Flight of the Seer…

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It has become traditional before our April Workshop, in Derbyshire, to climb to the highest point in the area and to quietly contemplate the prospective unfolding of our combined vision as we compose ourselves before the whirl of activity which inevitably attends these events.

This year was no exception so, as bodies in space from across the globe hurtled towards our annual rendevous with The Nightingale, we quietly sipped our coffees and mulled over our hopes for the weekend.

In one sense the Feathered Seer represents the culmination of a four year adventure within the landscape of Derbyshire which began one cold and rainy October day upon a windswept moor.

That journey, already chronicled in our books had now also found expression as a workshop designed to attune with the innermost heart of the living land.

As always we were to be aided in our quest by a sensational set of people who are well used to throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the wildest of endeavours and happily reaping the combined benefits of their efforts.

This years event proved to be both wild and full of heart yet we knew nothing of this as we gazed out over the high moors after our coffee.

Away in the distance could be faintly discerned one of the sites which, for better or worse, we had chosen to explore during the weekend…

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The Feathered Seer

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The Clan of the Raven has withdrawn to the hills.

They have withdrawn to a high place in the sacred lands, nearer the heart…

Their fires are dead, their hearths are cold and the hilltop is now silent under the moon.

Others come, others who are not known to the Gods, others who would abuse the knowledge and the power of this sacred place.

Their camp fires burn beyond the far hill, a day’s sight from here, they herald both an ending and a beginning.

Within the walls of this highest place, where the Raven Folk have lived in peace, lie deep secrets…

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“In a time before memory…when the land was yet young and Albion unborn,

I dreamed the stars of a time yet to be.

I dreamed your becoming.

…I see you.

I called and you have come.

The time is now.”

Join us as we journey back beyond recorded history to a time known only in dreams and a place that still casts its shadow in stone upon our landscape. It is a time of peace and bright learning, a time when wisdom flourishes in the sacred colleges and a young Seer is nearing the end of her training. They came with sword and spear, raveners of the land, seeking to pervert and destroy the Keepers of Wisdom. Torches in the night… a world forever changed…

The Feathered Seer is a fully scripted, residential workshop using the ancient vehicle of ritual drama to explore the human psyche and the journey of the soul towards awareness of its true nature and potential. Taking our inspiration from the ancient, sacred sites of the area, each companion will play a part in a magical re-enactment of an age-old tale.No previous experience is needed, the workshop is open to all.

You can read about last year’s Leaf and Flame workshop here and by typing ‘Leaf and Flame’ into the Search Bar to get a feel for what to expect.

The weekend is held in the Derbyshire Dales. Accommodation is provided, fully catered, at the Nightingale Centre. Prices for the weekend range from £245 – £265 per person, depending on the accomodation package selected. Most rooms are en suite and all meals are included.

Dates: Weekend of 21-23 April 2017

Location:  Great Hucklow, Derbyshire Dales. England.

Click here to download a pdf Booking Form for The Feathered Seer

For further details email: rivingtide@gmail.com

That which does not die…

HM15 306The Soul Attains – Edward Burne-Jones

Elaine

He fences right well yon Knight of Arthur’s realm.

Lancelot

Yet he seems to my mind a little coy.

Bedivere

Perhaps size is the whole essence of it.

Dindrane

Since when has size been the essence, whole or otherwise, of anything?

Liones

It seems that there comes a point in this play which to cross turns chivalry un-chivalrous.

Gareth

It is a point most unseemly but at which point in the play if ever should the guest oust the host?

Foliate Gawain

Why, I fear our Noble Knight is as far away as ever he was from perceiving the essence of a woman’s heart.

Ragnell

He is blinded by rude desire as are all those who fear its tumultuous loss.

Pellinore

And so the age old drama unfolds in spite of all our Knights resolve…

Yglais

Was the outcome ever seriously in doubt?

Uriens

The endless round… goes round… and round.

Morgan (with relish)

What is born… must die…

Arthur (hooded)

Only that which is not born does not die…

Guinevere (hooded)

…And they call this conception… immaculate.

–  Leaf and Flame: La Belle Dame sans Merci

The hand that grasps…

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Guinevere

What now for poor, brave Gawain… and what are we to make of his Nemesis?

Morgan

Gawain is doomed my Lady there is no escape for one on such a quest. It would be best to leave him to his fate and thank our lucky stars that none of our younger or better Knights were foolish enough to accept the challenge of such a mighty man.

