Flashback – My Attempt at a Temple: The Training Groups

Upon being accepted into the training program at the Temple, students would be assigned a Clan, based off of the concept in the fiction.  When I first created the layout, only three clans had been mentioned: Bear, Katarn, and Savrip.  So, I created a list of clan names based on various fictional animals.  The list was as follows:
Bear
Bantha
Katarn
Savrip
Gryphon
Chimaera
Tesserym
Pegasus
Phoenix
Dragon

Since then, the Jedi Path book has revealed the full list of clans:
Bear
Bergruutfa
Boma
Clawmouse
Dragon
Hawkbat
Heliost
Katarn
Savrip
Squall
Thranta
Tra’Cor

If I were to go back and revive the clan idea, I am not sure if I would choose to keep my original names, go with the fictional names, or completely reassign names based on actual animals on Earth (I would love to be in Orca Clan, or Elephant Clan).

The idea was to run with two clans a year, so applicants would be alternately assigned to one of two clans for the next term.  Then, at various times throughout training, clans could compete with each other for some fun games (all healthy competition here).

Screenshot 2016-08-19 09.02.29.png

I had made these simplistic little icons for each of the clans.  The idea was that the base/background color of each indicated the clans year, so there are two with each background color.  The two foreground colors would be the clans colors, like school colors.  I would redesign these for sure, as I assigned many colors based on mascot features, but who wants to have brown and orange as their colors?

Students would attend 4-5 years of basic training on the Jedi Path with their clan.  At the end of that time, students would then be available to be chosen as a Padawan and continue their training one-on-one.  Unlike the fiction, if a student was not immediately chosen however, they could continue to train on their own, utilizing the resources at the temple.  The idea was to have a Jedi, or a team of Jedi, in charge of monitoring solo training progression and making sure the students were on track.

The Curriculum…is for another post. 😉

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Mock Gathering – Stronghold

In talking about the 2016 Gathering over the last few weeks, I thought it might be useful to actually write down the things I would have done differently.  I think I am going to turn this into a series of Mock Gatherings, pointing out some of the benefits of holding Gatherings in various locations.  Initially, I envisioned these being more detailed, but as I am doing them, I am realizing how difficult it is to list specifics without actually contacting places with dates and looking for quotes, so these will likely be more general “hey, this location is interesting, what are some options” type of posts.

Disclaimer:  I have no idea what the prices are on anything at Stronghold, so perhaps this was done in the most economical way.

To begin, not Stronghold specific, but the Yearbook.

First, all the pictures are from LAST YEARS Gathering, which makes sense since they print it before the Gathering, but I think it would be much more significant if you simply said that a Yearbook would be mailed out to all attendee’s AFTER the Gathering.  All the maps and schedules could be provided in a packet at the beginning, leaving more room for people to maybe post memories, post a list of who won certain awards, who was knighted, ecc.

Second…pictures.  Myself and several people did not submit photos to be put next to our names in the yearbook.  Some of us just did not want our picture included and assumed that would be the result when we did not submit them.  Instead, whoever assembled the yearbook went through our facebook profiles and picked whatever pictures they wanted, and not even the most professional looking.  The one chosen for me, for example, was from a photoshoot where I was dressed as Princess Leia…one of my least favorite of my costumes, and I make it a point to separate my costuming from being a Jedi.  And it was not even a recent picture, they had to scroll back some to find it.  It would have been easier for the person to shoot me a me, and the others, a quick PM, directly requesting a picture.  Or even say, “hey, you did not submit a picture, so unless you want something different, I am going to use this one.”

Accommodations

The Carriage House was booked for our group, which holds 30 people.  If there was an issue with space, we could have switched to the Barrick Lodge which holds 36, but there were no space issues.  Based on the group photo, there were 26 of us, and some of those stayed off site.  However, the organizers of the event stayed in the Bunker, a little 6-person cabin across the courtyard.  Why are we having separate accommodations for organizers?  This is supposed to be about unity and coming together as a group, not special treatment for a select few.  Sure, they held the Knighthood trials over there, but they could have just as easily held them in one of the rooms of the Carriage House, or perhaps at the main building, or even outside.  I wonder how much extra the rate was just to have this extra building.

Also, it was difficult to request roommates, and Opie and I had a little anxiety of who we would be rooming with, or even worse, that we would not be rooming together because the main organizer said “there will only be male/female rooms in special circumstances.”  Honestly, I felt I was going on a high school field trip again.

Instead of having the extra Bunker, or use of the Pavilion for the party, house everyone in one building and have the party in the common room.  With the money you would likely save on these two things, add some of the available Activities to the schedule, namely Archery, Canoeing, or use of the Obstacle Course.  All wonderful activities that may not be available at other locations and it would have been good to make use of.  Plus, it has the added bonus of getting everyone to leave the cabin instead of just sitting inside all day.  Yes, there was swimming, that was a great start.  There was also a Martial Arts workshop, though not everyone may have felt comfortable with that, and a fire building workshop…good starts.

