Pasta and petroglyphs

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“Ow, ooh, ouch… ow..”

“What’s up?” he asked, locking the door of the flat as I descended the steep stairs. I grinned through the pain… he’d know soon enough… the calf muscles had taken a hit from three days climbing hills. Which is why, we had decided, Sunday would be leisurely.

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The pub was shut; we had gone in search of a late breakfast and wifi and, finding neither, headed off to the park instead, where toasted teacakes and coffee would keep us going for a while. The housekeeping arrangements on these weekend visits are beautifully simple. Neither of us tend to eat huge amounts and are quite happy to go with the flow.

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We hadn’t planned on being out all that long, but by the time we had investigated the rest of the pubs in the area and found some wonderful pasta for a late lunch, my eyes were smarting and starting to swell. They do it at the most inconvenient moments, and for no reason I can put my finger on. Some kind of allergy I suppose, but I could happily live without looking as if I’d gone several rounds in a boxing ring. Between us we were not in the best of visible states; having caught the sun the day before one of us was rather pink and glowing, the other needing dark glasses.

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We decided to pay a visit to the wood-stone. On the Friday we had sought out some of the petro-glyphs on Ilkley Moor and it felt right to wander back and look at the stone. You could see the similarities in the ancient carved stones, although the relief on the wood stone is far deeper than the petro-glyphs on the moor. Was that erosion from the exposed site or had they been made that way? The latter, probably. Having seen them so close together in time, our theories seemed to be stronger than ever.

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The bluebells were out in the woods and the air full of their perfume. I love this time of year! Just a few weeks since our last visit and the wood has burst into life. Beech leaves throw a delicate canopy of golden green against the sky, distance melts away with the blue mist of flowers and even time seems to take a holiday. There is a peace in the little glade through the portal of trees that brings the perfect end to a sleepy afternoon.

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Leisurely, though, seems to be a variable thing. We worked our socks off in the evening. As the experiences of the weekend shaped themselves, the cover for Doomsday was designed and agreed and rituals built for next year’s Silent Eye workshop. Not a bad evening’s work all told. Monday, my last day, we had plans… a further visit to a stone circle. There were ideas to put to the test…

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Bah’t ‘at

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Well, two of us were up there on Ilkley Moor bah’t ‘at… the third stubbornly clung to the trademark headgear that makes him look like something feral. To be fair, it was a little chilly up there.

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We had arrived early and, after fortifying ourselves with a toasted teacake and a coffee apiece, headed off to the parish church to look at the ancient Saxon crosses and Roman altars, now safely ensconced in the base of the bell tower to protect them from the depredations of the elements. We had an hour before Steve was due to arrive, and that was enough to see what we needed to see and wander out into the morning sunshine. It was going to be a long day.

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We… the inner team of the Silent Eye… were meeting to tramp the moors in search of a landscape for use in a private School event. From the Cow and Calf to the Swastika Stone, by way of White Wells, Heber’s Ghyll and the ancient petroglyphs I took them to the places of my childhood, places where I have dreamed, wept, laughed and played.

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It was a beautiful day. Regardless of the fact I will be returning there soon, there were the inevitable tears on leaving. I cannot help it, the place has a home in my heart deeper than any other or perhaps it is that my heart has its home there. As we turned the car off the moorside road a red kite flew over… I have not seen them there before… the sight of that distinctive silhouette in the air, wings outstretched, felt like a blessing. A perfect way to end the day.

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Tall the cliffs of stone
That mark the entry to my heart’s domain,
Wild and empty in its vastness
The solitude of living earth.
The wind lifts the heart
And bears it through the storm
To where the lichen crusted rocks
Cling to the clouds.
Part of my heart remains there
Scattered with the ashes of a lost love
Mingled with the joy and pain of memory,
Of childhood wonder and a lover’s kiss.
Deep the roots which bind me to that land,
Like the weathered pines that cling for life
To the purple hillside…
Genuflecting, but standing, still,
Naked in the mist.
Or the great stones,
Ice carved in aeons past
Into a landscape of dreams,
Marked by ancient hands
With figures of Light,
That I may stand beside them,
Millennia apart,
And recognise my kin.

