Star Wars Movie Posters- Magic, Myth and Alchemy

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Star Wars Movie Posters- Magic, Myth and Alchemy

Post by panki on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 4:27 pm

I had posted this a while back in the other place when I noticed a pattern in the Star Wars movie posters, and this includes possible connections to mythology/mysticism/ alchemy. I've stuck to the original movie posters (there are some artistic variations but if I cover those, I'll go crazy).

It is well known that SW universe is heavily inspired by the mythology of different cultures across the world particularly Greek, Egyptian and Norse mythology. Also, the Star Wars saga was originally supposed to span 12 episodes (like the zodiac/months) but it was subsequently reduced by LF to 9 (which is still alright since 9 represents the number of completion in numerology). Now it might become 12 again with Disney taking over and the retconning of the SW universe.

First, I see one common pattern in all the 7 episode's posters: the Death and Re-birth of God motif. Within each of the trilogies, there are other motifs to explore as well.

Episodes 1-3.... (God lives, loves, dies)
(Plus the triple Goddess and the Guardian of the Mysteries)

Episode 1 -

1. A young Anakin stands at the centre of the poster with lens flare behind him. He is like the Egyptian God Osiris who is a child of the sun (read: born of the force).
2. Padme is on the right side of the poster facing outwards. She represents the Goddess/the moon and is the maiden at this stage (note the white face, hair tied back and reddened lips)
3. Obiwan is like a guardian of the mysteries, holding his lightsaber vertically (this will be relevant in later posters). In esoteric studies, this guardian appears when the student enters the path into higher worlds of knowledge. Anakin starts training to become a jedi and Obi-wan is his teacher.
4. Qui Gon Jinn is on the top right side alone. I've noticed when a figure is prominently placed there and alone, they don't usually survive (as we'll see later).
5. Darth Maul, the big bad, is looming in the center of the background.All major villains appear prominently in the back and centre of the movie poster. Palpatine never occupies this place because he works in the shadows and gets his apprentices to do the heavy work.

Episode 2 -

1. The God (Sun) and the Goddess (now the bride with her loose hair and transitioning out of the maiden stage) are central to the poster. Anakin and Padme begin their romance and marry at the end of the movie. The lens flare behind Anakin is at it's zenith. Anakin has completed his training and is made a jedi knight.
2. Obiwan retains his place as a guardian of the mysteries. He is the one who discovers the clone army and Jango Fett.

Episode 3-

1. The God is dead (Anakin is gone to the dark side) and the lens flare is now below his head, like a setting sun. It reminds me of Osiris getting killed by his brother Set (Sith?). Anakin gets dismembered (like what happened to Osiris) when he fight with Obi-wan, wears his death mask and descends into the underworld (now he has transformed into Vader/death God). Now Vader looms large in the middle of the background as the villain. There is a small lens flare next to Vader's helmet- could that be prophetic of the little bit of light left in him?
2. Mace Windu has taken the place of the guardian holding up the lightsaber. He is the person present at the time Anakin chooses the dark side. He also tried to stand up to Darth Sidious but failed.
3. Obi-wan is remains in the same side of the poster but without the lightsaber. He has failed in his role to lead Anakin to higher levels of knowledge- he told Anakin to be patient when he was not made a master and he didn't realise the extent of Sidious's influence until it was too late.
3. The Goddess/Padme has transitioned into the crone/waning moon. She has moved to the left side of the poster. We get an idea that she will die from her Egyptian funerary style attire. In another poster, she wears a veil on her head- this signifies her death in either case.

Episodes 4-6.... (God's time in the Underworld)
(Plus the Divine Twins)

Episode 4-

1. Anakin is still Vader- so the God Osiris is still in the underworld. However, his children (who is are like Horus) have been hidden away just like in the myth. Horus has one golden eye representing the sun and one silver for the moon. Now Luke and Leia are twins so kind of like the sun and the moon. We can see a yellow glow behind them in the poster but Luke is the one holding up the shining lightsaber and Leia is holding a blaster (later Luke will end up developing his force powers while Leia will prefer to be a military leader)
2. Leia is the Goddess in this trilogy and she is the maiden in this poster (remember the cute girly bun hairdo).
3. Vader still looms large back and center.
4. The death Star has taken Qui Gon Jinn's place in the Episode 1 poster (and we know what happens to it at the end of the movie)

Episode 5-

1. Luke riding the Tauntaun on the planet Hoth takes the central position. This is the part of the story where he gets hung upside down in a cave by a Wampa and uses the force to call his lightsaber to him. This reminded me of how Odin hung upside down from the world tree for wisdom. (Note: I also find it strange that jedi seem to lose their lightsaber hand often. In Norse mythology, the God Tyr sacrifices his hand to the wolf for the sake of peace.)

