Saturday is always a heavy day, with three rituals and attendant prep sessions, as well as two explorations, led this time by Lorraine and Jan, both of whom are ordained ministers, but who follow rather different personal paths. You can find the basis of Jan’s exploration here, while Lorraine took an informal approach to engage us in a discussion exploring the relationship between Spirit, Humankind and Nature from a Druidic perspective.
Many Paths are represented on these weekends; beliefs wear many faces and Names, but the more you learn and the more you get to know the people who walk these paths, the more you realise that, although the outer form may differ, at the heart of each is the same Light.
Every year, we try to build in time to just spend getting to know each other, but there is always just so much to do… But, in spite of a day so full we learned of an ‘in’ joke saying you have to diarise time for flatulence on a Silent Eye weekend, and there was much laughter in the pub on Saturday night. We occupied the tiny snug of the four-hundred-year-old inn and set about the serious business of learning more about each other. It is one of the joys of these weekends that we get to spend time with people we only usually get to speak with online or on the phone.
There are inevitable and invisible barriers around us all, created to protect us in a world full of strangers and possible dangers. By the time we have worked through the first ritual on Friday, most barriers are down… and by Saturday evening, you would never know they had been there at all. The shared experience of something so far outside our ‘normal’ lives brings us together in friendship and companionship. The release of the tensions built up by the story we have been exploring opens the doors of the heart and it is a lively, laughing band that occupies the little bar, talking long and late.
So, Sunday morning, we did not officially greet the dawn, though some of us were already up to prepare the temple, which we had opened early for private meditation. It did not escape notice that, after two days of torrential rain, during which time the Fates had told the pre-biblical, Sumerian story of the Flood, Sunday began with clear and sunny skies.
It was tempting to throw open the curtains and flood the temple with light, but shadows too have their place and the illusion we had created within that room would have been destroyed. Even so, the sun seemed intent on finding every chink in the curtains as we gathered for the Triad ritual after breakfast, as if the light itself wanted to join with us for what we were about to do.
The Triad ritual, shared by Steve, Stuart and I, is a yearly reaffirmation and celebration of our shared intent and purpose within, and as, a School. It is usually followed by the ceremonial ratification of those initiations that have taken place that year, but for the first time, none of our candidates had been able to attend. Instead, we asked them to add their voices to our own as we, and all the Companions, joined together in the Web of Light meditation.
This is not a one-time meditation; it can be used at any time, by anyone, adding their light to the Web of Light that is growing across this world. But there is something truly magical in the augmented strength that comes from working together as we do within the temple. Nor were we alone in that temple hallowed by the loving hearts of the Companions, as we felt the presence of countless others, from across the world, who joined us with a shared intent.
I am notoriously useless during these moments, when hearts open to speak with one voice of Love, and was in tears before we had even read the words of our absent friends out loud. Both laughter and tears have their place in the temple, especially when both may be born of joy or spring from a vision of beauty. Even so, I had a hard time holding it together as, one after the other, the Companions held the flame to their hearts and spoke for the voiceless of this world. It was a ritual I shall not easily forget.
Although we had been sharing the pre-biblical story of the Flood during the rituals that weekend, it was of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah that I was thinking as we left the temple, when the Old Testament God had agreed to spare the cities for the sake of ten just men. We were more than ten within the temple, and many more minds and hearts were joining with us as we spoke for the earth and its creatures. What we have chosen to call the Web of Light grows, nurtured by many people worldwide, following myriad Paths and of all shades of faith, religion and belief, each in their own way.
In that, I see hope.