The Magic of Gateways

As a child, I found gateways to be magical places. I couldn’t verbalise why, but I knew that something happened when you walked through them.

As adults, we can find richer meaning in them, recognising that, however simple, they take us into a different place. They stop us in our present tracks and make us do something slightly unusual to go through them. It invokes the mythical idea that there is, here, a payment to be made, which then grants access to the beyond.

My picture, above, taken on our evening dog-walk, shows one of my favourite gateways. It’s an old and long-disused canal bridge on what was the Preston-Kendal canal. The canal was finally drained in 1958, and much of its length has been converted back for farming use. But its signature ‘slot in the landscape’ can still be seen for many miles – in fact half our garden is landscaped to incorporate it as a spilt-level feature.

The disused bridge, above, is labelled ‘Bridge 178’. The ‘turnstile’ swinging gate is not what you would normally see, and is quite heavy – to prevent sheep pushing through. On a sunny evening, the action of entering the shaded space of the underside of the arch, together with pushing the heavy gate, is ‘notable’ in that your body knows you are doing something unusual.

Our lives have gateways. As a young person, we may pass an examination, which, though our hard work, grants us access to a more mature and powerful level of our world. Our driving test is another good example. Passing it, we are given access to a different level of being able to ‘do’. We are also trusted that this new world is filled with potential dangers, and that stying true to the (highway) code we learned to pass the exam is essential if we are to be a trusted member of that level of consciousness. In the latter case, our collective safety is dependent on everyone adopting such codes. Driving on the wrong side of the road is a short-term activity…

The old phrase ‘right of passage’ expresses this well. We are granted the ‘right’ to do something; which carries with it an assumed maturity of use.

The idea of initiation mirrors this. Initiation is simply the passing through a mental-emotional gateway into what will be a new world if we take the act seriously. If we trivialise it, and want to show off with our new ‘qualification’, then we have missed the point; and are well on the way to spoiling it for others.

For millennia, those involved in providing a richer understanding of what we call the ‘self’ – and its relationship to the perceived world, have utilised these core ideas of a gateway in the construction of places of initiation. They are nothing more – or less – than gateways designed to offer the personal psychology of an individual a path through a gateway. if all things are correctly in place, the initiation will see the person arrive with their whole being focussed on the passage through that short period of intensity. Unlike the iron turnstile, above, they will have little idea of what is to happen, and this is an important aspect.

They will be directed in what to do, and that will usually involve physical movements as well as a degree of examination as to their readiness to ‘pass through’. As part of this, they will be reminded that, on the other side of the gate, they will have responsibilities to the society in which they live, as much as to themselves. The responsibility to themselves is to the truth of what they have experienced. The responsibility to the society in which they live will be to use that truth wisely.

Mystical progression does not need initiation, but it can greatly accelerate progress in the right circumstances. In the Silent Eye, we enable the student/companion to follow a scripted gateway, at home, at the conclusion of each of the three years of the course. When we are able to meet for one of our workshops, we also offer a confirmatory initiation, witnessed by others, so that the power and memory of the experience becomes part of many lives.

Gateways are beautiful things. They can be large or small. The passing of dog and man through the canal gate, above, is a simple thing; yet it contains all the elements of a more significant rite of passage. I often smile as I carefully open the gate for Tess, our collie, mindful of the fact that the heavy iron could bruise her if handled carelessly. It reminds me of the responsibility that we initiators – who once passed through such gates for the first time – have carried for millennia.

Responsibility and love are the watchwords…

©Stephen Tanham 2021

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

A Union of Opposites (4-final): breathing with Pythagoras

(Above: the famous Pythagoras triangle is approached as a breathing experience)

So… how are we going to ‘breathe with Pythagoras’?

We shall use the 3-4-5 properties of a right-angled triangle, translated into a breathing pattern. As we saw in the previous post, we know these are harmonic, and represent squares. If you followed the symbolism, you will remember that the sequence point-line-surface represents the emergence of the physical world; which is continued by the cubes – the key to 3D space. For this exercise, we’ll stay with squares.

The first thing to do is to establish a breathing count. Let your breathing settle and take a few easy breaths. Check you are not carrying tension in your midsection by gently easing your diaphragm down as you breath in, allowing your chest to fill, naturally.

Breath out, fully, but without effort, then take in what you feel is your natural, unstressed amount of air to a count of three. Be deeply aware of this and remember its duration. Try to keep this ‘length of breathing’ in your mind and use it as a basis for the rest of the exercise.

