Digging deeper… with Anne Copeland

 

A story is told to engage the imagination and the sense of wonder. A tale that does so will stay in memory… making it a perfect vessel to hold a deeper meaning that may lie dormant until we are armed with the tools of life-experience and ready to understand. Many of the tales that have come down to us from the farthest reaches of our collective past are treasure chests of knowledge, allowing us to glimpse not only the belief-systems and cultures that bequeathed them to us, but to lift the veil on the inner workings of the human psyche, both as individuals and as societies.

When Anne Copeland, a student of the Silent eye, first came across a reference to the story of Gilgamesh in a post about our upcoming workshop, Lord of the Deep, she became fascinated by the story. Instead of simply reading the ancient Epic, she looked beyond the surface, seeking for understanding and symbolic meaning… which is exactly what you are supposed to do with these ancient tales.

Anne has yet to recieve a copy of the workbook we have produced for the weekend and has used a different translation from those we have employed… but some of the questions and realisations she has gained may blossom and bear fruit when, in two weeks time, we begin to share the story of the workshop.


Gilgamesh Makes an Appearance at My Home

Anne Copeland

The first time I read about the oldest piece of literature known, found in Sumeria, I was intrigued and had to find a copy and read it.  I had absolutely no clue as to what the story could contain that might be of specific interest to me, and yet as I began to read it, I was intrigued and could not stop reading.

In the version I read, which may be different from the version you will be following with the event, Enkidu, who became a best friend of Gilgamesh, was part of the wilderness in a most personal way.  It does not even make any sense that he was anything other than an integral part of it.  He is shown as the protector of the wilderness, and it is not clear in the reading where the wilderness ends and he begins.  It is a beautiful and amazing feat that these Sumerians considered that he was a part of and that the wilderness meant something totally significant to those people, something deep and abiding that the people needed to protect.

And yet, Gilgamesh comes into the story, and when he hears about Enkidu, he wants him to be brought to this place where the Gods he knows dwell.  He wants to join with Enkidu in an adventure that he wants to experience, in a world very different from his own. And so it is that the “trapper” comes to bring Enkidu, who is a form of God on his own, to the dwelling place of Gilgamesh.  And again, for what most might consider a primitive culture, the Sumerians had a clear understanding of the duality that exists in the world – good and evil, light and dark, droughts and floods, pain and wellness, sorrow and joy, life and death, and each part has its place.

I don’t want to spoil the event for you by giving you the whole story, but I WILL say that this story clearly has helped me to see what my own part in this world is in process of becoming. Is this story truth, or is it a myth or legend? What parts of it do you relate to or wonder about? Is there any part of this that causes you to shudder or feel concerned or uncomfortable? If you could change anything about this story, what might it be?  I know I spent a lot of time thinking about this and wishing that certain changes that take place might not have taken place.  But then I am just finishing my first year, and endeavoring to understand things that are still new to me.  This is not an overnight course or workshop where I spend one entire day and then I am full of great wisdom the next day.  How can I understand this duality in life and become one with it?  And how can I come to understand and believe that not everything that seems horrible may be so, and that it may or may not be everlasting when it happens?

Although I am not able to be there in person this year, I will definitely be there in spirit.  I will be studying this same story and trying to find the depth of meaning for my own life.  I wish each and every person in attendance the best that has been, the best that is, and the best that ever will be.  Enjoy!!!


You can find out more about Anne at her blog, All in a Day’s Breath


Would you like to know more?

For details of the School and our methods, how to join our Correspondence Course, or to find out more about our Workshops and Events please explore our website or email The Silent Eye at rivingtide@gmail.com

Two Aprils Inside the Magic of the Silent Eye ~ Alethea Kehas

 

With less than two weeks to go before we journey to the ancient land of Sumer for Lord of the Deep, Alethea Kehas, a Companion of the Silent Eye, shares her experiences with the Silent Eye’s April workshops:

Alethea as Guinevere, Leaf and Flame, 2016

I’m not an actor, nor have I ever had aspirations to be one. The only plays I’ve participated in were obligatory grade school productions many years ago. So, it may seem strange how much I was drawn to the Silent Eye’s annual April workshops in Derbyshire, England. They felt mysterious and evocative. A weekend of ritual acting was a foreign concept to me, yet to be explored, as was the land of England. Sometimes, though, we must heed the call of the heart and be open to where it will lead us. The mystery unfolds through trusting that the heart knows what the mind does not always understand.

