Subliminal Advertising in The Secret (Part 3) — Be positive & get burned alive

September 2, 2012

My apologies for the rather ghoulish title, but that’s what The Secret is about. As we will see in this post, one of the strongest messages buried in this opening sequence is that people were burned so that YOU could have the product that Rhonda Byrne wants to sell you.

This message is left subtly implied rather than overtly stated, because you’re not supposed to be thinking “Well if The Secret will give me everything I want, then why did so many people who knew it previously get roasted?” Instead they want people to feel the intensity of the flames and feel the fear all at a subconscious level.

The Secret runs on subconscious fear just as much as it runs on appeals to hope and greed. The latter two are masked by claims that they are simply telling you the facts: The universe really IS a massive conspiracy to make you rich…. Or to break you. It all depends on how you use the Law of Attraction, and these mystical heroes are willing to sell you the secret key.

The parallel with the Dark Ages and Catholic Church selling indulgences to rescue people from the flames of hell, will become even clearer in this post.

The use of subliminal images in the film (already explored in Part 1 and Part 2) not only reveals the film makers’ contempt for the audience; it also reveals the way in which they attempt to manipulate people into reacting in certain ways. Subliminal advertising seems to have only limited effects in very limited contexts, but following it frame by frame provides a glimpse in to the thoughts and intentions of the film makers. It shows the way they have stitched the whole fabric of lies, distortions, fear-mongering and emotional blackmail together.

Of course, no advertiser would be worth his salt if he didn’t use plenty of sexual innuendo, and that is where we will start.

Remember, so far we are barely 40 seconds into the film, in this the third post in this series. The viewer has little idea how much information they have swallowed up to this point.


We get lots of close-ups of eyes throughout this whole sequence, especially Rhonda Byrne’s eyes. We notice the labial, almond form of the eye, and the way Ms Byrne’s eyes widen as she reads about The Secret. We see the way that the moisture seeps out from under the lids and moistens the black hairs of the lashes.

We also had a subliminal of Byrne’s eye, which I didn’t put in the last post. This came immediately after the banknote and the Secret logo. The logo merges with Byrne’s eye, in a way that only an advertiser would think of.

And diving back into the sequence where we left off last post, we see Byrne’s eyes widening as she gazes enthralled at a hidden Secret in the privacy of her hotel room.

This all follows on immediately after the subliminal of the banknote and the Secret logo. Sexual innuendo, fascination, images of people being hunted, the banknote, the sexual eyes and then — suddenly — flames. The frame below is vague, but it gets photoshopped in the subsequent frame into another subliminal image.

This next frame in the sequence (below) is more than just a random merging of images. It has been clearly photoshopped to form a ghoulish, cartoonish image of a face engulfed in flames.

The next frame shows a merging of two images, with part of a man’s face and flames. Note also the face-like silhouette in profile of someone screaming in flames.

This fades to an almost total black out, except for deep emerald-green glow in one corner of the screen. As the lights slowly come up, we see a silhouette of Byrne’s face in profile. She opens her mouth and draws her head back, exactly in alignment with a phallic bedpost or something in the background. It’s difficult to convey the suggestiveness of this in a single still. Watch the sequence before accusing me of making too much of it. And also look at any billboard which has a woman’s mouth anywhere near any kind of object. Advertisers do this stuff all the time. Feel free to accuse me of being too Freudian in this and the following sequences, but remember that advertising itself was invented by Freud’s nephew. (See also this documentary on the origins of advertising.)

What’s important to note here is that the film makers seem to be trying to divert the audiences shock and fear reactions into sexual arousal.

After Byrne moves her mouth off the bedpost we see a close up of the stem of a lamp. Byrne’s hand comes into the picture, grips it and wobbles it around a bit.

She runs through the hotel room with it trailing a blaze of light behind it like the torches we’ve seen earlier and bangs it down on a table. We look on from above as she takes an old-fashioned reading glass in her hand. Again, it’s a bit hard to see in a still, but Byrne gently grips this round thing and moves her head slowly over it.

Again, in case you think the film makers are just innocently depicting Byrne reading, we get a rather sensual close up of Byrne’s blond hair and her lips moving as she reads.

