DHARMA Initiative Station
(Locating the Island)
The Lamp Post is a DHARMA Initiative station located in a basement chamber beneath a church in Los Angeles, California in the United States. The station’s purpose is to determine the Island’s most probable location in space and time and identify windows of opportunity to travel there. It is the only known DHARMA station to exist off of the Island. (316)
The Lamp Post station was the means by which the DHARMA Initiative originally located the Island, and was the first of the stations to be built — so likely the station was constructed somewhere in the late 1960’s or 1970. The station was built in Los Angeles over a pocket of electromagnetic energy linked to other similar pockets all over the world. Through monitoring or manipulation of this energy, the Initiative was able to deduce the existence of the Island. The pendulum was added later by a “very clever” individual who realized that in order to find the Island, it was not a question of where to locate it, but to determine where it was going to be at a given point in time. (“316”)
The Lamp Post also served a role in the periodic resupply drops sent to the Island. An automated system periodically sent the coordinates of the Island to the DHARMA Logistics Warehouse in Guam, from which a pallet would be loaded and sent by air to the Island.
The Lamp Post was staffed by at least one person until the end of the DHARMA Initiative following the Purge. However, the station continued to function automatically following its abandonment, periodically locating the Island and transmitting its coordinates to the warehouse in Guam. (“The New Man in Charge”)
It is unknown if the church was built by the DHARMA Initiative, although it does provide a simple way to hide the Lamp Post.
Although built by the DHARMA Initiative, at some point control of the station fell to Eloise Hawking, one of the Others living off the Island in 2007. Eloise refered to DHARMA in the third person (“They built it”), indicating she was not a member of the Initiative. It is not clear how she came to become the caretaker of the station — although given the Others’ goal of preserving the Island at all costs, they would have a strong motivation in keeping this place a secret from the outside world and preventing its use by others. Eloise’s duties at the station are also unknown. It is possible the Others continue to used the station in returning to the Island from the outside world. (“The Lie”) (“316”)
It seems likely that Charles Widmore did not know of the existence of the Lamp Post or was blocked from using it in some way; he undoubtedly would have used it to further his goal of locating the Island.
Using the station and notes from Daniel Faraday’s journal, Eloise Hawking instructed the Oceanic Six on how they could return to the Island. She identified a single flight that was going to fly right through the “window”: Ajira Airways Flight 316. She instructed the Oceanic Six that this flight would be only way back to the Island. (“316”)
The station is located entirely underground beneath a church in Los Angeles, California.
A large church conceals the entrance of the Lamp Post. In a back room (past a door marked “High Voltage”), a spiral staircase descends into a short vaulted hallway to a large hatch door emblazoned with the station’s logo: the entrance to the Lamp Post. A number of what appear to be thick electrical cables are bundled along one wall. (“The Lie”) (“316”)
The Pendulum Chamber
The Lamp Post appears to consist of a single large circular chamber, the floor of which is largely occupied by a giant map of the world. Hanging directly over the map at the center of room is a large weighted pendulum (very similar to a Foucault pendulum) tipped with a piece of chalk. The pendulum is constantly in motion – swinging in long graceful arcs back and forth across the room creating marks on the map below. Several loudspeakers are visible at various points throughout the room. A number of alcoves are set around the periphery of the chamber – most containing other machines and computer mainframes – including one bank of instrumentation that looks like a seismograph.
One of these alcoves contains an elaborate electronic switchboard set into the wall, which is updated periodically, displaying sets of latitude and longitude coordinates. A small light on the lefthand side of the panel may identify the most probable location of the Island at a given time.
Another alcove contains a large chalkboard mounted on the wall. Pinned to the top of the chalkboard is a large black and white photo of the Island. The caption appears to indicate it was taken by the U.S. Army in September 1954. The photo is marked as being top secret.
A final alcove contains a desk and several file cabinets. Atop the desk are a number of binders and an Apple desktop computer (similar to those seen on the Island at the Swan and the Pearl). Eloise Hawking was observed to use the computer briefly which displayed a map of the world with several locations highlighted that corresponded to those drawn by the pendulum on the chamber’s floor. The computer beeped and message appeared: “EVENT WINDOW DETERMINED.” (“The Lie”) (“316”)
Associated LOST Characters
Primary Symbolism: Water (Fertility) Deities
Secondary Symbolism: Underworld, Death & Darkness Deities
DHARMA STATION (Symbolic Deity Reference)
Decoded LOST Character (Eloise Hawking)
Amphitrite was a sea-goddess and wife of Poseidon. Under the influence of the Olympian pantheon, she became merely the consort of Poseidon, and was further diminished by poets to a symbolic representation of the sea. In Roman mythology, the consort of Neptune, a comparatively minor figure, was Salacia, the goddess of saltwater.
