On this page, we want to look at the many theological references in Realms of the Haunting, whose in-game lore appears to have been strongly influenced by accounts, concepts and symbols of Jewish mysticism, Christianity and Occultism.
In Biblical references, "Abaddon" is referred to as a "place of destruction" or the realm of the dead, and associated with Sheol. In the Book of Revelation, Abaddon is personified as "angel of the abyss" or "angel of the bottomless pit", respectively rendered in Greek as Apollyon.
Adam Randall is the main protagonist in Realms of the Haunting and his name is certainly charged with a certain theological weight. According to the Book of Genesis, Adam was the first man created by God and noted in subsequent Jewish, Christian and Islamic commentary.
Angels are a recurring motif in Realms of the Haunting, which has been largely incorporated in the design of the gaming environment, in the form of tapestries, murals, mosaics, but also in the shape of certain in-game characters such as Aelf and Raphael.
Archangels are found in a number of religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism. The only archangel ever clearly named as being of the order in the Bible is Michael. Gabriel, named in Luke, is considered to be an archangel, as are Raphael (mentioned in the Book of Tobit) and Uriel (mentioned in the Book of Enoch).
In some Christian and Jewish apocrypha, he is identified as a demon associated with the wicked or worthless.
During our encounters with Belial, he appears to have a penchant for embellishing his speech with quotations from works of liturgy and literature:
Concerning Adam's Father, Belial states that
His cup certainly runneth over
an expression which stems from the King James translation of Psalm 23:5, meaning to be blessed with an overwhelming quantity of good things.
During their climactic fight on the Island of Threads, if Adam directly storms at his adversary and not hide behind the rock, Belial will stab him with Eternity, stating that
There is no armour against fate; Death lays his icy hands on kings.
Realms of the Haunting makes reference to several figures of Christian and occult demonology.
The word Elohim (Biblical Hebrew אֱלֹהִים "gods" or "Deity") can be found over 2,500 times within scriptures and "seems best to convey the idea of people in spirit who have an influence upon our lives." The elohim as people in spirit watching over humanity and interacting with us like gods, is an idea supported by the New Testament passage found in Hebrews 12:1: "...we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses..."
Florentine's Journal also contains two references to the Elohim. Nota bene that the first literal reference of Elohim can only be found in the German copy of Realms of the Haunting: Entry of January 13th 1420
Der Pakt bleibt dennoch bestehen. Die Hand des Elohim-Engels ist noch da.
In the second entry, the English original speaks of the "Watchers", the legendary race of Elohim, which has been rendered as "Elohim-Engel" in the German translation. The Watchers somewhat resonate with the above-mentioned notion of Elohim angels being people in spirit who watch over humanity. Entry of August 29 1912
Trotz unserer Bemühungen, weigert sich die Kreatur, die wir in der Kammer des Seelensteins gefangen haben, zu reden. Raysiel ist nun verantwortlich für den magischen Schlüssel. Belial glaubt, daß er einer der legendären Elohim-Engel ist, aber ich bin da nicht so sicher.
Realms of the Haunting contains various references to Jewish mysticism which is more commonly known as Kabbalah (or Qabalah, respectively).
According to Kabbalah, the universe is conceived as being composed of ten fundamental spheres of existence, and the 22 shining paths which connect them. Together they make up what is called the Tree of Life. It is also taught that there are four realms or levels of existence. As with the Tree of Life the four worlds emanate from one another in a series, from the highest and most divine to the lowest material level. The four worlds describe different regions of the Tree of Life, with a number of spheres, or Sephira, being attributed to each world. Each world is also associated with various archangels, demons, heavens and hells.
The four worlds are:
- Atziluth: The highest of the four worlds Atziluth is known as the realm of causes. This is a world of pure spirit, unadulterated divine light. It is entirely active and giving and thus is sometimes considered to be symbolically masculine. The three highest spheres, sometimes known as the trinity - Kether, Chokmah and Binah belong to this realm. The various Divine Names of Qabalah are also associated with this world.
- Briah: The second highest of the four worlds Briah is known as the realm of Ideas. This is a world of pure intellect, but this should not be considered to relate to logic and rational problem solving and such like. Briah is abstract Intellect, the realm of Platos Ideas, the divine archetypes from which all things are created; in Briah is the Idea of the world, before it is actually created. Briah is composed of the three spheres directly below the abyss: Chesed, Geburah and Tipareth. The Archangels of Qabalah are associated with this realm, and may be thought of as residing within it just as we reside within the material world.
