- Who was the founder? Forcemaster, and later, Moor
- Founding Date: 1998
- End Date: N/A
- Archive: forceacademy.co.uk
“The Force Academy was established several years ago, our aim was to shed light on some of the mythology and martial arts seen in the Star Wars films, there are parts of the Starwars saga which are based more on fact than on fiction, the force is one of those parts. The ‘Force’ can be thought of as an energy field the idea based on ancient Easter arts of Tao Chig, T’ai Chi and Zen. These arts/beliefs suggest that you have a life force created by you surrounding your body. These beliefs are supported by other sources such as auras and by people who can perform un-natural feats known as extra sensory perception or ESP. ESP comes in many forms; remote viewing, firewalkers, telepathy, telekenisis, human power sources (humans powering light bulbs with their bare hands) and of course Uri Geller’s infamous spoon bending.
These beliefs and acts strengthen the possibility that a force which ‘defies‘ or ‘bends’ the laws of physics to our present understanding exists. The Force Academy attempts to gather together some of these thoughts and philosophies and present them in an ‘easy to follow’ manner. In addition to the Force philosophies here there are also many games, interactive tools, images, desktop wallpaper, starwars related material and chatrooms to keep you entertained.”
What Did They Believe?
The “Force Academy” is a place for students to study the force from one of three perspectives; Light, Shadow and Dark. Originally training was one-on-one only. With lectures being added as learning material.
What Was Their Inspiration?
The Force Academy was also the first place to formally start to explore how one would follow the Dark Aspect of the Force in real life. Other forums had places for Sith Realists, yes, but not to the extent of the Force Academy. The Force Academy was the first place to really ask what it meant to be a Sith – past just being a selfish asshole.
History of Organisation:
I’m going to start with a brief synopsis for those who don’t have the time to read Moor’s longer version. The history of the Force Academy is this:
A web developer builds a Star Wars website and forum, hoping to capitalise on the influx of people getting back into Star Wars from the prequels being announced. It’s the era of the dot com bubble, and a site with enough users could make a lot of money just from ad revenue run on the site. He has no foreknowledge of Force Realism, and no interest in pursuing it – his username is “Forcemaster” – a play on the typicall admin role “webmaster”.
As the website picks up in activity, Forcemaster gets in touch with one of the most active members on the site to talk about him potentially creating some Star Wars fiction for the site to attract more users. This was Moor. Moor explains what’s happening to the Forcemaster, that these people aren’t talking about the fiction, they’re talking about how to bring the Jedi philosophy into the real world. Forcemaster is disappointed – but Moor consoles him, there could still be money in doubling down on Force Realism.
Moor has his own agenda (see First Dynasty), so creates content for the Dark Aspect – he gives structure to the Sith; he creates ranks, he organizes a curriculum, he attracts new members and sets them down a path of self-discovery that gives them purpose. And these first steps became the First Dynasty of the Dark Aspect.
Moor’s history can be viewed below:
“This is history is drawn from what Moor has said about the origins of the Force Academy, and should be taken with a pinch of salt as he’s been known to change history to suit the victors. The story how it all began. I had to smile remembering the old days. It was all such a coincidence really. But to my best recollection, this is what happened:
At the time I was a practicing master of dark witchcraft and was part of a related group. Professionally, I was planning to move abroad and leave Germany in the next few years. My associates, apprentices and my entire network would be left behind. The structure of my direct organization, as well as others I associated with, were all local. Apprentices were taught face to face, ceremonies and festivals all took place in person. There were some young and loosely structured internet boards I had started participating on, but these were more around high level exchange and coordination for other meetings across the country. Society and social workings didn’t take place online. It was unheard of to teach someone over the internet. The risk was considered much too high. The chance of success without being able to mind read and guide the apprentice first hand, considered much too low.
But I had a schedule ahead of me and needed a plan. My analysis was that I would probably move to a non-German speaking country. I would need to talk and write in English as well as teach: Even if I would find someone locally, the more successful I would become professionally, the less I would be willing to afford a scandal. So the internet seemed a logical choice.
I spent some time surfing the net. My ultimate goal was to gain support of my group to launch an own website around our specific contents. But I would need a trial. A trial to understand how social dependencies work in a virtual community. To learn how to organize them. How to teach them. It would have to be in English on top of it. I assumed I would probably make quite a mess of things. So a trial seemed logical. You go in, learn how to do your thing and then you move on to the main act.
I had actually stumbled over forceacademy.com a few times. It basically kept coming up as a google search (or was it yahoo back then?) when I was looking for keywords such as “dark”and “lesson”or “lecture”. The internet was still reasonably young in a spiritual sense and there weren’t too many sites out there that didn’t just talk about God and love all day long.
At the time forceacademy.com only had its original form. No web-board and only “lessons” from the Lucas history or SW books. I remember it well because it had this java applet where you could “find out your force ranking”. It was basically a 30-seconds click-as-fast-as-you-can-SW-trivia-quiz that ended up naming you padawan, knight or master depending how well you knew the movies. I remember I liked it. It was spiritually useless, but I liked its potential for maybe some real character or alignment tests later on. I was looking out for ideas for my site as well and I thought it was a nice eye catcher.