Luke hanging in cave

Odin hanging from tree

2. Han features prominently in this poster and we know he is meant to be Leia's love interest because they're always looking in the same direction or at each other in posters. Here he is also doing some sort of "bridal carry" pose.
3. Leia is again the Goddess and has changed her hairstyle into a more adult hairstyle. The Goddess has chosen a love but he is mortal (no mortal (red: not FS) and in mythology Goddess-mortal relaitonships never end well for the mortal- look at Venus and Adonis, Selene and Endymion etc.... the result is death, eternal sleep....carbonite....all the same....frankly, this should have clued us to the fact Han Solo would not live very long).
4. Vader is still the large presence in the background.

Episode 6-

1. Vader still looms large as the death God in the underworld and he is still bad since he is still in the middle background but the Death Star is looming behind him which shows that the Empire is the main bad character and he is moving towards redemption.
2. Luke is a large figure just below Vader. Luke almost joined the dark side but finally chose not to in this episode.
3. Han and Leia are looking in the same direction. Leia has moved to the lowest spot in the middle of the poster so she does not need to become a jedi as Luke has shouldered the burden of divinity.....and like Horus, he defeats Osiris's enemy Set so that Osiris can return... (Anakin can see his son's face a final time)... now the story should end here...but the God hasn't left the underworld... so the journey isn't complete yet....

Episode 7- 9 (Re-emergence of God)
(Plus the creation of the Philosopher's Stone)

Episode 7-
To me, this was one extremely powerful poster.
1. First, there are two triangles in the picture (in previous posters, there are triangles formed by characters but not as blatantly as this one)....triangles, especially upright ones depict the fire within this "Fire", we have Han and Leia (estranged but looking in the same direction so still attached to one another).
2. Finn is positioned like a guardian but his light saber points downwards. I think it might means the lightsaber being with him is a red we now know, it went to Rey. Also, Rey really didn't want a guardian.
3. The Starkiller base looms in the background centre so the FO is the main villain.
4. I don't see a Goddess in her usual position (maybe Leia would have qualified if she stood alone but she is positioned behind Han so she won't qualify) which means Rey isn't taking the traditional female role in the story.

Now for my favourite part- Rey and Kylo Ren.....

5. Kylo seems to have taken the position of the big bad but he is not exactly in the center and facing forward like the previous bad characters. He is to the side and looking sideways. Now that Anakin/ Vader is dead and can't exactly emerge from the underworld (except as possibly a force ghost), his grandson Ben has donned the death mask (becoming Kylo Ren) and has taken up the role of the death God (he wants to be Vader). He is bad but not quite there yet.
6. Now Rey is mirroring his pose exactly and they're facing the same direction (still too early to call it a romance but there is definitely something there).
7. Their combined dress and weapons colour scheme is reddish-yellow, white and black.

In alchemy, the philosophers stone is made in 4 stages (sometimes considered 3)- black stage, white stage and yellow-red stage). As part of the process, the sun and moon (actual terms- but here I wonder if Kylo is the Moon being Leia's son and Rey is the Sun) must unite and go through all three stages to attain perfection. It is also sometimes equated with a journey through the underworld.

a. The black stage means there will be shadows, monsters, facing dangerous initiation tests (sounds familiar?), inner chaos and doubt.
b. The white stage is the arrival of white light, it makes one aware of one's lower nature and can even bring fear with the aim to improve (maybe something we'll see in Episode 8?).
c. Finally, the (yellow + red) red stage where the underworld is left behind and a pure form emerges.....or to put it simply.... Rey and Kylo are meant to take this journey together. They are both essential to this process, like Yin and Yang. Both have light (more in Rey's case) and dark (more in Kylo's case). I also feel these alchemy colours foreshadow Kylo's return from the underworld and Rey will be an integral part of this journey... and like the myth, he will not return in his original form (maybe grey jedi?)....but it will be a purer state- possibly bringing balance to the force?
[Note: Are the triangles forming in the picture depicting the fire within which the transformation takes place? It is interesting to note that both the FO and the resistance members are in that triangle - does it mean sacrifices will be required on both sides to achieve this complete transformation?]

The creation of the Philosopher's Stone

Last edited by panki on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 4:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Star Wars Movie Posters- Magic, Myth and Alchemy

Post by Maria Antonietta on Mon 18 Apr 2016, 4:33 pm

That's so cool! Wish I was so intelligent
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Re: Star Wars Movie Posters- Magic, Myth and Alchemy

Post by Darth Rowan on Wed 20 Apr 2016, 8:42 am

@panki, I love this analysis, I remember it from before. I love your thoughts on Kylo and Rey. Their positioning of facing the same direction and having their weapons aligned is very bold and powerful symbolism, imo.