- Yetzirah: The second lowest of the four worlds, Yetzirah is known as the realm of formation, or the formative world. This is the realm of the Astral, of the collective unconscious and the Anima Mundi (world Soul) and such like. It is the realm where specific forms are created. Yetzirah is composed of the three spheres directly below the viel of Parekh: Netzache, Hod and Yesod. The Angels of Qabalah reside within this world.
- Assiah: The lowest of the four worlds, Assiah is known as the realm of effects. It is the world of the body and the senses, and of all objects and matter. Only one sphere belongs to this realm and that is Malkuth.
Raquia is the one of the four realms that we visit.
According to Jewish mysticism, Heaven is subdivided into seven Realms, Raquia being the second realm or Heaven, respectively. Its guardians are two archangels, Zachariel and Raphael, and it is considered the realm where the fallen angels are imprisoned and to which the planets fastened.
It is evident from the paintings and coats of arms found in the mansion that Florentine used to be a member of the Order of the Temple, one of the most famous and powerful Christian military orders which was active in the years 1119–1314.
In the Mansion's Armoury, one of the paintings depicts Florentine dressed in armor and a white surcoat with a red cross, which recalls the common attire of the Knights Templar. Additionally, the order is mentioned in Florentine's Journal, specifically the Entry of January 13, 1420.
Florentine: The threat from our old Templar Order there does not bother me so much now that its existence is speculative.
The game is filled with numerous references to Lucifer, an originally Latin term which has come to be associated with the Devil.
In the Florentine's ancient Observatory, this aspect has been subtly implemented in the shape of the planet Venus, which has been given the cognomen Morning Star. Rebecca says that Venus marks Lucifer in the sky. The word Lucifer stems from the Latin Vulgate, meaning "light-bringing", and has been used to refer to Venus as the Morning Star. Later Christian tradition has adopted this term as a proper name for the Devil before his fall.
In the Temple of the Morning Star, behind the altar in the far back of the main chamber, there's an imposing tapestry depicting a red-robed and chained Lucifer, probably as a symbol of veneration, as Florentine's Templar order has been established with the sole intent of plunging the world into darkness.
Adam: Fallen angels. Sounds dubious. As a child I remember Dad telling me the story of Lucifer being cast out of heaven. Theologically speaking, I always felt Lucifer was misunderstood.
Mark of the BeastEdit
In the Mausoleum, we come across various citations from religious sources:
Into one of the wooden doors is carved a passage from the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (King James translation):
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness [...]
Examing the ominous Bone Throne, we find that there are two pieces of agitated religious writing scrawled on either side of the stately seat, apparently citing certain passages from Hosea 4:6 and Leviticus 26:22 (King James translation):
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge"
I will also send wild beasts amongst [sic] you"
One type of enemy that we encounter in the Tower are name-checked in their corresponding texture file as NEPHILIM.:fields of...ha ha!.BMP. According to the Book of Genesis, the Nephilim are giant-like entities, their name originating from the Hebrew נְפִילִים (nephilim) "Giant":
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
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.
From a scientific point of view, the red colour of the moon is attributed to a lunar eclipse when Earth intercedes between its satellite and the Sun, interrupting its immediate exposition to sunlight. Some of the light rays coming from the sun, however, are being refracted by particles in the Earth's atmosphere. They get redirected behind the Earth and onto the Moon, hence it's still visible in a copper sort of red. The more atmosphere that sunlight travels through, the more the blue and green parts of the spectrum are scattered (cf. sunrises and sunsets).
While travelling through the Tower, we can occasionally hear a disembodied voice that says
And the moon shall turn as blood and the Sun as sackcloth, in the last days.
A word of Latin origin (from serpens, serpentis "something that creeps, snake"), it signifies a snake that is to be regarded not as a mundane natural phenomenon nor as an object of scientific zoology, but as the bearer of some symbolic value.
In Christian context, it commonly stands for a deadly, subtle, malicious enemy. A prominent example of this includes Eve's seduction by a serpent to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, an act explicitly forbidden by God. The serpent tempted Eve by suggesting that eating the fruit would cause her to become as wise as God, having knowledge of good and evil. Eve ate the fruit, in rebellion against God's command and later so did her husband, Adam, despite God's warning that "in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die". The serpent is also occasionally used as a synonym for the Devil.
In Realms of the Haunting, the seven Shards and Seals are attributed to the Soulstone and serve to bind the Universe together. Florentine's main objective is to break all of the seals so he can plunge the world into Darkness.