I can’t even tell you for sure how I met Sue years before I flew out to England, and through the amorphous world of blogging. That our two paths managed to intersect through words sent out over the vast, invisible threads of the World Wide Web seems both miraculous and destined. I suppose it doesn’t matter who found who, only that the finding occurred at just the right time.  A time when I was seeking answers to life’s inner mysteries.

I joined the School, under the mentorship of Sue, a year before I attended my first April workshop. It was not a requirement for me to fly out to England to receive my first-degree initiation, nor was I required to attend the ritual weekend in Derbyshire. Yet I knew there was something waiting to be found and woken within me by being there.

So, I went. Traveling more than 3,000 miles into the unknown to a place and group of people I had never met in the physical realm in this lifetime, but felt like home. I was nervous, to be sure. Mostly because I had no idea what I would find. I didn’t know what ritual acting was, and even though I had been asked to play a minor role in terms of lines spoken, I was anxious about how I would perform.

I need not have worried. The ability to act a role is not a requirement, and in fact may even be an inhibiting fact if one allows it to be, to the part one plays in the weekend’s events. Instead, what is required is a trust and surrender to the role of becoming. Becoming, that is, the aspect of the self that wants to be awakened. And, in the process, opening to the unknown and all its magic.

In order for this opening and becoming to occur, the ego must take the backseat to the heart. Even though I may have felt the ego’s doubt as to my performance as Queen Guinevere during that first April, I allowed myself to open to the role and see where it led me. And, in the process, I discovered that the “role” one is asked to play does not leave you once you leave the room and the rest of the cast. It lingers inside of you. It becomes you. Urgent, yet not unkind, it enters your cells and awakens a long-forgotten memory. That is the true magic that awaits you.

 

I thought I was being haunted at first. The white queen appeared at the foot of my bed at the Nightingale Centre. Waking me from restless slumber, she pulled the covers that bind the self. I feared her at first. It was unexpected, yet not uninvited.  To travel through the veil of illusion, one must run naked, shedding the wrap of the false self. Magic comes with trust and surrender. And it is not the magic of potions and spells, but of the true, unfettered self.

I left that first April changed. Opened in a way I could not wholly explain. During the day, I had played the role of the fairy queen, and at night I ran into her land like a wild boar, fearless and filled with wonder. And in the days passed, I opened more, and I am still opening to the self that embodies the aspects of the fairy queen that had been hiding within.

The following April, the role of Bratha was offered to me. The Feathered Seer. This time I did not question worthiness, because I had learned that the outer has no significance when the inner is called forth. I did not question that it was my role to take, because I knew already that the Feathered Seer was within me and always had been. My job was to become her and to become myself at the same time. One, the same as the other. And, like with Guinevere, I am still becoming Bratha as she continues to open my sight to the land’s magic and the magic within.

Each role is the same, but different. It is yours alone to take as offered and to become it wholly and completely as only you can in that unveiling of the magic of the true self you hold inside of you. There are no awards offered at the end of the weekend for “Best actor,” instead the award is yours alone to give and to receive.

Sometimes we hesitate to gift ourselves what we most need. Flying out to England every year may on the outside appear as a luxury, but I have learned to let that go. Each time I return back home to New England altered and opened in sometimes very unexpected ways. But each time, I receive what I most needed, and it is all the magic I could hope for and more.


Alethea Kehas, owner of Inner Truth Healing and Yoga is a Third Degree Companion of the Silent Eye.

Alethea lives in New England, with her family. She is the author of A Girl Named Truth and the young adult metaphysical fantasy series, Warriors of Light.

She blogs at Not Tomatoes and can be found at her website.


Would you like to know more?

For details of the School and our methods, how to join our Correspondence Course, or to find out more about our Workshops and Events please explore our website or email The Silent Eye at rivingtide@gmail.com

‘A succession of little things’…

With just over two weeks to go before we set off for the north and the start of the April workshop, things are getting a bit weird. On the one hand, everything is pretty much written, prepared, thought out and sorted. On the other, there is the worry of waiting for last minute props and the little odds and ends to be delivered, thought of, made or bought. It feels as if we have entered quiet waters at last and as if life has become suddenly rather manic, all at the same time.

