outer-directed, centrifugal force, or masculine energy, expansion. Submarine could be considered a symbol for matter or the body. It is necessarily linked to the symbol of water, which throughout history has been considered representational of lunar or feminine energy. It is a passive, intuitive, centripetal force. The submarine is also something that dwells within, hidden and internal rather than external and obvious. By combining the two words "Yellow" and "Submarine", one can see a pairing of opposites or a balance between spirit and body, sun and moon, or a uniting of male and female, which is an obvious symbol for the act of creation that produces a unity or oneness.


There is an ancient Egyptian beetle-headed god, named Khepera, who represented the rising or morning sun. To the Egyptians, the beetle or scarab was an all important symbol of profound meaning. Khepera was among the original creation gods in Egyptian mythology, and like the rising sun with which he is identified, he was said to be self-created, born of his own substance. The scarab was held as a symbol of resurrection and fertility as beetles were believed to be the incarnation of Khepera. Beetle amulets were worn to attract the power of this god and secure his protection.

Khepera is also shown as the "generator" god with a beetle-head seated in the phantom or "spirit" boat, like the "Sunboat of Ra", the Egyptian Sun God. Many other deities also had their "spirit" boats. Note the parallel between The Beatles afloat in a "Yellow Submarine" and the creator god Khepera with a beetle-head seated in a "spirit" or Sun boat.

There is no reason to believe that whoever came up with the name "The Beatles" was consciously intending to link their name with the Egyptian god of rebirth, but conscious or not, they chose a name which reflected what they were to accomplish -- the act of creation. Later in life, John Lennon is reported to have become interested in world mythologies and especially in Egyptian magic. He may have begun to realize that symbols carry psychic energy even when they have not been consciously selected. Some might say synchronicity (meaningful coincidences) played a role in the naming of the most revered rock and roll group in history. Like attracts like.

The storyline of Yellow Submarine lends itself easily to a comparison of what Joseph Campbell referred to as the "Monomyth" or the Hero's Journey. There are three stages to the Monomyth that are used to describe the evolution of the hero: separation, initiation and return.During separation, Campbell explains that the individual rejects the social order and retreats inward or regresses. He reassesses his beliefs and moves toward the center of his being. The second stage of initiation marks a clarification of his difficulties and an encounter with dark and terrifying forces. The candidate is victorious over them and feels fulfilled, harmonized, and whole. In the third stage of return, the hero is reborn into the physical world and applies the knowledge he has gained to the world he lives in. He rejects his self-serving and self-centering tendencies and shares his "treasure", or new awareness, with the rest of society. The hero has become self-actualized, and he dedicates himself to a task outside of himself, serving society.

Separation: The Yellow Submarine with Fred aboard leaves Pepperland (from a pyramid-like launchpad) in search of help. They travel to Liverpool, which can be translated as "the pool of life", where they are joined by four more heroes and they embark for Pepperland, completing the separation stage.

Initiation: The now five heroes must pass through the seas of illusion, symbolizing the selfish desire worlds of sensations, passions, instincts and the beast within. In Nowhere Land they encounter the Boob who fixes the engine and joins the team, bringing the number of heroes up to six, suggesting a reference to humanities sixth sense. It is the balance of energies and its six member crew that allow the Yellow Submarine to travel safely through the seas of illusion and escape from the vengeance of the Blue Meanies.

Return: The Sub returns and brings music and love back to Pepperland, where the heroes transform their enemies into friends. They share their new awareness with the rest of society by combining music with the words: "All you need is love.

Ageless wisdom teachings and creation mythologies from all around the world describe how life was formed in the universe through a cosmic sea. The Yellow Submarine can be seen as a vehicle that travels through the ethers of these waters. It achieves its goal by one person going out in the Sub into the world of matter, leaving the beleaguered paradise, the utopia of Pepperland, and going into the physical world, obtaining help (The Beatles and The Boob), then returning to share the wisdom gained by the experience that "all you need is love" and music. While not the conscious intention of its Co-Creators or Lennon and McCartney, it could be why this film appeals so strongly to so many of us.

Pretty heady stuff -- even for The Beatles -- but the entire film can be enjoyed in this symbolic light, as an odyssey, a long series of wanderings from Pepperland to Liverpool and back to Pepperland through the Seas of Illusion, and ending with the successful transformation of the Blue Meanies through music and love. The dark forces (Blue Meanies) are not defeated by the light (love and music); they are transformed by exposure to the light. We can apply this teaching to our own lives by realizing that we must face adversity as one people and transform the illusion of separateness into unity with love. Yellow Submarine is, after all, a story about all of us in our individual and collective lives.

Mythology/Consciousness Bibliography and Suggested Reading

Budge, E.A. Wallis. (1969). The Gods of The Egyptians: Studies in Egyptian Mythology, vol. 1.
New York: Dover Publications.

Campbell, Joseph. (1968). The Masks of God: Creative Mythology.
New York: The Viking Press.

Cirlot, J.E. (1962). A Dictionary of Symbols.
New York: Philosophical Library.

Gaskell, G.A. (1969). Dictionary of All Scriptures and Myths.
New York: The Julian Press.

Grotta, Daniel. (1992). The Biography of J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth.
Philadelphia: Running Press.

Hieronimus, Robert. (1981). An Historical Analysis of the Reverse of the American Great Seal and
Its Relationship to the Ideology of Humanistic Psychology.
Unpublished doctoral thesis, Saybrook Institute.

Jung, Carl G. (1964). Man and His Symbols.
New York: Doubleday & Co.

Maslow, Abraham H. (1978). The Further Reaches of Human Nature.
New York: Penguin Books.

May, Rollo. (1991). The Cry for Myth.
New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

Mini, John. (2000). The Aztec Virgin: The Secret Mystical Tradition of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Transhyperborean Institute.

British Airway's High Life, September 1999, pages 84-87.

"The Mod Odyssey" is included as one of the bonus tracks on MGM Home Entertainment's DVD release of 1999.

Daniel Grotta, The Biography of J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth,
Running Press, Philadelphia, pp. 87-88.

Depending on which version you are watching.

For further reading on symbolism, see The Dictionary of Symbols, by J.E. Cirlot.

The Co-Creation Of The Beatles Yellow Submarine
by Robert R. Hieronimus, ©2001,
pg. PAGE 1

Hieronimus & Co., Inc., P.O. Box 648, Owings Mills, MD 21117 USA
Voice Mail: (410) 356-4852 Fax: (410) 356-6229