Schedule one big activity per day, and by activity, I mean up and moving.  You can throw hiking in there as well, as there are some great trails out there.  Fit workshops in around those, and do not list them as “mandatory.”  Again, we are not in high school here.

Recap

  • One building for everyone
  • Make roommate choice completely up to the attendees
  • Make use of local activities – Archery, Canoeing, Obstacle Course, Hiking
  • Yearbook mailed out AFTER the Gathering
  • Don’t force anyone into something they do not want to do…including submitting photos

Flashback – My Attempt at a Temple: The Frame

Back in the late 90’s/early 00’s, training programs were very lax and ill formed.  The closest thing to a standardized training program was the Blue Group at the Jedi Temple site, but even that seemed incomplete.  Over the years, I started to form an idea of what I thought training would/should look like, and when the Temple of the Jedi Order (TJO, not the religious based TotJO that you know today) collapsed, I redirected my energy to attempt to create my vision.  Unfortunately, I started college shortly thereafter and was working on this solo, so it still sits incomplete today here.  Feel free to pick through it, though I only really ever built the frame virtually, all the content (which is woefully outdated) still sits in folders and notebooks on my desk at home.

MainPage.png

This post is just to give a layout of the site, the more intensive information will be posted separately.  Do not want to overload anyone.

The site was built to make someone feel as if they were actually attending a temple, with image maps of the fictional Temple, and spires and ziggarats all with the same names and similar purposes as those in the fiction.

SPIRES

JTSpire-TempleSpireTemple Spire
The very center spire, this was where the discussion forum was located.  This was meant to be the standard discussion forum, like the rest of the Jedi sites at the time.  I re-purposed the old TJO boards, moving all the old discussions to a single archive and restructuring the forums  to fit the new site.  The site can still be found here, as I saved it from the ezboard purge.

JTSpire-JC

 

Jedi Council Spire
The far left spire, this was simply meant to be a place with biographies and contact information for the Temple Council members.

 

JTSpire-CoFirstKnowledge


Council of First Knowledge
The far back spire, this was the library area, and the other major image map for the site.  Users could click on aisles of the Archives, which would take them to a shelf of books pertaining to a topic.  Each book would bring up a different text.

JTSpire-Reassignment

Reassignment Council
The far right spire.  In the fiction, the reassignment council was the council that handled reassigning students that were not chosen as Padawans.  I wanted this spire to serve a similar purpose, but also be useful to all members of the Temple.  This page contained a list of charity organizations with links to their sites, and would have evolved and grown to include a list of members who supported each charity and any insight or advice they could provide.

JTSpire-CoReconciliation

 

Council of Reconciliation
The front spire, a simple form to submit any comments, questions, or concerns to the Temple staff.

 

ZIGGURATS

JTZiggurat-Dorm

Jedi Dormitories
The left back ziggurat was a fun little idea I came up with, each student would be assigned a dorm room for their profile.  That way they could leave their floor and dorm number as sort of a calling card to their information.  There were 30 floors, each with 67 rooms, for a total of 2,010 rooms.  Mine is on floor 6, room 66, though it has not been updated since I first put it up.

JTZiggurat-PublicCenter


Public Center

The rear right ziggurat was the information center, where you could go to find the basic information about the Temple organization and training procedures.  This would also be where historical notes were kept, like photos from gatherings, ecc.

 

JTZiggurat-AdminCenter

Administration Center
The front right ziggurat, here is where new members could go to apply for training.  The application was set up as a form, though I am not sure I ever got the coding right, as the instructions say to copy and past it to e-mail.

 

JTZiggurat-Training

 

Jedi Training Facility
Finally, the front left ziggurat, the training facility.  This was the most detailed section of  the site, so this, will have to wait for a separate post.

Then and Now

For the first two days I started writing this (I have been working on this since I created the blog), I was wracking my brain trying to figure out how to so, because it was originally posed to me as a positives vs negatives type of post, but that just was not working…the positives and negatives are out of balance.  So instead, I am writing this as a what has changed and what has not changed.  This is for the community as a whole, so there might be a site or two that are exempt from certain things, but these are my observations as a whole.  I have a feeling these will still lean one way in the positive negative scale, but it is what it is.

WHAT HAS CHANGED

Communication
This is not something that the community is really responsible for, but a change in technology.  Whereas before we were limited to forums, occasional chats, and instant messaging; now I see video chats, youtube channels, and more Jedi exchanging phone numbers.  It is easier to know who is on the other side of the keyboard now.