Lady Grene

Huh, man you say? He was more like a monster…

Lady of the Veil

Man, or Monster, or both. The old tales tell of something similar, of a giant who was also a king and who upon the rescue of his son from the clutches of the ‘Hooded-Claw’, and having received a poisoned dart in his foot, instructed that his head be removed.

Dindrane

I too have heard that tale. It was told to me by my nurse when I was but a child. The king’s name was Bran. His son was Gwern. After accompanying him on his doomed mission to Annwn, his faithful companions reluctantly acquiesced to his dying request for a speedy, rather than a long drawn out demise whereupon the head when removed… continued to speak…

Lady of the Veil

…And went on telling its wondrous tales as it was carried about the Ancient Land of Albion. The macabre troupe became known as the, Assembly of the Wondrous Head, and all who were with the Head or who heard the tales aged not one jot.

Yglais

Then it was a time out of time? A time that covers all time. This story speaks of the other-world. That place where all have come from and to which all must return.

Morgan

Pah! A Fairy Tale if ever I heard one!

Elaine

Without question, a Fairy Tale, yet we appear to be caught up in something of a Fairy Tale ourselves. It may be that the correct interpretation of such tales and our understanding of them is the only way out of Gawain’s predicament.

Liones

What happened to the Head? Perhaps if we could find it again somehow, and ask it for help… wouldn’t it know what we can do?

Lady of the Veil

The head was eventually buried in Lugdunum at the White Hill. It lies there to this day protected by Ravens though now and forever more it is silent.

Dindrane

It was buried because one of its bearers broke the spell by ‘opening the door to the west’…

Lady Grene

The Hooded Claw is the ‘hand that grasps’ as opposed the the ‘hand that protects’. It wears a hood because it sees not the consequences of its actions and knows only that which it thinks it desires. The hand that protects carries an open eye in its palm and is aware of the wisdom of the heart…

Leaf and Flame: Hart to Heart

Seed Thoughts…

  1. The Outer is reflected Emotion…
  2. The Inner is reflected Form…
  3. The Outer reflects the Inner and the Inner reflects the Outer…
  4. The Principles: work not for themselves but for others.               The Companions: work not for others but for themselves.
  5. The Red, The White and The Green…
  6. ‘For the Druids physical death represented the mid-way point in the very long life of a Soul.’

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HM15 305

Greeting the Sun…

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Reading and Meditation to greet the sun…

THE ASSEMBLY OF THE WONDROUS HEAD

 

  1. …And then Bran the Blessed commanded his head to be struck off. ‘Take the head,’ he said ‘and cross over to the other side, carry it to the White Mount in Lugdunum, and bury it there facing South.’…
  1. … ‘You will be a long time on the road, feasting seven years in Harddlech with the Birds of Rhiannon singing to you, and the head will be as pleasant company to you as ever it was’…
  1. …‘At Gwales in Penfro you will be fourscore years, abiding there with the head, uncorrupted, until the Western Door be opened when you must make your way to Lugdunum to bury the head.’…
  1. …And the Head of Bran the Blessed was struck off, and the Company made their way towards Harddlech and the head went with them and there they sat themselves down and began to feast on meat and drink…
  1. …And even as they began to eat and drink there came three birds which began to sing them a certain song, and of all the songs they had ever heard each one was unlovely compared with that song…
  1. …And far must they look to see the singing birds over the deep, yet the song the birds sang was clear to them as if they were close by them; and at that feasting they were seven years…
  1. …At the end of the seventh year the Company set out for Gwales as instructed and there was for them there a Fair Royal Palace overlooking the sea, and in it was a Great Hall…
  1. …The Company went into the Great Hall, and two doors they saw open to the North and South and a third door to the West stood closed. ‘See yonder,’ said Manawydan, ‘the door we must not open.’…
  1. …And that night the Company were there without stint and were joyful and despite all the suffering they had endured no memory of it came to them nor any memory of any sorrow in the world…
  1. …There the Company passed Four-Score Years and none of them were aware of having spent a time more joyous and delightful and none of them grew any older than when they had first come there…
  1. …Nor was it any more irksome to them having the Head there than when Bran had been with them alive. And because of this the Company was renamed and was called the Assembly of the Wondrous Head…
  1. …’And after Four-Score Years Heilyn son of Gwyn said, ‘Shame on my beard if I do not open the Western Door to know if that which is said of it is true.’ So he opened the door and looked on the West and when he looked the Company were conscious of every loss they had sustained, and of every friend and kinsman they had missed and of every ill that had come upon them as if it had just befallen them. From that same moment they could not rest until they set out for Lugdunum and on reaching White Mount they buried the head which deed is one of the Three Happy Concealments for no plague can come to this Isle whilst it is buried here.

