Mirialan Culture and Spirituality

Culture

The planet Mirial is cold dry planet located in the Illisurevimurasi sector within the Outer Rim Territories. This harsh planet is home to a deeply spiritual people whose primary belief system is rooted in the idea that all Mirialans are interconnected through their thoughts and deeds. This connectedness stems from the fact that all Mirialans are primitively force sensitive and therefore truly do maintain an intimate interconnection. As “sense” force users, they are acutely aware of the bonds they share with each other and all living things. This feeling of connection is termed simply “The Unity” (with or without the “The”) and used like a proper noun.

Examples of expressions
"Through meditation I seek and experience The Unity"
"Only if one is in Unity, can they find their true destiny"

Mirialan spirituality is centered around not a deity, but this concept of a awareness of their primitive force connection. Through the practice of daily ritual, Mirialans maintain their bond with each other and The Unity they share.

Because of this, when viewed by outsiders, Mirialans appear somewhat insular and provincial. Though Mirialans are widely travelled and active in many facets of Republic life (both as good and bad guys), they have a tendency towards the creation of closed communities in order to maintain their culture, language, and Unity. Though off-worlders live and work on Mirial, they are in the minority and it is a difficult culture to infiltrate.

Spirituality

The “Essential Doctrine”, as it is known, is simply “Body - Tribe - People”. It is a simple saying that represents the propagation of individual actions to the entire species through The Unity that connects them.

Mirialans maintain the Essential Doctrine as part of their daily lives through the performance of “Essential Acts” which in turn reverberate to all others.

The Essential Acts:
Vigil: all Mirialans rise just before the sun in order to meditate and start each day vigilant. Since sunrise is always in motion, it means that as each individual greets the dawn in this way, the Mirialan people collectively maintain a continual vigil for their planet.
Honor: The Unity doesn’t just connect living Mirialans; it connects the living to those in the past as well. Every tribe maintains a shrine of their honored ancestors where each day (preferably sunset) they spend a moment of reflection.
Purity: The deeds of the individual are important to Mirialans. It is taught that there are certain deeds (such as theft, unkindness to the undeserving, or failure to show gratitude) that create a kind of ritual impurity of the individual. (The Jedi have a better description: these are acts that push an individual closer to the dark side.)
Ta Moku: The act of receiving ritual markings. These markings represent a culmination of individual achievement and status, tribal connection, and cultural history maintained in a highly visible way.

Sojourner Mirialans

Early in the history of Mirial, the planet was closed to outsiders and her people didn’t leave lest they dilute or break Unity. However, over time as adventurous Mirialans ventured off planet, it was quickly determined that this exodus and diaspora was beneficial to the Mirialan people. By stepping off planet and into a larger universe, a new and greater destiny for the Mirialans took shape. And so, despite a set of spiritual beliefs that would appear prohibitive, large numbers of Mirialans now live and work far from their ancestral home.

Mirialans who have chosen to live away from their home planet are known as “Sojourner Mirialans” and are treated with great respect when they return to visit Mirial. As emissaries of their culture, when on Mirial they are given the title “Sojourner” (used like Mr. or Ms.) when at home or greeted by home world Mirialan travelers. (How do they know each other? Sojourner tattoo markings are different than home world markings.)

Notable groups of Sojourner Mirialans are government representatives, various Mirialan colonies on different planets, and Mirialan Jedi. There are solo Sojourner Mirialans, but this is considered a very difficult lifestyle and so they are quite rare. It is also true that lone Sojourners are often less likely to follow the Essential Doctrine. One such Sojourner was Hylo Visz.

Because the Essential Doctrine is so important to their way of life, the Essential Acts have been adapted for Sojourners. Without a central tribal shrine, Mirialans carry “Honor Tiles”; small clay tiles baked from the ashes of the ancestors. Vigil is performed at pre-dawn on whatever planet they reside, however when traveling in space, because a ship’s time clock is not a natural system, Vigil is timed based on the sunrise in the capital city on Mirial. Those who travel regularly carry small time pieces specialized for this purpose. Sojourners often travel home to perform Ta Moku and celebrate special achievements, however these rituals are also performed off planet within Mirialan community groups as well.

Mirialan Language

Mirialan is a combination language comprised of spoken words and hand gestures which are most often used simultaneously, but occasionally separately. These gestures aren’t as robust as the Lorridian gestural language and can not be used to express complex ideas or technical/detailed information. (A statement like “I love you” is said most expressively and meaningfully in its combination gestural and spoken form, but can also be used in its more casual gesture only form. Mostly though, gestures used alone carry the same communicative ability as a nod or a wink would do.)

Though the majority of Mirialans speak fluent Basic, when on Mirial and in the presence of other Mirialans, it is generally not spoken. Off-worlders living on Mirial must learn the language well in order to communicate effectively. In mixed company where Mirialans are in the majority, attempts are made to include everyone, but there is a tendency to slide back into their own language. When speaking Basic, unless well practiced in not doing so, Mirialans often unconsciously add in Mirialan hand gestures to emphasize their words.

Mirialan Jedi

The Mirialan people and the Jedi have a long history as both allies and enemies. Many hundreds of generations past, during the Jedi Civil War, they sided with the Sith Lord Darth Malak. Since Malak’s defeat they have sided with the Jedi Order and the Republic. There is a long and storied Mirialan Jedi Tradition that still exists to this day. Mirialan families with strongly force sensitive children are proud to send their sons and daughters to serve the galaxy as guardians of peace and justice.

Within the Jedi Temple, Mirialans tend to stick together just like they do everywhere else, creating a special “community within a community”. When highly-force sensitive Mirialan children are born, it is always Mirialan Jedi who travel to collect them and these children are raised with Mirialan language and cultural values, while training as Jedi. Mirialan Jedi are bi-lingual

Mirialan knights and masters traditionally take Mirialan padawans and they stay together much longer than average. Rather than wear the typical Jedi tunics and robes that are meant to blend in, Mirialan Jedi continue to dress like Mirialans.

(Source material is from The Approaching Storm, an EU novel, but is well summarized here.)


Lelan D'nali as a Sojourner Mirialan:

  • Lelan has tattoos that mark him as both a Sojourner and a Jedi.
  • Lelan is not the first to have a non-Mirialan master as a Padawan, but he is one of very few and it certainly made waves within the community. It was his choice to imitate his master Saesee Tinn in choosing traditional jedi garb, but when visiting Mirial, he changes into more culturally appropriate clothing.
  • On Mirial, teachers are given elevated status and referred to by name with the suffix “-karu” added. Adding “-karu” as an honorific implies both “teacher” and “like family”. Lelan often prefers to say “Yodakaru” and “Saeseekaru” when speaking of his former teachers.
  • In order to maintain Vigil when traveling in space, Lelan has to maintain two timepieces, one that tracks ship’s time and another to track time on Mirial.
  • Lelan has spent a lot of time with non-Mirialans and tends to keep his hands relatively quiet when speaking Basic. When stressed or excited, he falls into the typical pattern of adding Mirialan gestures to his speech.