Close your eyes and breathe out. As you do so, see the formation of a brightening point of light in your mind (the red circle with white border)

As you continue to breathe out, let this mental picture of the small circle get brighter.

Now, holding the image of the small circle, breathe in for the three count. See the dot becoming a red line whose length is three units, growing from right to left. As you approach the end of your in-breath, see the line running out of length, as in the diagram’s base.

Hold the breath for a count of four as you travel from the same point but vertically upwards, (i.e. at 90 degrees). The two lines have formed a right angle to each other. See the place where the two lines merged becoming a small, solid square, as in the diagram.

Now imagine that you are the top of that line, looking to make a perfect join with the original line of three units; at the point where the small circle began. Breathe out, as gently as you can, for five units, closing the gap and making the figure complete. Then imagine you are the whole of that line, looking back at the small, solid square. Breath in while looking at the square, then return to contemplate the small circle, where you breathe out to begin the cycle, again.

You have come back to the beginning, back to the start of creation.

Repeat this for a maximum of ten breaths. Return to it after a rest if you wish to continue.

If you would like to combine this with the previously described ‘elements’ exercise (Part 2), use these symbolic attributions:

East – the small circle.

South – the line of three units.

West – the line of four units.

North – the line of five units.

And returning to the East-overhead, use a picture of the the circle shrinking to nothing as the final image. You will have symbolically cycled in and out of manifestation, involution and evolution.

(Note: If you suffer from any breathing difficulties or blood pressure, you should consult your doctor before doing any such exercises)

Other posts in this series:

A Union of Opposites (3)

A Union of Opposites (2)

A Union of Opposites (1)

[Recent posts related to intention and attention:

Intention chooses Heaven

Intention chooses Heaven (2)]

©Stephen Tanham 2021

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

A Union of Opposites (3) breathing with Pythagoras

As a schoolboy, struggling with mathematics, the name Pythagoras struck terror in me. I remember staring at the hated formula below and thinking I’d never get it…

In non-gobbledegook, the equation reads: (a squared equals b squared plus c squared). I can hear the teacher’s voice now, confident that everyone would find it intuitive!

Outside, the summer was passing, yet there we were in a hot classroom with dry as dust letters that could also be numbers… And not just that – not that the numbers themselves weren’t bad enough – we had to ‘square’ them as well! What sort of torture was that?

The language of mathematics eventually became a friend, but not before I had to talk myself down from the night-terrors of squares and equations. So, as a prelude to creating some unusual and powerful breathing to go with last weeks’ ‘elements’ exercise, let me share some of the insights about the inner work of Pythagoras, one of the greatest scientist/philosophers the world has ever known.

Years after that childhood terror, and as competent with maths as needed for a career in computing, I came across the diagram below, and realised there was a much better way to teach this stuff…especially if you had a philosophical leaning and wanted to understand the inner meaning of all numbers – of the key to the very idea of quantity, itself.

(Above: a different way of understanding ‘squared’ numbers.
image source )

The Greeks were wonderfully literal in their descriptions. They knew that when you multiplied a number by itself, in this case, ‘a squared’, it also described the AREA marked out by two lines of equal length (the boxes above), set against each other at a ‘right angle’; for example, box a, above, times itself, or a-squared. That square would have an internal space – an area – of one line length times the other. In this case, they are both the same number, so the result is that number multiplied by itself – or turned into a SQUARE.

If you contemplate the properties of the above diagram, you can see the clear linking of the square and the right-angled triangle.

Pythagoras was fascinated by triangles, seeing that many things in nature had two different aspects that were resolved by a third connecting them. In this way, the world moved forward, harmoniously. His most famous triangle is below.

(Above: the most famous triangle of Pythagoras)

The elements are as follows:

1. It has three sides, and three angles, hence it is a ‘tri-angle’. Ignore the large numbers in the diagram, for now. Their significance will emerge, later.

2. Two of the sides join in a special angle of 90 degrees. This is the same angle as that within a square, in fact, it is the only angle in a square. A square is a very special figure, as we shall see, later. The little square figure indicates that this triangle’s core angle is 90 degrees, otherwise known as a Right Angle.

3. There are three sides to this triangle. The longest side is always opposite the square figure that indicates the Right Angle. The longest side opposite the Right Angle is called the Hypotenuse, which originally meant ‘that which stretches under”.

