Wayland: The White Horse…

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But according to some, Wayland has far more onerous

responsibilities than shoeing the horses of passing way farers…

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A group of local lads were enjoying a drink

one evening at the White Horse Inn, Woolstone,

when an unknown man wearing old fashioned garb

entered and ordered a pint of the local beverage.

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He wore a leather apron, a tall hat,

and he took his drink and sat

to one side of the ale-house by himself…

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After awhile the sound of a horn rang out

and could be heard

echoing eerily through the vale…

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Startled from his reverie by the horn,

the stranger leapt to his feet and hobbled

out into the night, his pint unfinished.

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As the uncanny sound faded over the downs

the locals looked out and up to the hillside

to find that the White Horse was gone!

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When dawn broke the following day

more than a few of the previous night’s imbibers

looked out of their windows

and up at the hill with some trepidation…

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Only to see the White Horse

back where it should be on the green hillside

but with feet-tips

that seemed to shine in the morning sun light.

 

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Wayland: The Blessed Isles…

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The tone of the tale once Britain is reached,

becomes very different…

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Alighting on Berkshire’s High Downs,

Wayland came upon an ancient chambered tomb,

and made it his home.

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Tradition now has it,

that if ever you are riding the Ridgeway,

and your horse loses a shoe,

you need only tether it nearby,

 leave a silver-sixpence on the uppermost stone of the tomb,

and on your return your horse will be shod and your money gone…

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Wayland, it seems, never works while being observed.

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Wayland: Silver-Smith of Souls…

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There are a number of intriguing aspects to the legend of Wayland Smithy…

The earliest written sources appear late and are decidedly piecemeal.

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Wayland is the son of a God, Giant, or King of the Otherworld.

He is schooled in metallurgy by Dwarves, whom, in skill, he quickly surpasses.

He lives, hunts, and works alone in a region associated with wolves and bears.

One day he comes upon a swan-maiden bathing skin-less.

He finds her skin, appropriates it, and she lives with him for nine years.

At the end of which time she discovers her hidden skin and flies away.

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Wayland is then taken captive by the King of Sweden,

maimed to prevent escape and set to work on an island…

Wayland surreptitiously kills the king’s sons, turns their skulls into goblets

and presents them to the king and queen.

Their teeth he turns into a brooch for the king’s daughter.

The king’s daughter has a ring of Wayland’s, stolen from him by her father,

and when it breaks she asks him to mend it.

Wayland inebriates the king’s daughter and fathers a son on her.

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At this point, in the tale, Wayland’s swan-wife returns,

with a swan-skin for him and they fly away,

to the Blessed-Isles of Britain, together…

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Glimpses Beyond…

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‘A wonder of a land,

the land of which I speak.

We behold but are not often beheld.’

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Perfected art can accentuate things,

and make them more attractive to the eye and mind,

but it cannot enhance the innate spirituality which men of all ages have held.

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There seems never to have been a time

when tribe, race or nation did not hold

some sort of belief in an unseen world

inhabited by unseen beings.

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Everything which can be said to exist is natural,

yet the Holy-Man who experiences the spiritual condition of ecstasy

cannot adequately explain it to the man who has not known it.

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If the Ancients possessed an arcane language

to encompass such psychical experiences,

it still remains a secret.

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But the natural aspects of the countryside impress Man

and awaken in him the Subliminal Self

which in turn inculcates an ability

to first feel, and then know,

otherwise subtle influences.

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What is there in cities to awaken Man’s intuitive powers,

which is comparable to the magical solitudes of Nature’s environs?

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Whenever a multitude of men and women are herded together

one finds an unhealthy psychical atmosphere,

never to be found in the countryside,

which tends to inhibit the Subliminal Self

in its attempts to manifest itself in consciousness.

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Instead of Nature,

men and women living in cities

have civilisation and culture.

