THE MEANING OF SATINE In ancient myth, the goddess Sati(ne) was a Virgin Huntress. Her origins seem to begin in Upper Egypt; in a place was "The Land of Sati". In India, her holy city was Abu, the City of the Elephant. It is said that the Elephant god mated with her and she brought forth the Enlightened Son of God, Buddha. Still today there are worship centers in India known as the "Footprints of Sati." In the film these mythological connections are underscored by the Elephant structure of the Moulin Rouge, the "Elephant Love Medley" and the performance of Madonna's "Like a Virgin." Satine dresses alternatively in White and Red gowns -the classic Virgin Whore goddess motif.
It is interesting to note that the modern mind word connects the name SATINE with SATAN, and especially so when the main character's name is CHRISTIAN. She is a Courtesan (a prostitute) and he is a poet of truth, freedom and love. They are as opposite as Satan and Christ.
However, SATINE has no actual symbolic connection with Satan in this story. She is not Christian's adversary. (In Greek SATAN means adversary). Instead she and the Moulin Rouge are considered Satanic. In an opening scene a priest standing outside the Moulin Rouge warns us of the "spiritual sin" inside. Also, Christian's father warned him of the satanic nature of the Moulin Rouge.
SATINE is not a Satanic type at all. Rather, she is considered the representation of Satan, evil, and sin by religious zealots and the self-righteous.
This is the story of the prostitute who is loved by Christ and loves him in return. This is the story of the transforming power of love, even over those who are considered satanic.