We are over the main hurdle; the workbook that has been in the works for three years is ready… ideas, reading, research and writing have all come together. But that, though it is by far the most important task, is only the beginning.

I have a love-hate relationship with this point of the year. The excitement is mounting and so is the adrenalin; there is everything still to do and yet all the major things are already in place and can no longer be altered. The workbooks are not only written but printed, the roles attributed…’all’ we have to do now is get there with everything we need…and hope everyone else does too!

My biggest concern at the moment is a plant pot. Not just any plant pot… it is the headdress of a Sumerian god. I have tried so many different ways of creating the right effect, and failed miserably. Until now, at almost the last minute, when a child’s toy seems to have provided the solution.

I did offer to provide the gods with handbags too, but the gentlemen declined for some strange reason.

It is not as if I was joking… the Sumerian gods, kings and priests all seem to have carried them. Although, it must be said, they were probably not intended as functional items of fashionable apparel. The most likely interpretation, like many of the apparently mundane items we are packing, is rather more symbolic. The handle represents the arc of the heavens, or the rainbow, while the square ‘bag’ represents the earth…and together they symbolise the unity of the Cosmos.

 

I have barely started packing. I have yet to start rummaging beneath the bed and in the ‘walk in wardrobe’; both are stuffed with bags and boxes, holding the remnants of previous workshops. But the packing list is done… at least, it would be, if I didn’t keep adding to it. There are growing piles of boxes in my bedroom…and yet most of what they contain are very small items.

“The great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, and is a succession of little things that are brought together,” wrote Vincent van Gogh to his brother. A pair of scissors… a pack of drawing pins… a hair tie that won’t be used for hair… It is the little things that can change everything…and those are the easiest things to overlook.

The devil is not in the details… it is in forgetting and overlooking them. From sticky-paper dots to safety pins, our representation of an ancient work of literature will rest on such humble foundations. But is that not always the way?

No matter what we try to achieve, unless we get the simplest, most basic things in place at the beginning, we will hit problems. They may not be insurmountable, but a little attention at the start will make any task easier and more likely to succeed.

A journey with the Silent Eye ~ Anne Copeland

Anne Copeland, a Companion of the Silent Eye, writes of her journey with the School:

The Little Match Girl by Anne Copeland

I came across The Silent Eye Mystery School quite by accident, if anything can be truly considered an accident. I have studied a lot of psychology, archaeology, history, geography, spirituality, world religions, mythology, and other studies for many years, trying to discover just where I fit in within this world and this universe.  I sought to understand the meaning of the many things I encountered daily in the ways I related to others, or the meanings of things that cannot readily be seen, but which we all are conscious of. Somehow I never seemed to quite find the answers I was seeking.

Have you felt that you are somewhat alone with a world that seems to have so many problems and people doing wrong that it feels out of control?  Do you wonder if you will ever find peace and genuine happiness and understanding of the things of this place, this time of life? Will you ever feel at one with the light of this world? Perhaps most importantly, will you ever encounter the love and respect that you have wished for?

The school studies consist of a combination of contemporary psychological and ancient esoteric teachings that have been carefully selected to take you on a wonderful and magical journey into the light, wonder and color of the universe. As you venture into the guided journeys, you will begin to see how lost we can become as we attempt to relate to many things and people that exist outside of our sacred being. You will steadily find your way home as you have perhaps never known it.

 

This is the start of my second year of the three-year study, and I have never enjoyed any of my many studies as much as this. Not only have I come to know the archaeology, history, religions, mythology and geography of England; I have also come to know myself and to have a sense of how in the past I have reacted to so many aspects of my own life rather than interacting with them in a way that is beneficial to both sides. I have discovered a tremendous amount of personal peace and well-being even when I am surrounded by turmoil and disintegration. This is part of the great alchemy that brings us into a sense of oneness with all that is, all that ever has been, and all that will be.

Founded in 2012 by three amazing, knowledgeable people in England, Steve Tanham, Sue Vincent and Stuart France, The Silent Eye Mystery School is a wonderful correspondence course that is supplemented by in-person workshops and exciting events which are optional for students to attend if they are able. The course is extremely reasonable, and each student is assigned a “supervisor” who will assist you with gaining a deeper understanding of your studies, and who will answer all of your questions along the way.