A concept of Christian eschatology, stemming from the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible, where a book with seven seals is described in Revelation 5:1. The seven seals are opened by the Lamb (presumably Jesus), one by one. Each opening of a seal is followed by some event or series of events.
In the Old Testament, Sheol is a term for the realm of the dead. In the New Testament, it is usually translated as hades, a term normally associated with the underworld in Greek mythology.
Sketch of EternityEdit
The Sketch of Eternity is a piece of parchment that can be found in the study of Florentine's ancient cottage. It contains an illustration of the sword Eternity, though the pummel has been smudged with ink, apparently concealing the Shrive which is part of the sword.
Additionally, the parchment is filled with various astronomical drawings. In the upper left corner, we spot the word "Machon," which, according to Jewish Mysticism, is the name of the fifth level of Heaven.
Tishtrya is the entity that, upon completing the Ritual of Eternity in Arqua, rewards us with Sword of the Dragon. The creature is identified by Rebecca during her discussion with Adam, as the Zoroastrian deity associated with all forms of water:
Adam: Who do you think that spirit was who procured Eternity?
Take the four elements to the Ring of Eight and place them correctly. They will conjure the presence of the Hafaza.
Tree of LifeEdit
By locating a floral key and using it on a door fashioned into the likeness of an ancient tree in the basement of Charles Randall's vicarage, Adam and Rebecca reach a shifting image of the Tree of Life. Later on, as Adam enters the white Elohim Tower on the Island of Threads, he will find the real manifestation of the tree.
In the Book of Genesis, it is a tree planted by God in midst of the Garden of Eden (Paradise), whose fruit gives everlasting life, i.e. immortality. Together with the Tree of Life, God planted the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. After eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the biblical account states that Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden to prevent them from eating of the Tree of Life.
Here we shall aggregate all of the in-game lines, either implemented in the speech of characters or as visual text on doors and walls, which sprung from religious sources.
In reference to Adam's Father, Belial says that
His cup certainly runneth over
hereby quoting from the King James translation of Psalm 23:5, an expression which means to be blessed with an overwhelming quantity of good things:
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
And the moon shall turn as blood and the Sun as sackcloth, in the last days.
This line is said by one of the disembodied voices that we occasionally hear on our travels through the Tower, hereby quoting a passage from the Book of Revelation 6:12.
- ↑ Proverbs 15:11
- ↑ Proverbs 27:20
- ↑ Revelation 9:11
- ↑ Book of Genesis 2
- ↑ Book of Revelation 12:7
- ↑ Jude 1:9
- ↑ Luke 1:26
- ↑ Tobit 12:15
- ↑ Tobit 6:2-8
- ↑ King James Bible: Psalm 23,5.
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over."
- ↑ James Shirley: Death the Leveller.
"There is no armour against fate; Death lays his hands even on kings."
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Johann Weyer, Pseudomonarchia Daemonum (Liber officiorum spirituum)
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 The Lesser Key of Solomon: Ars Goetia
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Johannes Trithemius, Steganographia
- ↑ Biblical Origin of the word Elohim
- ↑ Texture: "ELTOW2.extl wall of elohim tower.bmp" & "ELOHIM2.floor of etower.bmp"
- ↑ Dean Scott Walsh, The Seven Heavens of Yetzirah: A Treatise on the Holy Qabalah
- ↑ The Legends of the Jews III, The Ascension of Enoch.
- ↑ The Legends of the Jews I, 22.
- ↑ The Vulgate is a late fourth-century Latin translation of the Bible that became, during the 16th century, the Catholic Church's officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible.
- ↑ Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, "A Latin Dictionary"
- ↑ ["Lucifer". Encyclopædia Britannica. "Lucifer". Encyclopædia Britannica.]
- ↑ As referenced by the name of the texture: TEMTAP2.tapestry_of_lucifr(blackframe).bmp
- ↑ Book of Revelation 13:17
- ↑ 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
- ↑ Hosea 4:6
- ↑ Leviticus 26:22
- ↑ MSNBC: Why an eclipse paints the moon red
- ↑ Book of Revelation 6:12
- ↑ Book of Genesis 3:13
- ↑ Book of Revelation 2:17
- ↑ Book of Revelation 12:9
- ↑ This supposed spelling error in the subtitles actually sparks a bit of interest, considering aqua is the Latin word for "water" (and Tishtrya is the Zoroastrian deity representating all forms of water).
- ↑ Book of Genesis 2:9