2015: Looking back from December

Christmas 2015 n9 imagev2

Christmas and New Year have always been special times for me – Christmas more than the New Year, as I have always come to view the Winter Solstice as the start of the the truly new, rather than the formal ending of the calendar’s twelve months. The solstice sees the nadir of the visible light, as the solar ‘victory’ changes the face of the year and the days begin to lengthen again. To those who live in awareness of these cycles, the Feasts of St Stephen and St John mark two very different ‘Earths’.

As children, we expect (probably too much) to receive presents and we wait with breathless anticipation to see what lies in those shiny parcels under the tree. As adults, we find that different experiences ‘feed’ us with that wonderful sense of the new–experiences rather than objects.

My year, both personal and ‘professional’, has been challenging and wonderful. Challenging, because the Silent Eye School has passed (and is passing) through what I can only describe as a spiritual ‘maturing’ process. Wonderful, because 2015 has contained so many gifts – some of them beautifully physical, such as the birth of Alice, our first granddaughter.

Steve and Alice
Grandad and Alice
Mum and Dad (Medi and Matthew) take a short break on the settee


Others–and there have been many, might better be described as psychological. When you launch a new Mystery School, there are certain stages which, in hindsight, you have to go through. One is the sheer joy of beginning something, as we did in 2013. Then comes reality when you have to trade your time and that bag full of ideas for real stuff. As the real stuff gathers momentum, you have to accept that change happens not just to the developing entity – the School, but to you as well.

The period 2014-15 has been the stage when Sue, Stuart and I have really come to terms with the importance of our own personal evolution and its necessary process in ensuring that we are fit to run such an important endeavour – one to which others are turning for guidance and companionship in their own inner journeys. I am a strong-minded individual, and it takes a degree of force to stop me in my tracks and make me think…

Following the Silent Eye’s 2015 April workshop, my two companions were delighted to inform me that I would be taking a back seat for the next one while they wove their magic around my real and ‘magical’ personas in preparation for the forthcoming April 2016 workshop, Leaf and Flame.

Solstice1 Sue and Stu on CC rock
Sue and Stuart on the Cow and Calf rock at Ikley

I will not dwell on the details – both nerve-racking and wonderful. Suffice to say that if you teach the process of esoteric psychological development, you should not be surprised when it knocks on your own door… Roll on April 2016, if only so my teeth can stop chattering.

The workshops have gone particularly well this year. April’s River of the Sun was followed by a wonderful Summer Solstice visit to the Avebury area. In September  the Harvest of Being weekend returned to Ilkley for the last time in the present cycle. December, though plagued with rain, saw us instigate a pre-Winter Solstice workshop at Rivington; which, despite being somewhat shortened by the rapid count of flood-closed roads, was viewed by those present as deepening their experience of this most important of periods of rebirth within the symbolic earth. The Silent Eye School moves on … and we are very happy to have begun such a journey.

Barbara and a very symbolic bridge at Rivington (taken during our planning trip in October)

The year ended with a most wonderful December and three very special gifts: The first was the production and Amazon launch of The Ballad of Bakewell Gaol, a three-section poem in the style of Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol, which I had written at Stuart and Sue’s request for their new series of books, “Lands of Exile: But ‘n’ Ben”. I did not expect further publication and was astonished and delighted when they presented me with a Graphic Novel version.

This was followed, two days ago, by the, again unexpected publication of “The Beast in the Cafe” a book version of the serialised Coffee with Don Pedro blog posts. I am truly humbled by the effort my two friends have put into this most special set of Christmas presents… I may even turn up for the April workshop and cancel that sudden trip to Australia!

beast BookCoverPreview.do

Let me close with two things: firstly we all would like to thank Sheila Chadwick for providing us with a warm and wonderful home for the local Manchester group of the Silent Eye. We meet in Sheila’s house once a month, and we hope to go on doing so for a long time to come.

Finally,in December, Bernie and I were invited to visit three very special people in California. They run a School not dissimilar to the Silent Eye and have done so for many years. Every year they also focus on a Dickens Fair, held just outside San Francisco, to which thousands of people come over the course of four weekends. The Fair is a major event in Northern California and has an egregore which has to be experienced to be believed.

Three of the organisers of the Dickens Fair – Left to right: Robert Young (aka Mr Dickens), Diana Young – playwright;  and the front of house Director of the event, Kevin Patterson.

We live, and if our lives are truly rich, we go on learning. May learning never end… a big thank you to those who have been instrumental in both elements in this most challenging and wonderful of years.

Happy Christmas and may 2016 bring you success and fulfilment.

My normal blogs will resume in the New Year.

Steve Tanham.


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