It’s Star Wars Day and I’m sitting down tonight to rewatch the original Star Wars trilogy for the millionth time (a slight exaggeration, but not by much).
These films, and the entire fictional universe created by George Lucas, were one of the most significant parts of my childhood. At age 10, I lived and breathed Star Wars, constantly watching the movies, reading the comic books, collecting the action figures, and running around my backyard with a lightsaber pretending to be a Jedi.
The characters & themes of this saga still ring in my imagination like a great myth. Luke Skywalker. Darth Vader. Princess Leia. The Jedi. The Force. It was a story of good versus evil, of fathers and sons, of hope and redemption, of the struggle within each of us between the dark & the light.
What my 10-year-old brain didn’t yet realize was just how deeply Star Wars is rooted in the great stories of the human imagination. When I learned many years later that George Lucas based the plot of Star Wars on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces, an exploration of the hero’s journey myth common to every culture & religion in history, it opened up a whole new world for me of myth, archetypes, and spiritual truth.
Despite taking place in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars is a story deeply familiar to the human spirit. It’s the story we’re ALWAYS telling. A hero leaves home and enters the unknown. Their journey involves tests and challenges, mentors and allies. They must learn to trust in themselves & a higher power they cannot see. They must confront their deepest fear & all that is dark and dangerous. They conquer their fear & bring redemption and new hope to the world. This is our human story. This is our blueprint for living courageous, meaningful lives.
So much of my work now as a life coach is deeply informed by these themes, myths, archetypes of the hero’s journey and how they can guide us through life’s challenges. I’ve learned from Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, from spirituality and psychology, from myths and meditation… but it all started with three movies and a little boy with a plastic lightsaber pretending he was a Jedi.
Thank you Star Wars.