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Extreme, Absolute and Sacred

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There were three conversations yesterday about essentially the same subject. Three viewpoints, three different perspectives.  And a blog post that I just scrapped as over-complicated.

When we began working to build the Silent Eye, it quickly became obvious that there needed to be a melding, a synthesis, of approach to the Work. For those who haven’t come across the School yet, let me explain. We seek to create a School of Consciousness that has its feet firmly rooted in the soil of this life, is not fluffy and yet reaches for the Divine, by whatever Name you choose to call It. That which Is neither within nor without but which pervades All. We see a need to bring the intellect to bear so that knowledge and reason play a significant part, and for the emotions to be engaged so that what is discovered is both felt and experienced vividly, so that it is Lived in full awareness.

Most of all, we see a need to practice what we preach, and that means learning to Live and Be as fully as we can on all levels. It is a natural state and at the simplest level requires only that we accept ourselves as we truly and fully are. And that, of course, is never as simple as it sounds.

It is easy to get caught up in the emotions of the mystic, the blaze of Light blinding our eyes to the everyday realities of life and growth. There is a yearning for oneness with the One where the world can be forgotten. Or we can become so lost in study and the pursuit of knowledge that we lose sight of the reason for which we began the quest, stalling over questions and speculations to which we may never find an answer. There is a fine line, however, between the two where they blend and fuse into what one could call an alchemical marriage.

This blending and melding is also part of the key to the Work, where on yet another axis both human and divine can be fully realised in a life. This spiritual evolution happens whether we will or no, slowly and inexorably over time. It is when we enter into this quest consciously, however, that we become aware of its impact on our lives. By actively seeking that growth we engage with aspects of ourselves and the greater reality and find what one could call an accelerated evolution.

Preparing one of the presentations for the School’s launch weekend, the Song of the Troubadour in April 2013, a dear friend and I have been delving into the symbolism in medieval art. There is a particular painting where the Christ is portrayed standing in the river at the moment of baptism. The reflections in the water are not those of the world around Him, but are subtly different. We were discussing this yesterday, wondering if this were an attempt to portray the altered perspective and clarity of vision that comes when one learns to walk in the world fully in both the human and divine aspects of Self.

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This threw up another train of thought and the third conversation. Most faiths and paths teach us to leave the ego behind and forget self, striving towards the ethereal goal of Divinity. This puts the Divine at a distance and leaves us stripping ourselves bare, flaying ourselves on the thorns of life in an attempt to reach for an intangible dream. Yet these same schools of thought also tell us that we are part of God, of His creation, or are his children. And they call it Love. Which means there is no distance and we are striving for something we can find within our innermost selves, in each other and in everything around us.  And suddenly you are confronted with this glimpse of Glory and have to realise it is part of the greatest Ego there is… and It is part of you.

Just to make things even more complicated, some of us are driven to find a way to teach that without looking like members of the lunatic fringe.

It is a spiritual culture shock, glimpsing something so truly Awesome through the myopic eyes of life, wondering who on earth we are to be worthy of It, yet sensing also that we are OF It and a way must be found to reconcile the two and simply Be It.

Which, as I said to my friend, is a bit of a bugger to come to terms with.


Town and country

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Well, I’m typing away here with that old saying running through my mind… all dolled up and nowhere to go. I was supposed to get into town today, and thought I’d better make an effort to look respectable, rather than the current rather eccentric look… which I believe is referred to as ‘dragged through a hedge backwards’. There have been other things on my mind than wasting time looking presentable. The dog simply doesn’t care and neither do I.

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Now, town, as you may have gathered, is far from my favourite place. I will avoid it at all costs except when strictly necessary. However, sometimes that is the case and needs must. It is odd really, as I enjoy big cities and small country towns. The vibe in a city is lively and sparkles, the little country places are invariably quaint with lovely old architecture to soften the inevitable madness. On the other hand, there are the dormitory towns that were once beautiful but grew too fast in the boom days, demolishing history to make way for commerce and chain stores. These are really not my cup of tea.

