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Releasing the Year (Labyrinth Meditation)
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The Jedi Community doesn't exactly have "traditions". I mean, there's this one I tried to make a tradition, but it really became too cumbersome to continue year after year, it's called "The Force Realists Meditation Relay" and it was intended to become a New Year's tradition. The idea actually came from a Richard Irvine for the FA. But it never ended up happening, so I took it to a broader audience. Each year, we tried to get 24 people to meditate for an hour apiece over the course of 24 hours as the Earth entered into the new Year (based on Christmas Island's timezone- the first timezone that enters 1 January each year).

Over the years I began trying to come up with something that made the relay more "worthwhile". Giving a purpose to the Meditation, rather than asking people to find their own meaning for the meditation during that hour of time. But we had issues- like people getting their hours confused and taking up another hour. It just didn't coordinate well...so this year Ashton Ezell, Chris Schinestuhl and I got to talking about establishing a different New Year's Meditation Tradition- built around a Labyrinth: Releasing the Year.

Tonight, Gabriel Calderon and I got to talking about this and fleshing it out a bit further. I hope to have the labyrinth written up for everyone in the very near future- one for individuals and one for a group of people so that you all can have it for this coming New Year's. :). It is my hope that this might be something we can (as a community-all Force Realists) take forward and carry as a personal tradition. When I'm done writing it, I'll post it to this thread. ^^

Posted on: 2019/11/15 21:54
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Re: Releasing the Year (Labyrinth Meditation)
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Since I finished this up on my work computer, I uploaded it to Google Docs. It’s about 6 pages long (mostly explanation of the functions, the last page is the bare bones of the ceremony). Since most of you will probably -not- do this in a group, the only relevant parts are provided below the link:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wh ... eysWsgDk/edit?usp=sharing


To be done between 10AM GMT Dec 31-10AM GMT Jan 1, use eco-friendly candle.

INDIVIDUAL/PAIR CEREMONY
Entering the Labyrinth (if with a second person, allow about a minute between entry), think on everything that has occurred during the previous year.
Once at the center, begin your meal/snack/drink and talk about the things you have experienced over the year (good and bad). If you are alone in the Labyrinth, speak aloud to the Force or your deity. If you are accompanied by a friend, have a conversation about each other’s year (good and bad).
When you are ready to exit, each person should light their candle from the campfire and begin the journey to the entrance of the Labyrinth in preparation to release the year.
Once at the entrance, before stepping beyond the line to exit the Labyrinth, if you have something to say about/to the previous year this is the time to make such statements. At the end of your goodbye to the year, say “I now release (old year) into the Force” blow out the candle, step out of the labyrinth and state “and enter into (new year)” (if you have a friend along, they will repeat this release).

Dispose of the candle either through burial or in a river before 10 GMT Jan 1.

Posted on: 2019/11/24 17:53
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Re: Releasing the Year (Labyrinth Meditation)
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Someone brought up that they don't know where there is a labyrinth near them that they could use. So I've got three things for you all ^^:

First: https://www.labyrinthlocator.com < That has been a great help in finding permanent locations I can use when I don't want to craft one.

Second: I DO have a kit I use to make my labyrinths. It's comprised of little Plant stands you can get at Lowes. I've used string to help outline the path along, and I can put candles on them in mini shot glasses (which managed to fit into the plant holders) that I got for super cheap at an Old Time Pottery. If you have a stable surface (like a slab of cement or something) you can use tealights.

Third: Last year, on the fly, me and a local Jedi decided to do a Labyrinth. We mapped it in our heads and used a tree as the center point. Walked in a clockwise spiral towards the tree until we go to it, and on our way out walked a counterclockwise spiral until we got to the opening.

:)

Posted on: 2019/11/25 8:34
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Re: Releasing the Year (Labyrinth Meditation)
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Not a single labyrinth in my town and not sure as if there is any in my country at all. I'd love to do this meditation as its symbolics resonate with me so much and I like doing ceremonial Jedi stuff so why not... I don't fully understand your way of making a labyrinth so I'd be glad to be helped out in this :D

On the other hand, the tree method seems brilliant to me!

Posted on: 12/2 5:26
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Re: Releasing the Year (Labyrinth Meditation)
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Lessons learned:

1) 6 inch Berry Tarts without plates and forks is a disaster....I ate my itty-bitty piece anyway! And managed to convince Chris (a student of mine from another order) to eat some of the berries with his big-ole knife
2) Use wood next time. Coals make it super difficult (even when you have lighter fluid) to light your candle on a windy day. We managed...buuuuuuuuuttttttttt
3) Carry a lighter or match just in case so you can relight your candle at the end of the labyrinth so you can properly send off the year XD. Chris and I were fighting with the wind, inching every so slowly along the path to ensure the candle didn't burn out before we got to the end....didn't work out. We had to give up on the candles about half-way through and relight them so we could say good-bye, and get any value out of the walk out of the labyrinth.
4) Have a mini shovel on hand. We were using Beeswax candles, which aren't water-soluble. Which meant we had to go with the burial option. We found a patch of clay where we could dig in, and ended up using the aforementioned knife and a nearby rock to dig in and cover up the candles.

We started our labyrinth at the West Gate and walked counter-clockwise. It was something I hadn't considered when I was writing the labyrinth and didn't even think about when I was building the labyrinth. I went to give the introduction to the ceremony, and as I said "time and space stands still" it occurred to me that the counter-clockwise movement inwards was appropriate to the idea of looking back on the year, and walking clockwise out to where time restarts held its own symbolism.

In the center, we talked about our year. Chris and I both expressed our opinions of how our year had gone and the things we came to understand about ourselves and the journey we have to move forward using that information. He was even able to find an analogy in the berry tart that had berries falling all over the place when we opened it up. We had serious talk, and we have some really good laughs, all around some hot cocoa (my new thermos is ON POINT!) and a fruit tart. :)

Posted on: 12/31 15:42
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