Sith Training

Heart of the Order

Looked at honestly, is (Order of the Sith) anything but a means of connecting with, using, and being used by other Sith practitioners? It can be used toward specific ends, for a greater purpose, but it also seems, over time, to have become a thing in and of itself. When you look at it like that though, you detract from what it actually is. What it can be. This order, in the scheme of things, is not very important in itself. What’s important is that it’s here for Sith, solitary practitioners, to use as they so choose. For a while we somehow seemed to fall under the illusion that training is practically the whole point of sites like this… and you know what, for a place that calls itself an academy, that might be a fair assertion. But this is not one of them.

It’s an order, and to put into words the way I’ve looked at it since its inception, it does not decide or even define what a legitimate Sith is. Here, individuals are welcome to share their ideas, practices, experimentations, and whatever else they so desire; inevitably, it shapes the Order, but that is only a side effect. Standards, responsibilities, and many other things begin to take shape and define the place, and they’re challenged, altered, championed… but all of it pales in comparison to the importance of the individual practitioner. Be what you are, and let the chips fall where they will.

It’s as simple as that, and their placement really doesn’t need to be engineered, because to do that is limited, contrived, and indicative of a persons limits. The trials here, for instance, consist of various questions that relate to your own development. They will require you to draw upon your work here at the Order, but their purpose is to get a sense of your comprehension and practice of the Sith Ways, how they apply to life in general, and how they apply to your life in particular. It’s not worth the time or effort when that time and effort can be better spent on things that truly matter. The work you do here needs to reflect the life you live, the person you are. Not whether you’re clever or eloquent. If it doesn’t, you won’t pass.

Membership here doesn’t make you Sith anymore than not being here makes you “non-Sith”. The recognition, the site itself, the connections we make with one another and the systems and methods we build around them… they’re all ripples, manifestations, of real people being here, people who live as Sith. Reptitious talked about a day at his job a while back… that is what makes him Sith. Not his membership here, or the training he’s been exposed to through this place (or others), or the recognition he might get. His practice, his life, may have been affected by all of that, but any recognition someone receives here is, ideally, because of where they’re at and what they’ve become in their actual lives. Without that the recognition means nothing.

The idea of it has always been to gauge as accurately as possible what rank best fits someone in their own lives; it’s one of the main reasons I’m always wary of over-emphasizing contribution here, or dedication, or even responsibility. All of that is necessary for this place to keep going, but none of them spring from roleplaying or intellectualizing. Stolas is another example; look through the forum and you’ll see evidence that his passion manifested in his time here. On Halloween last year he won a costume competition; more recently, he’s shared some of his music. Years before that he wrote an anthem for the Sith, applying his individual talents and passion for music to something here. What he added came from his life.

The same is true of all of us. I’m Sith because I live as one, I go to work and act as one, I get home and think like one, I call a few friends and party as one. Nothing I do is separate from my way of life. I, and others like me, are what give shape to the standards, ranks, advancement of the Sith Way, not the other way around. The heart of an Order like this one rests not in its teachings or systems of recognition, but in the people who those grew out of. The heart of it all, lies within the individual. Over the last few years, we’ve discovered ways in which the growth in the individual can be triggered through work done here, but ultimately, it’s what the individual brings and chooses to take, not what he’s told or given, that makes him a Sith.

(8-24-14)

Mindful Corruption

If strict adherence to set instructions doesn’t sit right with you, then don’t adhere to them. Twist it to be used in whatever way you feel is best. The end result may not be what any instructors might have wanted you to get out of it, but the point is ultimately to get something out of it. I’ve always approached lectures, exercises, and means of training with the idea that they are meant to serve me. Whether it’s as their creators intended or not.

On the other side of that, I’ve long since learned the benefits of mastering something – skills, techniques, etc. – ‘properly’, but basterdizing these things into something I feel more in tune with or that I like better is always a possiblilty. It’s part of what has often made the teachings from one Sith to another so diverse. No one feels bound to honor the intent of the teachings from Sith that have more experience, or that were around long before they themselves were.

That is, of course, different from when you’re involved in a one-on-one training arrangement. If you aren’t looking to learn something via the manner a more experienced practitioner wishes to teach it (more or less), then there’s very little point to it. But in terms of independent and solitary study… I say be mindful of the possibilities. If you come across material that seems like it’s to much to handle as is, or that resonates in spirit but not quite in the details… play with it.

