Shadow Path - Getting started
(Last updated: 01-03-05)
Check out the Shadow lecture hall as well as the Shadow discussion conference. Reply and post thoughtfully. You may also wish to contact a member of the Shadow Council (see the Shadow Council post in this conference for how to contact them). Shadow training usually takes places on an informal one-to-one bases and here a few texts that members of the Shadow council has suggested for its new students to read:
# Tao te Ching
# The Psychic Vampire Codex, Michelle Belanger (Good on energy work)
# The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas S. Kuhn (Long story short, shows that "facts" are social constructions)
# The Geneology of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche (Morality is a social construction)
# The Satanic Bible, Anton LaVey (to help understand humanistic paths)
# Journey to Ixtlan, Carlos Castenda
# The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis (Christian in focus, but makes some REALLY apt points about human nature in general)
# The Confucian Analects - Of particular interest is the focus on wuwei.
The following was written by one of the Shadow Knights one behalf of the Shadow council. We posted here as it is aimed at new Shadow students and so it should be of use and interest to you:
Greetings, hail, well met, hi and hello. Whatever passes for a greeting these days in your life. Welcome to the Shadow Jedi Academy at the Force Academy. For one reason or another, you chose to walk down a path that some people fear to tread and some only because they have no where else to go. This document that you are currently reading will give you, the reader and potential Shadow Jedi, the information you will need in order to help you along in our Order. You will notice as time goes on that many of the things said in here and by other members of this Order will contradict each other. The reasons behind this are many, but it teaches you a lesson about the Shadows and people in general; all things are true, from a certain point of view.
Part 1, the Code of the Shadow Jedi. Ahem. We don't have one. Our order espouses the idea that we would need a strict set of rules that govern how we live our life and use the Force. You will see your first contradiction in that statement soon enough. Nonetheless, we rely on our students to have their own set of morals that they follow inherently. Or not. You will find that all people, no matter what kind of life they live, have some kind of code that they follow. All these codes are is a set of prearranged decisions based on what you feel is right and wrong. These codes are definitely pliable, as they change with your feelings on matters and with your experience in life. This is a good thing. Static things, whether ideal or concrete, tend to fade away.
Part 2, Just who are the knights? You will easily be able to identify us by the symbols that some of us wear as official badges signifying that we have passed the test requirements to be considered someone who has developed and implemented the basic tenets of the Shadow Jedi and are able to explain these things in a manner consistent with the overall Order's beliefs on the subject. In shorter terms, we are the ones who have demonstrated that we fully believe in that which has been set down as the basic tenets of the Shadow Jedi Academy. These will be expanded up on later in this document.
EDIT - There are existing knights and those who are the Provisional Council whom you'll find sporting knight or master emblems currently to denote said status.
Part 3, What is expected behavior of the students? Now you will see the contradiction I mentioned earlier. Though we do not adhere to a strict set of rules, in order for anyone to learn anything, some order must be introduced to our system in order to keep it from becoming too entropic. Thus, we have general guidelines that govern expected behavior for those who wish to learn and eventually earn the right to call themselves a Shadow Knight.
1. No one is 100% correct. As I stated earlier, from a certain point of view, all things are correct. Those without that point of view will not see this and thus will find that some things are wrong, from their point of view. Learn this and there will be fewer arguments online.
2. Accept Constructive Criticism. You are being observed, both by us and by the students around you. You gain more respect by being able to accept some helpful guidance than by making a conflict out of it. When we say something that goes against what you have said, do not take it as we are saying that you are wrong. We are simply asking you to question yourself as to why you believe something. If you can convince yourself that you are still right, then so be it, but be prepared to back it up.
3. This is not a debate forum. We are not here to argue about whether this person is right or wrong or if we are truly Jedi or just some offshoot of some famous space opera. We are here to learn and discuss the nature of the Force and our connection to it as well as its applications under our order. This doesn't require wagging fingers or tisking.
