My title may be a bit misleading. “Religious fiction” usually means a specific literary genre which is overtly Christian and conservatively evangelical. I suppose stuff like Touched by an Angel was religious fiction. I don’t mean it in that way, but I can’t really think of another phrase. My basic point is that The Last Jedi is, and reminds the audience that Star Wars has always been, about a speculative, magico-religious way of life. I’m talking about the Force, of course. TLJ isn’t just about Force-users; it’s about Force-believers. And it is totally necessary for this movie to investigate the ideas underlying this religion in Star Wars.
You ever wonder how reading actually works? I don’t mean the most fundamental kind of reading — you know, looking a word and knowing what it means. However, there’s actually not much difference between the two kinds of reading. What I do mean is the kind of reading where you finish a poem and you know what it meant — not what it said, but what it meant. I find my students often don’t know the difference. So I’m pretty good at explaining it. I thought it might be interesting to talk about it. At a simple level, the way you read a poem is the way you read a tarot card or a painting or a situation. It’s all about triangulation.
Last time, I nerded out a little, and then we covered the first portion of A Passion Play, the prog rock concept album by Jethro Tull. Here’s part two, in which we meet the devil himself.
It’s a bright, sunny day in early May. Highway 460 is revealing delights I, who grew up along it, have never imagined. Soon-to-be pumpkin patches vie with tiny post offices for our attention. My wife and I are driving nearly two hours, from my empty childhood home, to visit my mother in the hospital. We’ve had a hard few days. I was in the hospital for some routine tests, which came at the end of days of fasting. Yesterday I thought my mother was dying, and we drove over three hours to see her, then two, at midnight, through deer-crossed night roads, to sleep. And we are discussing how lovely and remarkable old gospel music is. This is odd, because I am a vaguely heathen chaos magician and my wife is a Buddhist-flavored atheist.
What follows is a transcription of the picture above. In the best sort of magical exploratory way, I wrote through a difficulty contextualizing the Christian figure of Christ in magic. Most deities are specific in their roles. Christ is less so.