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The Tyrant of Uruk…

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 “The Eternal City of Uruk…

See how its ramparts gleam like copper in the sun…

Climb the ancient staircases up stone more ancient than mind…

Approach the Temple of Eanna…

Sacred precinct of the Goddess Ishtar…

Her priestesses stand laughing and chatting flushed with joy…

Ready to serve mens’ pleasure for her honour…

Walk the Great Wall of Uruk…

The men-folk dressed in their splendour…

In fine linen and embroidered wool…

Their fringed shawls and wide belts brilliantly coloured…

Follow its leg-wearying course around the city…

Inspect the mighty foundations…

Examine the masonry…

How masterful is its construction…

Wallow in the land it encloses…

Its palm trees and gardens…

Its orchards and lakes…

The glorious palaces and temples…

The shops and market places…

The homesteads and public squares…

Every day is a festival in Uruk where people sing and dance in the streets…

The musicians of Uruk play incessantly on their drums and lyres…

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And in their bed chambers at night…

The young-folk cry themselves to sleep…”

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The Silent Eye’s Spring workshop for 2019

THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH

The Oldest written story known to man…
What spiritual treasures lie hidden in this, five thousand-year old, Epic?
What can this ancient civilisation teach us about the questions of existence?
Join us on this quest of a life-time, next April, to find out…

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‘Gilgamesh is among the greatest things that can ever happen to a person.’
– Rainer Maria Rilke.

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Fully catered weekend package, including room, meals and workshop: £235 – £260

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Click here to download the Booking Form

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For further details or to reserve your place: rivingtide@gmail.com

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Lord of the Deep: The Quest for Immortality

26-28 April, 2019 – Great Hucklow, Derbyshire

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Priest of the Sun III…

Maiden Castle – Dorchester

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… “Whither goest thou, Priest of the Sun?”

“I go hence to the High Place for the soul is in need.”

“What is that need?”

“The need is Light.”

“And what will you give for the passage?”

“I will give my Self.”

He is naked save only for a white cloth around his lions…he has left all else behind as he embarks on this journey.

She looks deeply into his eyes, reading his soul’s truth there.

 This is the final test.

If he fails, he will not survive.

Many years she has watched as they have come and gone, many she has seen and taught, many have failed, some have succeeded… only those with hearts that see true.

The labyrinth is woven, energies crackling and shifting between the ramparts, almost visible in the moon-dark night.

Line and spiral, blade and vortex…all wait.

She leads him between the two fires that mark both the entrance and exit to the labyrinth…though which one is which only few will ever know.

She marks his brow with a kiss and raises her hands…

At her signal the fires are extinguished with a hiss of steam and a billowing smoke.

The plateau is dark… there will be no flame to guide him. It is silent.

There will be no sound to draw him back.

He is naked and bereft as a soul new born… in a limbo now…awaiting a birth… or a death… The gates close behind him, and she ascends to her place on the edge, facing the morning that is so far away… her place… where she will watch…

Her eyes adjust to the heavy darkness and the change comes, shifting her vision to that other sight. Below he too waits, that his eyes may adjust to the night and his feet walk true.

He begins, walking carefully, treading the labyrinth with purpose and intent.

He walks the first straight, beneath her… he feels her there and looks up, futile though it be in the dark with the blackness of her robe pulled around her like a cloud. She smiles… he knows… she has hopes for this one… West he turns, her eyes cannot see him, but she walks each step with him…another straight, another bend… and a sword at his throat…The Guardian towers over him and he freezes… had he been walking faster the sword would have pierced his throat. The Guardian speaks a ritual question… but he has not been given an answer… he has to Know…

The voice whispers into the night and the sword is lifted…he walks on…Through the rough grass and stones, barefoot… another Guardian… a spear at his chest…no words this time… only a gesture… he responds, and the spear is withdrawn. Again a corner, a straight…the meandering path like the fleeting thoughts of the mind turns every which way…A blade at his belly…choices to make in silence…only the Knowing to guide him…And another… and another…She walks with him, feeling every step from her perch…Only the last now…he is pushed to his knees, a sword across the back of his neck…a cauldron before him…a whispered response… and a flame is given…Below her the light of a single torch illuminates a small, flickering patch of the hilltop.

On the horizon the first blush of dawn… It has been a long night…A knock on the gates, firm and confident…they open…she stands between…The sun gilds the morning…she embraces him….

“Whither goest thou, Priest of the Sun?”

