The Gathering: 6 Lessons Learned from the Crystal Caves of Ilum

An ancient Jedi ritual we can all learn from.

“There is no place more sacred to the Jedi.” — Master Yoda

In the fifth season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the episode “The Gathering” takes us to the planet of Ilum, where six young Jedi must find their lightsaber crystals. But the ritual known as the Gathering is not just meant to give Jedi initiates a crystal to construct their lightsabers, it is also part of their training to become a better Jedi. Each of the young Jedi learns a valuable lesson, and are shown a way to improve their personality. Let’s have a look at what Byph, Ganodi, Gungi, Zatt, Katooni, and Petro have discovered about themselves under the guidance of Ahsoka Tano and Master Yoda.

The Clone Wars - The Gathering

1. Courage

After Petro runs of on his own, and the other each choose their own path at a intersection, the young Ithorian Byph is left to his own devices. He tries to choose another path, just to not be on his own, but the others remind him that the Force has guided him. And so, he continues on his own journey through the dark and scary cave. At the end of the tunnel he sees his crystal, guarded by a fearsome creature looking down on him. He is afraid, but in the end musters up all his courage and grabs the crystal. Only then does he realize that the creature was never there, but was merely a projection of his own fears. With that, Byph has learned to have courage, and Yoda commends him on overcoming his fears.

The Clone Wars - Ganodi

2. Hope

Ganodi, a young Rodian, soon parts ways with the Wookiee Gungi, to pursue her own journey. Delving ever deeper into the caves, she comments on how hopeless a task it is to find a crystal in a cave of ice. Feeling that she’s only sent into the labyrinths to freeze to death, she soon finds herself falling into a cave full of crystals. Not knowing what to do, Ganodi starts sobbing, fearing that she will never find her own crystal. At one point she realizes, however, that giving up hope doesn’t solve her problems, and she calls on the Force to guide her to her own crystal. Upon leaving the cave, Yoda praises her for finding hope in the Force.

The Clone Wars - Gungi

3. Patience

The Wookiee initiate Gungi finds his crystal very soon, when he is still together with classmate Ganodi. The crystal, however, is located on the other side of a large lake, filled with ice-cold water. He tries to cross the lake via the drift ice, but immediately sees that it would be a pointless endeavor. Ganodi helps him by telling him that he would have to wait for the lake to freeze over. Much like the door into the caves, the sun is slowly moving away, letting the ice come back again. Using all of his patience he settles into a meditation, awaiting his moment. When the ice is finally covering the entire lake, he slowly makes his way across, careful not to break the sheet of ice. He retrieves his crystal and leaves the cave, and Yoda commends him on being patient.

The Clone Wars - Zatt

4. Trust

The Nautolan boy Zatt is accompanied by his trusted datapad, on which he relies for large parts of his life. After giving Katooni a much-needed boost of confidence, he desperately tries to figure out a way to find his crystal using his datapad. The radar search on the device, however, turns up empty. Zatt becomes frustrated and in his anger he smashes his datapad against the wall of the cave. He appears to give up, but soon realizes that he must not rely on the information coming from his datapad in his search for a crystal. Behind the wall that he smashed he sees a glimmer, and he wires his datapad to detonate, blowing away the wall that separates him from his crystal. He returns to the entrance, where Yoda praises him for finding trust within himself.

The Clone Wars - Katooni

5. Confidence

Soon after splitting up from the group, the young Tholothian Katooni finds a crystal, on top of a massive cliff. When Zatt tells her he doesn’t see a thing, she realizes it must be her crystal. However, she isn’t sure of her abilities, and tells Zatt she could never make the climb. And what if there is nothing if she would be able to reach the top? Zatt swears that she can do it, and goes his own way. Katooni starts scaling the cliff, and almost falls while halfway up. She assures herself, and tells herself she can make it, and soon she finds her way to top of the cliff. She grabs the crystal and decides to take another way back. Falling down into a dead end, however, Katooni is sure that she’ll never make it out of the cave. Luckily Petro comes by and together they break the wall of ice. She races out of the caves just in time, and Yoda commends her on having confidence.

The Clone Wars - Petro

6. Selflessness

Petro, a young Corellian, is one of the first to race into the cave in his search for a crystal. He is very confident that he will be the first to find one, and soon locates a shimmering chunk. He grabs it and races back out of the cave. Upon showing his crystal to Yoda and Ahsoka, it melts in his hand, revealing it to be nothing more than a piece of ice. He rushes back into the caves and passes Katooni, who is trapped behind a thick sheet of ice. Petro tells her he cannot help, as he must still find his own crystal, and runs off. Hunted by his conscience, he soon decides to head back and help Katooni free herself from the dead end she has fallen into. While Katooni sprints back to the cave entrance, Petro finds his crystal in the remains of the ice wall they just destroyed. Breaking through the door, which had just frozen over, he is the last to retrieve his crystal. Yoda praises him for helping Katooni instead of continuing his own search, and thereby finding selflessness.

There you have it. Six valuable lessons for six young Jedi initiates. Courage, hope, patience, trust, confidence, and selflessness were all important virtues for the members of the Jedi Order. Next time you find yourself in misfortune, remember these. He who faces himself, finds himself.

Kevin Beentjes (Wild Whiphid) is a molecular biologist working at the Dutch natural history museum. He is an editor for TeeKay-421, an administrator for Yodapedia, and fascinated with the myriad of alien life forms, in that galaxy far, far away.