“A child stolen is a lost hope.” – Moral “Spheres of Influence” The Clone Wars
“Truly wonderful the mind of a child is” – Yoda.
Let’s not kid ourselves; Star Wars is essentially for kids. I’m not ashamed to say that I like Star Wars and don’t mind being called a “big kid” because of it. We go to the movies to escape reality for a while and to enjoy ourselves. Even to remember what it was like to be a child again.
As a ten year old I saw Star wars for the first time when it hit theatres in 1977. The experience was indescribable. It blew away all expectations. My life was changed from that evening 42 years ago.
Ever since that I day I feel that same sense of wonder every time I sit down to watch the original trilogy. The nostalgia dented only by the re-mastering and editing that replaced the original cinematic version. The movies belonged to my generation. Star Wars was made for us. It belonged to us.
“We often tend to ignore how much of a child is still in all of us.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, “On Death and Dying”
Children still enjoy Star Wars of course. The prequels entertained the millennial generation and the current trilogy has been made for the current generation of kids. Let no one tell you otherwise, Star Wars is meant for the kids first and us critical and adoring adults second.
The way we view Star Wars can even differ between generations. In “How I met your Mother”, Barney comes to the conclusion that a girl he is seeing is much older than he is because she hates the Ewoks. Barney reasons that because she was a kid when Star Wars first came out and a teenager when “Return of the Jedi” screened in 1983 the Ewoks to her were annoying at best. The Ewoks were cute and adorable and made for the kids. If Barney’s girl fiend hated Ewoks, he reasoned, she would have to be up to ten years his senior. This also annoyed Barney, he could not be with someone who hated Ewoks.
The Ewoks were annoying, I still find them mildly annoying but Star Wars is a modern fairy tale and while fairy tales have a moral they are also written for children or at least the inner child in all of us. Time to get over the Ewoks.
The Ewok Line “How I met your Mother”
Children are a blessing. My life changed when I had kids. All of the sudden there was more than just my self to live for. I was responsible for another human being that was powerless in every way and utterly reliant on me. This is a revelation that only a parent can describe. In one sense it is amazing beyond words and in another it is utterly terrifying. Your mortality is revealed as is your human vulnerabilities. Every selfish act becomes shockingly apparent. There is no hiding from the truth. You have the most important job on the planet to fulfil.
For me it was not enough. I loved my kids of course and tried my best however alcohol was more important to me. There were nights when I drank secretly in the study while my wife and kids slept completely oblivious to the fact that I was drunk. If they needed me in the middle of the night I would probably have been completely incapable of caring for them.
Thank God for their mother who truly looked after their every need and never drunk. I can only imagine what would have happened if they had been left alone in my care. Who was the bigger child in all of that I wonder. It is my biggest shame as an alcoholic. A Father is meant to protect his kids and put them first always. This is not sacrifice but a sacred duty.
“We did not come into this world loathing ourselves or wishing to numb or feelings. As small children, we operated from a place of wonder, curiosity, spontaneity and creativity.” – Christopher Dines, “Drug Addiction Recovery: The Mindful Way”
I recall being a child. I remember Star Wars and a lot of other cool things that happened. There are also plenty of memories of a drunken Father, my mother’s bitter tears and despair at a husband who put money for food in to his drinking and stayed out for days and nights. One day I saw my mother taken in an ambulance and that’s the last time I saw her before I saw her lowered in to the ground in a coffin.
The years that followed were not childlike in any normal sense of the word. There were orphanages, homes and hostels, abuse from care givers and intermittently my drunken Father would appear. No wonder I hated the Ewoks when I went to see “Return of the Jedi” at 16. They were lame and stupid and reminded me of everything I wanted to forget, my childhood. The promise of Star Wars had failed me. The inner child within me was smothered out, all but dead.
Alcoholism was the natural progression from that point.
“Oh Annie, you’ll always be that little boy I knew on Tatooine” – Padme.
Its no wonder then that when I finally became sober I had to rekindle my long lost inner child. Not just the “big kid” that comes out to rough house with the kids and make a convincing go at playing dress ups at parties without feeling completely foolish. Also not the petulant and obstinate child I became when I was drinking. Playing the drunken idiot was also easy. The inner child is something different. It is something wonderful.
“The inner child represents the strongest, the most ineluctable urge in every being, namely the urge to realize itself.” – Carl Jung
The Divine Child
If you could personify the divine I have no doubt it would appear as a wide eyed and amazed child, playful, curious and innocent. This inner child would be eager to learn and discover and create. She would have boundless energy, enthusiasm, optimism, empathy and compassion. Most of all, the child would have an imagination that knows no limits.
Now think Star Wars. Is Star Wars not for the inner child that resides within all of us? I would say that Lucas created Star Wars from his own inner child for the child in everyone.
Carl Jung created the “divine child archetype”. Star Wars fans may recognise the young Anakin as the embodiment of the archetype in “The Phantom Menace”. Anakin was innocent and vulnerable but at the same time he was far beyond his years in so many ways. He could repair racing pods and knew his way around a ship. The boy had an amazing talent for racing pods and had the instincts of a survivor.
