Thanatonauts: is a blend of greek words “thanatos (thanato-)” and “nautes (-naut)”meaning “death voyager.” Think of this example: An astronaut exploring death instead of space.
Now that’s out of the way. Many of you may immediately think of this as a Bungie word, but it’s not. It is a word used in a sci-fi book titled Les Thanatonautes. This is a French novel written by the author Bernard Weber. I have now read it twice and it’s brilliant. To summarize, it’s the first of a trilogy. The book is about two men who met as boys obsessed with mythology and death. The boys later reconnect in life as adult scientists and they try to reproduce a near-death experience, or NDE, which they witnessed as kids. The two want to understand NDEs as much as possible and they try to go as far as they can into death without actually dying. They are pioneers of the Ultimate Continent which becomes named “New Australia” AKA the “Continent of the Dead.”
Also, if you are as old as I am (or you just like retro things) you may remember the movie, Flatliners. This movie was inspired by the book and is about a group of doctors killing themselves to witness NDEs and, hopefully understand what it may be like in the afterlife. Of course, all this takes a turn for the worse. Both the book and the movie realize the addictive need to push that line between life and death further and further away.
The way they are entering the realm of death is by either via forced coma or keeping the body alive so the brain doesn’t die and then resuscitation brings the person back. Since time is relative, in the land of the dead they continue to explore for answers and, as you may guess, everything gets pretty messed up. In Les Thanatonautes, the explorers achieve great distances into death and even speak directly to Seraphs or “Angels” themselves. But, in both stories, when they come back they bring horrible nightmares to life. I won’t spoil it for you, but as you can see some things aren’t worth knowing… Or are they?
Thanatonauts in Destiny
Thanatonauts are hidden within the lore of Destiny, and they even have a few characters who we suspect such as Pujari and Toland.
Pujari witnessed visions of the Black Garden when he leaped from the Shores of Time as documented in the Grimoire. He witnessed the Traveler as it moved across earth. At the end, he spoke to a figure during this vision and was told he is a dead thing made by a dead power in the shape of the dead.
Toland has been described as being obsessed with death and we read of him transcending to Crota’s throne world. He even seems to still communicate with us in unknown ways.
The two of these cause endless debates and discussions, however we have one more character who may be a Thanatonaut. He often gets overlooked, so we’ll shed some light on someone named Ulan Tan.
It may be the case he was a “navigator of death.”
I have noticed a few things within the armory of Destiny that Bungie has so graciously cursed us with… I mean gifted us.
Three items with the same exact markings strike me: Thanatonaut’s lullaby, Ulan Tan’s burial ring, and Alchemist’s Raiment (which deserves a whole article on its own).
Obviously, this makes me question him because of this symbol. When you hold your ghost up in game it makes a halo around it that also resembles the pattern found on these items. So, is this telling us something? Did he die during one of his attempts to leap into the land of the dead? Or did he bring something else back with him, something horrible much like in these Sci-fi stories? Or are Thanatonauts using this symbol because it’s linked to some other undiscovered part of the lore?
What We Know
Ulan Tan is associated with a faction named The Symmetry. This faction very much wants to work in concert with the Darkness. However, this intimidates the Vanguard as they are quoted as saying “Ulan-Tan’s teachings are too dangerous. Too much fear. Who knew he’d be more trouble dead than alive?”
Ulan-Tan’s thesis seems to cover a number of points:
Light and Darkness is a balance and they are in a symmetrical relationship.
We are in debt and must heal the Traveler for saving our humanity.
Lastly, all Light is connected “across space and time,” and the only thing that stops it from entering the space between stars is the Void which he describes as just another type of Light.
Ulan Tan also describes a scene of being in radiance much like when a Warlock revives in-game and has flaming wings in the shape of an Angel or Seraph.
“The Sunsinger is proof that the Light is everywhere. The wings of Radiance allow a Guardian to fly beyond the veil. What further proof do you need, Speaker?” —Ulan-Tan
We also know “Tan” is most likely a title or Surname from the artifact, Sins of Kharad-Tan.
“For you are not the first hero—nor even Oryx the first villain—to meet upon this plane.”
This may pose more questions, but I’d also like to believe it will inspire many more discussions from you guys in the future. Besides, life is about having something to look forward to, so tell me what you think.
Is there symmetry here?
“Today is a good day to die.” -Nelson Wright in the movie “Flatliners ” 1994.
RYNO of RYNO666.com