the quiet places

They live concealed within the ebb and flow of life recycled. That very nature is why they are so hard to find. The extraordinary hidden in plain sight…

Their camouflage is the blindness caused by seeing what we saw, before, and not what is before us.

A spell so strong, it takes our will to see it, differently. To reach into what seems to be ‘it’, but is really ‘me’; a world painted on our eyes by our mind.

From memory, of course; that pale repeater and drain of the new.

Close your eyes, facing the unfolding, and will to see what was not seen before, knowing it can never been seen again beyond this.

But this once…

Not recycled: lived again, but lived anew. And then the act of seeing the quiet places will become a song whose chords that stroke the soul will never be repeated in that symphony of delight that is our new-seen life.

Only the see-er changes. The rest was always there.

©Stephen Tanham 2021

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

SEE: November Zoom Cyber Room…

May be an image of book

A Walk with Death…

Death is one of the most important things about our lives, and yet many people have remarkably shallow views on it, preferring to settle for religious folk tales rather than using our aliveness to explore its apparent opposite.

Certain authors, including our cover image writer, Terry Pratchett, have cleverly used humour to explore this question.

Philosophical history is full of excellent accounts of the journey of death, but how will we know which are useful and which fanciful?

The Vedic and Egyptian civilisations – to name but two – had detailed descriptions of what we should expect after death.

We will be asking for guest speakers to take a ten-minute slot to give us an overview of their interpretations.

Finally, we will ask whether a spiritual understanding of life can equip us better to encounter death… and take that walk with ‘the Reaper’!

In this first of the ‘dark months’ join us for seriousness and merriment as we throw ourselves into this challenging topic!


‘Diana began our discussion with a reading of her poem…
The Nadir of Light
As we move toward the depth of winter, the light fades,
Weakens, moves sideways.
Rising late, thin, attenuated like a ghost,
A wraith that moves silently in mists and cloudy twilight,
The light shivers in the clear chill of icicle mornings,
And wraps itself in fleecy pastel afternoons darkening
To evening.
Darkness falls, a black drapery muffling the change of scene,
And light appears again.
Within the wilderness a fire burns, a meal is prepared.
A window glows golden and welcoming to the traveler in the night.
Above the dark earth, the jewels of the sky gleam as diamond-bright
Sequins cast upon a velvet ground.
Death stops by for chats these days;
A familiar presence come to spend a bit of time with me
While I muse and sip my tea. We are old friends by now.
Death never says much; doesn’t have to —
The wheeze in my chest says it all,
Says I am vulnerable, says I am old,
Says my friend and I are growing closer by the day.
And the days are short, and cold in winter,
And sleep seems sweet and warm, deep, enfolding
Like soft arms, or great, dark wings ….
Death is a flirt, catching my eye suggestively
Only to look away again.
It is a game we play; we both know
Which of us succumbs.
This is an ancient wooing dance we do,
A courtship ritual played out at last
In a life lived long enough to understand the partner
And the steps.
The year glides into its turn. One hemisphere enjoying
Sun and summer warmth, the other bearing a cold face,
In winter‘s grip,
The earth orb pirouettes through space
In company with the corps, the coterie of the nearest star.
And each star in its own great cycle spins,
And moves in its great pilgrimage to ending and beginning
Never-ending. The aeons in a choreography process.
The long nights draw cold, sharp as a knife, across the lives
Of the sacrificed. All that has passed is holy, and all that is to come,
And this moment, most of all;
Now is holy. The turning point
Hidden in the moment – in every moment – the potential
Is here, present, perfect
In process.
The dark stain of blood upon the snow
Marks where a creature passed into the maw of history,
And another found sustenance.
Life feeds upon itself, in constant revolution of
Darkness and light.
The scythe has passed, the husks lie empty on the cold ground;
Freed of the flesh, the warm blood no longer coursing
With the pulsing of the chambered heart,
The essence flees from light to dark;
Womb-dark, earth-dark with the richness of loam
And decay
And there, the germ of life takes fire from heaven
Within; Growth begins.
At the turn of the year, as winter claims the sacrifice
The antipodal summer reaches apex, and the light
Begins its redirection.
The apex of humanity, the conscious eye, surveys itself,
What dies and what remains and grows, and feeds upon
That which has gone before, and changes,
Unfolding possibilities.
Another year, and old bones growing colder,
Brittle, like the dry sticks feeding the fire.
Ah — grind the cinnamon into the mug, just so —
And breathe the scent of sacrifice;
The tree’s life gives spice to warm the blood.
Soon enough my essence will be freed to dance
In the space between the stars, where neither cold nor heat
Are sensed, and all is the light-filled darkness.
But for this day, in time, as the year moves to its turning,
I hold the warm liquid still in its cup, and inspiration
Brings me content,
Absorbing substance of a subtle sort.
Here, at the portal is a glimpse of immortality:
Life and Death as one moving essentiality, the spirit