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Grudgingly I headed towards mayhem, but some kind of hold up a mile from my destination saw traffic at a standstill. After nearly half an hour of moving mere yards, I gave up and came home instead. Town can wait till tomorrow… there was too much to do here to waste time sitting in a traffic jam. Of course, to escape the busy streets I was obliged to come home a different way, a longer way, and that took me beyond the town in minutes.

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Around me fields full of rapeseed blaze in the sunlight, and fields of young crops are the most vivid of greens. We have hedgerows in this area, hedgerows I will curse later in the year as I cannot see the horizon beyond them and find them claustrophobic after the dry stone walls of the north. But even I cannot complain when banks of wild violets nestle beneath the heavy hawthorn blossom and foam of cow parsley.

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A foggy, unpromising morning had given way to sunshine and the landscape responded, dressing itself in the colours of spring. Although the sky is still a little overcast and the sunlight thin, it seems to take little provocation for the countryside to bloom. It irks me to be stuck indoors at this time of year… but needs must. There is a lot to be done and the word responsibility keeps reining in my desire to go out and play and today has been one of those days when the backlog of work has simply had to be addressed.

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I know that much of the month of May is already spoken for, and I will, it appears, get more than my fair share of playing out, as friends from the States will be here, and the road will take me around the country and even, briefly, as far north as another friend… and I can’t wait. Not that I am complaining, mind you. Even the drive to my son’s home every day is glorious… five miles through lovely countryside… and the lane at the end of my little street leads straight out into fields, woods and the manor grounds. It is not as if I am starved of beauty within walking distance… and that is one area where responsibility meets desire as the small dog and I walk there.

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It isn’t always the case, though, is it? And it is a big word, that, bigger than the sum of its letters. We have responsibilities, accept them, shoulder them, take them… and sometimes shirk, avoid and evade them. We cannot, however, escape them. Once they are there, once we have the vaguest understanding of the concept we can, at worst, only ignore them and even that is a choice for which we must accept … responsibility. No matter how much we try, there is always at the very least our responsibility for, and to, ourselves… for our choices and actions, for who we choose to be and the face we choose to show the world. Perhaps that is the most important responsibility of all, because from there the rest flow.

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Driving south

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The workshop is over.

The School has celebrated its first official birthday in some style…

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For now, I am back at my desk, uploading photographs and trying to settle with the small dog who seems to have missed me… or her tennis balls. The hallway looks as if a small removal van got lost in a timewarp and spilled its contents in a heap of gold and paper and the fridge defrosted itself behind my back. Yet overhead a kite is wheeling… Isis’ bird… her wings gleaming in the sunlight… wings I envy, for the road that begins and ends at my door is a long one, depending on where you want to go, where you need to go… and where you begin.


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At six-thirty this morning I left another door many miles away in the north. It was a beautiful morning… one in which I could not help but rejoice, yet the very beauty of it tore at me as I stopped the car in the first layby on the moors to greet the sun as it gilded the frosted moorlands and mists.


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It felt as if a hand snaked up my spine to take hold of my heart and keep it locked in the northern hills as my body drove southwards to where it resides. It tears me apart. Every time. There is a yearning to turn and lose myself in the moors, to lie in a vale of bare rowan trees and take root. My heart is in the hills and dales of the north. Something calls me back there. Always.


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Yet I drove southwards, my back to the beloved landscape, as the skies grew more distant and impersonal, ceasing to play amid the hilltops, the fields hemmed with hedgerows instead of stone, blossom veiling the visible world in the ephemeral beauty of spring, yet robbing me of that distant horizon of curving hills. I thought how very lucky I am to live in a land as unarguably beautiful as this. I thought too how the very earth around us can be seen as an analogy for much in our lives.


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The heavens recede, become less playful, less joyously close, seemingly less touchable as our attention is caught and held by the road of necessity and the ‘ought to’ that rules our daily lives, driving us towards the duties and requirements of need and should. The distant landscape of Home is hidden behind the transient beauties and glories of the world, distracting our eyes and mind as easily as a tennis ball will distract the small dog. Yet beyond our attention, the sky remains blue and the distance is only illusory; beyond the trappings of success, the prerequisites of survival, or the veiling banners of societal expectations, the hills of Home still wait for us. Whether the yearning is a light touch, vaguely felt, or a deep longing of the soul, Home will be there when, if, we can find our way.

