Week eight of myInner Jedi Notebook journey. This week continues the exploration of meditation.
Having practiced meditating for a few minutes every day this past week, reflect on your experience of it. What are some challenges you faced? Have you experienced any positive outcomes?
“After initially struggling with it, I find I look forward to my few minutes of quiet stillness every day. It’s downtime, yes, but also a time when I don’t have to do or be anything–just be. To just be conscious in the world, and of the world. To examine your own mind. Although sometimes I worry I’m just daydreaming, lol. But I do consciously try to let thoughts go and refocus on the present moment. It’s amazing how we’ve trained ourselves to be everywhere except the present moment, and it’s a struggle to unlearn that (“You must unlearn what you have learned,” as Yoda said to Luke). It comes naturally to babies and animals, and it’s fascinating to watch them. They are effortlessly in the now, and are unaware of anything else. It’s delightful.
One thing that surprised me about meditation is that you’re having a relationship with your mind–it’s not a boring, static thing–it’s dynamic. You get to see how your mind works, what it focuses on, how one thing leads to the next–it’s fascinating, in a way. You have to get to know it, in order to calm it.
As far as positives–I’ve always been a calm, collected sort of person, and not necessarily reactive (although sometimes I am). But it’s helpful to fall back onto the memory of quiet time, to be able to retrieve that sense of calm during stressful situations. If it’s busy at work and I’m feeling stressed, with a thousand things going on, I can find my center and power on. I’ll think, these moments will pass, and later it will be just me and the candle and the (meditation) music and the thoughts, and the letting go. There will be peace.
Meditating is the act of practicing peace. So during stressful times, you can automatically reach for that peace.”
I’ve been rewatching Star Wars Rebels, and although this is my third rewatch, I’ve never looked into the various symbols I’ve noticed in the show until now. So here’s a few of them and their possible meanings:
Starbird or phoenix on Ezra’s jacket: Ezra has a very obvious symbol on the back of his orange and yellow jacket. With a little snooping around on Google, I found that it’s been compared to the Skywalker Sound symbol, below. Kind of like a little easter egg to those in the know.
By the way, the Skywalker Sound symbol can be found in Attack of the Clones, on Coruscant during the speeder chase.
Ezra’s jacket symbol could also be a precursor to Sabine’s phoenix symbol, below.
Sabine’s phoenix symbol: Perhaps Sabine was inspired by Ezra’s jacket, or she came up with this herself, but it’s the symbol that came to represent the Ghost crew Rebels, as well as Phoenix Squadron later.
The Rebel Alliance later adapted the phoenix symbol into their own, below:
Kanan’s armor: It’s been suggested that the symbol on Kanan’s shoulder armor is reminiscent of the symbol for the Jedi Order, below. It makes sense that Kanan would want to honor his former Order, without calling attention to himself as a Jedi.
Kanan’s symbol is also found on the forehead of the lothwolf, which I never noticed before I looked it up. Kanan has a deep Force-level connection to this animal, who calls himself Dume (which is Kanan’s real name: Caleb Dume). The name Dume, while spelled differently, is an obvious foreshadowing of Kanan’s fate, although I don’t care for the connotation. Kanan selflessly sacrificed himself for those he loved; that’s far from being doomed, in my opinion.
Kanan’s mask: I often wondered about the symbols on Kanan’s mask after he was blinded. Clearly they look like some sort of eyes, and I thought maybe they were meant to represent wolf eyes, since he’s connected to the lothwolf.
After some Google research, I was surprised to learn that some clones, including Rex, were bestowed with the symbols on their helmets after distinguishing themselves on the battlefield. They’re called “Jaig Eyes,” which I never knew. I love it when I learn something new about Star Wars!
Those are the most obvious symbols that I’d wondered about. I already knew Fulcrum’s symbol, the Empire symbol, etc. I thought it was pretty cool to learn about these (finally!)
Did you know what these symbols meant, or is it new to you? Any I missed? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
So I’m almost done with Heir to the Empire. I’m so close, lol, but not quite done at the time of this writing. I’ve made it to the big battle of the Sluis Van Shipyards, and am in the middle of that fight right now, which is right at the end. I’ve been reading this book in fits and starts, so it’s taking me a little bit of time to get through it. But it’s been entertaining and fun; and I love how canon has been borrowing stuff from Legends. For example, in this book Thrawn has some aliens called the Noghri working for him to find Leia, and one in particular, Ruk, serves him; in Rebels, Thrawn has a single Noghri working for him–also Ruk–to find the Ghost crew. Neat.
I’ve been continuing my rewatch of Rebels and am almost done with Season Two. On my first viewing Ezra kind of annoyed me, but now I just love that kid, lol. I love them all, but Kanan remains my favorite (big surprise). It’s wonderful to see his arc of reluctant teacher who doesn’t want to get involved to devoted Master and selfless Rebel. My rewatch has been why I haven’t done as much reading lately. 🙂 I’m working on a post about the symbols in Rebels that I hope to publish on Sunday, so stay tuned.
