Understanding Zack Snyder’s AEQUITAS DESIGN

With Zack Snyder’s Justice League, and possibly more, on the horizon. I thought now would be an excellent opportunity to flesh out the beauty that is the Aequitas T-shirt design that Zack made way back in 2019. What’s amazing about this entire design is how it correlates to the entire story arc in which Snyder was or is building with these characters.

While a lot of this is interpretation I want to make sure you are aware that there could be unintended spoilers throughout this article.

Design based off of the Tree of Life

Tree of Life (Kabbalah)

The Sefirot in Jewish Kabbalah
Tree of Life

It’s important to point out the similarities between the design Snyder chose in comparison to that of the tree of life diagram. This specific diagram has been used over the course of generations in various mystical traditions usually consisting of 10 nodes symbolizing different archetypes. Those nodes or archetypes are then connected by 22 lines. Finally, we see the nodes in three columns representing and belonging to a common category.

In the case of the design used by Snyder we see that each node holds a logo of a Justice League Member. At the very top we have Superman followed by Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg ,Batman and at the very bottom a baby. The placement of these nodes is not accidental and in actuality is what really tells the story of what will be unfolding in the coming months and years from Zack Snyder.

While Snyder has deviated slightly from the Tree of Life symbol. The structure and basis of what it represents is still very relevant with what is being shown in his image.

Aequitas

Aequitas is a Latin concept of Justice, equality, conformity, symmetry, or fairness. This is the where the English word Equality is derived from. At the top of the tree we see this word which helps symbolize and convey JUSTICE. Let’s not forget that while this is very much a Superman arc that we are witnessing one of the most important aspects of this story. Which is that of the Justice League and how Superman is the symbol where these heroes will join him in the sun. With that, the idea of equality and fairness is very much a part of what will be driving Snyder’s story forward.

Node 1 – Superman, The Sword

Superman’s symbol of Hope is placed on this first node known as Keter. This is described as regal or God like. Placing his symbol within a circle insinuates the perfection of this being.

The interesting part of this is that it sits at the pommel on the sword. A Pommel is what helps keep balance of the weapon evenly distributing the weight. In addition it is a guard in which it would prevent the weapon from slipping out of the wielders hand.

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The symbol is also shown as radiating. Again the symbol here in Snyder’s iteration is the symbol of Hope. Superman is not only bringing hope to the world but is viewed upon as a God. Throughout history we have often seen pictures of Jesus Christ depicted with a mighty presence of radiant light behind him. In these films there has been a heavy Christian influence on the birth, life and death of Superman.

The cross guard of the sword is inscribed with Greek symbols with a rough translation of “I will come.” While this is speculation it is safe to assume that this insinuates Superman’s resurrection after his death in Batman v Superman. Which leads to what the sword itself symbolizes.

The sword has multiple meanings with the tree here. But as for connecting to Superman the fact it is double edged signifies Superman’s death and Superman’s might. In a very on the nose way, Superman was stabbed by the Doomsday creature. Swords go hand in hand with being stabbed. As for Superman’s Might, he is the one who who will be at the center of this story to save the World.

As we look further down the tree we see that the sword is going through multiple objects. As mentioned, Superman is the center of this story running the course of the entire arc of what Zack is creating.

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First we see the sword going through the planet Earth symbolizing his arrival, life and death. Next we see the sword going through a table which has the Omega symbol, representing Darkseid, on top and the word ‘COURTLANDT’ written on the side. Courtlandt is an old English word meaning “land of court.” In addition to the strong Christian symbolism within this arc, Snyder is also influenced by the King Arthur legend. The table here is circular to symbolize the round table of the Arthur’s or in this case Superman’s knights. We see six swords sticking out which signifies the other members of the League throughout the series. Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, Flash and Green Lantern. ( more on the lantern another time)

Finally, the sword is all but penetrating a coffin with the letter ‘W’ written on it. For those unaware Snyder’s story would see the fall of Bruce Wayne/Batman as he would sacrifice himself for the greater good. It is poetic in a way when you consider in Batman v Superman Bruce had lost his way and was ready to kill Clark. While the Martha moment began to pull Bruce out of the darkness; it wasn’t until he saw Superman’s sacrifice that he understood Clark was a symbol that he and everyone else should get behind.
The death of Batman is what transpires near the end of the story thus being at the end of the sword.

