Years ago while watching Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, I wondered how this very light story with corny special effects could have become so popular. The boy gets the princess – how many times have we seen that? Why do people want to watch the same story over and over again, I wondered? Later, I discovered the answer. Through my study of astrology I began to understand archetypes. Star Wars was popular for the very reason I thought it should be unpopular – it’s an archetypal story that we do want to see over and over again. Star Wars is another version of the hero quest. Had I understood that the hero quest involves sons and fathers, I would have known immediately that Darth Vader would be more than simply a disgruntled old curmudgeon in a black mask. The hero quest involves us in the energies of courage and becoming ourselves and we like it whether in Star Wars or The Lion King.
Now when I view popular movies and TV shows, I look for the archetypes. The four characters in Sex and the City can fit into the mutable cross: Carrie is Gemini the writer, Samantha is Sagittarius the independent crusader, Charlotte is Pisces, the empathetic art lover and Miranda is Virgo, the discriminating critic. Whether a writer cares one whit about astrology, there is still a need for balancing characters in a story that provides distinction to make them real thereby creating believable conflicts (such as judgmental Miranda telling fickle Carrie to break up with her boyfriend).
One of my favorite movies as a child was Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a Disney movie that involves witchcraft, something I bet Disney wouldn’t today have the courage to touch. (You can tell this blogger was meant to be an astrologer. Give me witches, not princesses). Bedknobs and Broomsticks is set in WWII England. Three children are sent from war-torn London to live in the countryside with the spinster Eglantine Price. Price is bothered by having three little guests. For one, she’s not motherly, as we can see when she serves nettles to three youngsters who are craving sausages. Secondly, she’s an apprentice witch enrolled in the Emelius Browne Correspondence College of Witchcraft. Price is working on a spell for “substitutiary” locomotion in an attempt to help with the war effort.
Price is doing pretty well with the substitutiary locomotion spell, but needs the final page. Unfortunately Browne has sent a letter informing his students that the College has suddenly and unexpectedly closed. Using a traveling spell, Price and the kids hop on the bed, use the bedknob to activate the spell and travel, bed and all, from the countryside to London to find Browne.
Price and the kids do find Browne, who is the quintessential con artist selling magic tricks on Portobello Road. Upon facing one of his “students,” Browne tries to flee until Price, using one of “his” own spells, turns him into a rabbit. Shocked to discover the spells work, Browne joins Price and children in the continuing magical quest that takes them to different parts of London then under the sea to an entirely submerged kingdom.
Browne, as con artist, is the Gemini. Gemini, a mutable air sign, is known for its native intelligence, interest in surroundings, constant boredom and need for continual stimulation. Gemini rules the hands, which, according to magicians, are quicker than the eye. Browne, living in bombed-out London, is surviving on his wits, squatting in an old mansion. The old mansion has an equally old library with ancient manuscripts, including a dusty old tome of magic spells. Browne has simply done what he needs to get by and when trouble arises, he flees. There is a big bomb, however, right in front of the mansion which is why the occupants are no longer there. Trouble, obviously, is imminent.
Price, as the believer in magic spells for her crusade to help the war effort, is the Sagittarius, a mutable fire sign. Her belief in the spells makes the spells work (which is a bit Piscean as well). Sagittarius is known for its optimism and aversion to any input that is contrary to its ideals. Price is the doey-eyed idealist, sure that her mission will be accomplished. She travels (Sagittarius loves travel) to London on her bed to find Browne then uses the bed to continue the magical quest to find the last lines of the spell on substitutiary locomotion. Late astrologer Howard Sasportas associated Jupiter, which rules Sagittarius, with the quest for the sublime, the quest for our own “greatness.” How sublime to sit on one’s bed and travel to other dimensions. (Hey, don’t we do that every night when we sleep!)
Both Gemini and Sagittarius want to know. Gemini travels near and Sagittarius travels far. Both signs have an attraction to things “foreign.” Your Gemini friend is the one who, on that drive downtown, spots a new store and has to stop and see what it is. Your Sagittarius friend is the one who might say no to a night out but will spend a night in poring over travel books and dreaming of far-away lands.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks joins the Gemini con artist with the Sagittarius believer on a magical quest to find a “spell” that will help end the war. What a mission. I now realize I didn’t initially like Star Wars because the hero quest doesn’t appeal to me personally. The quest for the sublime, on the other hand, I can watch over and over.