The Students Approach

A Method Of Discovering & Strengthening Oneself

The people that find their way to places like the Force Academy and make the choice to embrace their resonance with darkness fulfill the role of a student. Regardless of solitary experience or lack thereof, the power – whether in mind, body, or spirit – an individual might command or submit to, newcomers here are students. Whatever they are looking for here, it is effective to first turn ones gaze inward, and then to tear down the walls, opening up to others here, using them as a part of the process.

Erecting walls, fortifying oneself against things that might be dangerous, repulsive, terrifying, or uncomfortable… forging means of safety and comfort inhibits the individual from realizing dreams, fulfilling desire. For them, the instruments are inhibitions and impediments, instruments of safety. The student most often uses them to seek safe harbor, peace, despite the consequences, the stunted growth. At this stage, hiding behind shields and masks is nothing short of self-sabotage. The tact advised? Drop them.

Instruments Of Safety

A Shield, often manifested in the form of projection, is built upon the anvil of delusion and denail. Symbolically it is external, but refrain from indulging in that lie. It has value, but only for being something of the individuals own creation, that is what makes it worth study and exploration. Beyond that, it is a hindrance. I say study what you project to see what it can show of what’s within; afterwards, the student need not retain it. It bears the brunt of forces that could break you, avoiding real conflict, deflecting away hostility before it can become an oppurtunity for growth, creating hostility or conflict as a distraction from your soft spots… It is the first line of defense, and it must be dropped.

A set of Armour, representative of supposedly “thick-skin” and the kind of interaction that denotes it, prevents you from the full experience your wounds could otherwise give. Instead of a gash, there’s nothing but a bruise; instead of being impaled, nothing but a bruise. If pain is a teacher, what greater lessons would a stab through the heart teach when compared to nicks and scratches? I dare say far more than the armour would allow. This… this is the second line of defense, and it must be dropped.

Masks come in pairs. The obvious one, the mask shown to other people, is what may first come to mind. It protects you and I from knowing what might otherwise be laid bear to other people, protects from their exploitation. It’s used for deception, lies, deflection, misidirection. The outer mask is the third line of defense, and it must be dropped. But as subtle as the third instrument is, there is another far more insidious in nature. The inner mask, the one that hides the student from him or herself. It keeps you safe from the burden of self-knowledge, obscuring your true nature and wants, making it difficult to connect meaningfully with anything. It is the fourth line of defense, perhaps the most detrimental, and it must be dropped.

If you choose to insulate yourself from things that hurt, even when they probably cannot kill anways, you will never find what makes you stronger. Verily, a great deal of a dark students journey consists of destroying these constructs, smashing, dismantling, and ripping them apart. Particularly in the formative years of his or her life. It’s more comfortable to leave them in place, to learn to accept the encumberment and all the limitations that come from these instruments, but no one said this way of life is blissful or easy.

Strength Through Vulnerability

If you want to get anything out of the communities (e.g. The Force Academy, Order of the Sith) or the people here as a student, you’ve got to allow yourself to get attached to it, to them, instead of hiding behind the excuse that it’s just names on a screen. It’s perfectly true of course, but taking it to an extreme closes you off from the benefit of letting those people matter, lessens how much you can use them for your own growth, and becomes an excuse to stay comfortable with your life, however dissatisfied you might be, however mediocre you are, and regardless of how close to the mark criticisms or snide remarks might be when thrown you’re way.

I would encourage any would-be student to sacrifice the comfort of that convenient excuse in favor of the opportunity to invest yourself a little, to admit that certain people – and what they have to say – matter to you. Forge some connections, take some emotional risk… if you deliberately invest yourself instead of hiding behind a veneer of apathy, you might just get a return on that investment. The reason used to brush things off, that “it’s only the internet”, is the very reason you should open yourself up and stop pretending you don’t care whenever that becomes a convenient cop out: at the end of the day, it’s only the internet, and names on a screen.

While in some contexts it’s stupid to lay down your armor, lower your guard, or leave yourself open to attack, with the context here – especially if the motive is to get a baseline, focused, and usable understanding of oneself, and if one is to explore, build, and expand on their own foundations – it is advised that the student worry about that after he or she has become familiar with the lessons that can be learned from embracing and understanding ones own vulnerabilities and weak points, not before. Maintaining an ‘advantage’ and protecting yourself with forms of armor can be worried about later, in situations and places where bearing your throat can actually result in serious physical injury or death.

