DHARMA Initiative Station #6
The Orchid is the name given to a DHARMA Initiative station dedicated to exotic matter research, namely time travel, under the guise of being a botanical research station. The true station is located in an underground chamber beneath a greenhouse, and draws energy for its experiments from the same anomalous energy source as the frozen wheel. The Orchid is located several hours north or northwest of the survivors’ camp, and is found fairly close to the remnants of the statue of Taweret.
The Man in Black confirmed that several wells were built on the Island by an early civilization who were attempting to understand why their compasses reacted strangely in proximity to the energy pockets. He noted the wells were dug by hand and claimed that the builders ultimately learned nothing. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3”) (“This Place Is Death”)
Possibly at this same site, Jacob’s brother and his people began excavation to install a wheel that would manipulate the power of the Heart of the Island, but these people were killed by Mother before construction could be completed. (“Across the Sea”) If this was the same site, then construction was resumed and the wheel chamber completed as Jacob’s brother had intended.
The DHARMA Initiative detected the pocket of anomalous energy beneath this sector of the Island and began construction of the station sometime before 1977. From the outset, the Orchid’s purpose was to find a way to tap into the energy pocket as a means of allowing the Initiative to manipulate time. By 1977, the Orchid was largely taking shape: the general framework for the greenhouse, the elevator and the initial part of the tunnel system had all been developed.
Dr. Chang was in charge of overseeing construction at the Orchid. He immediately dropped everything he was doing to visit the station after a drilling accident was reported. Upon arriving at the station, Dr. Chang found that one of the workers had collapsed while drilling into the rock according to his specs. The drill itself had melted. Chang ordered the workers to cease drilling immediately — as drilling any further into the chamber inside could release the “limitless” energy beyond. He appeared highly concerned that the release this energy would have serious consequences. (“Because You Left”) (“The Variable”)
Previous to the drilling accident, Miles and Hurley visited the station, bringing the corpse of a dead DHARMA worker to Dr. Chang at Horace’s request from the Swan site. The body was unloaded upon arrival and taken inside the station. Exactly why the workman’s body was brought here under such secrecy or what was done with it afterwards are unclear. (“Some Like It Hoth”)
It was revealed in the Hydra Orientation film the Initiative used polar bears to study the electromagnetic energy by pushing the wheel. (“The New Man in Charge”)
The Orchid was briefly inhabited by Keamy and his men in an attempt to capture Ben. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1”) The station was last seen on December 30, 2004 from Ben’s perspective as he turned the giant frozen wheel beneath the station to “move” the Island. On turning the wheel, a bright white light surged outwards across the entirety of the Island and a humming (similar to that of the discharge) was heard. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 3”)
Before DHARMA’s arrival on the Island, a stone well was constructed near the site. The well was composed of stone blocks with a rope descending into the depths providing access to the wheel chamber. (“This Place Is Death”) When Sawyer’s group was transported through time to a period before the well was built, the statue of Taweret was visible from the site. (“LaFleur”)
The well, albeit in a collapsed state and no longer providing access to the wheel chamber, continued to exist into the 1970s. (“LaFleur”) Charlotte was also familiar with it from her childhood. (“This Place Is Death”) The collapsed well likely still existed close to the Orchid in 2007. There were apparently other similar wells elsewhere on the Island. (“Everybody Loves Hugo”)
It was revealed in Across the Sea that wells were dug in classical Roman times by MiB and a group of Islanders as a way to access The Source under the Island, since he could not find the cave that Mother showed him when he was 13.