4. Something that ‘stretches under’ or ‘runs beneath’, like a root on a plant, is a foundation that supports the rest of the structure. In the case of the right-angled triangle, the Hypotenuse of the triangle – that which unites everything, is reflected from the square sign opposite. Neither can exist without the other. The square sign – the right angle – has no dimensions. It is a fixed ‘understanding’ of squareness that is the basis of a unique relationship between two lines. The square is found throughout the universe. Most of the time it is invisible.

5. The square is also the basis of the dimensions of physics and mathematics. A point has no dimensions, just a theoretical position. The line has one dimension, which is length, this is the first use of numbers and direction. The parts of the line have to maintain a consistent direction or it’s not a straight line. ‘Straightness’ becomes foundational, like our square, in everything that follows. Straightness is an extension of Square as an underlying principle.

6. Beyond the straight line, which could go on forever and get dull, there is a need for creation to become more sophisticated in its unfolding of ‘form’. The combination of a square angle (90 deg) and another straight line defines the next dimension, that of an area, generally known as a ‘surface’. The surface is continuous across two dimensions, it’s no longer just a line, and it has an area, whose dimensions are the multiple of each line. A triangle is a surface, the simplest of surfaces, and in its architecture we can see all the principles of creation, plus one more: the two extensions from the original point, created by the ‘square’ or right-angle are ‘resolved’ or ‘made useful’ by the hypotenuse, that which stretches under, or joins, connects, unites, limits.

The process of the creation of form, on which all else in our material world is based, is therefore seen to contain an ongoing inner process, the reflection from the origin (the original square) to the limit of the extensions, in the form of the link between the original invisible square as right-angle and the largest side of the triangle.

In next week’s post, we will continue this foray into the mind and work of Pythagoras, and the further implications of his work. Before closing, however, it’s interesting to reconsider the most famous of the Pythagorean triangles, below, in the light of the above and the following questions:

Q1: can you locate the origin, the primary square, the first length, the second length and that which ‘stretches beneath’, linking the whole creation back to the origin?

Q2: Can you translate the Pythagorean equation below into its ‘action’ in the world, in line with the ‘creation story’ above?

(As a side note, a triangle, explained in this way, has sometimes been compared to the symbol of the Bow of the Archer…)

In the closing post of this ‘Intention’ series, we will consolidate the answers to the above into a single breathing exercise to add to the journey of the elements in Part 2.

Other posts in this series:

A Union of Opposites (2)

A Union of Opposites (1)

[Recent posts related to intention and attention:

Intention chooses Heaven

Intention chooses Heaven (2)]

©Stephen Tanham 2021

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

First the loss, then the joy…

Unbearable, this song of light
That ends the day before soft night
A gradient of blue to gold
A harmony, exquisite folds
Will live its life in seconds told

Content to live and die, this dome
This perfect bowl of evening’s home
Retains no anguish in the face
Of life as change and death as wrought
By turning Earth in solar thought

So should I rise past ego’s fear
Embracing every moment’s splendour
Content with presence, golden orb
Of Self, embarked on journey’s passing
And to this life let will Surrender

©Stephen Tanham 2021

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

A Union of Opposites (2)

(Photo by the author and ©Copyright)

In Part One, we looked at the subtle meaning of the word ‘elements’, and how spiritual paths like Yoga and the Western Mystery Tradition (WMT) view them as essential components of our being.

If these energy states are the foundations of our conscious existence, why do they not arrange themselves in a harmonic way? The answers lie in knowing which part of us has been given control of our daily lives. In terms of Yoga, this ‘decider’ is viewed as a kind of ‘information body’; one that also carries a Karmic burden from our past.

Psychology views it as the personality – an accumulation of responses to the largely survival and emotionally-based challenges by which we learn to protect our ‘selves’ in the world. Both point to the inescapable fact that we need to ‘transcend’ the personality and wrestle with its fears and desires, if we are to make true spiritual progress. Our effort, plus the struggle, creates a third condition, in which we may make real change to our-selves.

This is not to diminish psychology. The ‘ascent of life’ in the form of efficient organic responses, carries forward the potential of more effective and integrative consciousness, by which matter becomes increasingly aware of its environment and itself…

Yoga’s approach is powerful, because it gets to the core of the issue: our everyday selves are based upon accumulated, reactive information. We overlay this with what we believe to be ‘right’. This is not reactive, but is for the good of the greater whole.

