Sometimes time moves so fast it's hard to believe. We're already more than half way through 2014. In this month's newsletter we're going to focus on the offline meetings surrounding the Jedi Gathering held in Michigan. Be sure to follow the links in each article for more reflections, pictures, and videos. Remember, it doesn't take a big gathering to meet up with other Jedi. All it takes is finding someone close enough to meet in your area, or even while you travel.
2014 Gathering Summary by Jedi Diamond
The 2014 Annual Jedi Gathering was yet another unforgettable event. This year we welcomed back Chris Langer to take portraits of our attendees, and we look forward to the great pictures. We also welcomed Laurent Malaquais to this year’s Gathering to work on his documentary and filming of the Jedi Movement. He previously filmed and directed the Bronies documentary. Here is a quick breakdown of the events that occurred:
Day 1: Upon everyone’s arrival at Skyline in Almont, Michigan, we reconnected with old friends and familiarized ourselves with first-time attendees. We all received swag from Chicago Jedi’s buttons and buttons for the 2014 Gathering. Other members outside of the Chicago Jedi received Chicago bracelets.
Day 2: Alex Bird ran the “Kali Basics” workshop, and we also had Noodle and Sand sparring time to either show off or learn more sword fighting skills. Many Jedi went to go swimming and participated in other water activities such as water polo, water basketball, and water volleyball. It was a good time to connect with one another either with the sports, poolside chats, or sunbathing by the poolside. After relaxing in the pool, many other Jedi participated in Jedi Karen’s “Feeling the Force” workshop. The following Knighting Candidates: Angelus, Hannigan, Kitsu, Luisa, Opie, and Perris went through their Trials throughout much of the day and were “missing in action” for dinner time and during a few of the free time events. They spent much of their time at the Labyrinth during the day and much of the evening with the review members. This year was a bit different in which the Knighting Candidates spent more time bonding during the review process to offer support for one another. Many of the Candidates have mentioned that this allowed them to reflect more on the entire day. Ultimately, by the end of the night/early next morning the Candidates were officially recommended to become full-fledged Knights.
Day 3: Andy Spalding presented information about Runes, in which quickly thereafter, everyone got ready for the Knighting Ceremony. Everyone looked spectacular, and the Ceremony was especially touching for Angelus, Hannigan, Kitsu, Luisa, Opie, and Perris. This Ceremony allowed their Knighthood to be officially recognized and received support from their sponsors (Andy, Angelus, Charles, and Opie) and the overall Jedi Community. Chris Langer took awesome group photos, and Begonia Cowan asked that we hold up a sign “May the Force Be with 2nd Grade” for her fall class. Unfortunately, as we ran over time, we were unable to experience “Lessons of Ego” from Vishwa Jay. Hopefully, he can present this at a future Gathering. We had many other fruitful discussions and workshops including: “Energy Healing” with Moonshadow, “Building Chapters” by Angelus, “Leadership: The power of you” by Crystal Neumann, and “Shamanic Journey” with Angelus. The night closed with the Blot Ceremony around a fire pit, facilitated by Andy Spalding. The Blot consisted of personal offerings to bring in the gods/goddess. The characters were brought in with a stage-like presence of the following: Freyja (played by Perris), Oden (played by Angelus), Thor (played by Charles), and Tyr (played by Andy).
Memories were definitely created. It was a bittersweet time to say our goodbyes, though we look forward to creating additional memories in 2015 in Colorado and Indiana.
Multiple people shared their reflections on the gathering which you can find in a few places. Take a look!
Hail and well-met, fellow Travelers! Chicago Jedi has had a very busy first-half-of-summer summer this year, both at home and at the annual Jedi gathering. I didn't attend the gathering, but other people who DID will be posting their experiences here.
We began the summer with our fourth annual appearance at the Kankakee. Illinois, Library Fantasy Convention. It's always a pleasure to attend this Con and talk to and entertain the public, especially the kids. Our lightsaber stage show was the centerpiece and closing entertainment of the Con. The kids loved being able to learn lightsaber technique and watching us perform.
The annual Jedi gathering was held in Altmont, Michigan this year, and, as usual, Chicago Jedi had a whole gang of people traveling east for it. However, this year was delightfully different, as we had several out-of-town Jedi coming into Chicago in order to travel with our group to the gathering. We welcomed Crystal Neumann and her youngling, Eli, Michael Hannigan, Charles McBride and his Padawan Liu, as well as Opie McLeod and Laurent Malaquais (the director and producer of the documentary “Bronies,” who is currently involved in making a full-length documentary about Jedi).
On the Tuesday evening before the gathering, Chicago Jedi hosted a dinner at our favorite restaurant, the 3rd Coast Cafe on Chicago's Gold Coast. We filled two long tables with local and out-of-town Jedi, totalling eighteen Jedi (which is completely a world record for Chicago Jedi) meeting and revisiting with one another. The dinner was an opportunity for our local folks to meet and get to know (even if only a little bit) the out-of-towners. Seat-switching was the event of the evening, as everyone wanted to meet everyone else. The dinner was a complete success, and everyone ate and talked until late in the evening.
I had a treat of my own on Thursday, as Kai-An (a Chicago Jedi moved to California), flew into town and spent the afternoon visiting and gossiping with me. It was great to see her. By Friday, everyone was off to the gathering, leaving me to a peaceful weekend in Chicago.
The rest of our summer is scheduled already, and we have many plans. On Sunday the 13th, we are meeting at the Zen Garden (Japanese-styled park here in the city) for lightsaber practice and meditation. At the end of July we are having our bi-monthly book club (this month we are reading “Path of Destruction,” the first book in the Darth Bane trilogy, though we rarely read fiction) and adding a cookout to round out the day.
For August, we are planning on enjoying an afternoon of archery, and at the end of the month, we have scheduled team-building exercises. Later in the fall, we will have a table at the Toy Fair, where we act as escorts to the Star Wars luncheon. We have at least two “demos,” or “demonstrations,” this autumn, where we get the opportunity to educate the public about what it means to be a Jedi. Yes, we DO wear Jedi garb, but normally only to events where we will be interacting with the public. We will be guests of the Limestone Public Library as they host their annual “Star Wars Reading Day.” This gives us a unique opportunity to encourage kids to read—not only Star Wars books, but books in general.
Chicago Jedi normally holds two events a month, plus a dinner meeting at the 3rd Coast restaurant. That's the news of the day from Chicago, see everyone again next month! If anyone has any questions about what we do and how we do it, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me! Namaste,