You can find out more about Anne at her blog, All in a Day’s Breath


Would you like to know more?

For details of the School and our methods, how to join our Correspondence Course, or to find out more about our Workshops and Events please explore our website or email The Silent Eye at rivingtide@gmail.com

Joining the dots…

The waiting room was busy and the woman beside me said so… it was the opening gambit of one of those brief and revealing conversations that happen so often, where stranger speaks to stranger and they part as friends who will probably never see each other again.

Whenever you sit down and talk to someone, face to face, you begin to get a feel for their lives. From word, eye and gesture, from snippets of personal history that colour their conversations, you begin to learn, slowly building up a picture of who they are, and who they see themselves as being. The two do not always go hand in hand; from those with illusions of their own importance, to the ones so lacking in self confidence that they cannot see their own beauty.

Many things can blind us to ourselves. Those who raise us do the best they know how to do; parenthood does not come with an instruction manual or a failsafe. Yet their own inner shadows and insecurities, their beliefs, fears, and their joys, colour how we grow… not always without creating areas that are shaded grey, not always without some incongruous dabs of over-bright primaries. Experience is our next teacher, adding layer upon layer to our self-image, from all ends of the spectrum, as our lives and our choices shape us and our reactions to the reactions of others change us and mould our nascent personalities.

Imagine a pure, white lamp, then lay over it thin veils coloured tissue. Each layer is a clear colour, yet each layer, added to those that went before, will dim the lamp, changing its light, until very soon it will be impossible to see the original brilliance or determine either its own hue or the true colours of the overlay. The light within becomes muddied.

Whenever you sit down and talk face to face with someone who has chosen to consciously follow a spiritual path, you get a feeling that the life that streams behind them like a shadow has been… interesting. Not always good, not always easy, but somehow its peaks and troughs are sharp and vivid. Have their experiences been outside the norm? Are they any different from anyone else? Perhaps… and perhaps not. Their lives may have followed the same route and faced the same hurdles as thousands of others. Yet the glimpses that you see are sharper, carved in deeper relief.

Is it some magical ingredient? I think so, though not some arcane magic closed to the uninitiated. I think that the vividness comes from a clarity of consciousness… the awareness that seekers begin to develop from the moment they reach the turning point, ceasing to focus solely on the mundane life and instead gazing with intent upon the path ahead. That clarity is timeless and, like sunlight banishing shade, slowly extends across the past as well as present and future, throwing light into the dark corners of life and creating a new perspective, where everything has the potential to serve a greater good.

That perspective changes everything, infusing the minutiae with possibility and casting the larger events as opportunities for growth. Some may see this as a simplistic view, but to those who feel its touch, it makes perfect sense.

There are many, walking the varied spiritual paths, whose lives appear to have held more challenges than is usual, either from external events or from their own internal alchemy. Some have posited that this is why many turn to the Mysteries, seeking a validation… reasons, excuses, escape, depending on the mindset of the commentator. Having lived and worked within those circles all my life, I would say that nothing could be further from the truth… because what they are seeking is Truth… both personal and universal, and that is seldom comfortable when applied to the self… and that is where the magic has to begin.

There are no wands to erase the past in a puff of fairy dust. But we can change the essence of the past and how it overlays our own inner light, by learning to see clearly how what has gone before has shaped and influenced what is. We can learn to look upon the past… including the worst of events… even, and especially, our past self… with a love that wears the face of compassion and understanding.

There are neither potions nor spells that will instantly shape the future. It is the intent, the will, the imagination and, above all, the dedication of the individual that shapes the time to come.

And the present? We have to release the hold that we allow past emotions and future fears to have upon us, allowing ourselves to be whole, which is usually far easier said than done, as it means looking in the mirror of self with clear and honest eyes.

‘Living in the now’ has become a buzzword, but few say what they think it means. For me, it is neither the erasure of an unalterable past, nor a refusal to see some mythical future, by fixing our eyes solely on the moment at hand. It is more akin to joining the dots across time, like a child’s puzzle that reveals the hidden shape of that moment, or tracing the patterns we can barely discern in a starry sky, to bring all parts of being to a presence and awareness of what is and what it means to be a single point of light within a picture far greater than any one of us… but of which we are a part.