Gatherings
This has not so much changed as it has continued and gained momentum.  The offline gathering was new in 2002, but it has continued annually since and many more smaller gatherings are done regionally now.

Chapters/Offline Groups
Again, this is something that was already beginning when I initially left the community, but they have definitely grown since.

The People
I have been a Jedi for seventeen years now…there is only one person still around who has been there longer than I have.  Everyone else is new.  At the recent Gathering, we split into two groups at one point: those who were “new” and “vets.”  Of course I stayed in the vet group, but aside from two other people, I do not recall a single one of the people who stayed in the room from before.  The funny thing is, most of them probably all just assumed I am new, or that I was just “the girlfriend,” not a Jedi, but just attending with my boyfriend who is well known throughout the community.

Less Sites, More Facebook
Like much of the online world, the Jedi community is largely on Facebook now.  It has sort of become the new ezboard.  Whereas back in the early aughts there were dozens, if not hundreds of different boards and websites, now there are only a few websites, but dozens of Facebook groups.

Ceremony
With the shift to offline meetings, now knightings are done in person rather than online, which brings a whole three ring circus of a show into play.  Empty speeches are read (not memorized….read from a page) by the person presiding, by those being knighted, and even by those observing, effectively forcing people into saying they agree with a decision, even if they do not.  It is a grand public display rather than the private and meaningful occurrence depicted in the fiction.

Localism
While the world seems to be getting smaller everywhere else due to the ease of communication, the opposite seems to be true within the Jedi community.  Not only does there seem to be a focus on the US groups while Jedi from abroad are almost completely forgotten, but the Gatherings have become Midwest-centric rather than trying to move around.  True, the Midwest is central for most, but some people cannot travel regardless.  Better to jump from location to location each year.  Those that can travel will likely still make the trip, those who cannot will eventually be able to attend because it is close enough to do so.  Better to give everyone a chance to attend at least once than give a handful of people the opportunity to go every year.  Now, evidently there is SOME effort to switch up the Gatherings, but there is also the issue of who runs them that causes resistance, and is currently causing a split between next years Gathering going East next year, or staying in the Midwest once again.  This is primarily an issue of who has control of the Gatherings…does one organization control them or are they free for anyone to plan.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

 

WHAT HAS STAYED THE SAME

A Lack of Standards
This is probably the most troubling one for me.  Many more individuals are being Knighted now, but I see absolutely no set standard to become a knight, just that people have to like you and feel you have something to offer to the community.  Do you have to show diplomacy?  No.  Do you have to show physical wellness?  No.  Do you have to show knowledge of Jedi history and texts?  No (and sadly, this includes the Code…which in the fiction was required knowledge to move from Initiate to Padawan, but in real life not even required of Knights?!).

Un-Jedi Behavior/Drama
And to connect this with the previous point, often FROM those who are called knights.  Gossip, politics, nepotism, sexism….all the things you would think you would be required to quell to become a Jedi Knight.

A Rush to Knighthood
What is the rush?  What does the title “Knight” ACTUALLY gain you?  There is so much focus on becoming a knight, rather than focus on BEING a Jedi.

National Gathering 2016

First I must preface that this post will be observational only, no judgement.  There were things that happened that I loved, and there were things that happened I did not like quite so much, but I will do my best to refrain from pointing those out here.

This past weekend was the 2016 National Jedi Gathering.  In my occasional lurking of the online community, I noticed that the now annual gathering was going to be held at Stronghold Castle, in Oregon, Illinois; a site I have been going to for a weekend long Renaissance Faire almost every October since 2000.  Being in my backyard, I started debating going, and reconnecting with another Jedi (Opie Macleod) whom I had known since I first joined in 1999 solidified it.  Declaimer, he is my boyfriend…so he is included in most of this since I spent most of the weekend in his company.

The Gathering itself was to take place Thursday, August 4th through Sunday, August 7th, however the Chicago Jedi organized a dinner on Wednesday night, which is evidently tradition.  Opie would not be arriving until Thursday, but I decided to venture out to the dinner on my own.

WEDNESDAY
The dinner was scheduled at 7pm at 3rd Coast Cafe & Wine Bar in Chicago.  I headed in straight from work and walked in about five minutes to seven.  There were only two people there when I arrived: Boom and Dan.  Boom and I had been friends on Facebook for several years, though we had never spoken in person, Dan was completely new to me.  I introduced myself, and Boom gave me a hug, happy to finally meet me.  The three of us chatted for a while before others started trickling in much after 7pm.  Aimee/Moonshadow sat next to me.  She had been in the community for a long time and we had actually met once before at a Star Wars Celebration.  It is hard to say who all was there and who all sat everywhere because people moved around AND I had to remember a whole bunch of new names.  There was Jeremy (who had actually been at my last Chicago Jedi meetup back in 2008, though I believe it was either his first, or the first I met him at), Stan, Connor, Hannigan, Hannigan’s girlfriend Deanna (who sat to my right), Gabe/Angelus, Gabe’s husband Jay, David, Don, and I think that is everyone.

