To boldly go where no man has gone before…
Star Trek (J.J. Abrams, 2009)
First I’ll have to say that I’ve never been a trekkie. Long term TV-shows and franchises tend to scare me away by their sheer scale. I’m far too changeable to stay with them. Otherwise, the Enterprise and her various Star Trek successors could have become my mental TV-home. In the course of about thirty years I have watched a number of Star Trek-movies and uncounted TV-episodes from several Star Trek incarnations. And I’ve always liked the Sagittarius-type adventurers, thirsty for knowledge, struggling for tolerance and comprehension, traveling and exploring the endless widths of the universe. I loved the dry sense of humor in their verbal duels just as well as I liked the discourses on science, politics or philosophy, Kirk, McCoy, Spock and all the others found themselves entangled with in the most outlandish situations. But most of all I liked the bottom line – or the “message” if you like to put it that way – of the series: the pleasure in exploring strange new worlds (Sagittarius), the ability not to impose your own ideas and values on everybody else (Sagittarius) and the endlessly big space, which again and again has more astonishing life forms and worlds in store.
J.J. Abrams, who according to his own statement wasn’t very familiar with the material so far, builds his own “Star Trek” more after the conventional pattern of a suspense-flick: a racy story where evil powers, embodied in a Romulan out on a personal vendetta, endanger the survival of the whole Earth. It thus emphasizes not Sagittarius, but Aries and Scorpio, and – manifesting in cool characters and nonchalant one-liners as well as in the technobabble and spectacular computer generated special effects – also in Aquarius (which is generally almost inevitable in science-fiction).Nevertheless the story gets really interesting primarily because it provides some insight into the youth of the Enterprise’s two main heroes and it shows how the two of them could have gotten together. Since those first encounters with young Kirk and Spock are the main justification for the existence of this new “Star Trek” movie, I’m going to have a look at the archetypes the two of them represent.
James Tiberius Kirk – A cowboy in space
Kirk is born in the midst of a battle that causes his father to sacrifice his own life for the survival of his ship’s crew and his wife, who is in labor. The father’s heroism is no small weight for the boy, whom we see growing up in the following sequences on a farm in some American desert, as an almost suicidal daredevil. How this hoodlum turns into the courageous but responsible captain of a spaceship is part of the story “Star Trek” is revealing.
It is, of course, the Aries-archetype, that is embodied here in rare clarity by James T. Kirk: born in battle, always searching for it, keen to be the first and the best in everything. Courageous and willing to take risks, to push himself beyond all limits, always in search of new adventures and ready to accept any possible challenge, with an unswerving belief of his own strength.This rampant energy obviously needs direction and maturity to become usable and useful, so young Kirk finds a fatherly friend and mentor in an old acquaintance and admirer of his father, who functions as a Jupiter-character and offers the boy advice and support and dares him to join Starfleet. In this orderly organization, structured by military principles, Kirk’s juvenile hotheadedness is met by Saturn’s power to make him gain some maturity by reprimanding him, slowing him down and – well, at least a bit – teaching him some discipline.
Spock – A cool-headed observer in two worlds
Growing up on planet Vulcan, Spock appears as a boy with great talent
for science and logic, who, however, is not accepted by his peers because
of his mother being from planet Earth. Spocks’s human heritage,
which makes it harder for him to control his emotions than it is for
a full-blood Vulcan, tempts his school mates into picking on him and
provoking him. Since childhood he therefore experiences himself as
different and a stranger – and thus becomes the archetypal Aquarius-character.
Spock feels challenged to improve his control of his emotions, he excels at scientific exams and eventually leaves Vulcan, because he feels discriminated against. But on Earth, due to his Vulcan heritage, he also experiences being considered a stranger, who behaves incomprehensibly and feels different. It becomes obvious very quickly that Spock can’t really feel at home in neither of the two worlds. He remains a detached observer, without any true belonging. While as a boy he still rebelled against it, after a while he not only comes to accept his role, but also makes use of the independence from social conventions that goes with it. Thus he becomes the unerring logician and observer, the audience has loved for so long because of his unique perspective and – even more – his deadpan punch lines.
Vesna Ivkovic studied literature and linguistics, sociology, philosophy and history and as well took a profound interest in psychology, mythology and different belief systems. Along the way she also explored various paths of body awareness such as the martial arts of Kung Fu, Dance, Yoga, Qi Gong and several other methods of body work and motion arts. In 1993 she discovered astrology as an instrument of knowledge and graduated in 2004 in Markus Jehle's and Petra Niehaus' master class at the Astrology Center Berlin. You can find out more about the author and her work on her own website www.astrosemiotics.de