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In just the same way, the workshop is over. Friends old and new who came together in laughter, who shared a story, a moment in time… or out of it… have now departed. They have driven, sailed, and flown back to their own lands… some very far away. Who knows if we will all meet again, regardless of desire or intent? Yet the friendship remains… the memories… the presence. The laughter, smiles, and tears; the touch of life on life, and a shared experience. Beauty remains and its home is the heart. Perhaps we need ask for no more than that.


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Looking deeper – Land of the Exiles

Time seems to do strange things sometimes. It seems impossible that it is just a week ago we would have been starting the second of three knowledge lectures… a halfway point of the weekend. We were about to discuss the undertoad… no-one said serious has to be boring… and Steve is our master of presentations. So much so, in fact, that although I had done my bit with the first lecture, Stuart and I absconded for the third in order to prepare the working space for the next ritual. However, we were all there for this one.

UntitledThe lectures underpin the theme of the weekend, exploring and explaining some of the concepts used within the drama. The first had looked at the archetypes represented by the Egyptian pantheon. Most folk who work within the Mysteries on one path or another will have a basic knowledge of the main stories, but that very knowledge often precludes digging any deeper. As with many things in life we accept that we know ‘enough’ and see no need to look in any more detail. Having grown up with the myths of Egypt I thought so too, but the research I did prior to writing The Osiriad soon knocked me off that smug little pedestal and showed me how much I had to learn. The Egyptian gods exemplify more than human personalities and take a deep and abstract look at the roots of creation. Approached from the perspective of science, faith, or curiosity they open windows of realisation and possibility. As we were working with these archetypes it seemed appropriate to explore them.

2 slideThe second presentation looked at the pieces of string, the threads that make up our lives. It took a fairly irreverent turn, as these things often do, yet the subject of the undertoad has a serious side too. It refers, of course, to The World According to Garp by John Irving, where the undertoad is a misnomer for the undertow… the current that is beyond control and which proves too strong for the wrestler’s neck with tragic consequences. It is the hidden currents beyond the surface of life, waiting to drag us down, deny it as we may. Yet in recognising it, accepting its presence, we are able to use it to provide the contrast, the shadow that shows the light of hope.

Untitled3The final lecture took a look at the central symbol used by the school, which features in the sacred space we use… the enneagram. Most people today know the enneagram only through its use for psychometric profiling, yet it is a symbol with a much deeper meaning when used within the spiritual quest, incorporating many layers; from the geometry which speaks of the triune nature to the circle which is the One that encompasses All.

Untitled6We call them lectures or presentations, yet these things are much more than that… they are a time to come together and discuss, sharing viewpoints from many paths as well as giving the background principles upon which we base the workshop. They are also a time for laughter and banter; a meeting of minds and a sharing of knowledge and belief. They are, above all, about communication, for this leads to greater understanding, and in a room where so many paths to the Light converge, that can only be a thing of beauty.

Friday morning – an early start

Sue’s recollections of the second April workshop…

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The little village of Great Hucklow nestles quietly in the Derbyshire Dales, tucked away from any main roads under the sheltering ridge. It is a beautiful place where, you might think, little ever happens. You would, of course, be wrong. In every village, every town, and city, dramas are played out daily; lives begin and end, emotions reach the heights of joy or plumb the depths of despair and fear. There is surprise and laughter, meetings and partings… Every human emotion will have been written in the warm golden stone or walked amid the celandines and daisies.

land of the exiles 029Drama was about to unfold here too. There was, however, a difference on that Friday morning as two excited travellers parked the silver bullet, piled high with bags, boxes and shimmering silks, outside an ancient inn. We knew what was going to happen. Well… partly, at least.

land of the exiles 006We hadn’t predicted, for example, that by half past nine we would be hugging the first of our Companions for the weekend, yet Dominic was already seated outside the pub in the sunshine writing postcards and it was wonderful to meet his eyes and feel the warmth of his smile once again. He had been there for the birth of the School and it wouldn’t have felt right to have anyone else in his role. He was the first of the many friends we were to hug in welcome, as people arrived through the day from Ireland and the Netherlands, from Scotland, Wales and the farthest extremes of England… even from America… all converging on this tiny village that has become very special to the Silent Eye. It is amazing and wonderful that people come so far for these events.