Traveling, timeless and eternal, in infinity.


‘What senses allow us to know someone is alive (or dead)?’
– The everyday drama dissolves and the ‘song’ of the individual emerges.
– We have something remarkable that recognises life but that is difficult to define.
– The quality of the individual is gone.
– Death is here, in the physical, and where we go when we die is life. There is unity between the two, but the physical body stands in the way.
– Death could be considered an advisor.
Lorraine presented the Druid’s view of death although there is no particular collective belief system. We come from earth and we return to earth in the cycle of life and death that is present throughout the natural world.
There is no need to fear it because it is natural and normal. She suggested that the soul/spirit returns to another place and join the realm of the Ancestors to share knowledge and wisdom gained in life experiences.
Death is to be welcomed and, in fact, willing sacrifices gave honour and nobility to their tribes in ancient times.
She added that peace comes with the transformation/transition of death and that it is a happy and joyful experience for Druids because life is then happy and full. We must live fully in the physical though, experiencing life through the senses as compensation for not being in spirit; if not, we are doing a disservice to spirit.
Kevin commented that some are advised to prepare for death with a ‘Death Working’ and, according to the Rosicrucian, the psychic body, which is developed in life, accompanies us through death, while Buddhists rehearse dying.
Luba suggested that death is like divorce in that the physical and the spiritual separate and take two separate journeys.
Steve looked at, The Myth of Osiris, as an example of a death myth – however, is Osiris actually associated with death or with life (his green-ness implies life and regeneration).
Stuart asked us to consider this from a psychological perspective where the myth changes focus, perhaps… Seth as ego, Isis as soul/spirit…
Is this myth about death?
The God of the Underworld (consider the implications of the word ‘underworld’ as foundation, basis, upholding).
The myth is about life, not death!
The form dies, but not the material and, having been dissected, Osiris does not have a lower aspect, but he does have a higher one.
And all pharaohs displayed themselves as Osiris in death. The Imperishable Star = the higher self = humanity’s royalty.’ – Recorder


Myths of Ancient Egypt

Sue Vincent

In the Two Lands of Ancient Egypt, a mythical history has been preserved. It begins with the dawn of Creation itself and spans one of the greatest stories ever to capture the heart and imagination of humankind.

In this retelling, it is Isis, the Mistress of all Magic herself, who tells the story of the sacred family of Egypt. In forgotten ages, the gods lived and ruled amongst men. Many tales were told, across many times and cultures, following the themes common to all mankind. Stories were woven of love and loss, magic and mystery, life and death. One such story has survived from the most distant times.

In the Two Lands of Ancient Egypt a mythical history has been preserved across the centuries.

“We have borne many names and many faces, my family and I. All races have called us after their own fashion and we live their stories for them, bringing to life the Universal Laws and Man’s own innermost heart. We have laughed and loved, taught and suffered, sharing the emotions that give richness to life. But for now, I will share a chapter of my family’s story. One that has survived intact through the millennia, known and remembered still, across your world. Carved in stone, written on papyrus, I will tell you of a time when my name was Isis.”