To have and to hold

From behind the curtain I am watching the birds in the garden. I am waiting for the hawthorns to grow tall and become a haven for feathered things. They are, for the moment, little more than bushes, but even so, every morning, sparrows and blackbirds, bluetits and doves visit my little patch. Ravens and jackdaws fly in most days, while Ani lies by the open door and watches, or bounds out to scatter them when she sees that I am watching. Every day, overhead, the great red kites soar majestically. Yesterday one landed on the roof behind my home and I watched, not daring to move for the camera, as the huge beauty surveyed its domain.

It was a rare privilege. Though I would give the proverbial eye-teeth to take a really good photograph of these birds in the wild there are some things you can only experience, not seek to catch. Had I moved for the camera I would have missed the moment; had I sought to capture it, I would have lost something precious. Some things are simply a gift from the Earth, just for you in that moment, to be enjoyed, cherished only in the heart… not to capture.

There are things, moments, that are so beautiful, yet so ephemeral and fragile that they cannot be held or possessed, only accepted. Like a sunbeam that cannot be caught, but only felt as it plays across your skin, or seen as it lights the rainbows in a diamond… or like a butterfly whose fragile wings are crushed by a child’s grasp at beauty. The ancients knew and told the story of Eros and Psyche… Love and the Soul…. Psyche could be with Eros only as long as she did not seek to look upon him and when she did, he disappeared.

By seeking to hold we can often lose the very thing that moves us. Yet it seems we are programmed very early on to want to ‘have’ what touches us, instead of being able to simply love something that is free to be itself.

Even language seeks to impose a degree of ownership on all we do, and particularly in regard to human interaction. Language conditions us and the careful choice of words can have devastating effect, for good or ill. While we may be aware of the effects caused by the deliberate usage of words in terms of propaganda, we unconsciously do the same all the time, not realising, perhaps, the insidious implications a single word can have.

Even the simplest statement… “I have two sons…” implies a degree of possession. We do not intend it that way, we may simply be using the easiest words… we may be indicating affection rather than ownership, if we think about it at all… yet the verb ‘to have’ implies ownership at some level.

Yet, when we possess something it ceases to be itself and becomes little more than an extension of ourselves… it loses more than freedom and autonomy, as its own identity becomes subsumed in our projection of our own. Even deeper than that, we often become, even in our own eyes, defined by what we think we possess… yet in truth, we come into the world naked and leave it the same way, so we possess nothing. We may think we hold things for a while, but the only thing we truly ‘own’ is our self. And even that is debateable.

As I watched the birds I was thinking about that. Would I want to cage a sparrow? No… I delight in their antics in the garden. I love them for their freedom. Would I want a red kite on a perch, just to say it was ‘mine’? No, I want only to see them ride the wind… though a little closer to the lens would be nice, I admit!

We all delight in the unexpected glimpses of wildlife. And, by their very nature, they are free… wild… unowned…untamed. Over the years a good many baby birds or injured ones have passed through my hands. While it is a delight to have that close contact for a while there is never any other goal, and no greater joy, than to see them fly free as soon as they are able. You are left with nothing but memories… perhaps a photo…with empty hands but a full heart. Maybe that is the only place we can truly hold anything.

On the doorstep…

Cerne Abbas (11)

Have you ever laid in the dew damp grass of morning and watched the petals of a daisy unfold, purest white, lifting its heart to the sun? Or seen a newborn creature take its first breath, opening its eyes on a new world? That was the gift I was given as a young man and I sat on a doorstep in the sunshine, talking of those questions that are hidden in each of us.

It would have been impossible to say who was the teacher and who the student as the spring sunlight poured down, honey gold and warm on one of those moments outside time where all that matters is opening the heart. The roles were continually reversing, as ideas flowed backwards and forwards between us.

Like the walrus and the carpenter, we spoke of many things, not sealing wax and cabbages, but equally disparate, yet somehow all with a similar theme. As if we were piecing together a puzzle. We spoke of jigsaws with pieces missing where, even though there is a gap in the design you can still discern what should be there. Even though it remains unseen and your vision may not be exact, the design gives you clues to what remains invisible and that may be enough for the mind to complete the unfinished image. We spoke too of pictures seen through the myopia of involvement and attachment, that become clear as you rise into the free air above them, seeing a wider view with a cleaner perspective.