The close up of Byrne’s lips is overlaid with a scroll. Again, the advertisers haven’t missed the opportunity for some phallic imagery.

As will become even clearer in Part 4, this film is marketed primarily at women. Byrne has taken a phallic symbol in her hand, moved her head over it and… sees the words The Secret. Reading it is now associated with a sexual act on a male. (Again, if you’re raising an eyebrow at my interpretation, remember you are watching an advertisement!)

More photoshopped phallic imagery is to be seen in the next shots (I’ve skipped them to save space), along with that scroll (above) that also looks like a stick of dynamite with a lit fuse.

Now we get Byrne’s eye again. She reads the words The Emerald Tablet.

And we see the Emerald Tablet reproduced in the book.  This is the same book which just referred to “The Secret” as if it were also a historical name for a real document.

Note that it resembles the shape and color, the note from Byrne’s child, with the X’s prominently showing. (If you thought I was making too much of those X’s earlier, now you know why!)

They have put a lot of work into associating that child’s note and the “gift” of The Secret, haven’t they. As well as associating the The Secret itself with the Emerald Tablet and other traditions. As we just saw, they even present it as if “The Secret” was already referred to in the same books that talk about the Emerald Tablet.

The picture in the book starts to turn emerald colored, and this frame shows clearly (I hope it’s clear in this reproduction) that they have crudely drawn a square around the X’s to highlight them as the rest of the tablet turns green. And incidentally, this is why I’ve been repeatedly emphasizing the use of the color green throughout!

And now we’re back in ancient Egypt. The tablet that resembled the child’s note is being covered by the only white sheet of paper that appears in the entire film. (The rest of the paper is that “olde worlde” yellow color.) Is this intentional on the part of the film makers, symbolically presenting the tablet/Secret as a child that’s being tucked in to bed? I don’t know, but they’ve already put a lot of effort into the symbols and associations in this film. It would make perfect advertising sense to associate The Secret itself with a “child” that is being protected through the ages.

It’s the young man from 10 seconds earlier, and now we see that he’s copying the tablet. And what’s that weird Mr Magoo like face in the background? I have no idea, but it seems to talk for a frame or two.

We remember this shot from earlier. He frantically copies…

….As the flames approach — that thing looks like a flame thrower! Where did the Romans get that from?

Now we get a brief close up of the copy – again with the X’s emphasized.

And now we see that it’s a massive lynch mob approaching. I guess those are flags that they’re carrying, but the effect is like white hoods worn by the Ku Klux Klan. This seems deliberate. Otherwise, why would Roman soldiers dress up in white robes and march around while others are in uniform and working?

Their numbers grow, and they swirl around like a fiery storm. The statues in the background take on the appearance of death masks at times.

This is actually a mirrored image of a single line of torch bearers which has then been duplicated. Maybe the film makers are living out some fantasy of getting the kinds of messages that Kubrick could put over using mirror images. Or maybe they only wanted to pay for one line of marchers.

Back to uniformed Roman soldiers advancing on the young man and the tablet. Their gas torches leave fiery trails.

There are many images of flames flaring out as the soldiers advance.

The youth has escaped and that old man stands there awaiting his fate. He will obviously be burned so that YOU can have The Secret. (Did I say that already? Well you should feel guilty about it!)

For the second time we see flames engulfing the old man. These were just flashes of a frame or two previously. Now the image lasts a little longer, but still barely a second. At normal speed this flashes by swiftly enough to be noticed, but too swiftly for the audience to dwell upon in the avalanche of images.

And the film makers wouldn’t want us to dwell on the fact that these people who “knew The Secret” finished up getting burned alive. But I’m sure that before that happened they had everything they wanted. Maybe their ego got in the way and they manifested getting burned alive. Well them’s the breaks I guess. But The Secret ALWAYS works.

Outside we see the young man burying the Emerald Tablet, and we get yet another black out, but this time with a caption emerging out of it: The Secret was buried. After the blackout, we get one single frame — another subliminal — of the KKK again.

I will emphasize this again: the above image is a single frame subliminal inserted after a blackout.

Byrne opens another book and we dive into the page again in yet another explosion of yellow light. Again the word Rosicrucian is visible as the last word we see on the page.