At the bottom of the elevator shaft was a short corridor with several adjacent rooms, and a large area containing electronic equipment, a number of desks, and rabbit cages. Among the electronic equipment were a television and VCR which Locke used to watch the station’s orientation video. A heavy parka belonging to “Dr. Halliwax” was found nearby in a locker. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”)
Frozen Wheel Chamber (Space-Time Manipulation)
A large eight-spoked frozen wheel at one of the Island’s electromagnetic pockets harnessed the Heart of the Island to manipulate space and time. A well originally accessed its chamber, and the DHARMA Initiative later built the Orchid station on top of it. People who turned the wheel teleported to a site in Tunisia. When Benjamin Linus turned it in December 2004, the Island moved, the wheel slipped off its axis, and those on the island started shifting through time, seemingly randomly. A few days later for him, but at an indeterminate time in the Island’s/chamber’s past, a time-shifting John Locke turned the wheel to stabilize it again and end the time flashes. He too then teleported to the Tunisia site. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”) (“This Place Is Death”)
Discovery and Experiments by DHARMA
In 1977, DHARMA Initiative construction workers excavated rock at the site to build the Orchid station, unaware of the wheel’s existence. (DVD commentary) They discovered an anomaly and melted six drill bits trying to reach it. The drill operator then became dazed and suffered a nosebleed. When Dr. Pierre Chang arrived at the site, the construction foreman showed him a sonar image of what lay beyond the wall – the frozen wheel’s outline. Dr. Chang ordered them to halt drilling, stating that they were close to a source of “almost limitless energy” which would let the Initiative manipulate time. He warned that continued drilling could release this energy with dangerous consequences. (“Because You Left”) (“The Incident, Part 1”)
After the station was completed, Dr. Chang (using the alias “Edgar Halliwax”) recorded the Orchid Orientation video, explaining that the nearby “negatively charged exotic matter” let DHARMA experiments with space and time. He cautioned that this pocket of matter was associated with volatile electromagnetic energy. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”) DHARMA used polar bears to turn the wheel as part of their experiments. One such bear ended up in the Tunisian desert, where Charlotte later discovered its remains. (“The New Man in Charge”) (“Confirmed Dead”)
Believing Jacob had ordered the island to be moved, Ben took it upon himself to do so. He claimed that whoever turned the wheel could never return to the island, and Jacob wanted Ben to suffer these repercussions. To reach the wheel, Ben deliberately blew a hole in Orchid vault’s back wall. He then crawled through into a rock tunnel, broke through a sheet of ice, and climbed down a wooden ladder into the wheel chamber.
Before turning the wheel, Ben looked upwards and uttered, “I hope you’re happy now, Jacob.” After much physical effort chipping away the ice around the wheel, he was finally able to turn it. As Ben turned the wheel, a loud humming and bright light surged outwards across the entire Island and for a considerable distance beyond. Ben was transported to “the exit” in Tunisia, the Island disappeared to the outside world, and the remaining survivors on the Island began moving through time. (“There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”) (“Because You Left”)
Ben clearly showed foreknowledge of the wheel’s existence, location, and use. He also knew to wear a parka before entering the freezing wheel chamber and to bring a crowbar to aid in removing ice from the wheel.
At some unknown point, a time-shifting Locke descended into a well near the future location of the Orchid. During his descent, another time flash occurred, shifting his companions on the surface to a period before the Orchid well was even built, in or before 1867. Locke, meanwhile, may have shifted forward in time below the surface (possibly due to his proximity to the chamber’s pocket of electromagnetism) as he soon encountered The Man in Black (in the form of Christian Shephard), who appeared to Locke in the chamber and told him to re-align the wheel. In great pain, Locke, who had fallen during the time flash and experienced a compound leg fracture, approached the wheel. It vibrated and oscillated erratically, bathed in a pulsating green light emanating from beyond the wall. He pulled the wheel in a clockwise direction, resetting it. The light flashed brighter, and the final time flash occurred. The remaining time-shifting survivors on the surface were transported to 1974 and Locke himself was transported to “the exit” in Tunisia in late 2007. (“This Place Is Death”) (“316”) (“LaFleur”)
Associated Events & LOST Themes
Associated DHARMA Stations & Location
Associated LOST Characters
Primary Symbolism: Time, Space & Sky Deities
Secondary Symbolism: Leadership & Underworld Deities
Secondary Symbolism: War Deities & Greek Giants
Secondary Symbolism: Fertility (Water) Deities
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the earliest use of “orchid” was in 1843; however, these plants went by the name orchis as early as 1559. Orchid and orchis are names borrowed directly from Latin; however,
Latin borrowed the name from a Greek word meaning “testicle.” This had reference the shape of the tubers, which are frequently paired. This gave rise to the name “dogstones” for one species of British orchid, Testiculus canus, once again receiving a name due to the shape.
