We have learned much from our visit to the six faces of Avalon – the ancient name of the fabled Glastonbury. We have changed so very much in the process. The idea of a modern Mystery School is one thing, but to actually go out and talk to perfect strangers, passing to them an outer skin of what we teach, is something else.
Glastonbury is a lovely town, and it is a place with many faces. We do not pretend that the six faces we have seen in our bi-monthly talks are what it is – but they were the six faces that came into our collective consciousness; six windows onto the soul of Avalon. As such, they contained what we needed to know, as long as we had the wit and insight to approach that experiential knowledge and convert it into understanding.
The alchemy of the conversion of knowledge to understanding was a key part of the talk. The fact that we can convey knowledge to another, but can never convey understanding in the same way, was shown as illustrative of the way mankind is made. In many ways we are reversed in our natures; and the process of esoteric learning teaches that, to put ourselves back together, we have to reconnect the pieces in a way that requires faith. Not a faith in God, though that may come; rather a faith that a living process guides our efforts, making connections where we cannot – what Gurdjieff, chief teacher of Maurice Nicoll, the subject of our talk, would have called ‘an intelligent process in the world’.
World and Word.
We began the talk, “The Secret Language of Esoteric Christianity” in this way, reading the opening of St John’s Gospel and asking the ring of kindly people to describe their own concept of what ‘the Word’ means. They all obliged, and we had our beginning. In the beginning, our beginning, was the word, therefore . . . and little else, because we had restricted ourselves to an absolute bare minimum of props and devices. Gone were the projector, screen and other layers of artifice. In their place was simply a ring of people, sharing an evening.
We had arrived for our first talk, one winter ago, in February. We were, on that wet and cold night, fully ‘armoured’ so to speak – with projector, screen and roving hand-held iPad to control things – in the true manner of the corporate presenter.
In contrast, We did our final talk, on Thursday, symbolically naked, without even our enneagram temple mat for company. This marked an important transition of collective self-knowledge. We had learned that the people of Glastonbury like to simply share things; and that such talks are better on a person to person basis within a much gentler and more intimate setting, where technology does not get in way of the human voice . . . and what it carries.
We owe many thanks to our sponsor for the visits, – the lovely Morgy, who runs the Glastonbury Reception Centre. For most of the talks she put us up in her home on a variety of beds, camp beds or sofas. Replete with much wine, we have usually fallen asleep some time after two in the morning having had a wonderful time.
Thank you Glastonbury. We’ve had a challenging and wonderful year. We’ve learned a lot about you and even more about ourselves . . .
I’m sure we’ll be back . . .