land of the exiles 008Many would be joining us for the weekend… school members, friends, people with whom we have studied in other School; some who walk their own path, some with whom we have shared part of the journey. We all carry the same light, though the lanterns may be different and each illuminates the path in a unique way, adding to the Light we share. A drama would unfold… a ritual drama, carefully crafted to tell the story of the human condition and the search for spiritual growth, allowing the participants to experience the story through imagination, action and emotion, for experience leads to knowledge, and beyond that towards understanding.

land of the exiles 010But first, we had work to do. We had already been high up on the ridge… a sort of tradition. I’ve done it every year… placing myself in the landscape that enfolds us so beautifully. This may be only the second workshop for our own School, but the Nightingale Centre has hosted many others which Steve, Stuart and I have been part of over the years. It has a feeling of coming home… a familiar warmth and comfort and we know the Companions will be well looked after… and even better fed. It is also a bit of a tradition to use the hillside for one of the rituals and this year was no exception, so we had something planned and needed to check out the ground… and a nearby thorn tree.

land of the exiles 026The hillside was ablaze with celandines and daisies in the sunlight… a carpet of gold and white stars. If we could just have this weather the next morning! Last year the celandines had been encased in frost… this year the weather was beautiful on Friday and we had high hopes.

land of the exiles 028By the time we came down from the hillside the pub where we were to meet some of the early arrivals for lunch was about to open. We had time to take a deep breath… and raise a glass… and then there were hugs as old friends arrived, new ones were introduced and a hat essayed by our very own Steve. We started as we hoped to finish… in sunshine, warmth and laughter. It was a good beginning.

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The opening of the Eye – a magical birth

The Opening of The Eye (1)

There are some things for which words are never enough. Things it is almost impossible to share. There are some things which should not be shared, perhaps, but the birth of the School was symbolic and not just for those who could be with us on that Derbyshire dawn.

So here I will share how it was through my eyes, holding nothing back, for it was never mine to keep, only to live.

This telling will be longer than usual, and yet will only skim the surface of that morning.  I offer it from my heart to all those who could not be with us on the hillside on Sunday morning. There were many who were with us in thought and prayer across the world, some who shared with us the weekend yet who could not physically make the climb up the hill. These people, many of whom have been with us every step of the way, who have shared our laughter and tears, have taught so much through their loving support. I offer this telling to those who guided our steps over the years, who held our hands and opened our minds.

We carried you in our hearts. Now see through my eyes.

“…They have always been ready, now you must bring it to birth…”

At 3.20 in the morning I stood outside the centre in my dressing gown under a canopy of deepest velvet blue sprinkled with stars. The sky was clear and mild, lacking the biting frost that had glittered under the previous dawn.

There was no nervousness, just a deep serenity, a knowing and a purpose in the silence.

I breathed deeply, filling myself with the clear air and night’s beauty. Already tears pricked my eyelids, knowing what was to come to birth. Months of constant work, lifetimes of preparation for both of us. The culmination of an incubation nurtured in silence. The birth of a dream.

I closed my eyes and offered a silent prayer, asking the blessing of the One on what we were about to do, quietly reaching out across a sleeping world to touch in thought and love all those who had brought us to this moment, and to the little mother, so far away, whom I have loved so very much for so long. She too is part of this as we carry forward a spark of the Light she showed us.

There was a sadness too, a gentle sadness, as I saw a familiar life slip away and prepared to step onto a new path that will carry me where it must. Though I go willingly and without regret, there is always a sadness when the current lifts you away from the life and love of the past. Though the outer life may seem little different, the inner one also came to birth that morning.

As I showered and robed I could feel love around me, the fleeting caress of other minds and hearts, as if those who watched around the world left butterfly kisses on my brow. I was not alone in my solitary room. The sense of presence was tangible and warm. Following a dream a few nights before I dressed in the gold of dawn with jewels like gilded dew at my throat. I remember looking back at the room, strewn with robes and colour, wondering.