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Animal Magic #2…

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Wren and Bear

One summer day Bear and Wolf were walking in the forest and heard a bird singing sweetly.

‘Brother Wolf,’ said Bear, ‘what kind of bird is that which sings so delightfully?’
‘Why, ‘tis the king of the birds, before whom all must do reverence,’ said Wolf.
‘If that be so,’ said Bear, ‘then I should like to see his royal palace, come you must lead me to it.’
So Wolf led Bear to Wren’s nest which contained six young birds.
‘This miserable place is no Royal Palace,’ said Bear on seeing the nest, ‘and you are not king’s children but wretched young vagabonds.’
‘No, no, that we are not,’ said the young wrens and set up such a cacophony of noise that Bear and Wolf ran from the nest holding their paws over their ears.

When Wren returned to the nest with food for the chicks they complained bitterly to him about the insult they had been subjected to by Bear and refused to eat anything until their slight had been re-addressed.

Wren flew straight to Bear’s cave and called to him from the entrance, ‘Old Grumbler why have you insulted my children?’

‘No insult to call a nest which is not a royal palace a filthy nest and its occupants vagabonds,’ called back Bear.

‘That, Old Grumbler shall cost you dear for we will decide this matter by pitch battle,’ said Wren and flew off.

War having been declared against Bear all the four-footed beasts were summoned: Ox, Ass, Goat, Stag, and every animal on the face of the earth.

Wren, on the other hand, summoned every flying thing: not only the birds, great and small, but also Gnat, Hornet, Bee and Fly.

On the eve of the battle Wren sent out spies to see who had been appointed commander in chief of the enemy. Gnat was the most cunning of all the winged folk and he therefore, buzzed away into the forest to where the enemy was camped.

There stood Bear and called Fox to him, ‘you are the craftiest of the animals, so you must be general and lead us on.’

‘That’s good,’ said Fox but, ‘What sign shall we appoint?’

None of the animals answered.

Then Fox said, ‘I have a fine, long bushy tail, which looks like a red feather at a distance; if I hold this tail straight up, all is going well and you must march after me; but if I suffer it to hang down, you must run away as fast as you can.’

As soon as Gnat heard all this she flew home and told Wren everything to a hair.
The day of the battle arrived and Bear with all the four-footed beasts came running along to the field, shaking the very earth with their roaring and bellowing.

Wren also came with his army, whirring and buzzing and humming a sound which was enough to terrify anyone out of their senses.

Then Wren sent Hornet forward to settle on Fox’s tail and sting it three times.

Fox felt the first sting and drew up his hind leg in pain but still managed to carry his tail high in the air as before.

With the second sting though Fox’s tail drooped a little and with the third he could no longer bear the pain and was forced to drop his tail between his legs.

When the other beasts saw this they thought all was lost and began to run, each one to his own hole, den, burrow or cave and so the winged creatures won the battle without any difficulty at all and Old Grumbler Bear was forced to humbly beg pardon from Wren’s children for the insult he had offered them.

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 Weekend of 22-24 April, 2016.

Great Hucklow, Derbyshire Dales. England.

Click the image for further details of this weekend workshop with the Silent Eye

and a special appearance by Mister Fox.

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Leaf and Flame: The Foliate Man #2

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“…where strange things, strife and sadness,

at whiles in the land did fare,

and each other grief and gladness

of fast have followed there…”

– J.R.R Tolkien

#2 Hart to Heart

…“In which the Ladies of the Round rediscover the Tale of Blessed Bran, Merlin and the Lady re-convene the Assembly of the Wondrous Head, King Arthur and his Knights go hunting and Gawain enters the Enchanted Forest in pursuit of the hart and stumbles upon another ‘Death-Pact’ the solution to which lies in the discovery of the correct answer to an elusive riddle.”…

The eyes have been dotted, the tees have been crossed, to all intents and purposes the ‘donkey work’ of writing the five dramas for next year’s April Workshop: Leaf and Flame- The Foliate Man has been done. There will undoubtedly be minor changes between now and then, there always are and these are usually flagged up in the communal read throughs which will take place at our three remaining monthly meetings.

There is still an awful lot of work to be done in terms of music, props, costuming and the presentations which are used throughout to properly set the tone and theme for the weekend…

But more importantly what we really need now is… people!

So, what are you waiting for?

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 Weekend of 22-24 April, 2016.

Great Hucklow, Derbyshire Dales. England.

Click the image for further details of this weekend workshop with the Silent Eye

and a special appearance by Mister Fox.

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