The most highly coveted of ornamental plants, the delicate, exotic and graceful orchid represents love, luxury, beauty and strength. In ancient Greece, orchids were associated with virility. In fact, Greek women believed that if the father of their unborn child ate large, new orchid tubers, the baby would be a boy. If the mother ate small orchid tubers, she would give birth to a girl.
Virility refers to any of a wide range of masculine characteristics viewed positively. It is not applicable to women or to negative characteristics. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED1) says virile is “marked by strength or force.” Virility is commonly associated with vigour, health, sturdiness, and constitution, especially in the fathering of children. In this last sense, virility is to men as fertility is to women. OED1 also notes that virile has become obsolete in referring to a “nubile” young woman – “a maide that is Mariageable or ripe for a Husband, or Virill.”
Historically, masculine attributes such as beard growth have been seen as signs of virility and leadership (for example in ancient Egypt and Greece). In Greek Mythology, Zeus was the king of the gods and leader of the Olympians and was commonly depicted with a beard. He was famous for his many conquests and the numerous children by him.
As a term for positive reference, virility does not accord with feminisms that put forward various deconstructions of masculinity. According to these points of view, virility is redefined as an outdated abstraction, impacting negatively on women via unwanted sexual activity, and unwanted pregnancies.
DHARMA STATION (Symbolic Deity Reference)
Decoded LOST Character (Alvar Hanso)
In Greek mythology Zeus is the “Father of Gods and men”, according to Hesiod’s Theogony, who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family; he was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. As Walter Burkert points out in his book, Greek Religion, “Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, and all the gods rise in his presence.”(Iliad, book 1.503;533) For the Greeks, he was the King of the Gods, who oversaw the universe. As Pausanias observed, “That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men”. In Hesiod’s Theogony, Zeus assigns the various gods their roles. In the Homeric Hymns he is referred to as the chieftain of the gods. His symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle, bull, and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical “cloud-gatherer” also derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the Ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is frequently depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward, with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty.
His Roman counterpart was Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart Tinia.
Zeus was the child of Cronus and Rhea, and the youngest of his siblings. In most traditions he was married to Hera, although, at the oracle of Dodona, his consort was Dione: according to the Iliad, he is the father of Aphrodite by Dione.
Children by Zeus
He is known for his erotic escapades. These resulted in many godly and heroic offspring, including Athena, Apollo and Artemis, Hermes, Persephone (by Demeter), Dionysus, Perseus, Heracles, Helen, Minos, and the Muses (by Mnemosyne); by Hera, he is usually said to have fathered Ares, Hebe and Hephaestus.
DHARMA STATION (Symbolic Deity Reference)
Decoded LOST Character (Glen)
In Greek mythology, Chronos in pre-Socratic philosophical works is said to be the personification of time. His name in Modern Greek also means “year” and is alternatively spelled Chronus (Latin spelling).
Chronos was imagined as an incorporeal god. Serpentine in form, with three heads—that of a man, a bull, and a lion. He and his consort, serpentine Ananke (Inevitability), circled the primal world-egg in their coils and split it apart to form the ordered universe of earth, sea and sky. He is not to be confused with the Titan Cronus.
He was depicted in Greco-Roman mosaics as a man turning the Zodiac Wheel. Often the figure is named Aeon (Eternal Time), a common alternate name for the god.
Chronos is usually portrayed through an old, wise man with a long, gray beard, such as “Father Time”. Some of the current English words whose etymological root is khronos/chronos include chronology, chronometer, chronic, anachronism, and chronicle.
In the Orphic cosmogony the unageing Chronos produced Aither and Chaos, and made a silvery egg in the divine Aither. It produced the bisexual god Phanes, who gave birth to the first generation of gods and is the ultimate creator of the cosmos.
Pherecydes of Syros in his lost Heptamychos (the seven recesses), around 6th century BC, claimed that there were three eternal principles: Chronos, Zas (Zeus) and Chthonie (the chthonic). The semen of Chronos was placed in the recesses and produced the first generation of gods.