One day I landed on the site to play it again and think about how I would utilize it for my needs, when I saw the Force Council had opened. I assumed I would bump into a lot of SW kids, but was curious to see how the site was structured and designed. I liked Andrew’s design around the webpage alot.
I joined the site and began reading. It really looked like a bunch of SW kids and I thought the dark siders to be a bit unimpressive, while the light was parading around the forums.
I tentatively started making a first, random post and noticed that there was a spell check feature. I also noticed I had quite a few errors in there and felt confirmed that I should probably do something like this for a while before considering my own site. I thought about it for a while and then fired a long post back at the light side. I decided to use my own philosophy on the craft and just made cosmetic changes where applicable to suite the “force”-based terminology. I still felt uncomfortable though. As if I was watering down my own teachings for entertainments sake. But the spell check was helpful.
It was a few days later. I’d received quite a few responses on my posts from all sides. Obviously the light side felt challenged as I’d hoped. And that was when Andy contacted me. We had a chat and he asked if I wanted to become something of a content developer for the site. We had a series of meetings over the next weeks, while I continued posting. The whole thing wasn’t quite up my ally, but it had all the attributes I was looking for. Our discussion went pretty much like this:
In a first step, Andy was looking to develop content based on the SW background. In a second step, he was looking for potential earnings over banner advertisement if the site took off. He just wasn’t sure how to go about it. He was a webdesigner and an employee or partner of a small firm in the UK. The forceacademy was just as much a trial for him as it was for me.
I introduced myself on a high level, both regarding my professional finance background as well as being a bit of a “spiritually active” person. I wrote short stories in my spare time and played a bit of amateur-theater on the side, which was true. My view was that the majority community members really wanted to talk about the force from a spiritual and philosophy stand point. They really meant it. They didn’t want to only talk about the movies or be a pure SW community. There were some, but not the majority. Andy, I recall was a bit disappointed about this.
But I went on to suggest that that didn’t have to be a negative. You could actually talk about philosophy, esoteric beliefs and so forth. Lucas developed jediism benchmarking current and historic beliefs. You see Asian philosophy, even elements of druidism in there. It was the sum of all religions. So, to talk about it, you only had to do some analysis and draw parallels. And then potentially do some cosmetic adjustments around the wording. He started warming up to the idea.
I remember we had a long discussion around terminology. Inevitably, someone was going to talk about “God” or “magic”. And we would need to decide if we wanted it to be called “God” or “the force”. Both had pros and cons. If you supported a focus on true religions, beliefs and practices, you would address a larger audience. And potentially come closer to the clicks you need to make money. Disadvantage would be that the “force theme” would become pointless and drive other people away again.
If you maintained the force theme, you would give the site a unique feel, but would continue to look at a smaller audience as probably only a small minority is interested in considering “real force powers”, etc. Andy thought about it, but had to agree that the site would lose identity if we spoke of “God”.
That was the next challenge. Board contents would need to be provided. If you started making force lectures, people would pick up and maintain the terminology. If you just let everything grow randomly, God would come up and the site would end up being split probably between two factions: the ones who liked the terminology of the force. The other, who thought it was unattractive. He asked me what I wanted out of the site and I said pretty much the same thing: Practice English, learn more about site development and structures to maybe launch an own project somewhere a year or so down the line. He suggested to team up and so we did.
Andy was a good web designer and a good man. And the idea of creating a living internet community excited the both of us. But I never felt he had a strong link to the spiritual contents that was developing. I especially felt to have found proof in that in terms of where he sought my partnership: he would own the domain and tinker the site, I would look how best to develop the contents. We would organize together and develop an advertisement program in case the site reached enough users. He was eager to hear my thoughts on the contents piece. A week later I made my pitch:
The main activity on the site was around light vs dark. Everyone was bashing each other and there were also some good authors out there. But the discussion of Buddha and God was already emerging. My suggestion was two fold: One, we need people to generate contents. They needed to be the right people who want to take the definition of the force to the next level. Mature people who could demonstrate the right behaviors and organize others. Two, we needed to capitalize on the antagonist them: light vs dark. As a writer and hobby actor, I told him, there is nothing better than when your audience is emotionally involved.
My suggestion was to develop three councils. One for the light and dark side. Good potentials could be put there and would receive community status in return for contents provided. The site could become self evolving on that principle. Which was important as well, because we didn’t know where it would go. The councils watch their aspects, develop contents based on wants of their supporters. Like profit centers in a company.
The third council would be the Inner Council, basically for admin. Where the parties come together to discuss the site development, both from a contents perspective as well as tech-wise. He would eventually also need other people to help him admin the site, while he worked on long term improvements. We spoke a while who would lead the council. He wanted me to do it, but I thought it better if it wasn’t a dark sider. The majority was on the light side after all and they would be concerned. But I thought it was a good job for him. You see alot of people tried to involve Andy in force related discussions. They looked at him as their leader. He was the “forcemaster” after all. So leading the IC would give the people their icon, but also give alibi when he was “too busy” to write anything of his own. It would calm down the light siders and I could still do the effective on board admin work. He liked it and so we went to work.