I knocked on Steve’s door to leave my key. He opened it, robed in blue, the Eye of Horus on his breast, golden. In silence he bowed and I walked alone to the temple.

The lights were low, I took my place in the centre of the ancient symbol, hallowed by the hearts and minds of the companions. At my feet the golden chalice, engraved with the symbol of the sun, holding only light. I composed myself and the vigil began.

For a while there were the fleeting thoughts as the mind settled into stillness. Who would come at this unearthly hour? After a night of conviviality in pub and library, little sleep and with long journeys ahead later in the day? A few, I hoped. Few I expected. It was an unfair thing to ask. Yet it was symbolic, it mattered only that we were there and played out in the waking world what we had been given to do.

With my eyes half closed the golden light from the chalice seemed to fill the room. The temple itself was a chalice, itself not important, only its function, to give shape and hold what was pouring into it. At the centre I saw myself, still, golden, unfamiliar. I too was only a cup, a container to hold and shape that fluid Light we serve. Around me, spiralling like leaves in an autumn wind, it seemed as if motes of brightness danced with the shadows and the sparkling expectancy was palpable, like the air before a storm. I felt a strong sense of presence. Myself, siting motionless on the chair, others, unseen, arcing around that tiny point of light in the centre. Holding vigil in the silence with the Mother.

The door opened and he who walked that morning in the robe of the Father came in and sat before me.  The eyes that met seemed not our own, the hands that met in blessing and greeting felt other than our own. He broke the silence, but the few words spoken were not simply his own and had their place in that moment.

He took his place on my right, his left hand outstretched resting on my shoulder and the vigil continued. Like another note added to a song in harmony, the feel of the room changed and took on depth and the sense of presence became more profound. Some time later the Child entered. He too sat before me, with eyes I shall not forget, glowing with love in that moment. A gesture, an offering  that brought serene tears to my eyes. They were not my hands. Then he too took up his place on my left, his right hand on my shoulder, and the harmony deepened.

Shapes touched the edge of vision, whispers of song in the silence, words unspoken that I will seek for a lifetime. I felt caught between worlds in a vast, womblike cavern as an unseen heart beat beneath my feet. Unfamiliar even to myself.

I saw shadows through the tiny window of the door, others were there. The silence was absolute, their gift to the moment. Then the door was opened and the companions filed in, one by one, to take their place before the Mother and silently offer, heart to heart, and receive what was offered in stillness.

And they were all there. All those who could be there, all who could walk up that pre-dawn hillside. All of them.

I cannot describe the feeling in that moment, the outpouring of loving blessing, the gifts given by people who should have been asleep for hours to come, yet who had sacrificed their rest and joined us in silent vigil. The eyes that met mine as I watched through the lens of tears at the beauty before me. Through the other eyes, it seemed, lent to me for a moment out of time. The hearts that were open, the smiles, all gentle, the one who knelt and gave all he was to that moment and the unknown moments to come.

They took their places around the circle, forming what felt like great wings holding the Light within. I closed my eyes and gathered the threads of Light in my heart.

At the appointed time I rose, placed a cloak around my shoulders and led them from the room, pausing to allow them to don their coats, the silence incredible in the soft light.

The morning was mild and beautiful, the sky streaked with colour, the rose and blue, the hint of gold, painted by the Master Hand. We walked slowly through the sleeping village, silent ghosts in strange garb climbing the hill to the gate.

Yet there was no strangeness, only a sense of rightness in the moment…present and not present, watching within and without, and the utter silence. Beyond the low wall to the right a young lamb looked up, bleating, eye to eye, three times. As if we were being given a blessing, recognition, acknowledgement. Such a simple thing, but so very beautiful.

We walked up the dew damp slope, to the little lawn between the tree to the west and the notch in the bare fingered trees in the east, silhouetted against the growing light. We placed the chalice and plate on the altar and Father and Mother stood to greet the dawn.

Those moments of waiting, in the miraculous silence made only deeper by the symphony the birds were singing, are some that will live in my heart forever. The small arc of the companions felt like a great host behind us as we raised our arms to salute the sun in its rising, and the greater Light it symbolises.