A Transitory Luxury

Enjoy the benefits of transparency while you can, because eventually you’ll grow beyond it. There will come a time when it’s easier to spill your guts to everybody, to rely on others for the source of insight, conflict, confidence, even easier than it once would have been to indulge in self-deceptions. And the price of that luxury will be higher and higher, it will hinder your efforts and ambitions. It will drag you down. If you’re worth a damn, that will be when you decide to take on the responsibility of doing for yourself what you learned to do with others, continuing your personal evolution. But until then, do yourself and the more experienced practitioners here a favor: don’t pretend you’re anything but a student.

“Understand, I come here to grow as a person, and I have found that, by making myself vulnerable, by exposing my core in an environment where the actual risks are controlled, I become stronger so that I can face the challenges in environments where I have no control over the outcome. It seems to me that my peers, Victorus and Draconis to name a few, share the same goal and methodology.”
~Darth Draeth

If you’re looking for ways to explore yourself, and expand, grow, and evolve, you’re going to have to suck up the fact that you need to open up, and embrace vulnerability as a path of strength. You’re going to have to set aside your instruments of safety if you really want to become a stronger individual – when or if you pick them up again, they will not need to be used as instruments of safety; instead, they will be instruments of your Will, your Desire, your True Nature, plain and simple. Don’t be a pussy, bare your throat, because ultimately, it’s not going to kill you.

The Path Of Strength

(Tentative early draft.)

Strength can be measured by asking a solitary question: am I closer to making my dreams, my passions a reality? Adaptations pertaining to action, choice, etc. can be made from this. If the answer is yes, that signifies strength; if the answer is no, it denotes weakness. Erecting walls, fortifying oneself against things that might be dangerous, forging instruments of safety, distances the indyvidual from actualizing his dreams. Seeking safe harbor, seeking peace, hiding behind your shields and masks is nothing short of self-sabotage.

Instruments Of Safety

A Shield is built upon the anvil of delusion and denail. Symbolically it is external, but refraio from indulging in that lie. It has value, but only for being something of the individuals own creation, that is what makes it worth study and exploration. But beyond that, it is a hindrance. I say study projection to see what it can show of what’s within; afterwards, it is not worth retaining. It bears the brunt of forces that could break you, avoiding real conflict, deflecting away hostility before it can become an oppurtunity for growth. It is the first line of defense, and it must be dropped.

A set of Armour is at least used in conflict, but it prevents you from the full experience you wounds could otherwise give. Instead of a gash, there’s nothing but a bruise; instead of being impaled, nothing but a bruise. If pain is a teacher, what greater lessons would a stab through the heart teach when compared to nicks and scratches? I dare say far more than the armour would allow. This… this is the second line of defense, and it must be dropped.

Masks come in pairs. The obvious one, the mask shown to other people, is what may first come to mind. It protects you and I from knowing what might otherwise be laid bear to other people, protects from their exploitation. The outer mask is the third line of defense, and it must be dropped. But as subtle as the third instrubent is, there is another far more insidious in nature. The inner mask, the one that hides the adept from himself. It keeps us safe from the burden of self-knowledge, inhibiting us, making it mifficult to connect meaningfully with anything. It is the fourth line of defense, perhaps the worst, and it must be dropped.

If you choose to insulate yourself from things that hurt, even when they do not kill, you will never find what makes you stronger. Verily, I think a great deal of a dark practitioners journey consists of destroying these constructs, smashing, dismantling, and ripping them apart. It’s more comfortable to leave them in place, to learn to accept the encumberment and all the limitations that come from these instruments, but no one said this way of life is blissful or easy.

Strength Through Vulnerability

As a dark student of the Force Academy, I learned to open up. As did a number of others, people like Ben, Draeth, Luciana, and Ashton. The whole time period really embodied the stage I was in as a student and practitioner of the Sith: the stage of vulnerability. The stage, and the insights, suggestions, and advice I could garner and put to use as a result.

While in some contexts it’s stupid to lay down your armor, in this context if the motive is to get a baseline, focused, and usable understanding of oneself, and if one is to explore, build, and expand on their own foundations, maintaining an advantage and protectinw yourself with forms of armor can be worried about later, in situations and places where bearing your throat can easily mean death. I would encourage darksiders to worry about that after one has become familiar with the lessons that can be learned from embracing and understanding ones own vulnerabilities and weak points, not before.

If you want to get anything out of the FA or the people there, you’ve got to allow yourself to get attached to it, to them, instead of hiding behind the excuse that it’s just names on a screen. It’s perfectly true, but taking it to an extreme closes you off from the benefit of letting those people matter, lessens how much you can use them for your own growth, and becomes an excuse to stay comfortable with your life, however dissatisfied you might be, however mediocre you are, and regardless of how close to the mark criticisms or snide remarks might be when thrown you’re way.

