The Sacred Grove

By Ron Salvatore
Photography by Bill Karp

The "sacred grove" is another mythic motif; it represents an enclosure where the hero is changed. Ancient peoples widely believed the tree to be infused with creative energy. Forests came to symbolize mystery and transformation, and they were home to sorcerers and enchanters.

When Luke leaves Hoth, he travels to the planet Dagobah to undergo training with the Jedi Master, Yoda. The hallmark of Dagobah is its large, oddly shaped trees.

Forests can also symbolize the unconscious mind, where there are secrets to be discovered and perhaps dark emotions or memories to be faced. In this forest Luke battles an image of Vader, prefiguring his combat with the Dark Lord later in the story.
--from the Smithsonian introduction

Though all original Yodas are supposed to have deteriorated, neither the Art of Star Wars exhibit in San Francisco, nor the current Smithsonian show make mention of this piece's being a reproduction. Authenticity aside, however, Yoda is an amazing creation, both in terms of appearance and character. Although its a bit disconcerting seeing the little Jedi Master trapped in what appears to be a giant laboratory jar, the detail and quality of this puppet put that shoddy life-size repro of a few years back to shame.

Back to Smithsonian Index
Previous Page
Next Page