What you have to say about Padme's character arc and her styling/positioning in the various posters reminded me about the question of Rey's styling and hair in the upcoming episode. Will be interesting if she wears it loose on the poster FOR VIII. ^.^

"We'll see."
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Re: Star Wars Movie Posters- Magic, Myth and Alchemy

Post by panki on Wed 20 Apr 2016, 5:25 pm

@Darth Rowan wrote:
What you have to say about Padme's character arc and her styling/positioning in the various posters reminded me about the question of Rey's styling and hair in the upcoming episode. Will be interesting if she wears it loose on the poster FOR VIII. ^.^
@Darth Rowan

I'm hoping Rey wears her hair loose or at least sports a grown up hairstyle in Episode VIII....Maybe the loose hair is part of her descent into the dark side....letting go of innocence? Shocked

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Re: Star Wars Movie Posters- Magic, Myth and Alchemy

Post by spacebaby45678 on Thu 28 Apr 2016, 6:22 am


I love your analysis, I think it is right on. Alchemy in many ways coincide with astrotheology ( the basis of most ancient myths) These cycles are based on the cycle of the sun during the  12 months of the  year, also the Hero's journey actually mirrors it. Since we are starting this portion of the Saga with the Sun/Son in the underworld like the night, the moon/feminine energy reflects the sun's light and guides our way during the darkness. So in TFA Rey begins to reflect Ren's force powers or " force bond" .  

I liked this guys astrotheological breakdown of the saga based on this cycle very much. 

Diagram Explanation

Essentially, the base of 12 is applied to the months of a year with significance drawn to the four cardinal points of seasonal change. And metonymically, this division of four can be applied to a cycle of a day, more or less. Of course, using a day as a frame, the moon has to represent the rebirth of the sun at the winter solstice (the bottom one). Also, the daily hours must be seen as a base of 12 rather than 24. I understand the diagram would have been simpler if only references to a yearly cycle were used, but I wished to draw attention to daily analogy as well.

Episodes I-III

From the diagram above, it may be seen that episode one began while still day but in the descent of the sun quadrant or afternoon. The Jedi order had reached its zenith with Anakin, the chosen one, at the solstice and  transitioned through war with the coming darkness of evening until the ultimate betrayal of the Jedi order at the Autumn equinox (the one on the right). This quadrant can also be understood as the deterioration of the suns glory during the latter half of the Summer until Autumn.

Episodes IV-VI

Due to the betrayal, the Jedi are in the darkest quadrant in episodes four to six. Anakin dies and is redeemed or 'resurrected' as good at the winter solstice (the one at the bottom) and the Jedi order is reborn. This quadrant may also be understood as the seasonal transition of Autumn to Winter, the ultimate bleakness.

Episodes VII-IX?

Using this framework, set in the moonlit quadrant, one could deduce that episodes seven to nine, symbolised by the sun being reborn at the Winter solstice, may be youth centric. And the Moon, usually the female counterpart to the Sun, is also predominant here, so one could expect a female to be the important character to this trilogy. Also, applying astrology, Saturn, 'the great opposer',  is exalted in this quadrant, which may be the theme of these episodes. And this quadrant, although moonlit, is still dark overall. I.e. there are still antagonists to the Jedi order. Another way to see this quadrant is the transition from Winter to the Spring equinox - a rejuvenation.

Future Star Wars Movies

As for the Ascending Sun quadrant sequels (or prequels), there must be a triumph (conquering) at the Spring equinox (the one on the left) by the sun, reinstating light in the universe. I.e. the Jedi order will establish and increase control in these episodes. But i don't see how a story line without strong antagonism or looming defeat will hold interest. This is probably why there is conjecture about leaving the saga at nine episodes and making spin-offs instead.


So overall, astrology and astro-theology may seem new-age bunk to skeptics, but you can see there is a clear correlation between this framework and the actual story progression, so far. And according to where the saga left off and the logical progression of a cycle, it seems very likely that the story will follow the framework in future episodes.

I was going to finish off with the Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Ep. VII) wrap party music: 'Superstition' by Stevie Wonder, but all clips seem to have been deleted from the internet. Strange.

Also interesting how EP 7 - 9 are in the Grey portion of the cycle on the diagram, and the TFA book begins with this quote. 

"First comes the day
Then comes the night.
After the darkness
Shines through the light.
The difference, they say,
Is only made right
By the resolving of gray
Through refined Jedi sight."
―Journal of the Whills, 7:477[src]

But notice also how the Hero's Journey is also a mirror of the 12 month cycle of the sun, and Ren's story/narrative in TFA  also begins in the underworld. Ren is past the first threshold in the underworld abyss

Love the alchemical analysis of the Hanged man in ESB... Not only allusions to odin but the hanged man in Tarot, and the mid point of the saga when there is a reversal, Luke's worldview is turned upside down by finding out that Darth Vadar is his father.  

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Re: Star Wars Movie Posters- Magic, Myth and Alchemy

Post by Darth Dementor on Sat 30 Apr 2016, 12:45 pm

Great opening to the thread. High quality!

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Re: Star Wars Movie Posters- Magic, Myth and Alchemy

Post by FrolickingFizzgig on Sat 30 Apr 2016, 12:58 pm

Love this though:

THE SUNLIGHT IT CONTAINS BURSTS FORTH, and as we get further and further distance from what was Starkiller Base, we witness the REBIRTH OF A SUN. Light restored to a corner of the galaxy.
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