I would encourage any would-be student to sacrifice the comfort of that convenient excuse in favor of the opportunity to invest yourself a little, to admit that certain people – and what they have to say – matter to you. Forge some connections, take some emotional risk… if you deliberately invest yourself instead of hiding behind a veneer of apathy, you might just get a return on that investment. The reason I’ve seen people use to brush things off, that it’s only the internet, is the reason you should open yourself up and stop pretending you don’t care whenever that becomes a convenient cop out: at the end of the day, it’s only the internet, and names on a screen.

“Understand, I come here to grow as a person, and I have found that, by making myself vulnerable, by exposing my core in an environment where the actual risks are controlled, I become stronger so that I can face the challenges in environments where I have no control over the outcome. It seems to me that my peers, Victorus and Draconis to name a few, share the same goal and methodology.”
~Darth Draeth (aka Nale)

If you’re looking for ways to explore yourself, and expand, grow, and evolve, you’re going to have to suck up the fact that you need to open up, and embrace vulnerability as a path of strength. You’re going to have to set aside your instruments of safety if you really want to become a stronger individual – when or if you pick them up again, they will not need to be used as instruments of safety; instead, they will be instruments of your will, plain and simple. Don’t be a pussy, bear your throat, because ultimately, it’s not going to kill you.

Selective Transparency

I’ve come to be selective in my transparency, and can tell how best to serve myself through this approach, but it’s in large part because of the foundation that it has been built on: vulnerability, openess, honesty. I regularly exposed my throat, allowing for others to take metaphorical scalpels, butterknives, hachettes, pencils, and whatever else they could. I used others to see what my insides looked like. The inherent risk with this approach is that pieces of you will be chipped away, broken off, or lost. But that will happen as you go through life anyways, and to sacrifice those pieces of yourself deliberately, intentionally, mindfully… That makes those sacrifices more worthwhile and more fulfilling.

Because of my experience, I can make strategic choices in what I reveal about myself, and do it in such a way that it effectively serves my ambitions. I can pursue an agenda beyond my own personal growth, and in fact consider it my responsibility to do so. You see, in the end complete transparency is a luxury, one that students should enjoy and exploit the shit out of, because when you start to expand your ambitions, enacting you will further outwards, showing all your cards can begin to undermine your efforts. I would have to sacrifice the results I aim to achieve in order to pay for that luxury, so I rely on myself to perform the introspections and other functions I once used others for.

Enjoy it while you can, because if you make any progress as a dark adept there will come a time when it’s easier to spill your guts to everybody, easier to rely on others, even easier than it once would have been to indulge in self-deceptions. If you’re worth a damn, that will be when you decide to take on the responsibility of doing for yourself what you learned to do with others, continuing your personal evolution.

Ω

A Dark Blurb

I mentioned a side-project I was playing around with in the last little blurb I posted: “Sinister Arcanum :: The title of a pet project I haven’t shared anything of. A lot of what it involves will probably be familiar to those darkies that’ve been around for awhile, assuming they ever see it. I’m not sure if it’ll go anywhere, but we’ll see.” Today seemed like a fitting day to unveil it. Some might care to notice, it has similarities to projects of the past. There were a number of things that I could name as partial influences on it, such as the Dark Holocron (which was arguably a precursor), the structure of the Dark Lecture Hall (both in the changes people can already see and the tweaks not yet implimented), and some of my more esoteric interests, among other things.

If it were to be compared to the Dark Holocron, I’d say it’s perhaps… a leaner, more sophisticated rendition of what I’d originally envisioned. Additions to it will be at my liesure. It’s got a little something extra here and there to, but you probably wouldn’t know it without having done a fair bit of research into past writings of Sith Realists and other Darksiders. Consider it a treat for the more discerning practitioners, the ones that might remember coming across certain pieces in the past but have since been unable to find them. 

Relating directly to the Force Academy and, more specifically, the Dark Aspect… I posted a training annoucement. There are other interesting people I’d like to work with, of course, but at this point in time it won’t be in the form of an apprenticeship because the announcment marks the beginning of one with The Oncoming Storm. And, speaking of him, I think anybody that reads this might find his new site to be of interest: Indolence and Intolerance. A word to the wise, “Please be sure to read our mission statement before entry, and remember that this community is Restricted To Adults.” So say the first few lines directly above the Mission Statement.