The light and dark council idea was of course also favorable for my own needs. Within the offline group I was in, we operated in the same way: You had covens. Masters who taught and witches / warlocks who provided content, to prepare them for teaching themselves one day. Apprentices received teaching and took on chores in return. And the coven master or lord ruled them all. Governing their needs, holding ceremonies, testing apprentices. It would be the same structure I would look for on my own site. And I was quite thankful that by coincidence Lucas also ranked jedis on three levels, padawans, knights and masters.
I spent the next weeks interviewing people to run the light council. I would need someone where I wouldn’t need to hold back. Someone who was reasonably my equal, to develop the light side as I the dark. And that’s where I met Caledvolc (think that was his name). We had a similar profile. He was an active druid and had also stumbled over the site by accident. He thought the terminology strange but saw the people looking and talking about true things. He was understandably conservative during our first meetings. I was candid with him: the chance to promote true spirituality in an active and online community. But magic and God had no place in it. It would have to be the force. We talked about the councils, Andy’s role and our go forward. He was a bit hesitant as I had been in the beginning, but warmed up to the idea. I set up I think a formal interview with Andy, but told him to hire him. And that’s what happened.
Caledvolc and I maintained good relationships. We shared ideas about online teaching, lectures and organizational topics. He spoke about druidism, I spoke about witchcraft. We both spoke about the force. When posts and arguments got strong between our groups, we spoke and made sure things didn’t get out of hand. That’s also the time from where the force constitution came from that I wrote and that was announced on the original board. The dark council and its members were quickly organized as I had done that before. We were ahead of the light side’s organization and we chose well with our apprentices. But they didn’t hold back and ideologically, the light side was not yet their equal.
I liked him. I was sad to see him go. But one day, a few months down the road, maybe half a year, he wanted to leave. I think it was an issue of personal priorities. And although I also liked his successor, Garren, if I’m not mistaken, Caledvolc and I had much more in common. Garren was a philosopher, but not a student of the occult. And I think he didn’t trust me. But I guess that came with the territory.
One fine day, months later, I bumped into a young man who was stepping out of line. He was a good writer and didn’t think the light side or dark side was right. He wanted something else. We spoke often as I tried to assess if he had a real point. We spoke about Asian philosophy, about Tao, and Chi. He convinced me that Lucas maybe didn’t have it all covered. So I offered him to open up a third council and install him as their head. His name was Shinobi. A good friend. And one I see still roaming these halls. I will have to catch up with him some time. It’s been too long.
In the end, Andy and I had created something unique in the web. And although it never reached the hits needed for banner advertisement it was good. It was a good home for a long time. Eventually Andy and I parted ways. He withdrew to work on other projects and I had learned everything I could from leading the dark council. It was time for me to move on to my own site. Andy issued me my work references which I added to my CV as I continued my professional career. As for the dark council: I tossed the crown into the mud from one day to the next. I knew they would fight for it, it was the only way. I guessed my knight Satelle would take it. She and I had quite different views on what the force was. She was all about science, of all things. But she was a capable woman and a good organizer. I enjoyed working with her as well. And then I left.
I returned to my offline group and six months later my request for site support and promotion was denied. It was determined that related witchdom was based in Germany and they would never type in English. That was true. There was actually a time at the FA, where the board had hidden forums in German. Andy gave me some ley-way as I was trying to recruit some of my own and make them comfortable. But they never took to it. Why talk on the net, if you could meet the person irl. Why in English, if it was already hard enough to teach successfully. They had no plans to leave Germany. True, there are few who go outside. Few witches, fewer of those are international in mindset. So, I went out and tried myself. But that’s a story for another time.”
I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say almost all disciples of the Dark Aspect have come across the Force Academy at some point.
The Force Academy is unique and should be treated as such. Unlike other sites, the Force Academy has given itself room to change over time – it’s had over 7 upheavals over 20 years, and yet the site remains active.
Whether Moor intended it or not, I think he was key. Moor created a curriculum that basically asked you to accept his teaching or don’t – when he voluntarily left barely two years after becoming the “Head” of the Dark Aspect, it allowed those who disagreed with his teaching room to completely change the curriculum. They didn’t just follow on where he left off, and stagnate like so many sites – they literally re-wrote the book.
This mechanism of allowing a new leader to step up, replace the old teaching and implement their own, has allowed the Force Academy to keep current with its members – to keep innovating and avoid stagnation like so many of its competitors.
N/A – Although it could be argued that Moor’s teaching drew heavily from his coven, the Order of the Moon.
Several. The Force Academy spawned several Dynasties of the Dark Aspect.
Kronos’ Musings: I’m inclined to believe Moor. His version of events is taken from after he left Force Academy and was for posterity, he had no reason to lie. By all accounts, the Forcemaster was just a well meaning web developer – he had no interest in Force Realism.
Furthermore, if you think of the era – it’s the middle of the dot com bubble, the prequels had been announced – I can see why an enterprising man would try and build a Star Wars website in the hopes of later gaining ad revenue.