I was excited to see an excerpt and cover reveal of the upcoming canon novel Shadow of the Sith from Starwars.com. If you haven’t read the excerpt, do yourself a favor and go here to read it. There’s a surprise in there that will blow your mind! The book releases June 28th of this year.
Here’s the cover:
That’s it this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
It’s no secret that I LOVE the High Republic era of Star Wars. My favorite aspect of Star Wars has always been the Jedi, and the High Republic focuses on the Jedi of this time period–who they are and what makes them tick. It’s awesome.
Having said that, I do have favorites out of all the adult and young adult novels of Phase One that have come out this past year, and in this post I’m going to rank them and give my reasons for their position on the list.
I thought it would be fun to show the alternate covers of each book (if there are any), instead of the usual, often dorky, covers of Jedi holding lightsabers. Let’s get started!
The Fallen Star, by Claudia Gray (Third adult novel)
The Fallen Star is the third and final adult novel of Phase One, and it’s my favorite because 1. Claudia Gray is a fantastic storyteller, and 2. it’s a nail-biting, heartbreaking finale where the Jedi obviously lose in a big way, leaving you wondering where they’ll go from here. There are some painful deaths, a terrifying threat (to the Jedi themselves), some very sticky situations to get out of, and some really wonderful relationships that are explored. It’s truly a satisfying culmination to Phase One, while still leaving you breathless for more.
2. Into the Dark, by Claudia Gray (First YA novel)
Again, Claudia Gray is at the top of my list, because she just handles the characters and the story so well. It’s hard to impress me with a YA book, but she does so here. Maybe it’s because Reath Silas is my favorite Padawan, and he is heavily involved in the storyline in this book. It’s also the only book that deals directly with the Drengir (a threat that is mostly dealt with in the comics). The Drengir are carnivorous, evil tree-beings, and have the potential to be very silly (and hence work best in the comics), but she handles them well here, at least as well as they can be handled. She also introduces the Vessel crew in this book, and Leox and Geode are some of my favorite minor characters in the whole era.
3. Light of the Jedi, by Charles Soule (First adult novel)
The very first adult novel, and first High Republic book to come out, is a great read and does a fantastic job at introducing this new era and its Jedi. It’s clear we’re in a very different time period here, and have Jedi who are very different from the prequel Jedi; Soule does a wonderful job bringing them to life in this story. The book begins with the Great Disaster and the fallout from that event, as well as introduces the new villains, the Nihil.
4. The Rising Storm, by Cavan Scott (Second adult novel)
For some reason, it was hard for me to get into this book on my first read; but on my second read, I loved it. This book deals with the Nihil attack on the Republic Fair on the planet Valo. It’s executed quite well, and I love Elzar Mann’s story arc. There’s a lot going on here, with multiple points of view, but it all comes together wonderfully.
5. Midnight Horizon, by Daniel Jose Older (Third YA novel)
I was excited for this book, as it starred Reath Silas again (among others), but I found it to be a slow start. It was well into the third act before it suddenly got very, very good. I suppose you could call it a slow burn leading up to the explosion, lol. It concerns Reath and his master, Cohmac Vitus, along with Jedi Master Kantam Sy and Padawan Ram Jomoram going to Corellia to investigate a possible Nihil threat there. One thing Older did very well is characterization, and the relationships between the characters. As throughout all of the High Republic stories, this one’s central theme is how the Jedi should deal with attachment and love, and their struggle with their emotions. Oh yeah, and the Nihil threat, lol. (Check out my review of the book here).
6. Out of the Shadows, by Justina Ireland (Second YA novel)
I had a hard time with this one. I’m guessing it’s because it didn’t mainly concern the Jedi; rather, it was about a young woman named Sylvestri Yarrow, a cargo pilot who lost her ship to the Nihil and who goes to Coruscant, first to tell the Republic about the Nihil activity, and second, to try to get her ship back. She gets pulled into a scheme involving a wealthy young man from the Graf family, a Nihil plot to create some kind of gravity weapon, and how her missing and presumed dead mother is involved in it all. The only interesting part was when she and Vernestra Rwoh run into Mari San Tekka, and the old woman gives Vernestra some coordinates that are still a mystery.
I’ve read the middle-grade books of Phase One–A Test of Courage, Race to Crashpoint Tower, and Mission to Disaster. They’re all quite good, but I don’t really have a favorite out of them. I’d rank them equally.
By the way, here’s a few more alternate covers I found:
I can’t wait for Phase Two, which reportedly takes place 150 years before the events of this phase. It kind of threw me at first, but I’m confident the creators know what they’re doing and there’s a very good reason for this. I believe Phase Two starts in October of this year.