Pillars

betweem

Referred to as Boaz and Jachin, these pillars, according to the Bible, were two copper, brass and bronze pillars which stood on the porch of Solomon’s temple which just so happen to be the first Temple of Jerusalem. Traditionally it seems that these pillars were built outside entrances to to sacred temples or places in which they were to guarding.

Within the context of what Snyder is doing these pillars represent the protectors of the Earth, the sacred land. On one side the pillar is of old Greek design with a bundle of wheat tied to it and an 8 pointed star or a Sun with and eye inside. This represents the Protectors of old or the old Gods. On the other you have a more modern looking tower with a cog on top. Hidden within that cog appears to be a crescent moon. This represents modern day or the Heroes of a new age. Both pillars are shown watching over the Earth as the protectors. The Framing of the words Between/Betwix and Onward/Inward helps in solidifying the gate aspect of these pillars. To access the World you must first take on Earth’s protectors.

The DNA strand and the Chain on either side signify the differences and struggles the Heroes go through. The DNA is most recognizable as imagery for metahumans. Not fully human but not fully Godlike either. The chain represents being bound and stuck in a world they don’t believe they belong. The broken link shows these characters, Aquaman and Cyborg will eventually break through and find their place.

AC-23 & 3:5

AC-23 simply refers to Action Comics #23 which was the introduction to Superman’s arch nemesis, Lex Luthor. Interesting note, this is also referenced in Batman v Superman when Lex is imprisoned. His Prisoner number on his shirt is AC-23 1940 (Action Comics 23, 1940) The issues and year that Luthor was introduced to the World.

In Batman v Superman Lex talks a great deal about knowledge. “The bittersweet pain among men is having knowledge with no power.”

The Book of Genesis Chapter 3 verse 5 – “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

This is representing Lex discovering the truth about who or what is coming. The Good, the Evil the impending threat. However, Lex is misguided just as Adam and Eve were by the evil essence. Lex, believing Superman is the Evil one. It’s a deep cut but one that delves further into the character of Lex and his drive in bringing down Superman. He is imbued with knowledge but no power. That is until he uses his knowledge to create his strength….Doomsday.

Node 2 – Aquaman

Aquaman is depicted within a Hexagon in the top right corner. The trident and a seven pointed crown signifies how Arthur will become the rightful King of the Seven Seas.

His placement on the tree is called Chochmah meaning wisdom. This can also be associated with a planet which Chochmah is Neptune, which received its name from the Roman God of the Sea. This pillar also represents male and is the embodiment of primal male energy.

Node 3 – Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is depicted within a Hexagon in the top left corner. The Eagle carrying a sword displays supreme power and could possibly refer to her father Zeus who is often connected to the majestic Eagle. Wonder Woman’s uniform or armor also cleverly depicts an Eagle on the breastplate. Finally, the sword the eagle is carrying is symbolizing the difference between the typical olive branch or Arrows seen in many depictions of an Eagle. The Sword signifying a warrior.

Diana’s story is that of holding great power yet walking away from mankind after a century of horrors. It will be Superman and Batman who pulls her back in a call to arms.

The node of which she is part of is called Binah on the Tree of Life meaning understanding. This is the third node on the Tree which can also be associated with the planet of Saturn. Unlike the connection with Aquaman’s node and the planet of Neptune, there doesn’t appear to be a connection here for Wonder Woman and Saturn.