 Available for Kindle and in Paperback via Amazon UK, US and worldwide

crown of leaves

There is within this ring of gold and green a voice

Not of the river rushing by in flood

Nor of the nearby street where cards of early Yule, like fallen leaves

Are themselves passed by, vapid and unloved

The old tree speaks an ancient tongue we recognise

The naked and the dressed are what is sung

The outer life stripped bare by winter, whereas we

Rush to clothe against the growing cold, feeling little

Perhaps our warmth is sign of greater being

A light revealed amidst the crying green?

Perhaps, unable to mature as race

We, as stories of old, will perish in the flood…

The old tree sheds its leaves

The ground around is lit with golden death

Take it, grow and glow, his ancient voice implores

My garments – lay them, wet upon your head

And make of them a wise one’s crown…

©Stephen Tanham 2021

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

The Great Mystery: Dreaming…


The mystery conspires with the

animal world whose souls so resemble

the purity and innocence of a human child.


It recognises the miracle of life

in both seed and egg

and the wonder of a harvest which

springs from an ear of corn.


This solitary communion with the unseen

can be rendered, a mysterious feeling,

and it has been called, ‘the dreaming’,

although it may be better understood as divine consciousness.

– Ohiyesa


The Great Mystery: Crowds


The mystery needs no

shrines or temples

save those that nature provides.


It may be met in the shadowy

heights and aisles of a primeval forest,

on the sunlit expanse of virgin prairie,

the dizzy spires and pinnacles of naked rock,

and beyond, in the speckled vault of the star-lit sky.


All who live a lot out of doors

know the magnetic force

that accumulates in solitude

swiftly flees when confronted

by the faceless vagaries of a crowd.

– Ohiyesa


The Fair Isle of Emain…


A far distant isle

lies in leagues fifty-thrice

over the ocean to the west

larger than Albion, twice.


Many faceted Emain

encircled by sea

rises from tide into sky

its ever wondrous beauty.


On the fair isle of Emain

a hoary tree grows

its silver-laced branches

blossom like no-one yet knows.


Multi-hued birds

sing within the tree tops

on a white-silver plain

do dragon-stones drop.


Unheard is wailing

as sweet-music strikes ear

it issues through Emain

and banishes all fear.


A band of nine women

come down from a height

over variegate plains

to the seaside, pure-white.


 Onward they run

to a stone shining-bright

for about it to dance

raising songs in the night.


The pure man arrives there

 rowing in on the flood

stirring the ocean

as sun turns to blood.


At dawn he arises

a delight to sore eyes

his coracle of bronze

illumining blue skies.


 A splendour of colour

glistens in the land

spreads its glorious range

over a sea-washed sand.


The host he brings with him

for long ages stay

their beauty in freshness

knows not death nor decay.


In happiness and health now

their laughter peals loud

on Emain in each season

reigns joyousness proud.


My song to you all then

still in strife and in pain

you must voyage on the ocean

to the fair isle of Emain.


Rombald’s moor – my moor

X ilkley weekend 030

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.

Morning mists near Backstone Circle

We all have special places; places that sing to our hearts, hold memories, places we could call our heart’s home. This is mine.

No words of mine can capture what it means to me, no photograph show how the colours play in my heart. And this weekend I am here, doing the Work I love, in the landscape I love, with people  I love.

Today is a gift.

The dates of this Harvest of Being weekend were chosen in the hope it would allow a friend to join us and, though sadly she was unable to do so, there was a personal reason why the timing was perfect.

Today, of all days, there is nowhere else on this earth that I would rather be than exactly where I am. Nothing else I would rather be doing than the Work I am doing. And although there are others I could wish were also here with us, I could not wish for any dearer friends with whom to share the day.

Thank you.

X ilkley weekend 151