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Cosmic Motifs

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A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes
I screamed aloud, as it tore through them, and now it's left me blind
The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out
You left me in the dark
No dawn, no day, I'm always in this twilight
In the shadow of your heart
Florence + the Machine, "Cosmic Love"

Space has fascinated humanity since time immemorial, and continues to feature as a theme or character motif to the present day. Characters and objects are given Cosmic Motifs to evoke the awe-inspiring mystery and nigh-infinite scope of space. Because Space Is Magic, there may also be power and mysticism involved as well.

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Common Cosmic Motifs include:

  • The Sun: Along with the moon, one of the most prominent and well-known of the heavenly bodies. A fiery ball of gas that has connotations of life, and is the center of The Solar System. See The Power of the Sun for sun-related powers.
  • The Moon: Like the sun, similarly prominent in real life and fiction. A calm, melancholy, and mysterious body that reflects light from the sun. See Lunacy for moon-related powers, and Solar and Lunar for when its duality with the Sun is noted.
  • The Stars: Fixed, bright points in the night sky. See Star Power for star-related magic. Constellations are common star motifs. Celestial Body or Star-Spangled Spandex might be other visual indicators of stellar motifs.
  • Planets: Large, round-ish bodies with their own gravitational fields that orbit stars. Creators usually refer to the familiar planets within The Solar System. See Planetary Tropes.
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  • Comets: Icy bodies orbiting the sun that become visible when they release gas. Most traditionally used as a Portent of Doom — see Comet of Doom.
  • Meteors and meteorites: When not associated with fiery Death from Above, are seen as pretty, romantic events. See Wish Upon a Shooting Star for another connotation.
  • Black Holes: Formed from collapsed stars, not even light can escape their gravity. See Unrealistic Black Hole for how fiction portrays them.
  • Spacecraft: Machines designed to fly in outer space. They bring to mind exploration and scientific progress.

Because many things in space are named for figures in Classical Mythology, this can easily double up with Mythical Motifs. This can also go hand-in-hand with Stellar Name if the characters are named appropriately. See also Artistic License – Astronomy for when liberties are taken with their attributes.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Asteroid in Love has an astronomy theme, but the star is nearly solely used by Mira, with all her accessories—down to her linens—decorated with stars. This, of course, refers to her hobby, but also indicates her energetic personality.
  • Jinzō Konchū Kabuto Borg VxV: The Amanogawa family follows cosmic motifs, with the surname itself meaning "Milky Way". While Ryūsei means "shooting star", Ginga's full name is pronounced the same as "Milky Way Galaxy" in Japanese. Their father, Taiki, only means "great brightness", but his villain alias as Big Bang does follow the pattern.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Both Shirogane and Hayasaka have a stellar motif, though of different types. Shirogane uses real stars and constellations, while Hayasaka has more generic star fields. This ties into their respective relationships with Kaguya (who is named after the moon princess from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) since the moon is always accompanied by stars.
    • While far more subtle than her relationship to cats, Kaguya has been compared to the moon on several occasions. Aside from the aforementioned name connection to the moon princess, Papa Shirogane gifted his son the same model of watch that was worn by the Apollo astronauts, saying that it should be worn by someone who's reaching for the moon and Shirogane's birthday present to her after they started dating was a crescent moon necklace). The credits sequence for the second season (which featured symbols representing the most imortant accesories of the main cast) had her represent by the full moon instead her hair ribbon. The waxing and waning of the moon also fits in well with her being a Mood-Swinger
  • Thirteen of My Hero Academia, nicknamed the "Space Hero". Their costume resembles a space suit, they are named for the Apollo 13 mission, and their Quirk (named "Black Hole") gives them "black hole fingers" that can disintegrate matter at the atomic level. Uraraka, who has a gravity-based Quirk, looks up to them and partially patterns her hero identity on space as well.
  • Sailor Moon most prominently has this among the Sailor Senshi — there's one for each planet (including Pluto) and the moon. Some of the supporting cast are also named or themed after objects in space; for example, the cats have moon motifs and lunar-related names.
  • Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure has a space theme. The main Pretty Cutes are Cure Star, Cure Milky (after the Milky Way), Cure Soleil, Cure Selene (after the sun and moon), and a Cure Cosmo. Their goal is to save the 12 Star Princesses (based around the Western Zodiac) from being captured by the alien Notraiders.