I’ll skip over the usual phallic imagery that follows these explosions – candles with wax dripping down, scrolls being handled in delicate ways by lascivious priests – before the next explosion and black out with the words The Secret was coveted.

We cut next to a Rosicrucian with a five-pointed star, an alchemical symbol apparently also associated with the Emerald Tablet, on his table. This image has already been overlaid over Byrne’s eye.

The Rosicrucian looks up in panic (another eye close up), as a blue flashing light appears at his window. I never realized there were police cars back in the 1500s, but what the heck. It’s there and it’s scary, and he has to run away again so that YOU can have The Secret.

We get another caption as the inevitable black out kicks in: The Secret was suppressed. The blue light in the background now seems to recall a blue rose, the symbol of the Rosicrucians. The esoteric meaning of the symbol has to do with a mystical union with Jesus Christ, the internationally recognized motivational speaker.

A room full of conspiratorial men in black suits sit around nodding to each other conspiratorially. They are conspiring, in between black outs, to ensure that “The Secret will never be released to the public”. This is written on a typewriter. (Wikipedia link for younger readers!)

And for those who haven’t seen enough flames yet, we get a long close up of papers burning in a ghoulish looking fire-place with eyes, a nose, and teeth. The camera lingers on the scene.

The fireplace merges into Byrne reading books, by running her finger along in a way that looks like an eye again.

Byrne’s face is now edited in so that it piously appears in that reading glass thing that she was reading all the old books through. (Man, is she short-sighted if she needs one of those things to read! She obviously never improved her eyesight by natural healing exercises or pinhole glasses!)

And of course this glass thingy now looks like an eye. Remember the single frame subliminal of Rhonda Byrne’s eye with the sun shining out of it from Part 2, immediately after the dollar bill and the Secret logo? Well it’s being reinforced here. Or maybe NLP freaks will tell me that image is being “anchored”. Whatever. And of course, the next orgasmic explosion of yellow light.

Who is on waiting for us on the other side of this climax? Find out in the next post!

We have covered a whole minute today! I left out a lot in order to do it, but we got there. In the next post, we get into the meat of the story. If you’ve read this far, it’s worth taking a moment to realize just how many “bits” of information were packed into that opening sequence. No wonder everyone who watches it seems to get a bit animated about the whole the thing. It’s a surreptitious assault on the senses.

Click here for Part 4.



  1. Suppressing the Secret. I’d probably be amazed at the number of people who would interpret skeptical criticism and ridicule as “suppression.” The whole MIB thing is hilarious, and relies on people having no memory of other people proposing the same positive thinking nonsense for centuries without any strong arm opposition.

  2. Yes, this is all part of a fucking conspiracy. I’ve already seen comments around the place saying that James Ray only got locked up to stop him making the Secret public.

    As if Napoleon Hill was crucified or banished. As if US history is a sad procession of pogroms against entrepreneurs.

    The biggest fucking joke is that the Secret’s gurus are the ones who are suppressing the real secret of their success. The way they run business is the exact opposite of what they tell their customers to do.

    They have their own business plan all mapped out and they all run variations on the same plan — offshore bank accounts, fake charities, multiple empty business-fronts as tax dodges, exploitive sales practices that involve cross-promotion and surrounding a victim and immersing them in a self serving exploitive ideology, charging credit cards in advance and offering minimal refund windows, setting up client networks in ways that appear supportive but are actually exploitive and restrictive, cross-promoting each others work and then slitting each other’s throats for the slightest advantage, threatening critics with vicious lawsuits, setting up and putting out scam advertising films like this one.

    And Rhonda Byrne even stung the film makers ruthlessly.

  3. As you know, I followed the wacky Esther Hicks for awhile, but I really never understood why people liked The Secret! It’s so DARK and, well, fiery! And stirs up the not-feeling-good emotions. I can see why the Hicks’ wouldn’t have wanted to continue to be part of it. It doesn’t really fit with the brand/image that they had developed. (Although the did profit greatly from involvement with the Secret! And who knows what really happened there.)

  4. Yeh, I was completely revolted by it before I’d even watched the first second. I tried a few times to watch it to review it but always just started barking at my computer screen. Now I understand a bit more about why.