Node 4 – Cyborg

Cyborg is depicted inside of a pentagon in the bottom right of the symbol. The book with boxes on the pages signify that Cyborg is blessed, or in some opinions cursed, with knowledge. We know that in The Snyder Cut of Justice League Cyborg is the heart of the story. His story is tragic and of loss. He is tormented by his past but through his story he will find peace and kindness within.

The Node in which he is represented on the Tree of Life is that of Netzach. The meaning or translation is eternity, and can refer to victory or endurance. VIC Stone in some iterations is known as VICTORY Stone because of his Football abilities. Nice little nod there. But overall his Cyberneticness is also a symbol of endurance never ending supply of power.

Node 5 – The Flash

The Flash is also depicted inside of a pentagon but is shown on the bottom left of the symbol. The hourglass with wings and a scythe represents Flash’s ability to control time when entering and exiting the speedforce. We know that time travel will be a big part of the story Snyder is telling and we will see multiple timelines in which some heroes and/or their loved ones die while others timelines will show the survival of heroes and/or their loved ones.

The fifth node is that of Hod and is described as a force which breaks down energy into different distinguishable forms. In a way this is the ying to the yang of Netzach. Hod being associated with intellectuality and learning while Netzach is the power of energy to overcome all limitations. Both will be needed to overcome and understand the use of the speedforce and time traveling elements.

Node 6 – Batman

Batman is depicted inside of a diagonal square. What’s most interesting though is how he is represented by both the book with the boxes inside like Cyborg as well as the hourglass with wings and scythe like the Flash.

Bruce’s journey through this story is rather intricate. He is cursed with knowledge of the Knightmare timeline and is also affected by the Flash’s time traveling. IF not for the interactions with Flash through the Speedforce he would not have this knowledge nor would he be able to help rectify their wrongs in their battle against Darkseid. We also know Bruce will die in this story as explained with the coffin. However, his death will only come to fruition by the Flash manipulating time and fixing the past.

The node in which Batman sits is called Yesod and is described as the foundation on which the World was built. He is the balance of two worlds, the otherworldly such as Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Superman and that of man. He is the soul of the League and in a way the complete opposite of Keter (Superman).

Node 7 – The Union

The final node is that of child. As much as this story is about Superman; Batman also does a lot of heavy lifting here. With the sacrifice that Bruce makes he essentially saves the woman Clark Loves, Lois. Because of this, Superman and the rest of the League are able to defeat Darkseid and his Apokolyptan army saving the World from imminent destruction.

Lois and Clark, because of their union, end up having a child. Without Bruce’s sacrifice this would never have happened and because of that they name their child Johnathan Bruce Kent or Bruce Johnathan Kent.

This node is referred to as Malkuth and is associated with the word bridegroom. Unlike the other nodes this one does not emanate from God (Superman) directly but rather from the creation of God. It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking story for Bruce. He had fallen so far but because of the Hope that Superman shone across the World he was able to come back into the light becoming a creation of all Superman stands for.

Where Does this Leave Us?

Zack’s 5 part story arc is truly something to behold. While there are many out there who are critical of how he portrays these characters, we have to remember this arc would eventually bring everything around. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Flash, Aquaman all have a journey they must go through to become the heroes they were meant to be. Simply giving them no real obstacles and making them these symbols of Heroism is unrealistic and played out.

The excitement and passion shown by the fans for the upcoming release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League cannot be ignored by HBO Max and Warner Media. They realize that there is money to be made here. The question is not if Snyder will be given the greenlight to complete this arc but rather when.

The actors involved are booked pretty solid with other projects and lets not forget to mention the difficulties Covid has put on all productions within the industry. Figuring out logistics, schedules and everything else is going to be quite a process. But, as I stated on my latest show its up to us to stay positive, stay passionate, stay excited and make not only The Snyder Cut the biggest superhero film ever, but push HBO Max far beyond what they could have possibly imagined.

There is so much on the horizon and the sky is the limit.

Author: Robert Slavinsky

Robert Hosts Shootin' The Sith a Star Wars podcast and is a passionate fan of comics books and movies.

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