End

Priest of the Sun II…

Giant Hill, Cerne-Abbas

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…We stop, looking out across the processional way… as the torchlight approaches.

The sky is clear, and the Hunter’s Moon illuminates the white outline of the giant.

From the Trendle comes the sound of drum beats… soft and insistent, an echoed heartbeat of earth… the truncated scream of a stag pierces the night as the drumbeats increase their rhythm…pounding like blood through the temples…then dying down to a soft thrumming which waits….

She watches from the hilltop.

There will be blood tomorrow too… for vengeance, for betrayal… for a kingdom…many will fight for her… many will die…but she holds the power.

They will come, over the hilltop, through the valley… and they will be caught.

She has the high ground and those who serve her know its ways…But tonight she watches and waits… there is another service… she watches the dark forms approach from the enclosure…The man is bound with the skin of the stag, but not immobile… naked, washed with pure water from the spring, oiled and perfumed, beautiful in his youth….

She holds her blade before her… speaking to he who is led…drawing the sharp point, almost gently, across his skin…marked with the blood in spirals…tracing them with the blade and watching his body respond…

“Whither goest thou, Priest of the Sun?”

 “I go hence to the hillside for the land is in need.”

 “What is that need?”

 “The need is Life.”

 “And what will you give for the passage?”

“I will give life.”

She draws the maiden to her side. She too is naked and blooded, but unbound.

Her hair falls in a long cascade, glinting in the moonlight.

She places the maiden’s hand on his and nods…the two are led away onto the hillside…The drums begin again, softly at first, but with growing insistence, thrumming in the blood… rising, louder, faster…mirroring the rite on the hillside…reaching fever pitch…Life and death… this hillside will see them both…generation and destruction….

She watches…

To be continued.

Priest of the Sun…

Cadbury Castle

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‘…Reality is now shimmering in the heat as the air sparkles and I remember that King Arthur sleeps beneath the hill of Camelot like a child in a giant’s womb… ready to wake in the hour of need…

I plunge into the earth in search of a cool cavern, yet my feet stand on the sunlit grass as the Knight who is a Priest approaches.

I pull the furs about me against the chill, standing spear-straight in the winter sun…

He may not pass.

The Temple is mine….

Hers…

 He may not pass without answer…

Behind me a crescent of acolytes, await, with bowl and stone, oil and wine…

I hold up my hand, and he meets my eyes…

“Whither goest thou, Priest of the Sun?”

“I go hence into the Lowlands for the people are in need.”

“What is that need?”

“The need is Love…”

“And what will you give for the passage?”

“I will give my heart’s blood to the land.”

He offers his left hand.

A priestess steps to my side, holding the bowl and the razor-sharp shard of blue flint.

He is silent, save for a sharp intake of breath as the thick flesh at the base of his thumb yields to my ‘stone-blade’.

Blood, red as the holly crown I wear, wells into my bowl.

With blood and oil, I mark him, the sign of passage paid.

I lift the cup to his lips…wine steeped herbs that open the inner sight…bitter… part of the price…

He drinks, his eyes holding mine like a serpent…I like his strength… he is no fool, this one…he knows the true price of vision…

Passing the cup to the maiden I take his hand and lead him into the dark womb of the temple…’

to-be-continued…

A Visit to the Land of Camelot

Alethea Kehas shares her impressions of our recent workshop, the Giant and the Sun: Patterns in the Landscape…

Not Tomatoes

Reflections from The Silent Eye’s June 2018 workshop.

The land pulls the blood from my body prematurely, just as it did two years ago when the white goddess appeared at the foot of my bed as I took the role of Guinevere. Three in the morning is an uncommon time to wake, but there is significance to this number. We are working with lines that join into triangles.

IMG_3613 Found in a Dorset church

Sometimes I think I have strained limits, but my mind tells me I have not returned to the feel of the womb again to sleep. Birth is inevitable. My skin protests darkness and shuns the heavy wrap causing the release of sweat when I try to sleep. There is an alchemy of fire and water going on within and without.

IMG_3669 Maumbury Rings in Dorchester, England have a distinctly feminine shape. Inside its womb-like enclosure, you can feel…

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