Amphitrite was a daughter of Nereus and Doris (and thus a Nereid), according to Hesiod’s Theogony, but of Oceanus and Tethys (and thus an Oceanid), according to Apollodorus, who actually lists her among both of the Nereids and the Oceanids. Others called her the personification of the sea itself. Amphitrite’s offspring included seals and dolphins. Poseidon and Amphitrite had a son, Triton who was a merman, and a daughter, Rhode (if this Rhode was not actually fathered by Poseidon on Halia or was not the daughter of Asopus as others claim). Apollodorus (3.15.4) also mentions a daughter of Poseidon and Amphitrite named Benthesikyme.
Amphitrite is not fully personified in the Homeric epics: “out on the open sea, in Amphitrite’s breakers” (Odyssey iii.101), “moaning Amphitrite” nourishes fishes “in numbers past all counting” (Odyssey xii.119). She shares her Homeric epithet Halosydne (“sea-nourished”) with Thetis in some sense the sea-nymphs are doublets.
DHARMA STATION (Symbolic Reference)
The afterlife (also referred to as life after death, the Hereafter, the Next World, or the Other Side) is the belief that a part of, or essence of, an individual which carries with it and confers personal identity survives the death of the body of this world and this lifetime, by natural or supernatural means. In some popular views, this continued existence often takes place in a spiritual realm, and in other popular views, the individual may be reborn into this world and begin the life cycle over again. In this latter view, such rebirths and deaths may take place over and over again continuously until the individual gains entry to a spiritual realm. Major views on the afterlife derive from religion, esotericism and metaphysics.
The dead are usually believed to go to a specific plane of existence after death (other than eternal oblivion), typically believed to be determined by a god or divine judge, based on their actions or beliefs during physical life. In contrast, the term afterlife refers to another life in which only the “essence” of the being is preserved, and “reincarnation” is another life on Earth or possibly within the same universe.
Ancient Greek Underworld
The Greek god Hades is known in Greek mythology as the king of the underworld, a place where souls live after death. The Greek god Hermes, the messenger of the gods, would take the dead soul of a person to the underworld (sometimes called Hades or the House of Hades). Hermes would leave the soul on the banks of the River Styx, the river between life and death. Charon, also known as the ferry-man, would take the soul across the river to Hades, if the soul had gold (The family of the dead soul would put coins under the deceased’s tongue). Once crossed, the soul would be judged by Aeacus, Rhadamanthus and King Minos. The soul would be sent to Elysium, Tartarus, Asphodel Fields, or the Fields of Punishment. The Elysium Fields were for the ones that were good and sinned minimally. It was green (plants), happy and the sun always shined. Tartarus was for the people that defied the gods, did nothing but sin, or were monsters. The Asphodel Fields simply existed. Those whose sins equalled their goodness, lived and did nothing in life, or were not judged. The Fields of Punishment were for people that had sinned often, but not so much as to be deserving of Tartarus. In Tartarus, the soul would get punished (dipped in lava, burned at stake, the rack, etc.). Some heroes of Greek legend are allowed to visit the underworld. The Romans had a similar belief system about the afterlife, with Hades becoming known as Pluto. In the ancient Greek myth about Hercules, he needs to travel to the underworld to capture Cerberus as one of his tasks.
Dream of Scipio, written by Cicero, describes what seems to be an out of body experience, of the soul travelling high above the Earth, looking down at the small planet, from far away.
In book 6 of Virgil’s Aeneid, the hero, Aeneas, travels to the underworld to see his father. By the River Styx, he sees the souls of those not given a proper burial, forced to wait by the river until someone buries them. While down there, along with the dead, he is shown the place where the wrongly convicted reside, the fields of sorrow where those who committed suicide and now regret it reside, including Aeneas’ former lover, the warriors and shades, tartarus (where the titans and powerful non-mortal enemies of the Olympians reside) where he can hear the groans of the imprisoned, the palace of Pluto, and the fields of Elysium where the descendants of the divine and bravest heroes reside. He sees the river of forgetfulness, Lethe, which the dead must drink to forget their life and begin anew. Lastly, his father shows him all of the future heroes of Rome who will live if Aeneas fulfills his destiny in founding the city.
DHARMA STATION (Symbolic Literary Reference)
The name of the station is a reference to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia. In the book, a lamp post marks the passage between Narnia and our world. The Lamp Post serves a similar function with regard to the Island.
The lamp post in Narnia was explained in book six of the The Chronicles of Narnia, The Magician’s Nephew. In that story, a prequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and featuring the creation of Narnia, a young boy named Digory discovers a “place between worlds” that allows him to visit other versions of reality by jumping through pools. He awakens Jadis, who then returns to London and wreaks havoc, eventually tearing a bar off a lamp post before she’s sent back to Narnia. On arriving, children in tow, Narnia has yet to be made; Aslan is in the process of doing so, when she attacks him with the bar. He ignores the attack, and she throws the bar away, where it plants itself in the ground and begins “growing” into a new lamp post. Both the “jumping into pools” and using the lamp post as the lone connection to the outside world seem related to Narnia.