Boom01

Myself, Aimee, and Boom at Dinner

After dinner, a small group expressed interest in going to see the fireworks at Navy Pier, and I decided to tag along.  Unfortunately, we arrived just in time to see the last set go off, but we wandered the Pier anyhow.  Those there were myself, Aimee, Stan, Jeremy, Connor, David…and I feel I am forgetting someone.  Jeremy knew a great deal of detail that he explained to the out of towners.  We almost rode the ferris wheel but decided against it.  I hugged the Chicago Shakespeare sign because…Shakespeare!

Stan03

After we were done, Jeremy drove me back to the blue line and everyone parted for the night.

OFFICIAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS AS POSTED ON THE FACEBOOK EVENT

Thursday, 4 August 2016
2:00 – 4:00 P.M. Check-in, Room Assignments, and Settling In
4:00 – 4:30 P.M. Welcome and Announcements by Angelus Kalen
4:30 – 5:15 P.M. Opening Ceremony – “The Fortification of Swords” by Cabur Senaar
5:30 – 6:30 P.M. Dinner
7:00 – 8:00 P.M. Firebuilding by Tallan Kai-Dan
8:30 – 9:30 P.M. Jedi Symbolism and Crystal Ceremony by Alan Wilson

Friday, 5 August 2016
8:00 – 9:00 A.M. Breakfast
9:30 – 10:30 A.M. “Facing your Darkside” by Jax & Phoenix
10:45 – 11:45 A.M. “Healing with Herbs” by Diamond Firefist
12:15 – 12:45 P.M. Lunch
1:15 – 2:15 P.M. “Embodiment” by Jax
3:00 -5:00 P.M. Swimming
5:30 – 6:30 P.M Dinner
7:00 Free Time / Marketplace

Saturday, 6 August 2016
8:00 – 9:00 A.M. Breakfast
9:30 – 10:30 A.M. “Martial Arts for the Modern Jedi” by Raphael Ben Raven
10:45 – 12:00 A.M. “Roots of the Tree” by Kai-An Tatok and Angelus Kalen
12:15 – 12:45 P.M. Lunch
1:15 – 2:15 P.M. “Mentoring: The Master-Padawan Relationship” by Angelus Kalen
2:30 – 5:00 P.M. Free Time / Marketplace
5:30 – 6:30 P.M Dinner
7:00 Group Picture
8:00 Knighting and Celebration

Sunday, 7 August 2016
8:00 – 9:00 A.M. Breakfast
9:30 – 10:30 A.M. Closing Ceremony – “The Fortification of Swords” by Cabur Senaar
12:00 P.M. Check out

THURSDAY

I worked Thursday, so I did not arrive until about 6:30pm.  I checked in, received a bag with the Yearbook and some random samples, refused the linens as I had brought my own for both Opie and myself, and then headed up to the room to start unloading my car and await Opie’s arrival (he was en route).  By the time both of us were there and unpacked, the workshops were mostly over, so neither of us attended anything that evening, but we went downstairs afterwards to socialize.  A group got a Cards Against Humanity game going, but I did not participate, only listened in.  We headed up to bed pretty late, but there were still people awake even then.

FRIDAY

We slept in until about 10 on Friday, so only just headed downstairs for Healing with Herbs, which was basically about healing properties of various herbs with the qualifier that they are not “cures” and always consult your physician first.  Next up was lunch, which was being served at one of the main buildings at Stronghold, Brubaker.  I had packed all my own food, but I still partook in some of the desserts and stole many of Opie’s black olives.

I do not recall the reason, but we did not not attend the Embodiment workshop (EDIT: I remember now, we got in a discussion about unarmed fighting styles…at least it started as that, but likely diverged into random Jedi discussion and ranting…it happens), but headed down when it was time to go swimming.  Swimming was fun.  So much so that they added an extra hour of swimming on Saturday.  There was a canoe next to the pool that ended up being put in the pool, and people were trying to steer it around, even though it was almost the width of the pool long.  After the pool was Dinner, and after dinner was “Free Time,” when most of the Knight Review Boards took place.  Opie was on the review board for two of the four people, so he was gone doing that most of the night.  I stayed upstairs in the room to work on my script for acting class.

SATURDAY

Again, we slept in through breakfast and the first workshop of the day, but I dragged Opie down for “Roots of the Tree” as it was being co-hosted by Katie, one of the California Jedi.  During the workshop, we split off into two groups twice, in order to discuss issues amongst the groups.  First we split into males and females, then we split off into essentially “n00bs” and “vets.”  This workship had received a lot of controversy prior to the Gathering, and even I was skeptical, but it was handled better than I had imagined.  Whether or not it was effective will depend on the future.