Turning to each other, arms still raised, we became the gate of dawn, a portal through which the Child could pass. Our arms extended, eyes holding, unable to see beyond the raised arms, we saw the Child come within our embrace and pass through to the Light as we broke the silence with a single chanted word. Cromaat.

The weight of the cloak against my throat was too much, I let it fall.

Overhead a hawk wheeled in the dawn glow.

One by one the companions passed through the gate that we were, emerging on the other side to be greeted by the Child. They were asked why they had passed through the gates of Light and Life… to the Child who is Love. In turn, they answered, the first giving the response of those who have chosen to walk with us in the School, these were anointed with consecrated oil and accepted. Those who were with us in love and support affirmed the wholeness of the One. Together they formed the wings of morning before the gate.

When all had passed into the east, we proclaimed the birth of the Silent Eye and, blessing bread and wine, we broke our fast in shared communion on a hillside bathed in gold and birdsong.

With laughter, many embraces, very many tears and smiles, our School came to birth as the sun rose and something new was brought into the world with joy and with Love.

The opening of the Eye – the artists eyes

We continue our retrospective of past School events through Sue’s eyes…

Astral Eyes-Painting by the companions, image rendered by Matt Baldwin-Ives

Astral Eyes-Painting by the companions, image rendered by Matt Baldwin-Ives

Looking around the assembled faces as we sat waiting to begin the first of the lectures on the Saturday morning, it occurred to me how many artists of all types were sitting there.

From the professional to the gifted in visual arts, the musicians and the dancers, the writers and poets, our consummately talented photographer, a maker of beautiful things and the creative gifts of the Temple team…it was quite astonishing.

Steve, brush in hand
Steve, brush in hand

I cannot wait to share some more of the photographs created by Matt that show how a simple room can be transformed into a sacred space. I have seen only the unedited shots and they are spectacular. And there is one shot that will, I think, capture the essence of the weekend in the most amazing fashion. But we all have to wait for the work to be done on that image.

Detail from the group painting
Detail from the group painting

There were drums. The most beautiful and profound of music, both visceral and haunting in the temple as Adam used sound in place of incense to symbolically bless and purify the working space. His is a rare gift and those moments when he and the drum seemed to become one, both with each other and with something beyond both, will, I think, live in our hearts and memories a very long time.

Detail from the group painting
Detail from the group painting

There was music. Alienora with fiddle, recorder and piano, joining Adam in the library and filling it with laughter and sound.

There was Steve, the Troubadour, guitar in hand, seated in the Temple as he and I sang the song we had written for the School.

Detail from the group painting
Detail from the group painting

There was the painting created by all. Disjointed impressions, symbols and words that somehow came together to create an energy on canvas that captured the bright spirit of the companions and the time out of time that we shared. Matt’s otherworldly artistic impression of what was created shows, I think, the soul of what was placed on that canvas. And an email from Kevin that reduced me to tears placed Ani’s paw print among the symbols as, he wrote, “she must be an honorary Nerk 1st Degree by now at least.  A trace of her soul should be on it I think, she has journeyed with you all the way.”

Detail from the group painting
Detail from the group painting

There was the cake, decorated with the symbol of the Silent Eye by our wonderful Lil, shared before the companions departed on the Sunday.

The Mother, Benjamin Prewitt
The Mother, Benjamin Prewitt

There were three small paintings from Benjamin, gifted to me before he left me yesterday, that capture the depth and beauty of what was wrought over those few days and how it touches the life and heart of those who take that leap of faith into the inner landscape.

A Sunny Day, Benjamin Prewitt
A Sunny Day, Benjamin Prewitt

And there were words. Humour, banter and wilful misinterpretation causing riotous, and as Alienora describes in her post, of raucous laughter. Small things said in quiet moments that leave an indelible impression on the heart. Words written and spoken in beauty and the overwhelming sense of loving kinship that was shared as we were bound together in our journey. Words unspoken, poems crafted by the heart and written in eyes that met, sharing smiles and love in a place and a moment outside of time.

Ascend, Benjamin Prewitt
Ascend, Benjamin Prewitt