    But I know many quite sweet and loving people who thought it was grea……. Hang on, let me rephrase that. I know plenty of manipulative, vindictive and nasty people who I wished were sweet and loving who thought it was great. (Sorry you guys. The truth’s the truth.)

    As a general observation, I notice that this series of posts still hasn’t had any negative comments from Secretards. Funny that.

  5. There’s not much they could say! You’re pointing out that the creators of the movie intentionally placed subliminal and suggestive images, how would a Secret lover even respond to that? Oh, I suppose they could say, well, don’t worry about all that manipulative stuff, it’s the overall message that counts! (Gag!)

    I’ve probably said this before, but I always wondered how they got away claiming that this was secret knowledge that had been kept a secret. I mean, if I found a way to create whatever I want, why would I try to keep it from anyone? At the very least, I might spend a year or so creating all my stuff before bothering to share it, but taking great pains to keep it a secret? I can create whatever I want, so it’s not like other people are going to create stuff that takes my stuff from me! There’s really no motivation at all for anyone to keep this kind of thing a secret.

    I suppose the STORY that this “law of attraction” has been kept a secret makes it interesting to a certain type of person. There was a time in my life when I liked the idea of having special knowledge that hardly anyone else had. But really, that’s just silly!

  6. I suppose the STORY that this “law of attraction” has been kept a secret makes it interesting to a certain type of person. There was a time in my life when I liked the idea of having special knowledge that hardly anyone else had. But really, that’s just silly!

    It’s the mystery cult mentality. Some people just feel the need to act superior because they’re in on it. It’s like religion for hipsters, bragging about how their gods are more obscure and deviant from the mainstream. It’s also appealing to the inherently selfish, because they can ‘hoard’ the knowledge for their personal benefit instead of spread it. Of course, we’re also getting into martyr complexes as well, minus actual persecution, so their alleged suffering helps them feel like they have the moral high ground.

  7. Bronze Dog- I see that with some of the people who follow Abraham-Hicks, that they seem to rely on having special knowledge to make it through their day!

    Religion for hipsters, that’s a good one!

  8. I’ve been seeing hipster-like attitudes in woo more often these days, so the comparison has been getting a lot of mental mileage with me. One old example is the general woo attitude toward “mysteries” I tend to see: They collect mysteries so that they can show off how they know really obscure alleged paranormal events or more of them.

    I suspect those obscure mystery fans probably get their own martyr complex going in the sense of “why isn’t the media/government telling us The Truth about this?” to imply that lack of interest equals cover up.

    You know, it’s been a while since I’ve seen any Secret fans. I’m feeling nostalgic for some of the troll roasts back in the day on Skeptico. Like Boney. “You’re wrong because you’re a D&D nerd!” I guess I should get more active in seeking out woo to dissect. Who knows, maybe I might enjoy some time having a high search engine rank on a particular woo and get hit-and-run trolls to poke. Suggestions are welcome. Think I might do another post on Bruce Lipton.

  9. Bronze Dog- that’s funny you mention Bruce Lipton, I was just reading some of Yakaru’s posts on Bruce Lipton. I must have manifested you saying that today. JUST KIDDING!!!!

    I wonder which woo attracts the most trolls. Hmmmm….

    On my A-H blog, the trolls are not random. I believe I have only received one “random” troll post, and it was a simple question asking if I was sure I had studied the teachings. Some of the wooies can’t spend time troll posting for fear of messing up their vibration or offering a mixed vibration to the universe.

  10. @Bronze Dog

    Another attraction of “mystery knowledge” is that the fastest way to be a “leading expert in the field” is to invent the field yourself!

  11. I mostly mentioned Bruce Lipton since Yakaru suggested I post something about him when I was requesting topics a while back.

    And I know what you mean about non-random trolls. A lot of the time, they are just random hit-and-run trolls who do a web search and feel compelled to whine about you daring to have a different conclusion without addressing your points. Sometimes, however, the gurus get into sock puppetry, or coordinate their loyal followers to spam a skeptic who’s incurred their wrath, or an obsessive Dennis Markuze appoints himself to be your nemesis. Sometimes you get one post up that manages to attract multiple woos’ attention, leading them all to post their own blog entries that miss the point, leading to some of their readers pouring on the hate when they naively believe the straw men in the woo-friendly post.