Lunch was next, and then Opie, Katie, Aimee, and Jeremy went off to discuss something while I went back and took a quick nap (unplanned…but that is what ended up happening).  When Opie came back it was almost time to swim, so we headed down for round two of swim time, which involved a game of something between volleyball and dodgeball but ended up being dubbed”Disappointment.”  It was fun.

After pool Opie and I wandered around the grounds for a while.  I showed him the old site exit with the amphitheater and we fond the obstacle course which we were both disappointed would not be utilized for the Gathering.  We got back just in time for dinner and then…the knighting ceremony.  I wish I had filmed it, because I cannot do it justice in description.  Basically each of the three whose knighthoods were approved were brought up…some lines were read by the person presiding, the person being knighted, and the observers (the script was printed in the Yearbook), and then the person was presented as a knight.  There were also a few awards given, and everyone dressed up a bit….some in some version of a costume, others just in nicer clothing than the typical jeans and t-shirts they wore the rest of the weekend.  After the ceremony there was a party over under the Stronghold pavilion.

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California Jedi Picture – Me, Opie, Chris, Katie (technically I am not California yet, but as I will be, Katie insisted I be in it)

We hung out at the party for a little while before inviting the group we were talking with up  to our room to hang out.  Initially just Chris, Katie, and Alex came up, and Opie tried  to give them the test he had given in the review board (it had sparked some controversy).  I was also retaking it, as I had been the first to take it over the phone earlier that week, but conversations diverged and we stopped half way through.  Eventually Aimee joined us as well.  I really enjoyed spending time with that group that night, it was probably my favorite night of the gathering.

DerekSigman15

Group photo after the Knighting Ceremony

SUNDAY

We once again…slept in.  When we woke up we went straight to packing up the room.  Loaded up our cars, and after a few goodbyes, headed off.  I thought we might run into Jeremy for lunch, as he said he was planning on going to the same place we were going to, but we did not.  He said I should come to some Chicago Jedi meetups in the future, but we shall see.

The Definitive Jedi Timeline of Destiny Froste

Here is my timeline in the Jedi community based on old posts (ezboard, livejournal, myspace, facebook…this is what numbers/links in parenthesis reference) and memory.  This will be updated as I uncover more dates and information.

1999 – Exact Date Unknown – likely in the late summer/early autumn…before October
First joined online Jedi Community

Sometime in late 1999/early 2000
Blue Group forms at the Jedi Temple.

2000, November 08th
Wrote “What is Sex?”

2001, April 11th
Created Global EZBoard Account

2002, July 20th
Meet first Jedi in person – Mijan

2002, July 22nd-26th
First ever offline Jedi Gathering in Great Falls, MT (with Opie, Alora, Mijan, Manna, Mindas)

2002, November 18th (http://tju75026.yuku.com/topic/874/Welcome#.V6n_fqKo3ag)
Temple of the Jedi Order (TJO) officially opens

2006, September 22nd (171220966)
Also, next week is:
First Chicago Jedi meeting – Not sure if I am going.  I tried to suggest we do something fun for the first meeting to break the ice, but instead we are meeting at a borders in Chicago, right around rush hour…yeah…I really do not feel like fighting rush hour traffic just to go sit and talk about who knows what.  Plus, it is the same day as the Study Abroad stuff and I might not get out of NIU on time.  Oh well…I will see how I feel on Thursday I guess.

2006, October 27th (185681658)
Yesterday was the second official Chicago Jedi Chapter meeting, but only Angelus and I were able to attend (it was at his house).  We talked about a whole bunch of random stuff, did a little energy work and then talked about the Tri-State meeting next month.  I am really looking forward to that.  He showed me a way to test the strength of your chakras, and apparently my Solar Plexus, Heart and Throat Chakras are weak right now.  I am trying to find my Chakra notes that I put together years ago, but to no avail.  I wonder what I did with them…  Its sad there are only three of us around here that can ever get together.  Some of the other Chapters have about 5-7 members.  That thought got us talking about the gatherings and everything…ah nostalgia.