As in previous posts, the nature and force of our intention is vital. We hinted, last time, that there is a direct relationship between intention and the elements. This will be explored in the form of a practical exercise, in what follows.

Psychology dedicates itself to the restoration of the stable personality – the ‘self’, allowing those who have been damaged to resume their normal functioning in the world. Generally, psychology is not concerned with the spiritual, though there are notable exceptions, such as the work of Carl Jung, who well understood the elements and their place in the scheme of human consciousness.

Yoga has an intrinsic understanding of the Elements as the key to the foundation of the human. The energy centres that ascend up the spine – much like the WMT’s Middle Pillar on the Tree of Life – include the elements. I’ve appended a diagram of the Chakras to illustrate their positions:

(Table image source link)

Yoga’s temple is the body; with its interpenetrating layers. It is one of the finest conceptions of ‘divinity in matter’. In the West, we are less attuned to these ideas, and seem to respond more readily to a symbolic journey.

The WMT offers the basis of an interesting alternative to the yogic approach. This utilises the directions of space to represent the elements and their ‘signatures’.

We imagine ourselves to be in a cubic glass container (with no ceiling) whose walls are perfectly formed and glowing (within the material of the glass) with the mixed energies of the four elements. As such, they are not arranged in an orderly way, and are less able to serve us.

Designate one of the walls of the glass cube to be the East, the start of our rotation of the elements. Face this direction.

You can choose your own colour or pattern attributions if you wish, or adopt these: Pale yellow for the East; bright gold for the South; dark blue for the West and a rich and fertile earthy-brown for the North.

Extend your hands upwards over your head and and join them so that fingers 2-4 are intertwined and folded. Your first (index) fingers are aligned, raised and pressed together, and the thumbs crossed over each other, as in the photo below.

(Above: using the hands to create a living ‘intention’ symbol)

Your hands in this position form a potent symbol of INTENTION. By moving the balanced and locked fingers together, we are actively harmonising of opposites to produce a new, and higher, creation.

Now bring your raised hands down to point to the glass wall in front of you – the East. Look into the chaotic and swirling colours within the glass wall. Within your mind (or out loud if you can) speak your Intention that they resolve and assume their rightful energy. Then see in your living image the restoration of the pale yellow colour, flowing with peace and loving energy, but, above all, intelligence. At the same time feel a link between this cleansing and the energy within your heart chakra. Feel the same colour developing, there.

With the colour and the intelligence of the symbolic East wall of your cube established, let its light energise you and restore a great peace to your body.

We are now going to take this sense of intelligence, order and rightness around the other three directions of the compass and, at the same time, move vertically along the chakras.

To begin this, take a final look at the restored and orderly East face, with your hands still pointed there. Then raise your joined arms and rotate your body one cube face clockwise to face the South. As you make the rotation, be aware of a descent of the intelligence of the heart (and East) to the level of the navel.

Facing the South, take a breath to establish your Intention, then lower your arms and hands to point at the South face, issuing your command to order and rightness and extending the controlling intelligence and discrimination. See the swirling colours resolve to a beautiful gold, then feel the warmth of the overhead sun burning away any negative emotions you may have. Simply be with the sun, and let it feed you with the warmth of its power and rightness.

When this feeling is established, let the energy of the wall be reflected in your navel, slowly, but be conscious of the control coming from the heart centre, directed downwards. Raise your arms again, and, as you turn, visualise the descent of the sun energy, wrapped in the intelligence of the heart, to the level of the West face, linked with the Water element and centred at the root of the genitals. Feel the cleansing and cooling Water element wash away the disorderly colours of the West face. Feel and see the blue water wrapped in the gold of the sun, and, in turn, the pale yellow Intelligence of the heart.

Make the third turn to face the North in the same way. Link the North face with the basal chakra in the muscles of the anus. Apply an internal tension to this part of the body, seeing the colours of the North resolve into the rich and fertile earth colour, taking its place like a seed, embedded in the other colours.

Now make the final turn, but keep the hands raised while moving the accumulated energies up the spine to a place between the heart centre and the throat. Raise your head to ‘look to the heavens’. Gaze on your joined hands with their living symbol of Intention. Then gaze beyond them and offer the energies to the direction of your Higher Self, only. Feel you whole spine tingling with the harmonious joy of your being, with its elemental energies restored and balanced.

