The Magical Roundabout

Magical Roundabout

I remember the moment, a few years ago, when Stuart – one of my co-directors of the Silent Eye – said to me: “And that’s it, vanished in an instant: all that work about to be packed up, filed away and forgotten…”

He was referring to the hour at the end of our annual workshop during which we tear down the props, pack the period (or futuristic) costumes and collect up any spare workbooks, each one the better part of two hundred pages of lovingly crafted mystical theatre…

Around us is a scattering of people who don’t want to go home… Old friends, returned for their yearly round of camaraderie, fun and some deeply moving psychodrama, are standing in the residual warmth of a living thing which, like a vessel, has held and nurtured us all for the weekend. New friends, wondering what just happened…

I hate the word ‘psychodrama’ but that’s what it is. Hitchcock has a lot to answer for… ‘psych’ because the weekend is a process that works on ‘the self’, involving everyone in a play – a scripted five-act drama that starts off slow and ends with a rush that is all too real. It’s not drugs or alcohol that fuels this, it’s the largely forgotten state of ‘egregore’ of a group of people ‘playing’ at something with spiritual intentions whose success they are committed to.

We play via scripts and, often, costumes based on the characters enacted. No-one is expected to remember their lines over the five acts of the play. But watch any one of our players reading theirs and you’ll see that person giving total dedication to being the best they can be.

They may be a medieval knight, a soothsayer, a priestess. They may be a jester, a demigod or even a Queen. They might even be a cyborg from the future, struggling to become human, and challenging all our preconceptions in the process.

Sounds serious stuff? Yes, but beneath this is a strong and incredibly supportive layer of fun. A very good pub is next door to our conference venue: the lovely Nightingale Centre in this idyllic part of the Derbyshire hills. We are not averse to a glass of wine or beer to help wind down in the evenings, and the included meals in the venue are very good, indeed – and all this for less than three hundred pounds, per person, inclusive…

We don’t do it to make money, as the annual tax return would demonstrate. We do it because it reflects the best of the various ‘Schools of the Soul’ in which we were brought to a more inclusive state of consciousness. Over the five short years of our existence we have made it our own, and created our own teaching styles, along the way developing some leading-edge approaches to distance learning.

We are not gurus – we don’t believe in them. We are just ordinary folk who enjoy teaching a deeper approach to life… and ‘playing’ in this magical and creative fashion.

This year, 20-22 April, on that final Sunday afternoon, we will be standing among the torn down bits of electronics, cables, fabric, giant chessboard and well-thumbed scripts. Stuart may well be standing there as the last box gets packed into the car and ask, in his customary fashion, ‘Well, was it all worth it?’

He’ll be smiling his ‘it’s not really a question’ smile, and we’ll both chuckle. Oh yes, it will indeed have been worth it!

———–

For more information on this and future Silent Eye workshops click here or contact us at rivingtide@gmail.com

©Stephen Tanham.

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