The Sith Order was a sect of Force-sensitives who utilized the dark side of the Force. The term “Sith” originally referred to a species of aliens native to the planets Korriban and Ziost, who were later enslaved and ruled by exiled Dark Jedi from the Galactic Republic. These Dark Jedi had once been members of the Jedi Order, a monastic Force religion dedicated to peace through the use of the light side of the Force. The Dark Jedi, who refused to rely exclusively on the light side, challenged the Jedi by giving in to the dark side, which started the Hundred-Year Darkness. However, they had been defeated and subsequently exiled from known space, which led to their discovery of the Sith species. Following centuries of interbreeding and mixing of cultures between the aliens and the exiles, the Sith would no longer be identified by their race, but by their dedication to the ancient Sith philosophy. This religious order would survive in many different incarnations throughout galactic history. The rise of a new leader, or Dark Lord, would often cause drastic reorganizations in the cult, however the Sith would always be characterized by their lust for power and their desire to destroy the Jedi Order.
The Sith were the most infamous of all dark side religions, and the members of the cult were often seen as the pinnacle of power within the dark side. Throughout their long history, the Sith commanded several Empires and initiated many galactic wars. With such great influence, the Sith religion inspired many cults that weren’t technically part of the Sith Order, nor did they consist of actual Sith. Instead, they were founded and made up of Sith devotees and other Force-sensitives dedicated to prolonging the teachings and the memory of the Sith.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.
The Sith believed that conflict was the only true test of one’s ability, and so emphasized its importance. It was their belief that conflict challenged both individuals and civilizations, and so forced them to grow and evolve. They believed that the avoidance of conflict–like the pacifist teachings of the Jedi–resulted in stagnation and decline.
Another purpose served by conflict was the elevation of the strong and the death of the weak. By encouraging strife, the strong were able to exercise their power while the weak were weeded from the ranks of the Sith. A core tenet to Sith philosophy was self-reliance and the idea that an individual only deserved what they were strong enough to take. Likewise, morality was treated as an obstacle to be overcome, as it got in the way of a Sith’s ability to recognize and seize opportunities for advancement and self-empowerment.
Such philosophies were embraced and taught at Sith academies, where students were encouraged to challenge one another and fight for prestige that would be recognized by the headmaster of the academy.
The strife to achieve prestige caused rivalries and animosity between the students, as there were few tasks that offered prestige, and many prospective Sith. Similarly, the students of the academy during the New Sith Wars were pitted against each other in dueling sessions atop the academy. It was during these dueling sessions that intense rivalries were formed.
The cornerstone of a Sith’s power was emotion. While the Jedi taught that fear, anger, and pain were negative emotions to be overcome, the Sith believed that these strong emotions were natural, and aided individuals in their survival. By harnessing their emotions rather than suppressing them, the Sith believed they could achieve true power. This belief was in stark contrast to that of the Jedi, who strived to place themselves beyond such base emotions. Indeed, the Sith saw passion as the only real way to fully understand the Force. However, the Sith believed strongly that the worthy could control their emotions and use them, while the weak were ruled by them.
However, not all emotions were embraced by the Sith. They, like the Jedi, considered ‘love’ a dangerous emotion, but for different reasons. The Jedi discouraged love because it led to attachment, but the Sith taught that love led to mercy, which was anathema to them. However, this didn’t stop some Sith from taking lovers and allowing themselves to feel this emotion.
POWERS OF THE SITH
As the Sith were a cult not only devoted to the dark side, but the accumulation of power by way of the dark side, many dark-side powers were known exclusively to them. Their ancient and infamous practices of Sith alchemy allowed for the creation of monsters and other terrors, while Sith magic focused more on mental manipulations and physical manifestations of the dark side.
Sith Alchemy was the source of monsters and other creatures that terrorized the galaxy for millennia. Pioneered by some of the first Dark Jedi to leave the Jedi Order, Sith Alchemy resulted in the creation of all sorts of monsters, like the rakghouls. Though, this fact isn’t known by any at the current time.
Sith Magic was used throughout the ages as a way to manipulate and intimidate opponents. Unlike regular Force powers, Sith Magic required incantations, rituals, or specific hand gestures, and the individual powers were referred to as “spells.” These spells were often employed to create illusions, used to confuse or attack an enemy. Sith magic also involved the use of amulets and talismans to enhance the power of the caster.