In next week’s final post in this series, we will describe one or two powerful refinements to this exercise of the Elements. If you have been able to practice this, you will gain additional focus and energy from these…

Other posts in this series:

A Union of Opposites (1)

[Recent posts related to intention and attention:

Intention chooses Heaven

Intention chooses Heaven (2)]

©Stephen Tanham 2021

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

From no-thing

From no-thing do you come?
Not did, for did is burned
But do, as in a breath
Drawn in and then returned

From no-where do you come?
Not where, for where
Would fix the place
From which you show
your laughing face

From no-when do you come?
For when would break the flow
Into before and after glow
And birth begin a tale
That only times my watch of you
Not whence, but hence…
The life unfolds


And am I not as you
But eyed?
My skin your petal’s blush
Against the sky
And thus I see we never died
Nor will, nor can
Within this son of Man
Who waits within
The coming of a higher kin

©Stephen Tanham 2021

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

WHAT’S UP DOC? Lines of communication V…

*

…Cara… ‘I reign over you, saith the God of Justice.

ELEXARPEH

COMANANU

TABITOM.

Move therefore and show yourselves.

Appear unto us; open the mysteries of your Creation, the balance of

Righteousness and Truth.’

*

Bugs: The three names are the Angels who rule over the Tablet of Union in the Enochian System devised by Doctor John Dee and Edward Kelley…

Cara: So, some questions… What are Angels? Anybody… (discuss)

Bugs: Who numbers them? (we do…)

Cara: Who gives them names? (we do…)

Bugs: What is the Angelic function?

Cara: So… Horizonal polarity, the mundane oppositions of the world which as we have seen are interchangeable and are ever flipping, versus… Vertical polarity… World/Otherworld… Heaven/Earth… Human/Divine, we’d like to propose two definitions.

Bugs: Horizontal Polarity encompasses, ‘Everything we know or think we know.’ … which is mutable.

Cara: Vertical Polarity encompasses, ‘Everything we don’t know or don’t think we know.’ … which is immutable.

Bugs: The Angelic function is to mediate between the poles of a vertical polarity.

Cara: From whom to whom? (discuss)

Bugs: From here to where? (discuss)

Cara: Angelos means, ‘messenger’.  In Christian Mysticism where the divine is regarded as the beloved, the angel is the lovers ‘chaperone’

Bugs: In Sufi Mysticism where the divine is spoken of in terms of an intoxicating beverage

The ‘Wine-house dispenser’, or ‘bar-tender’, is the angel.

Cara: Also, in Islamic mysticism we have Al Khidr –  who is Another Green or Verdant Man…

And, somewhat inevitably, an angel.

Bugs: The function of al-Khiḍr as a ‘person-archetype’ is to reveal each companion to

themselves, to lead each companion to their own theophany, because that theophany

corresponds to their own ‘inner heaven,’ to the form of their own being, to their eternal

individuality.

Cara: This latter, then, conforms to the idea of ‘contact’.

Bugs: And in Magical Tradition to, ‘Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel’….

Cara: Where language fails in its attempt to adequately describe this state…

Art… Dance…Music… may succeed…

Intro music…

Bugs: So, we would like to conclude this presentation with a piece of music.

This piece of music, in our opinion, possesses the ability to make the ‘beyond’ tangible.

Before we do that for you we would like to rearrange things slightly as a symbolism and an act of sacrifice

Cara: As you move your intent should be ‘I move, in order, to achieve my vertical polarity.’

(seat swap) S1-N9, N8-S2, S3-N7, N6-S4, (S5-N5, already accomplished) S6-N4, N3-S7, S8-N2, N1-S9)

Bugs: (closes curtains and dims any lights.) Explain meditation… Seed thoughts. ‘Never perfect always changing. Ever changing always perfect.’

Music…O Holy One… by John Tavener…

Cara: reads… (over start of music)

Most subtle of the shifting forms and yet most constant too.

Whose moonlit transformation cannot change the heart that’s true.

It harkens to each season’s turn and reads the twilight air

And listens to the inner song and knows both foul and fair.

Between two worlds It journeys and in both It can be seen

In adoration of the moon yet always clothed in green…

END

Rabbit Excerpt abridged from ‘Watership Down’ – by Richard Adams

Thanks to those Companions who acted as Adjudicators, and all those whose contributions to this presentation helped make it work…