Scrupulously collected facts about the movie Constantine, 2005

In Constantine: Lord of Darkness, John Constantine had a tattoo on his arms. What does it mean, I only found its name "Sphere of Perfection" or "Red King"

and what about this one - "the alchemical symbol of the Red King, protecting whoever wears it" - what does it protect against?

What if I get one of these. would it make sense and is it even possible to do this kind of tattoo?

Picture shows the alchemical elements, figuratively, alchemy is a link of symbolic images, with the masters of old times, which had not only the occult knowledge, but also carried out all kinds of experiments melting metals, as for *Red King * it is one of the cards deck tarot, with alchemical symbols, it corresponds to the 21 major arcana, symbolizes the end of any case, with its successful outcome, or on the reverse, if it in the layout laid in the upside down position

This is a united symbol of the three beginnings (principles) : " Mercury of the wise", "Sulphur of the philosophers" and "Salt". The three beginnings are symbolized by the three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. "Sulphur" and "Mercury" represent the masculine and feminine (king and queen) . The king is dressed in red, since sulfur is red. Hence the name of the symbol "Red King". In the triangle we see the image of one of the four elements, i.e., fire. In alchemy, every tool that can wound was represented by the sign of fire. Probably hence the flame inside the triangle. Sort of a defense against attack.

Red King (Sulphur) This image is taken from the 23rd image in a number of drawings from a seventeenth century alchemical work attributed to Eugenius Philales, the Reflector of Veritatis (Mirror of Truth.) This simple triangle fire symbol with three outgoing arrows below represents the "Beautiful Red King", Sulphur of the Philosophers. In alchemy, sulfur represents Sola, the fiery male element (a copy of Silver, Mercury, the female element) of the Astronomical Marriage (conjunctio). Chemically, red sulfur was a mixture of mercury (spirit) and sulfur (soul), whose marriage also represented the spiritual goal of alchemical work. This emblem appears in Constantine, the movie adaptation of the Hellblazer Comics Cycle, as a tattoo worn as a protective device by the title character, used by summoning the angel Gabriel.

The tattoo on Constantine's arms is an alchemical symbol of the Red King, protecting whoever wears it.

The original plan of the production staff was to have Tarsem Singh (as director) and Nicolas Cage (to play the lead role) in the film. But Tarsem Singh did not want to work with Nicolas Cage. Singh left the project. A little later, Nicolas Cage also turned down the role.

A small portion of spoilers

At the beginning of the movie, a demon-possessed girl climbs on the ceiling and shouts the phrase "Papatayin natin sila!" in Filipino, which translates to "We'll kill them all!"

The Nazi flag in which the Spear of Destiny was wrapped was destroyed after the shooting. Notably, the Spear of Destiny was taken from the props of the movie Hellboy, filmed the year before.

Francis Lawrence's debut

The motion picture "Constantine" is the debut of music video maker Francis Lawrence in big cinema, because before that he only shot music videos. Francis Lawrence has worked on Aerosmith, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears music videos.

John's Whiskey

The whisky that John Constantine frequently consumes is Ardbeg Scotch Single Malt from the Isle of Islay region, which has a strong smoky flavor.

Constantine Tattoos

The tattoo on Constantine's arms is an alchemical symbol of the Red King, which supposedly protects whoever wears it. In cut scenes in the film, it is seen that the alchemical symbol is also tattooed on Constantine's back.


The film is based on the 1988 Hellblazer comic book series. John Constantine first appeared in Alan Moore's comic strip Swamp Thing.

Comic fans remember him as a blond from Liverpool, while in the film, Constantine became a brunette with a distinct American accent.

Even before the release of the film, fans of the comic book "Hellblazer" were against Keanu Reeves as the main character. They thought that the role should have gone to an Englishman. The author of the Hallblazer comic book was also against Keanu Reeves being cast as John Constantine. Alan Moore also didn't like the film's script.

It got to the point where Alan Moore demanded that his name be removed from the credits.

Regardless of the fact that Constantine is based on the comic book Hellblazer, it was decided to rename the film so that it would not be associated with Hellraiser.

Michelle Monaghan

Scenes with a demon named Ellie, with whom Konstantin was having an affair, were cut from the film. The director insisted that he was completely alone when Constantine and Angela met. Also at his insistence, the DVD version of the film contained scenes with Ellie, played by Michelle Monahan. By the way, Michelle Monahan could be seen at the end of the movie when Constantine sent the demons to hell with the help of blessed water that he let in through the fire extinguishing system.

Creation Story

John Constantine is representative of a fantasy world inhabited by mythical creatures. He investigates crimes using his knowledge of the occult. Like Batman, the character was invented for the "DC" universe. He was an unconventional thinker, easily sacrificing people for the good of all mankind and despising the tricks his opponents were up to.

John Constantine in comics
John Constantine in the comics

The story of Constantine began in issue 37 of the comics called Swamp Monster. In 1988 he became the main character in the comics John Constantine: Lord of Darkness, which are still being released in 2021. Since 2011 he has been used as a character in the New 52 comics.

