Katelyn explores the mythology of the Jedi Religion and its impact on the galaxy far, far away…
In Rogue One, we finally got a taste of the actual religion that is the Jedi. Yes, the Jedi are peacekeepers who follow this Force that connects all things. However, those who were force-sensitive and a part of the Order were not the only individuals who followed the religion that was a part of the Order. Monasteries and temples were all over the galaxy and often housed treasures found or given to the Order. They would have meditation areas as well as libraries and sparring rooms. We saw one such temple on Lothal during season 2 of Rebels. If a temple was too far from a mission location, then a praxeum ship would be used.
In Rogue One we see a monastery and two monks who have been looking after the place and its kyber crystals. When the Empire comes to take the crystals to power the Death Star, the sand hits the fan. There was some confusion among fans of whether or not those monks were force-sensitive. No, they are not.
Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) says repeatedly “I am one with the Force and the Force is with me”. Jedi were the only individuals who could manipulate using the Force, but the Force didn’t stop with them. Chirrut would have been employed by the Jedi order to maintain the temple and provide spiritual guidance to both young Jedi and the common man as well. He would have been knowledgeable in most aspects of the Order and trained in combat, as we saw. When he says he is “one with the Force” he is being literal. The Force is in and around everything. The Force can be with you, regardless of whether you can manipulate it. On a few occasions, we hear Masters state that “it is the will of the Force”. Although the Force doesn’t have a “side”, it does seem to make decisions or lead someone in a general direction.
Within the Order, you had:
- Leaders- Grand Masters- the High Council
- The three lesser councils; Reconciliation, First Knowledge, & Reassignment
- Masters and Knights
- The Jedi Service Corps
- Other non-Force sensitive beings who worked for the Order
The leaders of the Order were the ones who were supposed to interpret the will of the Force and lead the Order in the direction they were to follow. Each of those below was dependant on the Council to make large-scale decisions. If the Council messed up, your choices were to follow orders or leave.
To fully understand the religious elements of the Order, you must understand the code that guided it:
There is no emotion, there is peace
This first rule leads to Jedi in interactions and meditation. It is meant to be a reminder to not behave recklessly and to always try to understand the situation fully before acting aggressively.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge
People often fear what they don’t understand and fear leads to darkness. Before assignments Jedi were encouraged to read up on the people and cultures they were heading into so they would be prepared.
There is no passion, there is serenity (peace)
Another reminder to act calmly and not become obsessed. It’s easy for us to elevate ourselves above others or even our mission. Jedi could not afford to behave this way.
There is no chaos, there is harmony
This tenant is about the Force and its control over the galaxy. Even our own chaos theory tends to prove this idea. Order cannot come from chaos, only chaos from order. If the Force is around all things, can be sensed and has a will. It is harmony. Jedi were meant to follow the path shown to them by the Force. They were to mirror it. Therefore, Jedi were not to be full of chaos, but harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force
“All things die, but the Force lives on. As beings who exist as shades of the Force, the end of our existence in this form is not to be overly mourned. We are part of an energy larger than ourselves, and we play roles in a cosmic fabric that outstrip our incarnate understanding” (The Jedi Path, pg. 7).
The Force was a past, present, and future constantly in motion. It was the goal of a Jedi to try and understand their role in the Force. Once they could do that, they could extend their reach and sense others within it. The Jedi religion wasn’t one that was worship based, but more of an understanding of the will around them. To do this effectively, they had to learn to be still and allow themselves to listen. That is what Chirrut was doing. Simply listening and trusting a Force he couldn’t truly even sense.
Jediism has a code here on earth as well. I would call it a mindset more than a religion. It follows many of the same tennents with more realistic boundaries. Jediism calls for its followers to take care of their physical and mental health with regular exercise and meditation. It also requires that the follower be a calm individual who appreciates wisdom. Basically, try to be a Jedi without being able to move stuff with your mind and you’ve pretty much got it. There are several websites and forums out there for those who practice the Jedi ideals and want to to talk to others about their experiences.
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Katelyn Mathis is a Senior Staff Writer for Future of the Force. She is a passionate Star Wars fan and is the go-to source for Force Knowledge. Follow her on Twitter @ForceKnowledge where she uses the force frequently!