Week seven of my Inner Jedi Notebookjourney. This week introduces meditation, but I started doing it when I first began the notebook, so I already have a bit of experience with it. There’s always more to learn and experience, though.
Meditation is a core aspect of any Jedi’s training. If you don’t already meditate regularly, try doing so now.
Find a comfortable place to sit, and simply breathe in and out for one minute, before closing your eyes.
Then, for three to five minutes, visualize a warm beam of light slowly filling you up, from your toes to the top of your head. It’s perfectly fine if your mind wanders during this time, but gently refocus yourself on the warm beam of light.
Open your eyes and reflect on how you feel afterward. There’s no perfect way to meditate, so be kind to yourself, and try this exercise for the rest of the week. Use this space to journal about your efforts.
Next week, you will journal about your experience with meditation in a more detailed manner.
“I’ve been meditating almost every day since starting this journal. I began with five minutes everyday for the first week. Then ten minutes every day for two weeks. I’ve been doing fifteen minutes every day for the past three and a half weeks. Fifteen seems like a good amount of time right now, and will stay there until I feel ready for twenty minutes. I’d like to make it up to thirty minutes someday if I can.
The first couple of weeks, it was really difficult. It was hard to sit still, and impossible to calm my mind. I wrestled with my thoughts as if they were physical things, trying to tame them into submission. But I kept at it, no matter what. After a while, it was a bit easier–still a little twitchy and itchy now and then–but I didn’t feel like I was fighting my thoughts anymore. I simply began to accept them, note them, and let them go. A new thought always comes up, but I let that go, too, and on and on. They simply float by like clouds. I can’t imagine there will be a time when I have no thoughts. But they’re lighter, of no consequence. I’ve found a kind of distance. I note the thoughts, and think, “Hmm, interesting.” Then I let it go, and so on. I keep refocusing on the flame, or a part of the candle. I call it progress.”
I’ve tried the beam of light thing, and it will work for a while, but I found the candle a better focusing tool. I like how they’re both incarnations of light, as in, the Light side of the Force. You’re literally focusing on the Light and letting it fill you.
So I’m still reading Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn. I’m enjoying it, but I haven’t been getting enough reading time this week, so I’m still only a bit past the halfway mark. But I’m plugging along, and eager to find out what happens.
I also haven’t been reading the rest of the High Republic comics I’d started. I made it through Volume One of both the Marvel series and the High Republic Adventures, but I’m not making headway through Volumes 2. I’ll get there, though.
One of the reasons I’m not reading as much is because I decided to do a Rebels rewatch. All the excitement about the Obi-Wan series and the attention on the Inquisitors made me think of this awesome series, and I wanted to revisit it (for the third time, I think, lol). I just love it so much. I’m probably halfway through Season One, and it just gets better from there.
I’m sure no one noticed, but I didn’t do a High Republic Wednesday post this past week. We decided to homeschool my daughter, and I was busy getting information on all that and working on setting it up. Middle school is always tough, but the whole Covid thing just made it worse, and the students are, let’s just say, “unruly.” She doesn’t feel safe in her own school, which is sad. And unacceptable. Anyway, I’m hoping to get back to it next week with a post about my ranking of the High Republic books of Phase One.
With all the Kenobi show excitement, I almost forgot that Moon Knight will be premiering very soon, at the end of this month. The latest short clip only proves to me that this show is going to be nucking futs, and I can’t wait!
That’s it this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
The Age of the High Republic was a time of exploration. While the Republic expanded across the stars, Jedi were often stationed on outposts throughout the galaxy, helping those in need no matter where they were. Where are some places that you want to explore in your life?
My answer was:
“I’m not much of a traveler. I’m more of an armchair traveler than anything. I love learning about other places, but mostly in the comfort of my own home. Mostly, I don’t like the actual logistics of traveling–the driving, the plane ride (and the airport), the weariness of it; I just know I’d get sick, lol. If there were teleporters like in Star Trek, where you could just beam over–or a holodeck!–that’s my style. But I can’t deal with the stress of traveling. So I’ve actually been to very few places in my life.
This bothered me for a long while. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I like to travel? Don’t I realize I’m missing out on a vital experience of life? What a weirdo! Don’t I want adventure in my life?
Not really, lol. I’m like Reath Silas, a Padawan of the High Republic. He’s perfectly satisfied not to have any adventures, and would be happy spending his life in the Jedi Archives. I love him because of this–I can relate. Of course, he’s a Jedi, and it’s inevitable that adventure finds him. But me? I’m waiting for the holodeck!
So, what places would I program into it? Here’s a list:
The United Kingdom (London, Dublin, and Edinburgh in particular)
Europe in general, but especially Switzerland
An Alaskan cruise would be nice
California wine country
Pyramids of Egypt (of course!)
