Thursday, October 29, 2015

Looking backward…looking forward…in “a galaxy far, far away”

 Star Wars hype is nothing new in my family: my Pluto-in-Libra generation sons were there for the first go-round in 1977, for every sequel and prequel since—and they’ll undoubtedly be there for this December’s release of The Force Awakens. I’ll wait for the DVD (my “Stormtrooper” costume is at the dry cleaner…forever), but I will be curious to see what the latest episode says about today’s world.

As a mundane astrologer whose “day job” included teaching Film Studies, I’ve always been fascinated by the uncanny way film themes echo the times in which they are released, even though the film production process typically takes years.  Even more interesting, when the film themes happen to be taken from history, there are often connections between the historical period portrayed and the release time of the film (i.e., Return of the King was released when G.W. Bush was claiming enhanced powers for the Executive; Gravity was released when Hillary Clinton was in a “weightless” limbo of indecision about running for president). These correlations can, and are observed and analyzed by film scholars with no reference to astrology, of course, but why ignore the most revealing analytical tool of all?

“The Force is strong with this one…”

While the latest Star Wars episode is pending (the campers are already amassing), we can at least consider the astrological “birth” of Star Wars as an “epic space opera” and as a franchise that—at 38 years old—is fast reaching middle age. Of course, films can and do endure far longer than humans do, but I would argue that being products of their times, such influential films resonate most keenly with their original viewers, who age as the series does. Future generations may still enjoy them (as we enjoy Citizen Kane and even silent films in classes), but the experience won’t be the same. So, if George Lucas, Star Wars’ writer/original director, showed up in our astrology shop, asking how his 38-year-old creation is faring, what would we tell him?  Let’s consider the biwheel below:

Both charts in the biwheel represent U.S. releases and are thus set for Washington, D.C.. The inner chart displays the chronological earliest release, 1977 Star Wars (now also known as Episode IV: A New Hope); the outer chart represents the anticipated December 18, 2015 release, Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens. While the story chronology has quite a different order, these two represent the “birth” and the imminent “significant milestone” of the series for the purpose here. Let’s consider some highlights of the inner “birth” chart first, however, before we consider (in the next post) what the two charts together say about the franchise as a living entity reaching "midlife."

Use the Force, Luke…

This is a very “light” feeling chart, with the Sun widely conjunct Jupiter in Gemini, trine to Pluto (Libra) and opposite Neptune in Sagittarius—not surprising in a story that merges Western and Eastern sensibilities with its mythic/philosophical message. As the main character in this episode, Luke Skywalker reflects, in his archetypal “hero’s journey” quest, this blend of air and fire energies, and his fellow rebels (Princess Leia, Han Solo, R2D2, C3P0, etc.) against the “dark side” forces of Darth Vader share in that heroic glow via the Moon’s probable position in Leo. (The chart is set for noon, but if the film premiered before 3 p.m. anywhere in the U.S., the Moon would have been in Leo, disposed by the Sun).

Cast for noon, this Moon also trines the powerful Venus-Mars conjunction in Aries—an action-oriented pairing that fits the yin and yang energies of the story’s earnest band of space warriors, and the underlying hint of romance that percolates between Princess Leia (the leader of the rebellion) and Skywalker and Solo. We can also see the clash of “light sabers” here, as this most “innocent” of episodes makes no attempt at ambiguity: good v. evil and light v. dark are clearly drawn, even though Han Solo (the story’s archetypal “cowboy” figure, also fitting an Aries Mars) has a reputation for not paying his bills.

This fiery Venus-Mars conjunction (especially with such a dignified Mars) has also provided strength, vigor and endurance to the Star Wars franchise, which was reportedly envisioned as a series from the get-go. The conjunction also trines Neptune in Sagittarius, which infused the story's heroic “quest” with pure cinematic magic. Depending upon the exact placement of the Moon, all this fiery energy could very well amount to a brilliant fire grand trine, which fit the momentum and reach of this space-age revisioning of an ancient archetypal tale. Or as Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi might say, “May the Force be with you.”

As Skywalker’s wise, Buddhist monk-like mentor, Obi-Wan trains the young warrior to fight from the inside out, marshaling the “Force” within him for that purpose. The fortuitous relationship they enjoy as Luke finally embraces his quest is reflected in the chart’s interesting series of exact sextiles: Jupiter (Gemini) to Saturn (Leo) to Pluto (Libra). Saturn at the midpoint of Jupiter’s trine to Pluto reflects the discipline, resolve and strategic restraint Obi-Wan counsels to help channel his student’s energies productively. “Use the Force, Luke…”

These sextiles also benefited George Lucas, who just seemed to be in the right place at the right time with this project—doors opened to him then, and they are apparently still open. Saturn’s amiable trine with Neptune suggests the “Hollywood Dream Factory” was on board from day one. With its Sun-Jupiter trine to Pluto, the film captured the Pluto in Libra generation’s “hearts and minds” with ease, but the film’s idealistic ethos (Saturn-Neptune) likely clinched their devotion to the franchise. Box office returns broke all records for that time.

This interesting Saturn-Neptune accord also speaks to the “Jedi master,” as the enlightened elder (Obi-Wan Kenobi), but Leo Saturn is not all warm and fuzzy: it also falls square the chart’s Uranus (Scorpio)-Mercury (Taurus) opposition, creating a T-square. On the story level, this reflects the primordial nature of “The Force” and to the stress of navigating both its light and dark possibilities.

Of course, Saturn also represents the film’s dark “Jedi master” Darth Vader—and the Death Star (key word perfection!), with its dark, repressive forces, which are also enabled by the Saturn-Pluto sextile. It’s not surprising, considering the mythic undertones of this story, that Vader is revealed to be Skywalker’s father in a later episode. In myth, Ouranos (Uranus) is overthrown by the Titans, including his son Chronos (Saturn)—the Sky God is brought low and held accountable in the realm of time and space.

Finally, we can see that the T-square between Saturn, Uranus-Mercury also reflected production challenges director George Lucas experienced with technology and weather. Lucas (Saturn represents the director in film production) founded Industrial Light & Magic to create the special visual effects needed for the film, which fits the Aquarius “4th leg” resolution of the T-square. Even with these challenges, however, Saturn’s trine to Neptune (as mentioned above), indicates a supportive environment for collaboration between the management of the process (Saturn) and the creative teams and individuals working under Lucas’ guidance (Neptune). 

To be continued…A Force Awakens: Star Wars at midlife

© Raye Robertson 2015. All rights reserved. 

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