By Justin Gates
In the last few months of the year 1999, I watched the movie “The Phantom Menace” and found myself impressed and inspired by some of the more profound ideas at play in the movie’s background. This newfound interest led me to watch the older Star Wars movies a little closer (episodes 4-6), play any of the games I could get my hands on, and search out books and comics related to Star Wars.
You have to understand; I wasn’t much of a “fan” before then. I wasn’t ever exposed to Star Wars much as a kid. I had seen the toys and games at the store and had caught some of the movies when they came on television, but that was it. I was really into sports, comics, and superheroes at the time and didn’t pay attention to much else.
Near the end of 2002, I was led to hit the internet and see what else I could find about these Knights with the robes, laser swords, and superpowers. There wasn’t a ton of information around that wasn’t just fan or roleplay. Still, I did find a few solid examples of groups who were teaching and learning what they called “The Jedi Way.”
I joined a few Yahoo groups that were active and ate up as much information as I could in an attempt to figure out the secret to this new and exciting path of spirituality. I logged in one day and found a fellow named Derek Thompson posting an advertisement for seminars to learn the “Jedi Way.” Unfortunately, I was on the other side of the country and could not attend. Derek was catching all kinds of flak from other members because of what he posted. After lurking in the background of this group for months, I stood up and defended this stranger on the internet and ticked off a bunch of people in the process.
I left that group because of how they treated each other; it didn’t seem to match the “Jedi Way” they were promoting. I reached out to Derek and apologized for what had happened. He extended an invitation to a group called “The Jedi Order of Ashla Knights.”
Justin Bane, Jedi Apprentice
I joined the group shortly and immediately dove into the fray. I was posting and participating in exciting debates and topics several times a day. I quickly began my learning at the online academy and progressed through the lessons as fast as I could complete them.
What I found at Ashla was what I had been looking for. I found a philosophy that helped me draw all my years of study and practice of the various theologies, metaphysics, mystical paths, and others together in a way that brought perfect clarity to mind and soul. It helped bring all of this knowledge that I had acquired over the years to a clear and defined path in front of me. The universal and secular nature of the Order helped me understand a great many things that I would have missed otherwise.
I eventually went on to earn the title of “Jedi Knight” and then eventually “Jedi Master” from the Order’s High Council. I have served the Order from that day forward. The Jedi Order of Ashla Knights and my Teacher, Master Thompson, have greatly influenced my path and everything I do personally and professionally.
The Jedi Praxeum
In early 2021, after nearly 20 years of study and practice, I decided to visit a group called the Jedi Praxeum. They are a group of Teachers and Students of the Jedi Way. I wanted to revisit the basics of Jediism and the Force. There are several good Teachers at the Praxeum, some I have known for many years. I took a class taught by J.A. Michaels (Jedi Otori Mikko), an author with a few excellent books over at Amazon that I highly recommend. This class lasted approx… 11 weeks.
The Praxeum has an outstanding core program focused on Codes, conduct, and behavior, and of course, foundational understandings of the Force and how to sense and manipulate. I decided to challenge myself and completed the class as well as the Knighting program offered. I met all of the required training, including a two-part trial, and was Knighted at the 2021 Jedi Gathering. I want to thank Karen and the other Teachers at the Praxeum for their time and attention. Stay tuned for a special series Charles and I are working on for the Praxeum!
Where does this leave me concerning the Jedi part of my path? I guess you will just have to stay tuned to see!
Awaken the Knight Within!