Inspiration and intuition were discussed, learning to listen to those synchronous occurrences and odd ‘coincidences’ as we to listen to that inner voice… the gut feeling or the whisperings of the heart that often knows more than the mind can frame.

We talked about how our perceptions can only be our own. Even though we may nominally adhere to a particular code or creed that dictates rigid parameters within which we are supposed to understand…  our personal interpretation of all we perceive can be no-one else’s. It is unique to each of us. It can be manipulated, or encouraged into a particular pattern, yet there is a limit to how much that can be done, just as there is a limit to how much we can truly communicate or share with each other. Our perceptions are coloured by our own very personal cocktail of experience, action, reaction and understanding. Yet so often we see only what we expect to see, accepting the surface we are shown, rather than deepening our understanding through actively engaging with anything.

 

This led us to speak of the mechanical nature of much of our lives… the routine, the habit that keeps us moving blindly through the daily round and how different the world seems when we wake to ourselves and start living in awareness.

We spoke of the laws of physics and looked at them in a metaphysical light: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every trial, every painful experience there is an equal and opposite joy… a lesson available to be learned through opportunity. It may not make the lesson any easier, it will not make evil good… but within the darkness light can be found, if we are prepared to take those lessons when they are offered and carry them forward. This led us to speak of trust and how we learn to trust the design of the scales. And in that knowledge of trust and balance there is peace.

On the subject of balance we spoke of faith and the personal relationship with whatever we conceive of as divinity; for each of us has to find that for and within ourselves. We are poised, like the waist of an hourglass, between two modes of being… human and divine… and we embody both at that point of balance. The hourglass can be turned… sometimes we are fully human and the sands of experience flow through us from the physical world in which we move. Sometimes we are filled with something higher and that too flows through us. The point of perfection for us, whilst in this life, stands between the two; open to receive the sands from both, feet squarely in earth, arms raised to the heavens. For we are the hourglass… the vessel… through which light and life flow.

We spoke too of other vessels; how, without wine, a cup is merely an empty shell. Yet the cup is not the wine; it is something to give it form and shape. It is a container into which the wine is poured, and in which it is held, so that it might be lifted to the lips of others and shared in joy and blessing.

And we arrived at a conclusion of sorts…one which opens the way to many other questions to which we may seek answers…or not, simply accepting what is and what might be. That we are all vessels into which the light pours. We hold it within us, shaping it, expressing it through our words and actions, bringing it into the world that others might drink. Through any one of us, at any moment, the clear light of inspiration can become the wine of life.

City rhythm…?

I couldn’t remember the last time I had walked so far on urban pavements. I generally avoid going into town with all the dedication I would show to avoiding, say, a dinner invitation from a ravenous vampire…and for much the same reasons; both leave you limp and lifeless. But, with the car off the road, the cupboards bare and the fish needing medical supplies, I had little choice.

It isn’t that I don’t walk… just that I live in a rural area. A tramp across the fields with the dog is a very different affair to walking on concrete. Quite how different, I had not realised until today. It isn’t just the external stuff like traffic, noise and scenery… walking on concrete changes everything.

The first thing I noticed was how much my pace and posture changed, from the relaxed mooch to a business-like stride. The rhythm of my steps was very different, I covered the ground faster and my back was straighter than usual, shoulders low and head held high.

The next thing I noticed was that the few people I passed all smiled before looking away. This, in itself, is unusual in towns, where most people avoid eye contact at all costs. Then it dawned on me why… I was singing.

I could see why I was getting the covert glances… and smiled to myself as I realised exactly what I was doing.

When I was very young, we did not have a car. My mother didn’t drive, my father was stationed abroad, so it was either the bus or Shanks’s pony. As far back as I can remember… and my memory is pretty good… as we walked, my mother and I, we would sing. It helped pass the time and took my mind off the distance my little legs were covering.

