Yoda must contend with Anger, Joy, Confusion, Sadness, and Serenity to attain enlightenment.
To celebrate the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us for the weekly #CloneWarsRewatch -- you can watch this week’s episode on Disney+ now -- and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.
"Death is just the beginning."
Yoda voyages into the heart of the galaxy to an ancient world that is one of the wellsprings of the Force. There, he undergoes trials administered by the Five Priestesses, mysterious Force-wielders who hold the secret to immortality.
In one of the most powerful pieces of Force-based storytelling, Yoda's meeting with the five priestesses and his trials at the wellspring of the Force make the Jedi Master a wholly relatable being full of the capacity for light and darkness.
Yoda as we know him always seems so wise, astute, and confident. He speaks almost in riddles, often chuckling to himself while his students are frustrated or confused. Their trust in Yoda is implicit, but here we see that Yoda is not infallible. In his failures, he attains his greatest lessons.
The Priestesses are witchy and strange, an array of emotions: Anger, Joy, Confusion, Sadness, and Serenity. And Yoda must face them all to truly become enlightened and learn the greatest gift the Force has to offer. After all, where the Sith seek immortality for their own gain, Yoda would manifest his consciousness after death for a higher calling and a more noble purpose -- to preserve the Jedi Order.
First, he must truly conquer his fears. In his arrogance, he believes himself to have completed such trials already. But the imp of the dark side, the hungry, growing darkness within that threatens to consume him with each passing day of the war, has not been vanquished. He can deny its presence, but only through admitting the gremlin is a part of him, his dark side and hubris, can he regain control over it. He faces his evil and he defeats it, literally wrestling with his demons and getting slapped around by the darkness before he recognizes his capacity for evil and rejects it to ascend to the next step.
Temptations of a future in motion and the illusion of one that cannot be feast upon his emotions. Confronted by fallen Jedi and Padawans, Ahsoka Tano herself on the brink of death, Yoda must grapple with his own inability to save others. It's the key to the Jedi teachings on attachments: he must learn to let go of all he fears to lose.
Initially, however, he doesn't so much let go as he looks away to an idealized peace time at the Jedi Temple. But that, too, is only an illusion. Just as he will eventually teach Luke Skywalker, Yoda must learn to keep his mind on where he is and what he's doing, not look away to the horizon.
Yoda must know himself and then let go of that identity, a paradoxical marching order, if he is to manifest his consciousness again in the Force after his inevitable demise.
- Among the Jedi gathered in Yoda's idyllic vision of the temple training grounds we find Quinlan Vos, Ahsoka Tano, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Dooku.
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Next up: Come back next Thursday when Yoda travels to Moraband in "Sacrifice."
Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer, host of This Week! In Star Wars, and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.
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