    Comic Books 
  • Northstar and Aurora of Alpha Flight are twins with Stellar Names and Wonder Twin Powers that produce light.
  • Legion Of Superheroes: Being futuristic superheroes from various planets, cosmic motifs feature into many of the designs and concepts of its members. Its members included Cosmic Boy (later Polestar), Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Dawnstar, and Sun Boy, all with appropriate space and science fiction powers.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (2006) posits that the stars and red on Diana's costume are meant to evoke the harvest moon in a starry sky partially obscured by an incoming storm, as seen on the night of her birth.
    • Wonder Woman and the Star Riders: In addition to Diana's Star-Spangled Spandex all the other star riders wear a star on their belt, Dolphine has a few stars mixed in with the waves on her costume and Star Lily and Solara's names reflect the motif.
    • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): Star Blossom wears star shaped earrings and a shirt with a large star centered on it as a nod to her being an adaptation of Star Lily.

    Fan Works 

    Literature 
  • Princess Bedtime Stories: The book has a clear star motif, with stars being featured on the cover and pages of the book.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • House Martell's sigil is a sun with a spear through it. Their colors are red, gold, and orange, they rule the desert land of Dorne from their seat at Sunspear, and are known for their fieriness and unconventionality.
    • House Dayne, a noble house sworn to House Martell, is associated with stars. Their members (with purple eyes and pale blonde hair) have an ethereal look, their seat is at Starfall, their sigil is a falling star, and their greatsword Dawn is famously Thunderbolt Iron.
    • There's a lot of moon imagery surrounding the Vale, which contains the Mountains of the Moon. It is ruled by House Arryn, whose sigil is a falcon on a moon — appropriate for their words, "As High as Honor". House Royce, a vassal house, holds the Gates of the Moon, one of the mountain clans is named the Moon Brothers, and the Moon Door is a feature of the Arryns' castle.

    Live Action TV 

    Music 
  • Sleeping At Last's Atlas collection has a "Space" segment, comprised of several songs themed around both human relationships and the planets.
  • Gustav Holst's suite The Planets, divided into seven movements (Mars—The Bringer of War, Venus—The Bringer of Peace, Mercury—The Winged Messenger, Jupiter—The Bringer of Jollity, Saturn—The Bringer of Old Age, Uranus—The Magician, Neptune—The Mystic). A very popular and commonly performed piece of Classical Music.
  • "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha uses the analogy of trying to "reach the unreachable Star" (with echoes of wishing on a star and following the Star of Bethlehem) for the chivalric ideal of striving for perfection even while being aware of your human flaws.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted: The Celestial Incarnae, seven powerful gods, are personifications of the five closer planets, the sun, and the moon. The five planetary personifications have duties related to their respective Classical Mythology god.

    Theatre 
  • "Stars" from Les Misérables is Lawful Neutral Javert's song idealising the stars as embodiments of order, perfection, and knowing one's proper place in creation.