It started with my mother singing to me until I learned the words, which I soon picked up. There used to be a tape of a very small girl singing Gracie Fields’ ‘Sally’. I was so young at the time that my logic was a bit odd by adult standards; I could only sing that song and no other because I had a poorly finger… and the finger was poorly because my mother had made me eat cabbage.

Later, we would sing old music-hall favourites, popular songs, lyrics from musicals and even the odd aria. We could sing the entire score of ‘The Five Pennies’ between Town End and Waterloo Lane, and we knew the scores of any number of films. Sometimes we recited poetry instead, from Spike Milligan to the monologues of Marriot Edgar, via Wordsworth and Keats. And we always practised any numbers I needed for the musical comedy routines of dancing school.

When my own sons were small, we walked everywhere too. I did not drive and, in a city with excellent public transport, did not need to learn. And, as we walked, we recited those same poems and sang many of the same songs.

Perhaps it was the rhythm of my footsteps, but walking into town today, I found myself singing those old songs. And, quite apart from the fact that I should never be allowed to sing in public, for fear of offending passing eardrums, most people don’t do that.

It is one of those things that is simply not done,  though I cannot for the life of me think why that should be so. If I’d had a child by the hand, no-one would have batted an eyelid, but a solitary adult, singing to themselves, draws strange, strained glances followed by a rapid averting of the eyes. Had they been close enough to hear me sing, I could have sympathised.

I did have a child with me, though. She has never left me and will always sing as she walks. We may simply see the inner child as the first psychological blueprint of our growth, or we may see it as the soul-child and a link to something deeper still; the two do not preclude each other. For me, she is more than nostalgia or memory, I carry her within and she is, in many ways, the ‘mother’ of the adult. She exists as a purer state of being, uncontaminated by the failures, frailties and falsities of an  adult existence. It is through her eyes that I see a world filled with wonders. It is through her that I touch excitement, faith and hope and it is she who still reminds me that love is unconditional. And, if she wants to sing, that’s fine by me.

“White nights in Macbeth Country…”

The Silent Eye, in conjunction with Lodge Unicorn na h’Alba, invites you to join us for a magical weekend in Scotland, experiencing the “White nights in Macbeth Country…” Grantown on Spey, June 14-16th 2019.

When we meet in June it will be the special time of the “ White Nights”. At this latitude in northern Scotland it never gets properly dark and if the weather is clear a bright glow is seen to the north, hence “ White Nights”. It will still be a week until the solstice and the longest day, and the photo below was taken at 11.30 pm 21st June 2018 and just illustrates how light it is!

One of the things we will be doing is looking at outer, well-known literary Archetypes, and endeavor to see them within ourselves. Also, apart from finding out if there really was a King and Queen Macbeth we shall experience the “Unicorn of the Elements” and create for ourselves a power symbol which we will be able to draw on after the weekend, if you so wish…..Air, Earth, Water, and Fire; we will use locations, literature and imagination to access these elements., bound together by the fifth element, Spirit.

So, we will have a lot of daylight to visit important places and experience a variety of ways in which we can access our Inner Elements.  From the coast of Findhorn Beach and Burghead holy well( we can take a look and have a coffee at the Findhorn Foundation, if you like! ), a mysterious haunted castle, and south to the Cairngorm Mountains and Scalan Monastery in the Braes of Glenlivet; we will experience a variety places on what will be a personal pilgrimage…..


The image above is the  “Wee Sma’ Still” at the distillery in Glenlivet. It is brought out every Bank Holiday so one can “ tae a wee dram o’ the uisghe beatha”. The anglicised pronounced form of  the gaelic ‘ uisghe’ is “ whisky”; and uisghe beatha means “ water of life”. Many locals had stills before they were outlawed and each would in a sense use fire, earth, air and water to create ….spirit! This is what we will all be doing metaphorically in June- prepare to be your own personal still, create an alchemy of the elements within, and see what uisghe beatha spirit presents itself! And as they say in gaelic as a toast, “ Slainte mhath!” I look forward to seeing you in June….

Dean Powell, Lodge Unicorn na h’Alba

Dates:  Weekend  Friday 14th – Sunday 16th June, 2019

Location:  Based in Grantown–on–Spey and area

Cost: Workshop costs £50 per person. Meals and accomodation are not included and should be booked separately by all attendees. Lunch and dinner are usually shared meals.

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