Star Wars: The Last Jedi grooms and prepares our minds for violence and war. (Lucasfilm/Disney)
That’s what it cost 14-year-old me to get into the 1977 Star Wars premiere.
That’s how much I eventually stole from my mom so I could see it again and again.
I’m not ashamed to admit, as a 14-year-old boy, I was hooked. Standing along side Luke and Obi-Wan, I left this world. Joining Chewie, Leia and Han, I was lifted out of my excruciatingly boring Terran childhood and transported to galactic adventure, far far away. To be frank, it was an opiated pleasure hit that gave me a temporary way out.
Like a lot of people, and for the several decades since 1977, I didn’t realize I was addicted. I’m tempted to say that Jar Jar Binks — the most existentially annoying creature in all of cinematic history, according to some — was the rock-bottom that snapped me out of it, but not really. Even Anakin’s “burn scene” was not enough, though it did get me thinking that something wasn’t right.
Like many, the author was hooked on Star Wars. (Lucasfilm/Disney)
Honestly, it was a decade later, after I examined the Western Tarot, (an 18th century deck of 78 cards created by Freemasons), that I realized the remarkable potentials of mystical experience, and met a prophet and mystic by the name of Zoroaster that I finally figured it out. Star Wars is a carefully crafted religious experience.
For me, going to a Star Wars film was just like going to church on Sunday, only I was never addicted to church.
Now, before you go all “Jedi” on me, allow me to explain. Star Wars has the same core ideas as Zorastrianism, which is arguably this world’s first “revealed” religion. A “revealed” religion is a religion that derives from mystical connection.
You see my dear padawan (Jedi apprentice), Zoroaster, a Persian mystic, had ongoing mystical experiences — or what I call connection events. Like Moses and his burning bush, or Joseph Smith and his sacred grove, Zoroaster had, according to his followers, revelatory conversations with God.
It’s in those conversations — or rather, in what elite Sasanian priests of the powerful Sasanian Empire said was in those conversations when they wrote them down in the Zoroastrian sacred script known as the Avesta some 14 or so centuries after he died — that you find Star Wars’ religious roots.
Sasanian priests presented the world with several archetypal ideas (or archetypal nodes, as I call them) which they claimed came directly from Zoroaster.
These ideas, which I summarize in a longer article, are present in various forms in all the world’s religions, including my once sacred Star Wars. Because these ancient religious ideas are blatantly present in Star Wars, I conclude that Star Wars is a religion.
The Sasanian nodes most obvious in Star Wars are the idea of an oppositional binary between good and evil, the idea of a cosmic battle between the two, the notion that you have to make a choice and pick a side, and the notion that if you make the right choice you get to enter through the fancy gates and be rewarded at an altar of light. But if you make the wrong choice then, like Anakin Skywalker, it is “fire and brimstone” for you.