La Chapelle Verte…

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All stands hidden

Out-of-sight

At the heart of the cavernous world.

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All lies sequestered

Black but comely

In the cavernous heart of man.

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The unseen green within grey rock

Wielder of Psyche’s Axe

Looser of her emotional block.

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Our animal soul crowns the summit

Inanimate intimacies call

‘Drink deep – Drink deep’…

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Don’t merely dip a doltish finger-tip

Like felt for freely-gifted gold

or spawn of devil’s bloodied-blot.

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Not sentiment nor sediment

Can satisfy

Such cavernous yawning.

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Drink deep of night

And wake

To day’s dawning.

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All lies hidden

Out-of-sight

At the heart of a cavernous world.

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Green man cover finalfront

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The Red, the White, the Green…

Some things have to be believed

Before they can be seen…

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Available on Amazon worldwide

in Paperback and for Kindle.

SEE: October Zoom Cyber Room…

Photograph – courtesy, the estate of Sue Vincent

(All Tarot Card Images – Rider-Waite Deck)

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The Silent Eye’s October Explorations Zoom Talk

The Thousandth Face – breaking through from the ordinary

Jospeh Campbell’s book, ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’, sold over a million copies.

In it, using his knowledge of philosophy and psychology, Campbell describes how all human myths share a common fundamental structure, which he called the Monomyth.

Essentially ‘the hero’s adventure’ is summarised as:

The hero ventures forth from the world of the common day into a region of supernatural wonder. Fabulous forces are encountered and a decisive victory won. The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow good fortune on his fellow man.

The ‘Mono-Myth’ describes a number of key stages or steps along the way:

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The hero’s adventure begins in the ordinary world with a call to adventure…

The Hobbit – Bilbo seated outside his Hobbit Hole smoking a pipe in the morning light.

The Matrix – Neo’s mundane job in a tech company.

The Arthurian Mythos – The Knights seated around the Round Table in the hall of Camelot

Tarot Card – The Devil, In this instance,

represents the Egoic Nature.

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The Tower (Tarot card) - Wikipedia

…The hero sometimes refuses the call to adventure…

The Hobbit – Bilbo Refuses to have anything to do with adventures when first invited and then tells Gandalf that he ‘has got the wrong hobbit.

The Matrix – Neo follows the white rabbit but when following Morpheus’ instructions to avoid the Agents he fails to cross the abyss of the skyscraper and is captured.

The Biblical Myth of Jonah – The call from God in this instance is flatly refused by Jonah who tries to flee onboard a ship. After a number of negative events which the crew ascribe to Jonah he is thrown overboard to save the ship from further mishaps and swallowed by a whale which regurgitates him alive back at Ninevah.

Tarot Card – The Blasted Tower: The Egoic Nature

is penetrated by Higher Forces.

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The Fool (Tarot card) - Wikipedia

…He/she leaves the ordinary world after accepting the call to adventure…

The Hobbit – Bilbo’s empathy and compassion for the Dwarves, who have lost their home, prompts him to embark on the adventure.

The Matrix – When Neo contemplates running from Trinity she says ‘You’ve been down that road a hundred times before and it doesn’t lead anywhere.’ (paraphrase)

The Arthurian Mythos – The Knights follow the White Stag into the Enchanted Forest.

Tarot Card – The Fool: Penetrated Egoic Nature results in a ‘reckless fool’.

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The Hermit (Tarot card) - Wikipedia

…With the help of a mentor, the hero will cross a guarded threshold, leading him to a supernatural world, where the familiar laws of the ordinary world no longer apply…

The Hobbit – Gandalf. The Matrix – Morpheus. The Bible Myths – God. The Arthurian Mythos – Merlin. Celtic Irish Myth – Mananan mac Lir.

Tarot Card – The Hermit: In a high place, which may well be interior,

holds aloft a light.

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Strength (Tarot card) - Wikipedia

…There, the hero will embark upon a road of trials, tests, or temptations…

Indiana Jones – Take your pick! 

