Today saw the most important act of ministry I’ve yet performed. It was for a friend outside the Temple, rather than a fellow Jedi, but they called on me because they trust me, they know as a Jedi I’m here to help, and that as a Minister that I’m here to support their spiritual needs.

I should add my friend has read this before I post it, and as such I do so with their consent.

My friend was raped just over two years ago, in a public place. It was front page news in the area. Despite counselling and a wide variety of approaches to this, they have not been able to find peace. Their nights have been disturbed by nightmares, their days by occasional replays of the night. As such, they wanted to revisit the scene of their rape, and do something to find some closure.

I went with my friend to support them, and ended up leading them through something I can only describe as a ceremony to achieve this. We first walked through their actions on the night of the crime. I asked them to take me to all the relevant places, to describe to me what they had been thinking, feeling, what their sensations were (sounds, sights, the weather, the people they met etc).

After some time we came to the place where it happened, on a beach in the town my friend grew up in. We came to the exact spot where it happened, and sat for a while, taking in the familiar sights, sounds and smells.

After some time I gave my friend a pen and paper and asked them to write a letter to their rapist. To include in it any emotions, any anger or fear or hurt, and also any questions they might want to ask this person. I encouraged my friend to be as emotional as they needed to be, to write with feeling, to create a living document of the feelings and experiences they hoped to leave behind. I reassured them that I would not read this.

Once it was complete, we spent some time holding the note, filling it with our feelings, our pain, the intention to allow all that we held onto to flow into this artefact. It was a very emotional experience for my friend.

And then we burnt it.

It was a rainy, windy day. The burning ended up being more of a singing, and then allowing the embers to turn the whole paper to ash. We did this together, constantly relighting, to the point where our fingers were sore from the lighter. It took around 10 minutes in the end, working to make it happen. I made it clear to my friend that it was good that it wasn’t easy; that it hadn’t been easy to live with, that it hadn’t been easy to get rid of it. But that, together, we could burn it away to nothing.

In the end, the paper was gone.

Next I asked my friend to take a rock from the area where the rape occurred and throw it into the (very stormy) sea. I asked them to take time in the selection, to pick the one that felt right, and to wait for the perfect wave, holding the stone, remembering what had happened on that stone, feeling the emotions that were tied to it, to the scene, the place, the memory. And then to throw it in. I asked my friend to do this alone.

My friend stood with that stone in hand for minutes, alone. Waiting for the right moment, the right wave. Filling it with that dark memory, the years of turmoil. And my friend threw it in.

I have never been more proud of a person than I was in that moment.

We walked together up onto the road above the beach, and together we walked away. I suggested my friend not look back. I spoke of the fact we were leaving all that pain, all those thoughts, all those experiences behind. That we didn’t need them any more.

Now, this wasn’t a specifically Jedi ceremony, because my friend is not Jedi themselves. It was, however, Jedi in principle. We took the echoes of that night which lingered in the Force, the route my friend took to the scene. We imbued elements of the wider Force with that painful, internal energy. We bled it out onto the paper, into the stone. We demonstrated the transformative power of the Force, to show that what hurts most can still burn away and be gone. And we showed that even the stones which bore witness that terrible night can catch a wave, and leave. It was important to me that the final moment of the ceremony be conducted by my friend, alone. The symbolism was clear: that whilst my friend had my support through all this, they ended it themselves. They had the power to do this alone.

Burning a bit of paper and tossing a pebble, sure. But lent the weight of the symbolic language of the subconscious, of our intention, our experience. Lent the weight of ceremony, of importance, of significance… let’s just say my friend has been happier and more content than they have seemed in a long while, this afternoon. I’m hopeful I did some lasting good today. And I thank the Temple for equipping me to do it.