2006, November 12th (192513882)
JEDI TRI-STATE CHAPTER MEETING

The meeting on Saturday went rather well.  There were seven of us total; three from Kentucky, one from Indiana (unless you count Tiger and her daughter, but they were on their own most of the time), and three from Illinois.  The weather was horrid and cold and only became worse as the day went on.  The first thing we did after we all arrived was eat, however since it was so cold no one ate all that much and we had a lot of food left over.  After eating, Andy taught sword basics.  Mostly footwork and basic strikes.  We did that for several hours.  The next thing we did was energy work, and Manna led us through basic energy sensing exercises.  During the first exercise we were just suppose to be sensing energy between our hands.  Manna went through each one of us one by one telling us how we did and when she got to me she blinked and said “Des, you created an energy ball.”  Oops :D.  Through all the rest of the exercises she told me I was always emitting a lot of energy and she told me I would be good at reiki.  Never really looked into it, guess it would not hurt to check it out.  After that the guys did some sparing and more fencing work.  Mabius and I did a slight bit of sparing…started just goofing around and ended abruptly so it was nothing dramatic, but that was really the first time I had ever done it.  At the end Angelus led us through a Shamanic Journey Meditation.  Most everyone else had rather positive experiences however mine was rather disturbing and upsetting.

In my vision, I was in a cavern covered in jewels (like a mine with them growing out of the walls).  The jewels were all very vibrant and were all kinds of different colors.  When I looked closely at the jewels, they either contained or were reflecting, different sides of my personality, each color showed a different side.  At first, I just looked at the stones in wonder…but then I had the feeling I was being told that I had to make a choice, that I had to chose one of my many personalities and focus on that one side of me and ignore the others.  Then, deeper in the cavern I saw a large opal.  As I walked towards it, I had the feeling that it was telling me that I did not have to chose, that I could be like an opal and contain many different colors all in one existence.  However, almost immediately it was as if the jewels were shouting over the opal.  It drove me insane and I began to cry hysterically and I started breaking all the jewels, hitting them off the walls and trying to destroy them.  Eventually I stopped and fell to my knees, still crying, but more calm.  I picked up a hand full of the dust on the ground which was what remained of the shattered jewels.  Then, Angelus pulled us out, and instead of walking out, it was as if something grabbed me around the waist and pulled me out of the cave.  When I opened my eyes, they were filled with tears and my contacts were dry and blurred as if I had been crying for a long time.  I still do not feel as if there was closure to what the vision was telling me, and it has left me very confused.

When we left the park, we went to eat and talk.  I did not tell my vision to anyone until Angelus, Mabius and I were back in the car on the way home.  They were not sure what it meant either, and only came to the conclusion that I was dealing with a lot right now.  The car ride home was fun.  I felt more connected to them, but even though, I remember thinking that it was nothing like the connection I felt at the Montana Gathering.  Granted, the Montana Gathering was several days long, but it just seemed as if there was something stronger then.  During the car ride I through out all sorts of random questions, (If you could pick one fictional character to represent you who would it be?, If you could not live in America where would you live?, things like that) and we even discussed dreams briefly.

2007, January 15th (http://destinyfroste.livejournal.com/223510.html)
Saturday was the Jedi chapter meeting…Mabius could not go so it was just Angelus and I. We went to a Chicago Forest Preserve and did Tai Chi and attempted to do a little shinai work. We did not last too long on the shinai’s because it was freezing and I could no longer feel my fingers. Then we sat in his car and did a Shamonic (sp?) journey. This time helped to explain the discord in my last journey and confirmed the necessity of studying abroad for me. From there we went to borders for a while to kill time. Then we went back to Angelus’ place for his birthday party.

2007, March 19th (242988014)
Had the March Chapter meeting on Saturday, though only Angelus and I showed up.  I found out that Mabius is apparently moving to Colorado, so now we are down to two.  Angelus said there is one Jedi up in Madison, which if we meet out by me it would be closer for her, but he does not seem overly enthusiastic for that idea.  There are supposedly two more Jedi in Chicago that Angelus does not have the e-mails for yet, as well as a Jedi down in Champaigne.  Hopefully our numbers can grow a little.  Just two little Jedi is very sad and lonely.  We did some sparing and meditation on Saturday and then talked about other stuff including the fact that the next Tri-State meeting will be up in Chicago.

2007, April 27th (http://destinyfroste.livejournal.com/234503.html & http://destinyfroste.livejournal.com/234289.html)
After I finished that, I did a little Jedi surfing. As I expected…not much hope inducing evidence out there. I finished with that and now I am bored.

Speaking of Japan, you know what I dreamed last night? I dreamed that instead of me doing this teach english in Japan thing alone, a few Jedi decided to do it with me. We each worked for a different program and in our free time we were taking martial arts classes and going to ancient temples and such. It was nice. Not going to happen, but that is why you dream, ne?
***
You see, every time I return to any one of the Jedi sites I use to frequent, they are either dead, or the people there are engaging in the same stale debates and discussions that were being breached when I joined the community back in 1999. Even when I find within myself the patience to either deal with these discussions or to ignore them and only focus on the relevant topics, I lose interest because of the general demeanor of those frequenting the sites.

