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Return of the Jedi: The Symbolism of the Djed Pillar in Achieving Stability of Mind, Body, and Soul

Updated: Jan 15

George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, was heavily influenced by mythology. The Jedi Order itself draws inspiration from various mythological and religious traditions, such as the samurai of feudal Japan. The Jedi Code emphasizes self-control, compassion, and a commitment to justice, much like the teachings of many real-world religions. In this article we focus specifically on his use of the ancient Egyptian myth of Osiris. In this myth, Osiris is a powerful god who is betrayed and killed by his brother, Set. However, Osiris is eventually resurrected and becomes a symbol of renewal and rebirth.



In the epic conclusion of the original Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi, we witness the heroic journey of Luke Skywalker as he confronts Darth Vader and the Emperor to restore peace to the galaxy. Along the way, we see various symbols and imagery that add depth and meaning to the story. One such symbol is the djed pillar, an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic that represents stability of mind, body and soul.


The Djed


Djed pillar
The Djed pillar looks like the base of a light saber

The djed pillar is an ancient Egyptian symbol that represents stability and endurance. It is often associated with the god Osiris, who was believed to have been resurrected from the dead by his wife Isis with the help of other gods. The djed pillar is also linked to the god Ptah, who was considered the patron of craftsmen and architects and was often referred to as "the noble djed".


The Djed pillar appears in Predynastic art and is described later on as the “Backbone of Osiris” in the Book of Coming Forth by Day, more commonly known as, the Book of the Dead.


Throughout the film, we see Luke struggle to maintain his balance and resist the pull of the dark side. His physical and emotional journey is mirrored by the djed pillar, which represents the idea that a stable foundation is necessary in order to achieve enlightenment and transcendence. Luke's eventual triumph over the Emperor and Vader can be seen as a metaphor for his attainment of this stable foundation.


We can also see that like Osiris, Luke must undergo a symbolic death and rebirth in order to achieve his ultimate goal. Thus, the djed pillar serves as a powerful symbol of the transformative journey that Luke undergoes throughout the film.


Colors of the Lightsabers


In ancient Egyptian religion, the color green was associated with fertility, rebirth, and vegetation. Osiris, the god of fertility, agriculture, the afterlife, resurrection, life, and vegetation, was often depicted as a green-skinned deity with a pharaoh's beard, partially mummy-wrapped at the legs, wearing a distinctive atef crown, and holding a symbolic crook and flail. The green color of Osiris' skin is believed to symbolize rebirth.


According to some sources, the association between Osiris and the color green may have also originated from the belief that the Nile River, which was considered the source of life in ancient Egypt, was green. Of note, the color blue was linked to the god Ptah, who was a creator god and considered to be the patron of craftsmen and architects. He was also depicted as having green skin, but wore a blue cap representing the color of the heavens, the dominion of the gods, as well as the color of water, and the primeval flood.


In ancient Egyptian mythology, the color red was associated with violence, storms, and chaos. Set, was the god of violence and storms, and as a result, the color came to be associated with danger and destruction.


According to some sources, Set was also associated with the desert and was considered the lord of the Red Land. In contrast, his brother Osiris was considered the lord of the Black Land, which represented the fertile land of the Nile River valley.


In the Star Wars universe, the colors of lightsabers are imbued with deep meaning. The colors of the lightsabers used by Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, green and red respectively, could have been inspired by the ancient Egyptian gods Osiris and Set. By using these colors for the lightsabers, George Lucas could have incorporated the stories of these ancient gods into the Star Wars universe in a subtle and symbolic way.


Modern uses of the word "Djed"


In Egypt, the word “Djed” is still used today. The “D” in “Djed” is silent, and the word is pronounced “Jed.” In the area near the pyramids of Giza, where I grew up, “Djed” means “ancestor” or “grandfather.” My grandfather, Abd’el Hakim Awyan, was often called “Jeddah” by my family. When visiting the Saqqara complex, which has many Djed pillar reliefs and columns, I often tell the same stories that my grandfather told his guests.


As the story goes, the annual ritual of "Raising the Djed" was the culmination of the larger "Mysteries of Osiris," which commemorated the resurrection of Osiris after his murder by Set and the restoration of the throne to Osiris's son Horus. The ceremony was performed during the Heb-Sed festival, which was carried out in the courts of the Saqqara complex and was held every 30 years to celebrate the pharaoh's continued reign and to renew his strength and vitality. The Heb-Sed festival is one of the oldest festivals in ancient Egypt possibly dating back to before the first pharaoh, Menes.


In Star Wars, it is said that the word “Jedi” was inspired by the Japanese term “jidaigeki,” which refers to a drama set during the Edo period of Japanese history when samurai were still active. However, because “Djed” also means “ancestor,” it is possible to interpret “return of the Jedi” as “return of the ancestors.” This interpretation is not commonly used, but it is a fun way to think about the phrase.


Overall, Lucas's use of ancient stories and myth in Star Wars has helped to create a timeless and epic story that resonates with audiences around the world. The djed pillar serves as a powerful symbol of the importance of stability in achieving enlightenment and transcendence. Its rich cultural history adds depth and resonance to its symbolism, making it a fitting addition to the iconic imagery of the Star Wars universe.




About the Author

Mohammad Awyan Archaeo-Acoustics & Sound Healing Egypt

Mohammad is the grandson of Abd’el Hakim Awyan, a famous Egyptian wisdom keeper known for his work on the Pyramid Code. Mohammad and his family have lived on the land at the base of the Sphinx and Pyramids for many generations. Since childhood, he has studied the mysteries of Egyptian archaeoacoustics and sound healing with his grandfather and other scholars. Mohammad has a bachelor’s degree in tourism and has hosted several successful tours of Egypt, sharing his wealth of knowledge and expertise to help people answer questions about Ancient Egypt that they may not have been able to answer before. His personal expertise is religion, spirituality, and the ascension of human consciousness. He has been on tours with his equally famous uncle Yousef Awyan and had many discussions with other researchers of Egyptian history, archeology and energy like Ibrahim Karim, Hugh Newman, Andrew Collins, Robert Schoch, and Brien Foerster. In addition to this, he has studied hieroglyphs with Professor Mohamed Hassan Gaber. Mohammad is also the founder of Archeao-acoustics & Sound Healing, a website dedicated to sharing information about the different manifestations of vibrational energy in Egypt. He currently resides in Giza with his wife and family. You can find more information about Mohammad at archaeo-acoustics.com



Ready to see Egypt! Join Mohammad on a group tour as he discusses the djed pillars that line the Saqqara complex and Healing hospital or sign up for a private tour and explore Egypt at your own pace. Prices start at $31.25/hr for a private tour based on availability.

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