“Pick a card,” said the headless apparition, holding out his severed head to the assembled company, each in turn. “Any card…”
So, how do you behead a green giant and have him pick up his head and walk? You could use lighting, make up and computerised effects, but we are fairly low-tech where special effects are concerned… we had a sheet, a football and a wet cloth.
At the critical moment, both Green Knight and Gawain left the central court of King Arthur and only their shadows were seen…A flick of the light switch, a dropped, soggy towel to provide an appropriate squelch and a football… and the first part of the job was done. Granted, the football was a little delayed and it seemed to take an age before the giant head ‘bounced’ across the floor… but perfection didn’t matter, and laughter in the Temple is a blessing.
I hope it looked okay from the main working space… I was behind the screen mis-timing footballs. I would have liked to see the reaction when the headless giant walked out from behind the screen and proffered his head to the company… but the Lady of the Lake and Merlin were both on tech-duty, as well as standing in for the four Companions who had sadly been obliged to cancel due to illness and whose presence was sorely missed for many reasons. We do not take photographs in ritual, but occasionally we remember to take a few during set-up… with the mask and full, bulky costumes, it should have looked even better. For those behind the screen, though, it was impossible to tell.
Sometimes, what you see depends upon what you believe. Perspective and perception go hand in hand, in both life and drama…though in drama there is a conscious willingness to accept the impossible and the illusory…at least temporarily. As in life, however, every person will see things from a slightly different point of view, coloured and tempered by their own character, emotions, knowledge and experience.
In the Silent Eye, we work with the nine pointed symbol of the enneagram. While the School has taken a rather different approach to its understanding and use than its more familiar focus in psychological profiling, we do still use each of the nine points to represent an archetypal character that helps us to understand our own. If our own personality stands primarily on one of those points, it will, of necessity, have a unique view of all the others… and that will be substantially different from that of someone standing on the next point of the symbol. Nine unique perspectives on each of the other eight points…
The story we had woven from the tales of the Green Knight and Lady Ragnell had become a five act drama. Each of the participants brings their own understanding to the deeper symbolism that lies behind such stories. The Druid will see something different from the Shaman; the Ritualist will understand the meaning differently from the Esoteric Christian…. yet all are walking towards the same inner truth. Our Companions were arranged like spokes around the wheel of the Temple… and that mirrored their different approaches to a spiritual journey that shares, as its ultimate goal, the same inner Light.
Alienora has shared some of her experience from the perspective of her role as Ragnell, Lady of the Veil and how it is interwoven with her own life, while Steve has told the story of the first ritual drama from the perspective of Gawain. Others, too, will, we hope, add their own experiences. Are any of these exactly what the writers intended? We certainly hope not. Although we can hope that the main themes of the weekend result in an understanding shared by all, what is gleaned from the weekend should be as unique to each participant as the cards they drew from the giant’s head.