Castles of the Mind

Bamburgh Castle smaller

Do we have ‘castles of the mind’?

Traditionally, ancient castles were built where there was trouble… Do we have the equivalent in our minds and emotions? Have we, over the course of our lives, built up strong fortifications with which to repel those intrusions which, as children, we considered frightening?

The foundations for such things can begin very early, and be formed of some very primitive fears and, even, strong dislikes. That dark green colour of the man in the long raincoat who collected money and caused mother great distress. The child would see the pain of a caring parent whose finances were stretched to the limit; the deeper truth that it was a door-to-door insurance man, making his Friday call in time to tap into the new pay packet would not be seen until later in life… but the coloured raincoat would be remembered…

We smile at such memories, now, but their effects can linger, unseen, becoming the bedrock of fear and prejudice.

Fear is a topical subject. We live in a world where some of the artificial ‘bogeymen’ have taken flesh, become leaders of what we assumed were states governed by some sort of ‘reasonableness’. When that is blown away, we are left staring at the ragged ruin of the personal safety blanket behind which we have lived most of our lives.

We’d be living a life at the edge if what we did, individually, could repel the kind of boarders that strut their aggression and lack of compassion on the world stage, today. But confronting those fears in our own lives, and holding them up to the light of adult reason and mature feelings is an essential practice for anyone treading a ‘non-fluffy’ mystical path.

Bamburgh beach

To do this alone is very difficult. To do it in a group of trusted friends, new and old, is an empowering thing. In the Silent Eye, we offer this when we can construct an environment that is conducive to trust and empathy, and in which we can share examples of these powerful structures in our personal histories. We are modern mystics, not psychotherapists. Our method is for each of us to work with their own individuality to increase stability and confidence – enough to invite the deeper parts of ourselves to extend their loving reach into our everyday ‘selves’.

The ‘borderlands’ between our carefully-controlled ‘normality’ and the effects of those early experiences are the places where we can widen the paths of light which drive mature and reflective energy into the murky places of unresolved immaturity.

So, we thought, why not run one of our ‘walk and talk’ weekends in a part of the UK associated with borderland of its own?

Northumberland is one of Britain’s most wild and beautiful counties. It shares the Scottish border with Cumbria in the West and extends, on the map, far into what appears to be Scotland. Until Anglo-Saxon times it was an independent kingdom, and later, was the seat of important families whose role was to ‘police’ the borderlands from such castles as Alnwick (home of the Percy family) and Bambrugh.

Northumbria coast smaller

Northumberland’s landscapes vary from rolling hills and river valleys, to wild coastlines and castles – castles which have been used to enforce a borderland between the Scots and the English for hundreds of years. Thankfully, things are more peaceful, now, but the history remains written in the land…

Not everything in this ancient landscape was devoted to warfare. The island of Lindisfarne, which will form an important part of the weekend, is famous as one of the original homes of British Celtic Christianity.

Our ‘walk and talk’ events are friendly and informal. We ask those attending to bring one or two readings from their favourite books, poems, or other sources of inspiration. We listen and talk… and share. If someone is ready to enter their personal borderlands, we hold their hand and walk with them.

The cost per attendee is £50.00. This is an administrative cost, only. All personal costs and bookings, such as hotels and meals, are the responsibility of those attending. Meals are generally shared in a local pub, and the cost divided between those partaking.

Come and join us for our September event. Weekend of 14-16 September, 2018, based in the beautiful town of Seahouses on the Northumbrian Coast.

Bamburgh Castle+Text smallerAA

To register your interest, send us an email at rivingtide@gmail.com.


Stephen Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit organisation that helps people find the reality and essence of their existence via low-cost supervised correspondence courses.

His personal blog, Sun in Gemini, is at stevetanham.wordpress.com

©Stephen Tanham, Silent Eye School of Consciousness.

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