Disney taught us that, “when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.” Unfortunately, if your dream is to have both of your parents live to see you succeed, you’re sheer out of luck. In fact, of Disney’s forty full-length animated features from 1937 until 2000, I know of only one where the protagonist’s parents remain alive for the entire film.* Then there’s the fact that just about every super-powered hero is an orphan. If this isn’t bad enough, one or both of the hero’s adoptive parents often dies too! Superman lost his adoptive dad, Spider-Man lost his uncle, and Luke Skywalker lost both his aunt and uncle. With the Amazing Spider-Man movie set for release this summer, and that movie actually exploring the mysterious back-story about Peter Parker’s real parents, I thought it would be a good time to delve into the topic of why so many of our heroes—both super and animated—are orphans, and what the message means for all of us.

I don’t know what’s more surprising, that most of the films we see as kids feature heroes with one or more dead parents, or the fact that so few of us ever notice, let alone ask why. You never hear a kid say, “How come in all the movies I’ve seen: Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo, Bambi, The Little Mermaid, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Superman, Spider-Man, Batman…they don’t have a mommy and daddy?” Concerning the Disney films, you might say that many of these films are based on old fairytales and during those times, most kids didn’t have two living parents, or that the stories were simply meant to scare kids. I could buy that for maybe a handful of these movies, but nearly all of them? And many of them including Dumbo, Bambi, The Jungle Book, The Rescuers, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo were based on relatively modern stories. As for the superhero films, they’re all from the 20th century so what’s the rationale there? Is there something deeper going on? Are we being secretly brainwashed as kids so as to not have high expectations about life? Are we being given subliminal messages that reveal the inner-workings of the world? Or is it all just a result of lazy writing because we feel sorry for orphans and want to root for them so they succeed? The answer to all these questions, is “yes.”

Nearly all good stories that resonate with us, do so because they are actually about something much deeper than what we consciously detect. Stories are filled with symbolism, metaphor, and archetypes that can just as easily be plugged into our lives as the protagonists’. In fact, in every story we’ve every experienced, we are the protagonist. So in seeing how they successfully triumph over their challenges, we get a message about how we can do the same. But at the early age when these movies make the deepest impression on us, most of us are not orphans, so why are they? The reason is because stories don’t communicate their messages though our minds or even our hearts, they communicate through our souls. As long as it’s trapped in this material world, your soul is an orphan. The metaphor that all these stories convey is that our soul left our true home in heaven to come to our adoptive home here on earth.

Even if you don’t believe in heaven, the metaphor still works. It’s just that our higher consciousness came from another realm and is now “stuck” here in this experience. If you don’t even believe in a higher consciousness, but enjoy all these stories, I’d say that you do in fact believe on some level, you just aren’t highly conscious of it.

But where did all this orphan business originate? From the story that much of our society and its numerous traditions and rituals is based on—the Bible. Actually, even the stories of the Bible are based on older, similar stories from Greek and Egyptian myths, and possibly even older, but let’s just look at the Bible since it has the stories most of us are familiar with. One of the greatest heroes in the Hebrew Bible is Moses. Moses had the power to talk to God, act as his messenger, and split the Reed (Red) Sea. And of course, he was an orphan. Set adrift in a basket by his mother in hopes of saving her baby’s life from the decree that all newborn male babies were to be killed, Moses was found and adopted by the Egyptian Pharaoh’s daughter who raised him within the material riches of the kingdom. Of course, once Moses finds his true identity, he rebels against the Egyptians and leads his enslaved people to freedom. The message of the story, whether it actually happened or not, is that initially we all believe we are of this material world. But once you discover your soul’s true longing—to free our world from the trappings of fleeting material pleasures—you must heed its call and enable all the world to hear the message of their souls too.

The message stayed the same but the details changed in the Christian Bible. There were learn of Jesus, who was the son of God, raised on earth by his adoptive parents Mary and Joseph. Just like all heroes, Jesus represents all of us. If Jesus was adopted by this world because his soul came from a higher realm, that represents our story as well. If Jesus preached about the message in his soul but suffered for it, this is a truth for our world too. And if after leaving this world, Jesus can come back as a Messiah who will unite the world in peace, then that message is meant for all of us. That following our soul, though it may bring suffering, could also inspire everyone on earth, and help unite us, ushering in a golden age of peace. The message here is not that a Messiah will return to save us; it is that WE are the Messiah and we have the power to save ourselves. And this powerful message is continually updating and making it’s way into our modern day myths to this very day.

Superman is the perfect example of this same Messianic myth. The original trailer for Superman Returns (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeW-AMP87PM) makes the Superman/Jesus link very obvious: “Even though 
you've been raised as a human being,
 you are not one of them,” booms the all-mighty voice of Superman’s father, Jor-El. “They could be a great people Kal-El,
 they wish to be.
 They only lack the light to show the way. 

For this reason above all,
 their capacity for good, 
I have sent them you...my only son.” In Hebrew, Jor-El can translate to “light of God” while his son, Kal-El translates to “voice of God.” As in voice, or messenger, of God. (In Kryptonian, Jor-El apparently translates into “star-child,” much like how Jesus was a child born under a bright star.) Even Superman’s adoptive parents fit into the Messianic myth. Little Jor-El is raised by Martha and Jonathan Kent (note the same initials as Mary and Joseph) who decide that their huge farmhouse is too small for the baby boy so he’s kept in a barn, similar to how Jesus was born in a stable. Superman is a modern update to a timeless truth. And much like the hero of every story, he represents us. We are to show the world the way to the light! This powerful message lets us know who we really are and what we are meant to do. What it doesn’t tell us however, is how. That’s where the next part of the myth comes in—the part about the death of our adoptive parents.

To read the rest of this article, click below:

Author's Bio: 

Marc Oromaner is a spiritual author and speaker who teaches how we can discover our destiny using clues found in the media and in our lives. His book, "The Myth of Lost" (www.themythoflost.com) deciphers the hidden wisdom of the hit TV show and explains how we can use this wisdom to overcome our own challenges.

Marc's twenty years of experience working in advertising and promotion has given him a unique insight into what makes products--and people--tick. He graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Television & Radio and went on to complete a two-year advertising copywriter program at The Creative Circus in Atlanta. Working in on-air promotions at Lifetime Television and CBS News, and then in advertising with clients such as NASA, The New York Botanical Garden, and Affinia Hotels, Marc developed a talent for uncovering the soul of a brand. This skill was sharpened after he began studying at The Kabbalah Centre in New York and exploring many other spiritual philosophies including The Law of Attraction.

Today, Marc lives in New York City where he combines his background in advertising and spirituality to help people and brands find their path in an increasingly convoluted world. His blog, "The Layman's Answers To Everything" (http://thelaymansanswerstoeverything.com/) points out the patterns that run through all great stories including our own. These patterns are clues which are meant to guide us towards a life full of love, light, and fulfillment.