The creators of the character, Alan Mule, Steve Dillon, Jamie Delano and other artists, and the writers of the script worked on the image of Constantine for a long time. At first, the man was an ordinary man whose aging process could not be slowed down. In 1988, thirty-five-year-old John appeared before the audience. By 2013, he was sixty. The writers decided to rejuvenate the character.

John Constantine's prototype is Sting
John Constantine's prototype - Sting

Although most moviegoers today associate the image of John Constantine with the appearance of Keanu Reeves, Sting was originally chosen as the prototype. For many years, publishers did not think about copyright, but eventually corrected the image to avoid lawsuits if necessary.

Jesters on the Body.

One arm has the original tattoo. The celebrity portrayed eight small jesters. In addition to this, on the other hand of Kinchev there is a ninth, the main jester, who holds a torch with fire. The number of heroes was not chosen by chance. This is one of Konstantin's first tattoos, and the number of jesters coincides with the number of songs on one of the band's albums.

The jester is a rather controversial figure in the symbolism of tattoos. First and foremost, it denotes joy and laughter. However, not everything is so rosy. It is worth remembering that in the old days, the role of jesters and skomorokh often fell to people with mental illness or some figure disadvantages. Also, jesters were not treated kindly, believing that they could be offended.

Kichnev with tattoos on stage
Konstantin Kinchev with a tattoo on his arm

However, it is also known that only jesters were allowed to tell the kings the truth in their eyes, denouncing everything in jest. From this comes out that the meaning of the tattoo can have several.

The image of the jester may denote:

  • The desire to stand out;
  • The desire to bring people joy and positive emotions;
  • Emphasizing the difference between oneself and one's surroundings.

The fire used by the ninth jester can also serve as a symbol of some kind of revolution, such as in music. It also indicates a rebellious character.

Konstantin Kinchev's body tattoos
Konstantin Kinchev with tattoos on his body

John Konstantin in comic books

John Konstantin's biography has long been a mystery to comic book fans. The personal series revealed the mysteries of his past. Born in the sixties in Liverpool, he spent his teenage years in London. Fate rewarded his mother with twins, but while in utero, John suffocated the second child. The birth was difficult, and the mother did not survive, for which the father blamed him. Eventually the parent drank himself to death and went to jail for petty theft. John came into the care of his older sister, with whom they moved in with relatives. As a teenager, he ran away from home.

John Konstantin's green eyes
John Constantine's green eyes.

The boy gravitated toward the occult and was vividly interested in it. He was a member of a family that possessed magical powers. Trying to distract himself from the family tragedy, the hero overshadowed everything in his life by the study of magic. In 1969, he found a buddy with whom he lived under the same roof for a long time. In the seventies, the guy traveled a lot, studying witchcraft rituals. He was no stranger to the hobbies of youth. John smoked a lot, although he despised drug addicts. He was a punk rocker with his own music band and even released an album.

In the eighties, John began practicing magic from the stage, presenting himself as a magician and fortune teller who prophesied an assassination attempt on President Reagan. The guy got into investigations as a musician. John's first case inflicts irreparable psychological damage: an innocent girl, Astra, goes to hell because of his fault. Guilt weighed on the hero until one day he succeeded in rescuing the child's soul from captivity. For the mobster, John resurrected his son. In 1985, the man's acquaintance with Swamp Thing, who later came under Constantine's patronage, took place.

John Konstantin hair color
John Constantine's blond hair color.

Smoking triggered lung cancer. Death from the disease portends terrible torment in hell. A man sells his soul to the lords of hell so that it will not go to his chief enemy, the First. A struggle ensues between God and Lucifer for Constantine, and thanks to divine providence he recovers. John repeatedly escapes death, but all of his loved ones die. The death of his sister at the hands of her spouse becomes a blow to the hero and entails a bargain between the First and Constantine's kinswoman.

The magician's life is full of adventures. He fought ghosts, demons and werewolves, repeatedly deceiving fate and even faking his own death. The comics, launched in 2011, tell the story of Constantine's membership in the Justice League. In this version, the mother is alive and the sister does not exist. The writers gave Constantine the opportunity to see another self in another dimension.

Tattoo of John Constantine
John Constantine's tattoo.

John's doppelganger is not a witch and lives for the family. He becomes a victim of Constantine when the choice comes up such that one of the men must die.

A sorcerer and magician, John Constantine has curious powers. His blood has healing powers. The man can divination, summon demons, curse, and perform exorcisms. Magical protection rituals are also in the hero's arsenal. He easily travels to other worlds and dimensions, easily enters hell and heaven. Necromancer and telepath, Constantine manipulates people. He also demonstrates skills as a diplomat and does not shy away from fraud.

John Constantine and Zatanna
John Constantine and Zatanna

Constantine is smart and savvy. He knows the techniques of hand-to-hand combat, is able to evade physical and psychological attacks of the enemy. His magical attributes include holy water, books, and weapons. John prefers to wear strict clothes: a cape, pants with a tie-dyed shirt, and boots. The hero has a tattoo representing the alchemical symbol of the red king. A pack of cigarettes is always with him. The hero's orientation is not in question. He has had affairs with Zatanna and with police detective Angela.