    Video Games 
  • In Ensemble Stars!, a few units have space motifs:
    • Trickstar is based on, naturally, stars - their outfits often feature star shapes, and one of its members has a strong love for anything that glitters.
    • Ryuuseitai literally means 'Meteor Team' and naturally takes its inspiration from meteors. Due to the Japanese term also meaning something similar to 'shooting star', this leads to them also using a lot of star motifs. They also have a generally sci-fi aesthetic, being based on a Sentai team, meaning their outfits often have a Captain Space, Defender of Earth! feel - in the 2018 April Fool's event they were outright Space Opera protagonists.
    • Akatsuki means 'Scarlet Moon'. On a basic level, this represents the unit's Japanese, Autumnal theme, but it also has symbolic meaning: Akatsuki was created simply to reflect the power of fine, which has a heavenly theme and is sometimes associated with the sun. However, in Quarrel Fest they finally overcome this and begin to challenge fine outright, with Keito declaring that Akatsuki now represents a new dawn (as 'Akatsuki' literally can mean dawn in Japanese).
  • The Stardroids of Mega Man V, aliens named after planets.
  • Path of Exile: The Reality Warper known as The Shaper is associated with this motif. His attacks resemble black holes and he summons minions that look like living clusters of stars. Maps on the Atlas of Worlds and items affected by The Shaper's influence also have a starry space background. His lair resembles a patchwork of parchment floating in the void of space.
  • Pokémon:
    • Many Pokemon are have space motifs or otherwise have extraterrestrial origins. For example, The Clefairy line is starshaped, gather Moon Stones, and dance around on full moons and nights where there are meteor showers.
    • Pokémon Sun and Moon, unsurprisingly. The main legendaries, Solgaleo and Lunala, are a Night and Day Duo (with the former having a sun motif and the latter having a moon motif) that evolve from Cosmog/Cosmoem, which are based on molecular clouds (where stars are formed). The games also introduce Minior, which is a Pokemon based on meteorites. During meteor showers, they break out of their shells when they fall to the ground before rising back up into the sky.
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Team Galactic, who are messing around with the Legendary Pokemon of spacetime and want to restart the world, have a space theme. Their grunts are dressed in Latex Space Suits, their boss Cyrus is named for the sunnote , and their lieutenants also have Stellar Names.
    • Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire introduced the Pokemon Lunatone and Solrock, two Rock/Psychic types that gain power when exposed to the light of their respective heavenly bodies. Lunatone in particular is mentioned being discovered in a meteor crater, and can cause either paralyzing fear or deep slumber via eye contact.
  • The Astrologian healers in Final Fantasy XIV have an overall cosmic theme. Their MO is to read the momvement of celestial bodies to predict the future and influence it to help their allies. Their offensive spells are based on stars and gravity, and their healing is divided into Diurnal for regenerative healing and Nocturnal for shielding. Their signature armor sets are also often decorated with stars and moons.
  • Sunless Sea (and to some extent its prequel Fallen London) contains many motifs of Cosmic Horror, and among them is ascribing mythical powers to the stars, which are seen as gods (and might very well be). Our Sun has a strange relationship with those living in the Neath - drawing them back to the surface with a powerful yearning, but also capable of quickly destroying their minds from exposure to it. Furthermore, a faction of the Admiralty has split off after successfully creating a small artificial star, the Dawn Machine, on the south-western coast of the Neath, whose godlike power is apparently substantial enough to allow them to eventually rule the entire Neath.
  • League of Legends and Legends of Runeterra: The Mount Targon region, with a direct connection to the Celestial Realm through the sacred mountain, has this as one of its main hats. While Stars are the primary motif of Targon in general, there are other motifs present as well:
    • Sun: Leona, the Solari.
    • Moon: Diana, Aphelios, the Lunari.
    • Stars (above and beyond Targon’s overall star motifs): Aurelion Sol, Soraka, Pantheon (in lore).
    • Comets: Aurelion Sol, Pantheon (in-game).
    • Twilight (between day and night): Zoe.
    • Other motifs, like supernovas, meteors, and even black holes appear in the semi-randomly generated Celestial cards in Legends of Runeterra.
    • League’s skins include the Cosmic and Dark Star skins—the former being astral beings of stars, and the other being themed on black holes (and the rare Dark Cosmic skins, being what happens when a Cosmic is consumed by the Dark Star, have themes of both). The Cosmic skins reprised their role as the Celestial trait in the spinoff mode Teamfight Tactics (granting healing on all damage dealt), with Dark Stars being combined with the Dark Cosmics and featured as their own Dark Star trait (with Dark Stars getting stronger as their allies fell in combat.)

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In addition to the obvious, Waterbenders are associated with the moon in general (due to the push and pull of the tides) but none more than Princess Yue. A nonbender, she was healed by the Moon Spirit Tui by getting some of its power when she fell ill as a child, and since then has had Mystical White Hair to match. Her name means "moon" in Mandarin as well. When Tui is killed, Yue becomes the new moon spirit.
  • BoJack Horseman: A galaxy visual recurs in the later seasons, which serves a twofold motif: a reminder of Sarah Lynn's death at the planetarium due to the bender she and BoJack took, as he blames herself for her downward spiral and a general symbol for loneliness and oblivion.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Stars, particularly Kipo's astrological sign, Aries. This also ties in neatly with her love of astronomy.
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, the Butterfly Family often names their daughters after celestial bodies, such as Comet, Moon, Star, and Eclipsa. Their access to the Royal Magic Wand gives them exclusive control over magic and their names are often indicative of stages of Mewni's history, as Solaria is revered as a hero who expanded Mewni to its farthest extents while Eclipsa is reviled as the Queen of Darkness who married a monster.

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