While I’m mentioning other sites here and there, I don’t see any reason not to mention Peragro Umbrae. To tell the truth, I’ve been mulling over a way to slip this into one of my posts since I first came across it. I’m not sure exactly what aspect or alignment, if any, she might be interested in at the moment, but if you ask me most of what Lee Obscurae Tempest has written there – particularly up ’till the end of June – were decidedly dark in orientation. If you pay attention to the categories found to the right of the pages and posts, you’ll get a better sense of how and why things are titles and organized they way they are. There’s also another site called Someone Wicked; The Stygian Traveller, centering around “God, gods, and the Force” as it were, in which William Kaede has posted his some of his writings, and will probably post more.

Lastly, an fyi to those that care: I’ll probably be posting Khaos’s training program, Yami Doko, in the Dark Training forums tonight. I was going to hold off a bit more since I haven’t heard back form Emma, but given the current communicative circumstance regarding rearrangment of the forums I’ll just post in in the (currently) designated forum, and if it turns out the program needs to be in another area when all is said and done with initial structural changes, the program will be moved or reposted at that time. For any students that come across this and have access to the Dark Training forums, if you want to put Yami Doko to use, feel free. People will do as they please anyways, and if there’s a little tiddying up to be done in any of the forums by the time thigns are straightened out, so be it.

P.S. I wonder if anybody has noticed that in almost every quote I’ve posted, there is a relevant link…

Guiding an Apprentice

“It is the apprentice’s duty to learn all that he can from the Master, and the Master’s right to refrain from revealing all of his secrets.”~Darth Sidious

I don’t entirely agree with many of the things this character said on the subject, but I rather like the sentiment here. Though I would add that its also the Masters responsibility to enable his apprentice. Not to do things for him, but to subtley generate oppurunities for the apprentice to do things on his or her own. For the purpose of guiding the apprentice in the artform of seizing them, yes. But also to generate oppurtunities that, if taken, will lead to a somewhat known outcome.

Cunning, subtlety, and mindfullness are integral; on the part of a Sith practitioner in general as well as in the relationship of an apprenticeship. The guide must be perceptive to affect his student towards transforming as an individual and must shroud certain elements of the path in darkness, so that the student can make his own discoveries and, in essence, become a being of the Dark Side in his own right. The student must be ambitious enough to grow and evolve into what I call Sith.

“There were numerous other branches of Sith knowledge that were not taught in the academies or by… masters…. the apprentice was expected to research such things himself. Darth Zannah learned… sorcery from several ancient manuscripts… mastering many unique and frightening abilities.”~Sith Training, (Paraphrasing) Wookiepedia

Training

What there is in the way of training at the Order of the Sith relies heavily on the drive of each individual that chooses to use it, to grow through it. Of course, that could be said of any training… I would only point out that courses for work-related skills, for future careers, etc. are often out of sync with the attending individuals heart.

To gain anything here, to grow and evolve, begs that your heart is truly in it.

To forewarn, most of what will be touched on is only viewable if you sign up/register. While the extent of those forums restricted might lessen, they’re currently not viewable to unregistered guests.

The assigments and training offered within The Sith Resource are currently few in number, most of them meant to cater to newcomers. They’re obvious use, particularly with the foundation assignments, is to help people unfamiliar with the Ways of the Sith in giving form to their current views on what a Sith is, what Darkness is, what the role of emotions might be in ones life, and so on. They are meant to act as a sort of starting point, a springboard. There is also self training course adapted from The Group for Organizational Effectiveness by Miles, a Sith Lord and member of the Order, that anyone can elect to do as well.

Other foundational training authored by Khaos, another Sith Lord and member of the Order, may still be added in the near future. Concerning what is available at any given time though, none of it is ‘required’; but the fact that use of these materials isn’t mandatory should not take away from the possible benefits prospective Sith can take from them. Following through and experimenting with the exercises and assignments will, in all likelihood, provide more of a personal awareness. In where you are at in your life right now and what you might want; of where you might want to take things, and how you might get there.

A more exclusive form of training is Apprenticeship. There are a few things pertaining to this that aspiring practitioners would do well to keep in mind… Try not to think of experienced practitioners as Masters; that will probably just irritate people, if it gets any reaction at all. The same can be said for newcomers asking for one-on-one training right off the bat. Get involved in the site, participate, put some of the resources to use on your own. Try not to go around asking everyone if you can be their apprentice.

Ultimately… focus on genuine growth and exploration; the rest will come together as you go. The best of us, formally apprenticed to anyone or not, are self-driven. People that rely on external forces and influences for thier own evolution rarely get anywhere, in these communities or in their own lives.