I walked away from the Jedi community in Spring of 2008. At that time, various sites and groups had all made attempts at coming up with some sort of “Jedi Trial,” but each attempt was short lived. We had the idea teased to us when Phantom Menace came out in 1999, but it was not until September, 2010, with the release of The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force, more than two years after I had left the community, that we finally received a description of what these trials were. I was ecstatic when this book came out, so full of possibilities and inspiration, but the resource, to me, appears to be squandered. Over the next five weeks (starting this Thursday), I want to look at each one of the five Jedi Trials, starting this week with the Trial of Skill.
First, some general thoughts.
The current way I have seen these implemented is somewhat of an application process. In a way, I can see that making sense. If someone has already experienced something that was at a trial level, just like in the Jedi of fiction, they should be able to be waived from being tried in that area again.
I have also seen some attempt to standardize the trials, which I do and do not agree with. Yes, you want consistency, and you want to make sure everyone meets a certain baseline, but everyone has different strengths or weaknesses, and the trials should focus on both of those. If you are prone to arrogance and temper, that boundary needs to be pushed in order to make sure you can control yourself. If you are someone who claims to be a top martial artist, you need to be tested more than someone who has learned to fight only as a means of defense.
Finally, the “trials” that I have seen at gatherings are basically a two-ish hour interview process. Granted, many feel that it is more of a review of piers than a trial. So, my thoughts on timing, is that each trial should be given individual attention, and it could take several days to complete them all. The Trial of Spirit, for example, could take hours, just going through a Jedi’s life to find their fears, guilt, insecurities, ecc. Proper time must be allotted.