So said mythologist Joseph Campbell in
The teaser opens with a shot of Rey, panting and pumped with adrenaline, running from a red-faced TIE fighter on an unnamed desert planet. As the fighter, likely piloted by the villainous Kylo Ren, barrels towards her, Rey leaps into the air and elegantly flips over the ship, avoiding collision. The moment is a beautiful offering of the Force power she’s learned to wield since her clumsier handling of a lightsaber in
Twitter user @ashesforfoxes first noted the parallel’s between Rey’s transfixing air dance and bull-leaping as it appears in ancient art, like the fresco painted onto the Palace of Knossos in Crete, Greece.
I took one art history class in college so I’m not the best to speak to this but while reading Joseph Campbell’s Goddesses on the flight home I was reintroduced to the symbolism of Minoan bull dancing that spoke to me then. And now. pic.twitter.com/USJ7vjtQUA
— nat is drowning in validation (@ashesforfoxes) April 17, 2019
Campbell has spoken and written at length about the figure of the bull. In the below video, he discusses the myth of bullfighting as a representation of the sun, moon, serpent, and bull. “Just look at a bullfight,” he says. “The bullfighter is wearing a brilliant, shining garment. He is the solar power and and the bull is the moon power.” Rey, in her shiny outfit, is the sun (the name Rey even evokes a sun-like “ray”), and Kylo, in his black-horned ship, is the moon and bull.In the same video, Campbell also recalls the story of a priestess kissing a serpent, and how it invokes the same symbology as a bullfight: “It’s very much like the bullfighter going over the horns of the bull. You sacrifice the bull so that there should be a new period. The past must be killed so that there can be future. This is the bull’s sacrifice.”
In Minoan culture, and in all forms of bull-leaping, the bull is not sacrificed or even harmed at all, but the shot of Rey leaping over Kylo’s bull-like TIE fighter recalls both sports in its own way. Campbell’s phrase, “the past must be killed,” sounds remarkably like the line Kylo says to Rey in
That’s a lot to infer from a minute-long clip in a trailer, but Campbell imagery is already so embedded in Rey’s storyline that it’s easy to get carried away with theories about where her story could go next.
Directors taking imagery straight from Joseph Campbell books: more likely than you think (please continue I’m dying to hear) pic.twitter.com/VgwXQqN5Qs
— corseque (@northgalis) April 17, 2019
There are so many paragraphs from Campbell’s writings that could be applied to the relationship of Rey and Kylo, and the Skywalker saga at large. This excerpt from
I have read somewhere of an old Chinese curse: “May you be born in an interesting time!” This is a very interesting time: there are no models for anything that is going on. Everything is changing, even the law of the masculine jungle. It is a period of free fall into the future, and each has to make his or her own way. The old models are not working; the new have not yet appeared. In fact, it is we who are even now shaping the new in the shaping of our interesting lives. And that is the whole sense (in mythological terms) of the present challenge: we are the “ancestors” of an age to come, the unwitting generators of its supporting myths, the mythic models that will inspire its lives.
As Luke says in the voiceover for