    I’ve got some curiosity about how trolls can affect search ranks of a page. On my old blog, I’ve looked at visitor info and by referrals, seen some trolls always visit a pet post by way of searching the same phrase instead of bookmarking or searching within the blog.

  12. @Bronze Dog- I just think it’s funny to look at something like that and say, “Look! I manifested that!” in a completely joking way. I amuse myself. I recently read a post that an Aber wrote, that they had manifested six butterflies or something on a bike ride. OK… The trolls on my blog, who are more accurately described as sockpuppets as you point out, do the same thing, always coming in from the same search or landing on the same post. I never even knew such a world as trolls and sockpuppets even existed until a relatively short while ago! And the trolls going off an writing their own blog post- I laughed out loud when I read that because you’re right, that’s exactly what they do!

    I have a friend who collects mysteries in the way you describe. Interesting observation!

    @Yakaru- I thought of a woo woo kind of field I could be an expert in, but now I’ve forgotten. Shoot! I’m afraid I wouldn’t make it very far as a scammer or a quack. Unless I still believed it, then I could take a stab at it. It seems the ones who actually do believe, and are trying to emulate their gurus, don’t make it very far, do they?

  13. […] is No Excuse « Subliminal Advertising in The Secret (Part 3) — Be positive & get burned alive Subliminal Advertising in The Secret (Part 4) — In Bed With Einstein September 8, […]

  14. Bronze Dog- you are absolutely right.

    It is typical of those sorry saps who think that disagreeement equals censorship, even if no one is using violence or the legal system or government against the speaker (ex. bigoted preacher says feminists and black rights organizations are trying to “censor” him by not publishing his books or by writing articles against him).

    And, yes, the Secret and things very similar have been around from time immemorial with no shortage of availabillity (well, perhaps except during the era in which the Church banned all other teachings and no one could read). Part of this is because an uneducated or very stupid person probably could, on his own, think up something along the lines of “if I line my thoughts with something i wantImay get it!”

    In SOME sense, it could be true. If you think thoughts those thoughts could change yuor behavior and you will behave like a person who makes lots of money and gets what he wants. Or, it could be a “fake it till you make it” thing, in which a confident looking person will get others’ confidence. But, still, that only works in a situation where most of the people around you have that sort of view of confident people.

    Really, it’s just bollocks. It’s in the same vein as Mary baker Eddy’s Christian Science, a cult which elevates Eddy to the status of Christ (she is the only “interpreter” of Jesus’ words and only SHE knew what he “really” meant; I went to a CS church and Eddy’s picture was either above or level with Jesus’s in the pulpit). It preaches that reality is not real and that only the nonmaterial is real, so therefore anyone whose thoughts are in line with God will not get sick

    Granted, if you have a strong enough mind, you can tune out the material world, and the brain is certainly an organ in which energy of a certain kind IS produced, but yuo can’t affect reality in any meaningful way, and certainly not cure diseases- or, like CS practitioners CHARGE for- cure OTHER people’s diseases.

    Christian Science, like the Secret movie here, makes use of Illuminati/Freemasonic imagery. Ionic colums when I went to their church once, same sort of realit-denying structure and hierarchy of individuals, with the most brainwashed second to the top and the leaders raking in alll the money and power, people who disagree- or even those who go too far with the philosophy and make it look “bad” (Bliss Knapp)- are silenced and hounded, etc.

    I’m starting to think the same people are putting out all this shyte!

  15. I’m glad you’ve found these posts!

    Secretards, just like Hay fans always try to wind it back to the “soft” version when they’re challenged. But the soft version (just think nice things and oyu’ll eb happy) is utterly trivial and no one owuld sell any books if they just taught that kind of thing. So it has to be “proven by quantum physics”, and that science “so you can’t argue with that”.

    Yeh – they are incredibly well networked and they all run the same scam.

    I mention a bit of it at the end of this post

    but it would take a lot more digging to get to the bottom of it.

    They all run the same slick scam, with the same business plan I believe a lot of it was set up by Tony Robbins, following in the footsteps of Werner Erhard.

    Numberless people have been ruined by these crooks.

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