There was something compelling about Anakin which drew Qui-Gon Jinn to him and endeared him to Obi-wan Kenobi. Anakin was a powerful force sensitive, incredibly intelligent while at the same time naive and easy to mould. At first sight he was an ideal candidate for Jedi training but something troubling loomed within him. Yet to all he appeared to be the “chosen one” as foretold in prophecy.
“You open the gates of the soul to let the dark flood of chaos flow into your order and meaning. If you marry the ordered to the chaos you produce the divine child, the supreme meaning beyond meaning and meaninglessness.” – Carl Jung
Krishna, Jesus, Horus, Dažbog and Zoroaster were all divine children who were born under auspice circumstance to bring great change to the world. King Herod did all he could to stop the prophecy of the coming messiah by having all new born male babies slaughtered. Mary and Joseph forewarned fled to Egypt to keep Jesus safe. Demons plotted to kill the baby Zoroaster but failed.
Anakin was the Jungian “divine child” archetype of Star Wars. Darth Sidous sought out the “chosen one”, Anakin, to either kill him or preferably bring him to the Dark Side. The new born twins Luke and Leia were secreted away in to hiding after Anakin’s fall. The truth kept from them until the prophecy could be fulfilled. The children were the hope for the future of the galaxy.
Yoda in essence was also a symbol of the divine inner child manifest. Despite his 900 years of age he recognised the divinity in children and allowed his inner child to shine through before and after his transcendence to the Force. In exile that inner child was still alive in Yoda with all its wonder, wisdom, humour and optimism.
“In every adult there lurks a child and eternal child, something that is always becoming, is never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention and education. That is part of the human personality which wants to develop and become whole.” – Carl Jung
Yet the inner child is vulnerable. In “Revenge of the Sith”, Darth Sidious completed the conversion of Anakin through the slaughter of innocents at the Jedi Temple. The massacre of Younglings by Anakin is symbolic of the final destruction of the inner divine child. It is the loss of final hope and the future.
For children are the future. A society that forsakes its children has no future. A person who denies his inner child also betrays his soul.
“I believe that there is a sacred child-like spirit in all of us (often referred to as our younger self or sacred inner child), one we can access and heal in recovery. We can gradually learn to integrate our youthful spirit into our everyday life. There is sweet sacredness when a person truly dedicates himself or herself to reclaiming his or her forgotten and abandoned inner child.” – Christopher Dines, “Drug Addiction Recovery: The Mindful Way”.
So it is with Alcoholism. The disease eventually all but snuffs out the inner child within us. That is a tragedy. In its place the shadow inner child emerges to fuel our addiction. The shadow child is the dark, spoilt, belligerent and selfish brat that clawed, kicked, screamed and berated us in active abuse.
Recovery heals the shadow child and restores the inner divine child. We learn that the divine child is a manifestation of the Higher Power within us. It has been all but snuffed out but a tiny glow remains in a sea of blackness. Soon that glow becomes a flame. For me it is the Force that burns within. With time it has grown brighter kindled by walking the 12 Steps.
I have had to grow up, perhaps for the first time in my life. The inner child has guided me along the journey and still does. To be Jedi is to allow the inner child to step forward and be heard.
“When you learn how to re-parent yourself, you will stop attempting to complete the past by setting up others to be your parents.” – John Bradshaw, “Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child”.
The Inner Child
The inner child is that small still voice. You will know it when:
- A creative idea takes root in your mind and you feel excited about it.
- You look up at the stars at night, witness a glorious sunset or wander through nature and feel awe, joy and a connectedness with creation.
- That “kid like” excitement and abandon you get visiting a theme park and getting on rides.
- The mystery and wonder that causes the heart to race and time to stand still when you get that first kiss.
- The thirst for life and yearning to explore.
- The feeling you get when the light in the theatre dims and everyone hushes as the 20th century Fox anthem plays and then the words “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away” appears and then fades to the loud crescendo of the opening note of the Star Wars musical score and title.
Listen also to the Child when you are feeling down, it is trying to tell you something when you feel;
- Regret at abandoning an idea you was excited about.
- Frustration at being denied your creativity or held back.
- Depression that comes with not being able to fully realize your self.
- Grief over loss.
These are natural responses. It’s OK to be not OK. Let the inner child in you express itself.
Be a Kid
If you approach life with the eyes of a child you do so with the divine guiding you. The world suddenly reveals that there is still wonder and beauty in it. Despite the odds there is still hope for the future. People become inherently good despite their shortcomings. Life will not be all “Puppies and Kittens” but it does get easier. Your mind will seek to create rather than destroy, to flow with, rather than resist and to accept rather than reject what life offers. Let life surprise you for certainly it will.
Learn from the wisdom of children and take something from their insights like Yoda did. No matter what happens allow your inner child to completely take over the next time you watch Star Wars. Learn to be a kid again. Ewoks or no Ewoks, I guarantee you will enjoy it.
Star Wars (Original release crawl 1977) Lucasfilm Ltd.
John Bradshaw; Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child. New York, NY: Bantam Books. 1990. ISBN 978-0-553-35389-1.