Yet, I miss it all. But I miss it all as it once was. I feel as though there is a calling within me, telling me that I need to return, but how? There is a large part of me that wants to return to the sites, but from how long I have been gone, I would not know where to start. To be quite honest, I do not even know which sites are active anymore, and it is quite a timely matter to go through every forum on my favorites list just to check for regular current activity. Then, it would be like starting all over. At this point, few remember me I am sure. And do I have the strength to start over from scratch?

I still have everything from when I wanted to set up the training facility on my site. In fact…the folders containing the training information is right behind my head…I think I am leaning against them. I wish I could say I am still planning on uploading all of it, but I am discouraged for two reasons. Firstly, I am so busy. I cannot even say I will do it during summer break, because I am taking two semesters of summer school and I am traveling a lot. The second reason, is that what good would it do. One cannot create a movement. Almost every Jedi I once trusted are gone and even if they were still around, they have their own ideas. We are all scattered with our own concepts of what the Jedi should be that we will never successfully create a stable community. It hurts sometimes to think, that had I moved, I could have been in such close proximity to at least two other Jedi. True, I had Angelus and Mabius here for a while (Mabius recently moved), but I have no connection to them. I meet with them, we work together, and I get along with them fine, but we are on different frequencies. That is all the Jedi community has become…a whole myriad of different frequencies.

What I would not give to discover a community that relights that passion I had when I first joined. The excitement when I was first taken as a Padawan. The anticipation of receiving my new lessons. The drive and desire that let me to check the boards as religiously as I do my e-mail. Granted, I must find motivation within myself, but how can one be motivated by a community that is simply running around on a hamster wheel?

2007, May 16th (http://destinyfroste.livejournal.com/239836.html)
Texas…ah Texas. It is looking as though I will have to fly out of Houston instead of San Antonio. This means a slightly higher car rental as well as gas between Houston and San Antonio and a 3 hour drive each way. I am taking the bus out of Rockford tomorrow morning at 7am, so I am going to still try and make the first flight into San Antonio…after that I will try for Houston. As much as I am looking forward to the trip, I am dreading it. It is becoming such a hassle between the flights and the Sunday/Austin situation. Travelling is always such a hassle and I have to repeat the process three days after I return home. The flights to LAX are not looking very good for next week. Watch me not make it to CIV. *sigh* Oh well, I wanted to go somewhere and this is what I get. Damn you United for cutting down on flights. If you would just add one more to each destination I would be happy.

2007, May 20th
Trip to Austin to meet with Texas Jedi

2007, August 14th (299275304)
The Illinois Chapter meeting was on Saturday, it was only Angelus and I again.  Aparently though, we are getting another Jedi who is moving from New York next month.  He owns a Martial Arts school in New York and plans on opening one here too.  He told Angelus that we will be able to use it, so that means we have an indoor location for winter/bad weather meetings AND we have a member that has more knowledge in Martial Arts.  I am still holding my judgment until I meet him in person though, there are a lot of BS Martial Artists out there, but I remain hopeful.  We are also looking at having the Tri-State meeting in October, possibly the weekend of my birthday.  Looks like it will be more than Tri-State though, as there may be Jedi coming in from Ohio and Minnesota.  It seems like there are more Jedi in Michigan as well now, so I am going to suggest inviting them as well.

MARTIAL ARTS:
Speaking of Martial Arts, I signed my contract with AFTA on Wednesday.  I owe $69 for this month.  I finally found out what AFTA stands for and it suprised me, American Freestyle Tae Kwon Do Academy.  I know Joel has his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, but seriously, what we learn in class does not look like any Tae Kwon Do school I ever went to.  And it does not seem Joel even thinks of it as Tae Kwon Do…he discribed it as a type of Karate one day.  I guess you have to call it something though and he probably has some affiliation with the school he trained at.  The school flooded last week so there was no class Tuesday.  I had to miss that day and felt guilty but I guess I did not have to.  I went today only to realize that today was a testing day, so no class.  I spoke to Joel about the weapons class and even he said he suggests waiting until you have been with the school about two months.