4. Question Yourself. One of the basic tenets of the Shadow Jedi is unlearning. In order to do this, you must be able to ask yourself a great many questions up to and including why you are who you are. This will help you when responding to posts in a way that contradicts what the first person is saying. It allows you to question why you think the statement is wrong and perhaps learn why the other thinks he or she is right.
5. The Knights are there to guide you, not hold your hand. Another of our basic tenets is the idea of observation, still one of the best ways to learn anything about anything. In order for us to learn about you, we need to observe you and your progress. We find it difficult to do so when we have to focus our attention on some squabble or someone who simply wants to challenge authority.
6. You are your own Master. We can only guide you. The lectures can only help guide you. It is up to you whether or not you learn from them.
7. Be willing to learn new things. In order for anyone to gain Knighthood, they must be able to demonstrate that they understand and incorporate the basic tenets of being a Shadow Jedi. This is the easiest way to weed out those who want to be Shadows versus those who are only with us because they feel they fit nowhere else.
8. Discipline is a major virtue here. We do not want people here who think it is just cool to be a Shadow Jedi or a Jedi in general. We want people who are truly dedicated to learning new things about themselves and the universe. The more advanced techniques require a lot of focus and determination. If your heart is only half in it, your success will be just as much.
9. Be patient. We can not stress this enough. Though we are dedicated to who we are and this Academy, we do have lives outside of it, much to our chagrin. We do the best we can to get things moving so that the Academy and the students do not stagnate, however being mostly still human, we only have so much time to do so. Please do not take this as we are pushing you off. Far from it. We are trying our best to fit everyone's desires, and the more people you have in a group, the more difficult this becomes.
10. Lastly, be not afraid to say something. Whether someone praises your words or fires some criticism your way, at least you learned something from it and we get to see how you grow and change as time goes on in our Academy. If someone is being especially harsh, we have means of handling it. Especially since this is frowned upon highly.
Part 4, What can be expected of the Knights? Our job is to guide you. How we do this varies, but in our own individual ways, we all contribute something to your learning, even if some of us are only observing you, because no matter what, anything being observed is changed by the observer, knowingly or not. Do not expect us to be at your beck and call, but when asked of us, we can usually be attained for one thing or another. Many of us have specialties as well. Eventually we may make a list available to students as to what these are so that you can direct your questions appropriately.
Part 5, Training Schedule Many of you will eventually wonder how long it will take to get you to Shadow Knight. This of course shows a lack of patience, but it is also a valid question. It took me two years to get here. It could take you longer or shorter. In the beginning, all students are just that, students. During this time, we provide basic lectures and discussions to slowly let you in on the basic tenets of what being a Shadow Jedi is all about. This is also the time we take to evaluate your thinking and feeling on the same subjects. In this way, we are determining how best to approach your personal training when the time comes. Soon after we have evaluated these basics, you will graduate to a full fledged Initiate of the Shadow Jedi Order. At this time, we will be exploring your progress more closely by giving you a personal journal that must be used to record your thoughts and personal progress. It is also at this time you can use the Shadow Emblem. Eventually, one of us may take you on as a personal tutor. We do not like the terms apprentice or padawan. When this happens, you will be given closer attention by your mentor, but not to the detriment of other students or yourself. You will still be required to complete assignments as given to the rest of the class. If you are never chosen as a personal student, take heart. This does not mean you are not worth our time. More than likely, we simply feel that personal attention will not help you further than the overall attention we give or that personal attention may hinder your progress. Neither of these are acceptable outcomes. Whatever you do, please do not beg to be tutored. It is just plain disrespectful and shows us that you have not fully read this document. There will then come a time when we feel that you are ready to be tested for Knighthood. Again, I must stress not to beg for this procedure. Our own council we will keep on who is ready. The training of course does not end there, but you will be required to take on assignments for the rest as well as being prepped for guiding the new generations of students.
In closing, we hope that this document serves to help you understand what it is to be a Shadow Jedi and how we run things here. We hope that it has answered any questions you have on the basics and serves to guide you in your future endeavors, whether you stay with us or not.
The Shadow Knights, circa 2003
as written by Shadow Bloodmoon, 12/2002