Over at my art/professional web site, for which I’m developing more content, I have just posted an entry of the profound messages about identity, purpose and destiny in Moana. This post was a long time coming; the odd thing is, I recommended the film strongly in conversations with people, but found that few people who were not parents went to see it. There’s so much to unpack from it in terms of spirituality and symbolism, if only some in spiritual circles can escape conspiracy theories about Disney for a sec. (As a creative person myself, I sometimes roll my eyes as at accusations of the diabolical motivations of artists playing with old symbols or working for big corps. Yes, there can be questionable content out there, but artistry is like channeling; some people channel crap, and other times, some sublime stuff comes through.)
The Sacred Feminine is strong in this movie. The female relationships are strong, supportive, and incredibly deep beyond what is shown on the surface. When the quest is literally to restore the heart of a goddess, the ways in which the title character, Moana, accomplishes this is a treasure trove of lessons.
Much of the film has been made about the surprise twist near the end of the movie. But the pivotal point of the film for me was not the “twist” at the end—it was the point Moana conversed with her grandmother. Tala (the grandmother) showed full and unconditional acceptance of her granddaughter’s decision to relinquish the quest that had been so close to her heart. This acknowledgment of a painful wound was priceless. The acknowledgment then lead to Moana diving into the water to retrieve what she had discarded. The wound became part of the path.
You’re invited to read the full piece at the image link above. I’ll also be speaking at the Festival du Feminine in Singapore this Saturday about some of the same themes (identity, purpose, acceptance) within the context of family stories, particularly in Asian and patriarchal cultures.