2007, August 15th (http://destinyfroste.livejournal.com/250553.html)
While driving home from class, Heather called me.  Devil, get out your winter coat…she finally checked out my forum with the Jedi stuff.  She said she was very impressed and that Brandel would be too.  I told her to feel free to give him the password to the protected forum.  She also said that he would be more than willing to give me my trials when I am ready, all I have to do is ask.  That is good to know.  Anyhow…with the site, we talked about who would teach, and credibility.  We also talked about when it should open.  It looks like it would open with both Heather and I still in training…which would suck for the instruction side of things because neither of us will be qualified to teach.  It will be about another year (so two from now) for me and three (four from now) for Heather…pending that we both pass the trails the first time.  I might just have it open generally for the first year to gain interest though, which would mean when it opens I can teach.  I would say it could open sooner and Brandel could teach if we get him on board, but he is very strict about only teaching one student at a time.  Thing is, the beginning would not really be the training, just the preliminary/intro stuff.  After completing classes the students would still have to train with a Master…which could also prove difficult at the beginning.  I think I would like all Jedi to pass Brandel’s trials, though I do not know quite how he would feel about it.  Plus…how many could at this point…I guess though by the time the first group is out, we will be talking 2012/2013, Brandel is qualified, and Heather and I will hopefully be qualified and maybe a few others, so maybe it wont be too bad.  We also talked about the old days of the Jedi.  Apparently a big split that happened while we were there is known as the big Jedi Purge to some newer hopefuls.  We both found that amusing.  We talked about the Montana Gathering.  I said it would be great if WE could host another gathering…when I say WE, I mean the original gathering people…Heather, Me, Opie, Mijan if she ever came back, Manna, Mindas if he were interested.  I think it would just be crazy to have the originals step back in…same as I would like all the original Jedi to come back to the sites.  Will it happen…probably not…a girl can dream though, can’t she?

We were going to log into WoW, but got too caught up in talking.  I was almost in tears with some of the stuff we discussed.  Yeah…Michigan came up again.  For a while, I could not figure out why this is still coming up three years later, but I realized something.  I did not really talk to any of them for those three years…so the air never cleared.  I started talking with Opie again after a year ago…but we do not talk like we used to and judging by how our characters in WoW tend to bump heads constantly we probably never will, so there was never a chance to really talk through things with him.  Mindas has only said about 20 words to me online since then.  Heather and I started talking a little while ago, but we are just gradually getting back to the way we were and a lot of stuff is coming into the open.  I am just now getting the chance to talk about Michigan and it is really very helpful.  I am really glad I have her as a friend, she makes me feel better about my decision not to move and in general is just there for me.  She even said no matter what that she will be there for me.  Thanks Heather, I will try to stop being depressed so you stop picking up on my moods and can stop being depressed 😉  The Three Amigas *laugh* I am going to send Mijan an e-mail.

2007, October
Tri-State Gathering in Chicago, IL

2008, March 19th (http://destinyfroste.livejournal.com/286347.html)
I was up until almost 5:30 am last night with Jedi business.  Stupid, yes.  I am a zombie today and I missed my first to classes.  More on that in a second.  We only got through my questions and then half of the next persons before we decided we needed to finish it at another date.  Currently we will be finishing on next Friday night/Saturday morning…the night before Blue Harbor.  Should be fun driving up to bumble, WI after not sleeping.  I will have to nap after school that day or head up to WI before the meeting…I will see what happens.

2009, July 16th (http://destinyfroste.livejournal.com/405384.html)
I must make note, that THE Braid…yeah…you know the one…has come out. Ten years are complete. I earned a Green Belt in MMA and was told by many of my peers that I was very good, very fast. I survived for four months in a foreign country. I could by food and other necessities and hold some conversations. I might not be able to jump into fluent speech, but I can make due. I might not TECHNICALLY have my degree, but I walked, and I have met all the requirements for my BA, WITH honors. Ten years is up, and I feel as though I am only just beginning, but I think that is the biggest lesson of the training. Just because the official “training” period is up, does not mean I am done learning, it only means I have the basics and I must continue from here. I am not sure if I will take a student any time soon…eventually though. The best way to learn is to teach after all. Only the future will tell.

2016, June 29th
Officially join Jedi Living as Destiny Froste (previously there under aliases)

2016, August 3rd
Pre-Gathering Dinner

2016, August 4th-7th
National Jedi Gathering at Stronghold Caste; Oregon, IL.

The Background

I first joined the Jedi community back in 1999.  I had only recently seen Star Wars all the way through and the Jedi spoke to me in a way that I had been searching for all my life.  I found a book that listed a website about Jedi in it, followed links on that site to other sites, and before I knew it I was on pretty much every Jedi board there was.

Shortly after, I was taken on as a Padawan and then assigned to the Blue Group at the Jedi Temple.  My master was in charge of the group and I was to act as an advanced student/teachers aid sort of role…until he flipped his proverbial lid, left the community, and the group was reassigned to a new teacher.

In 2002, a handful of Jedi from various sites decided to get together in person, and in July of that year, gathered together in Great Falls, Montana for the first ever offline Jedi Gathering.

In 2004, two of the major sites attempted a merger…it did not go well.  My home online sort of faded away, and so did I.  I maintained a vague online presence for about four more years though.  In 2007, a Jedi in Chicago was trying to start a local offline Chapter, so I joined.  It was only two or three of us for a year, and then there was a surge of new members in April of 2008, but for several reasons, I realized that I could no longer support the group and left.

I continued to lurk and check in on the online communities from time to time, but I largely just became a solitary Jedi…until 2016…