While I’m waiting for the holodeck, perhaps virtual reality technology could take me to some of these places. Until then, I’m happy to learn about and see these places in books and videos. Boring, I know. But that’s who I am, and I’m okay with that. A Jedi accepts what is, right?”
I’ve been keeping up my meditation practice, fifteen minutes every day. I’m not quite ready to move onto twenty minutes yet, but I’ll know when I am. There’s no right amount of time, anyway. But my personal goal is to get up to thirty minutes, perhaps by month three. It’s funny; some days are more challenging than others. Some days I’m just so twitchy and itchy; and others, I’m serene and still. But I show up everyday to sit and be quiet, unless I’m sick or something (I had an allergy attack the other day and couldn’t imagine sitting while sniffling and sneezing, lol). But overall, it’s going well.
In honor of the Obi-Wan Kenobi teaser trailer this week:
Where would you want to explore? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
So I’m about halfway done with Heir to the Empire, and I’m really enjoying it. Some things are kind of funny, like Joruus C’baoth, the crazy clone Jedi, lol. It’s only funny now because this obviously was written before anyone really knew what the “Clone Wars” actually were, and what “clone” referred to. The new canon has also shown that it’s not that easy to clone a Force-user. Looking forward to finishing it and going onto the second in the series, Dark Force Rising.
I’ve also been reading the High Republic comics: the Marvel series and the High Republic Adventures. I’ve finished Volume 1 of both series, and will be working on Volume 2 for both. I’ve mentioned before that reading comics is new to me, and slightly disorienting. It’s a very different experience than reading a book, which is a very orderly process. With comics, I kind of have a headache afterward, lol. I do love the stories though, and the visuals are great. I’m just not used to them being thrown together.
Now, onto the super-awesome-I-can-hardly-stand-it exciting news: the Obi-Wan Kenobi teasertrailer that was dropped this past week. Oh muh gawd, this series looks amazing! The trailer gave us some tantalizing scenes without giving too much away. We see a young Luke Skywalker, a scene with Uncle Owen and an Inquisitor (called Reva), we see the Grand Inquisitor (who looks weird, not gonna lie) and Fifth Brother from Rebels, we see their Fortress (from Fallen Order). And Obi-Wan, of course. So so so cool. My heart is bursting. And this is just a teaser!
There were also images from an upcoming Entertainment Weekly issue, which I will be scanning the racks for in the next month. I have a feeling it will be hard to find, though. But since I’m a Star Wars fan, I have hope.
Last week I featured a favorite artist named Jake Bartokwho’s done some wonderful Star Wars art. Another favorite artist is Uzuri Art, who’s also done some amazing Star Wars images. I came across this Obi-Wan piece the other day and it seemed fitting to share:
That’s it this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
I love Star Wars fan art, I love the High Republic, and I love the artist Jake Bartok. This post combines all three, showcasing some pieces I haven’t shared on this blog, or haven’t even seen myself until recently.
This one shows the characters of the YA novel Out of the Shadows: Vernestra Rwoh, Reath Silas, Sylvestri Yarrow, Lourna Dee. I’m not sure who the hooded figure on the left is. Maybe Cohmac Vitus?
Every Star Wars storytelling era must have a trio of one woman, and two men who share friendship and/or relationships. For the High Republic, it’s Avar Kriss, Elzar Mann, and Stellan Gios.
This is a nice cast photo: in the front is Bell Zettifar, Vernestra Rwoh, and either Reath Silas or Imri Cantaros, I’m not sure. In the middle is Burryaga. And lining the back is Indeera Stokes, Loden Greatstorm, Nib Assek, and Porter Engle.
This is a great one of Padawan Bell Zettifar and his master, Loden Greatstorm. And Ember, of course!
This is a fun one showing various characters, including Vernestra with her purple lightwhip, and Zeen Mrala in the back (the pink one), a Force-sensitive friend of the Jedi. Marchion Ro, the Eye of the Nihil, is at the top center. Oh, and the Jedi vectors are shown in the corners. They’re Jedi ships that are piloted by the Force, which is pretty cool in my opinion.
This is Bartok’s medieval version, which he likes to do sometimes. I like the shield with the Jedi symbol on it, and the swords inscribed with Aurabesh. Vernestra’s whip at her belt is a nice touch. And does Marchion Ro have horns??
This is a nice tryptic showcasing various characters. On the right in the far right corner is Lilly, a Jedi from the manga Edge of Balance, which I’d like read soon. My daughter’s name is Lilly, so I automatically love her, lol.
These are absolutely gorgeous images, and I’m always interested in what he’ll do next. Check out his work on Twitter@JakeBartok.
What do you think of these images? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!