The younglings in Star Wars: The Clone Wars learned lessons that can teach us all about facing our fears.
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Season Five of Star Wars: The Clone Wars features an episode titled, “The Gathering,” that you will not want to miss. It showcases a sacred Jedi tradition of the same name, in which younglings must journey to the planet Ilum and go into the crystal cave in search of their kyber crystals. These crystals help the future Jedi Knights focus the Force and are sacrosanct. But in order to acquire the kyber crystal, each student must face a unique test that forces them to face their weakness, in order to turn it into a strength.
The Force, like any good teacher, understands that no two students are alike. Each person has their own challenges they are working to overcome; the opening text tells us: “He who faces himself, finds himself.” With this in mind, six prospective Jedi face their own unique trials, and begin to understand that in order to attain the ultimate prize, they must first face the ultimate test.
Petro, a human from Corellia, is confident and competitive. He wants to be the first to find a kyber crystal, but ironically, ends up being the last. What he thinks is his crystal turns out to be nothing more than ice (which promptly melts); he has to race back into the cave to continue the search before the sun sets. He finds his friend, Katooni, trapped behind a sheet of ice, and actually leaves her to continue his search. But ultimately he realizes how selfish he is being, uses teamwork to help her escape, and immediately finds his own kyber crystal as a result.
Katooni, the Tholothian mentioned above, has the opposite test to endure. She doubts her ability to climb to the top of a hill in time, in order to get her crystal. She thinks it is too high, and is not confident it will be safe or that she can make it all the way up. However, she learns to focus on conquering her self-doubt in order to meet her goal, which she soon does.
Gungi is a Wookiee who finds his kyber crystal rather quickly. The problem is that it is across a thin layer of ice that is not entirely stable. One step from Gungi confirms this. If he is to continue this path, he will freeze to death in the water. The Wookiee learns to be patient and wait for the sun to go down, so that the ice will freeze over, enabling him to walk across in safety and get his kyber crystal. While reluctant at first, Gungi meditates in the Force, resisting the urge to panic and races across the cold water, and as it turns to ice, slides across to his prize.
Ganodi is a Rodian who is beyond frustrated with her predicament. She finds herself in a chamber surrounded by thousands of prospective crystals, but does not hear the call of the one that belongs to her. This frustration becomes anxiety, and she starts to lose hope. However, she remembers her training, focusses her breathing, and calls the kyber crystal to her in triumph.
Zatt, a Nautolan, is an expert in technology, so much so that he puts all his faith in his device to help him find his kyber crystal. But, the portable scanner is not helping him and he smashes it in frustration. He loses his temper, his device, and his belief in his ability to make his dream a reality. Once he learns to trust in himself, he overloads his device, causing it to explode and crack the wall, revealing the crystal within.
Byph, the young Ithorian, is forced to find his way on his own, but unlike Petro, would much rather be with his friends. He is scared to be by himself, but goes alone anyway. He discovers his kyber crystal, but it appears to be in the jaws of a fearsome monster. Byph is petrified, quaking in fear. But he learns to face his terror, soon realizing that what he is afraid of is just a product of his imagination. He bravely takes his crystal with a big smile on his face, and is now ready to build his lightsaber.
As the younglings leave the cave, Yoda points out what they all learned:
- Byph learned courage
- Ganodi learned hope
- Gungi learned patience
- Zatt learned trust
- Katooni learned courage
- Petro learned selflessness
Ask your Padawan to think about what obstacles he or she thinks they would have to face in order to acquire their own kyber crystal. Would he or she face a similar trial to one of the Padawans in "The Gathering" if they found themselves in the crystal cave on Ilum? Or would it be something more unique to them? Have your Padawan draw, write, or act out their own challenge, so that they can discover that he who faces himself, finds himself.
Dan Zehr is the Host and Brand Director of Coffee With Kenobi, a podcast that examines the mythology of Star Wars from a place of intelligence and humor. He is an author of the upcoming The Star Wars Book, along with Pablo Hidalgo and Cole Horton, and is also a high school English teacher with an MS in Teaching and Learning.
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