Master of What Universe?
The back story of what has become a very successful franchise varies depending on who is doing the telling and so, the real story of Masters of the Universe may never be known. It is known that a certain individual decided not to mass produce toys based upon a then new film called Star Wars. It is known that Star Wars became a huge success and still is making millions of dollars with their films, toys, costumes, coloring books, toothbrushes …well, you get the idea.
It is also known that the original person who passed on the marketing opportunity of these items decided he could come up with his own and be just as successful. Instead of borrowing names from mythology or making up complicated ones that were indicative of their character, he decided to go for simplicity. He also wisely created a few marketing items when he when in to pitch his idea for both the toys and the film. Banking on the simplistic approach that he felt would appeal to all, he named his protagonist He-Man and his villain, Skeletor. It worked and the Masters of the Universe franchise became a huge hit.
Many people claim that the idea of a monotheistic deity had similar beginnings. With all the polytheistic deities, things got complicated and so, someone decided to simplify. Instead of several or thousands of gods and goddesses, they devised a story of one, one that would be the master of everything and everyone.
The name of this monotheistic god which is Adonai speaks to this concept. Like the movie franchise, there really was a he-man of sorts, a tyrant in Canaan known as Adoni-Besek. There was also a fertility god of the Canaanites named Adon who later appears in mythological circles as the Greek god Adonis. Adonis was part mortal and part immortal and ended up walking that line between mortal and something else quite a bit in his life. Some stories have him marrying his mother and others tell of him being killed while in the form of a boar whose blood later spilled onto white roses, turning them red and the rose then becoming the flower we now as the anemone or Adonis rose. Even in death, Adonis was said to spend half the year on earth with Aphrodite and the other half in the underworld, mastering both in a manner of speaking.
All of these names are said to be derived from the Egyptian sun god, Aten. Many discount this theory, though, and most feel the Hebrew name Adonai came from the Phoenician word “Tammuz”. We have to remember that most did not feel it was respectful to say the name of this monotheistic deity aloud. In prayers they would say “Adonai” and then in casual references use HaShem which, although similar to our He-Man character, really means simply “the name”.
Strictly translated, Adonai means “my lords”. The singular form, Adoni, refers to a royal personage and not a deity. This fact might be of particular importance as the concept of just one gods had to have been startling. Using words that were plural in form, even though they were describing one god, probably had a subconscious effect in helping make the transition from many gods and goddesses to just one, one who was truly the master of all.
Who is your master? Is it a deity or spiritual practice or is it something which can be purchased on Rodeo Drive in Hollywood? The marketing ploy which led to the success of both films mentioned earlier is not anything new. I do not mean to anger anyone but the writings of all three Abrahamic faiths have similar marketing tools found within them. Buy into this, be successful. Follow these rules, find happiness. Do this, be wonderful. The concepts are pure advertising 101 and yet, we tend to think their presence demeans the message.
Not being the wealthiest person on the planet, I like a good bargain. What I have discovered is that sometimes the less expensive brand is just as good as the trendy, fashionable, more expensive brand. My cheaper product has the same ingredients; it just doesn’t have the high advertising cost that needs to be recouped. Sometimes the store brand works just as well.
When it comes to faith, however, I think you need to not just do the “store brand” – that religious practice everyone else is doing. Whether it is Hindu, Christianity, Islam, or some non-denominational love-all brand, it should speak to your specific needs and personality. Your soul needs that nourishment. You need to find the deity that enables you to be the master of your universe in a healthy, productive way of life. Each of us can find the He-Man or She-Woman inside of us all when we connect to the deeper spirituality that speaks to our needs and dreams. When we do, we will indeed be a force that can move mountains and create a masterful universe for all mankind.