Today’s blog is going to start in the Star Wars universe, but I promise it won’t end up there. If you do not mind indulging me for a few paragraphs….
This past weekend, I was flipping through the television channels and came across a broadcast of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”. It had been a while, so I stopped in to watch. Now, I have seen every release of the Star Wars movies for the first time in the theater, including the one-off movies “Rogue One” and “Solo”. Episode VI is a very favored memory of me and my father, who dragged me to the theaters to see it. I had no idea what I was being taken to see, and to be honest I didn’t really comprehend what I had seen when I left the theater. Like many folks, I have my favorites. My favorite of the films is “Rogue One” which had some powerful storytelling to it. The last three movies of the story arc, VII, VIII and IX are my least favorite films. I don’t care for the story pacing, the story arc, the acting, the directing…none of the three are good films in my mind. So it was an interesting moment for me to stop on a tv channel to watch a film I didn’t like very much.
Maybe I was bored. Maybe I had nothing to do. Or maybe I just wanted to hate on the moment that happened to be on the screen – the start of the scene where Luke comes to burn the Tree and the Jedi Temple, so as to kill the Jedi Order. I remember in the theater, I absolutely hated this scene. I never believed that a character such as Yoda would laugh at Luke with scorn, much less burn the Temple to the ground with a lightning strike. It was a moment in the film that captured every ounce of my scorn, and here I was watching it again. I braced myself to start hating this film again. I watched what happened in the scene. I listened to the dialogue. And suddenly I realized what I was missing…one part of Yoda’s dialogue that had basically blown past me with all my gathered emotions in the theater.
Pass on what you have learned. Strength. Mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters. –Yoda
There was a deep lesson here for Luke. The Temple meant nothing. The “sacred” texts of the Jedi meant nothing. It was his teaching of Rey, showing her not only what he knew, but where he had failed that mattered. Yoda’s point was that each passing generation grows the knowledge a little further, expands on the experience just a little more. Their passion, their energy, their joy, their anguish – that keeps the knowledge thick and able to spread further, not allowing it to thin to a super-stretched, elastic substance that holds nothing and can be seen completely through.
There is a lesson for me on this as well. I am constantly touting that I am no teacher. Whether I like it or not, I am. I am because I exist. I am because I have been on my Pagan Path for thirty some odd years. I am because I write about my experiences and thoughts in this blog (and elsewhere). I might not be formally training people (yet – never say never), but there are folks who gather information and thoughts from what I write. They take that information, process it for themselves, and assimilate what they need for their own Path. Like it nor not, we are all teachers. Like it not, the future of Paganism springs from all of us.
Every year I have been to Gulf Coast Gathering or some other Pagan gathering, I notice the younger people that are there. I am in my mid-fifties, though I feel a lot younger on some days and much older on others. I see the twenty-somethings at these gatherings. Especially those that are obviously hungry to add something with meaning to them within their lives, seeking that deeper connection to the world around them. Certainly, they dress and look wild, are a bit louder and far more full of energy than an old fart like me. But then, I remember when I was that young, twenty-something Pagan. I am sure my enthusiasm and exuberance at finding footsteps that felt “right” on my Path made the same impressions on the elder Pagans that I met. I know Pattalee Glass-Koentop made that comment to me one day in her store in Grand Prairie, Texas (Flight of the Phoenix). “You need to find a way to ground yourself, though your excitement and energy is certainly catching.”
I know that teaching my knowledge is a part of my Path. Its a part of all our Paths. We all teach others, every day with every interaction. Whether we understand that or not. My way is not the only way. However, it works for me. Maybe parts of it will work for others. Maybe not. Will I formally teach my knowledge? Perhaps. There are strong indications that it would not only be a good thing but also fun and informative for myself as well. What would it look like? I have no idea. At the moment, its a secondary part of where I am pushing myself. I have my own Druidry studies to get back to, as well as a path to clergy status to figure out – as well as how all of that will look and be within my life. One step at a time. One task at a time. And yes, I recall that I must always be mindful of the living Force. Star Wars may have created that out of some aspect of thin air…or based it on something…but its quite close to the primary part of my Druidry: connection to the world around me. So, live long and prosper…wha? Yeah, I know its not part of Star Wars, but what does that matter?