Origins of the Christogram

cross of saint constantine

Historical research suggests that the christogram has pre-Christian origins and was most likely borrowed and adapted by church figures for two reasons:

  1. Because Christians were outlawed for a long time, they were forced to conspire and use common pagan symbols, fleshing them out with their own content. In the same way, images of Orpheus, Helios, and other gods were popular among Christians. And directly Constantine's cross is most likely an adapted solar symbol of the ancient Chaldeans.
  2. The Greek word "chrestos," meaning "auspicious," could also be graphically represented by the first two letters. Because of this, the symbol was easily Christianized in the circles of Jesus' followers, who gave it the meaning "Christ."

Anyway, there are several types of Christian monograms and their pagan prototypes known in pre-Constantine times.


The popularity of John Constantine is great, and this justifies the fact that he has become a character in movies, TV series, anime, cartoons and fanfic art. The latter showcase Constantine's battle against Ghost Rider and other heroes of the fantasy universe.

Keanu Reeves as John Constantine
Keanu Reeves as John Constantine

In 2005, Constantine: Lord of Darkness, starring actor Keanu Reeves, was released on movie screens. In 2013, director Guillermo del Toro planned to create a project in which this character would confront the Swamp Thing on behalf of the Dark Justice League, but the project remained in development.

In 2021, an animated film titled Dark Universe was launched, with Constantine being voiced by actor Matt Ryan. He also played the character in a TV series released in 2014. The project was directed by Neil Marshall. The series has 13 episodes.

Matt Ryan as John Constantine
Matt Ryan as John Constantine

The character appeared in the series "Arrow," where he helped bring back the soul of Sarah Lance. The character was also present in the series "Legends of Tomorrow", where he became a permanent character. The role was also played by Matt Ryan.

The cartoon "Constantine" was made for the channel "NBC" and consists of several ten-minute episodes.

The legend of the origin of the cross of Constantine

Strictly speaking, the sign in question is not a cross. It would be correct to call it a monogram - a symbol formed from several letters, displaying the image of a particular character of religious doctrine - Jesus Christ. According to Christian tradition, Constantine's cross played an extremely important role in the history of the church. It is second only to the ordinary cross in power and significance.

Why is it so important to Christians? The answer to this question is given by the following legend: at the dawn of the Christian era, at the beginning of the fourth century, in the Roman Empire a conflict arose between two representatives of the authorities - Maxentius and Constantine. The result of the dispute was a battle known as the Battle of the Mulvi Bridge (312). On the eve of the battle, a specific symbol appeared to Emperor Constantine in the sky, accompanied by the inscription "Under this sign you will win". Inspired by the miraculous apparition, Constantine ordered the sign to be reproduced on military shields and placed on the labarum, the imperial military banner.

the constantine cross meaning
Indeed, Constantine, having won a brilliant victory in battle, made this mark the basis of his personal seal and the symbol of his state. He himself at the same time inwardly became an adherent of the Christian faith. Although he remained unbaptized for a long time, by asserting his power he ended forever the persecution and persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. This Constantine's cross is the current christogram used in the churches. Its other name is chrisma.

Whether or not this legend reflects historical reality, it makes it clear why Christians cherish and value this sign so much. It turned the course of history, turning the emperor - the supreme pagan priest - to the side of Christians, as a result of which a small sect of followers of Jesus became the most numerous religious current on the planet.

The spread of the chrisma

Before the chrisma became known as the cross of St. Constantine, it was used primarily in places where Christians gathered. The oldest examples are found in catacombs, underground cemeteries used by church members as places of meeting and service. Similar symbols have survived on Christian burial monuments and sarcophagi.

After legalization, this symbol was used as a religious sign in newly built churches. On the other hand, it served as an element of artistic design and decoration: bowls, lamps, caskets, and other church utensils were decorated with it. In secular circles, as already mentioned, the chrysogram was the state seal of Constantine himself and a number of his successors, as well as the official military symbol of the labarum, replacing the traditional Roman eagle in this place.

On the meaning of the chrysalis.

Various mystical groups, both within the orthodox church and among other currents, attached importance to the inner meaning of the Greek letters. Even the New Testament contains unambiguous references to gematria, the method of searching for the secret meaning through the calculation of numerical correspondences of letters of words and names. In the same way we can analyze the cross of Constantine.

Its meaning is given to the first two letters of the word "Christ". The sum of their numerical values is exactly 700, which was played in a special way in a complex Gnostic theology. This is why in the ancient, but little-known tradition of today, the number 700 is synonymous with Christ. If, for example, we consider the letters of Christogram separately, we get the following: χ (chi) means macrocosm, the whole universe. The numerical value is 100. In contrast, ι (iota) denotes microcosm. Its value is 10. Thus, we get a visual symbol of unity of microcosm and macrocosm - interconnection of a part and a whole, the great in the small. In the case of the later version of the chrysalis, where ι is replaced by ρ, the symbol means divine creation (due to the semantics of the letter ρ). It carries the meaning of creative power, world order, the feminine generative energy.


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