The Irish Hero CuChulain – The Sword Bridge. 

The Arthurian Mythos – Perilous Seat, Grail Questions. Combative Knights.

The Hobbit – Golem’s Riddles…

Myth of Christ – Jesus in the wilderness tested by Satan.

Tarot Card – Strength: An unarmed,

feminine character closes the mouth of the Lion.

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The Star (Tarot card) - Wikipedia

…Mysterious allies sometimes assist…

In the Welsh myth of Culwch and Olwen, the hero Culwch is aided in his quest to find Olwen by a number of aged, wise animals.

Stag… Raven… Owl… Salmon…

These animals talk, guiding the hero to the next in turn until he is finally transported to the Other-World where his treasure awaits.

Tarot Card – The Star: The feminine figure

represents the planetary being of the earth.

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Death (Tarot card) - Wikipedia

…As the hero faces the ordeal, they encounter the greatest challenge of the journey…

The Hobbit – Slaying the Dragon…

The Matrix – Overcoming The Agents…

Culwch and Olwen – outwitting Olwen’s father, Ysbaddaden.

The Arthurian Mythos – The Green Knight.

Tarot Card – Death: although the ground is strewn with body parts a glorious sun rises on the horizon.

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The Chariot (Tarot card) - Wikipedia

…Upon rising to this challenge, the hero receives a reward, or boon…

The Hobbit – The Trolls Treasure.

The Matrix – Freedom within the Matrix.

Culwch – marries Olwen, or is united with his Soul.

Arthurian Mythos – The Grail is achieved.

Tarot Card – The Chariot: The balanced psyche

moves forward without hindrance in the world.

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The Lovers - Wikipedia

…He/she returns to the ordinary world, empowered to act in a higher way…

Tarot Card – The Lovers: ‘open up and get out of the way.’

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‘There were a few outstanding questions, including whether Campbell focused on the masculine and, if so, what would the feminine hero’s journey look like if it were different.

We were left with four leading questions to ponder:

What is being described?

How does each part of the Mono-Myth relate to one’s own story?

How do we know that the Quest has begun?

Why would we want to undertake this Journey?

An open invitation was extended to the group to join ‘The Hero’s Journey’, the Silent Eye’s next landscape workshop, at Castlerigg Stone Circle and its environs, Cumbria, UK, May 6-8, 2022.

This will be a personal journey related to each individual as the hero of their own life, shared in a communal environment with meals at local hostelries…’ – Recorder

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Crucible of the Sun

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…For three days Gwythyr-the-Bright journeyed

in the gullet of the Black Salmon of the Lake of Light.

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On the third night, he came to a river valley

whose edges were forested with tall trees.

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From root to crown, one half of the trees

in that forest were aflame while the other

half were green with leaves.

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There were level meadows on both sides of the

river and on one bank grazed a flock of black

sheep with on the other a flock of white sheep.

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When a white sheep bleated a black sheep would cross

the river and turn white and when a black sheep bleated

a white sheep would cross the river and turn black…

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Crucible of the Sun: The Mabinogion Retold

By Stuart France

“I will dazzle like fire, hard and high, will flame the breaths of my desire; chief revealer of that which is uttered and that which is asked, tonight I make naked the word.”

Once upon a time we gathered around the flames of the hearth and listened to tales of long ago and far away. The stories grew in the telling, weaving ancient lore whose origins lie somewhere in a misty past with tales of high adventure, battles, magic and love. In Crucible of the Sun, this oral tradition is echoed in a unique and lyrical interpretation of tales from the Mabinogion, a collection of stories whose roots reach back into the depths of time, spanning the world and reflecting universal themes of myth and legend.

These tales capture a narrative deeply entwined through the history of the Celtic peoples of the British Isles, drawing on roots that are embedded in the heart of the land. In Crucible of the Sun the author retells these timeless stories in his own inimitable and eminently readable style. The author’s deep exploration of the human condition and the transitions between the inner worlds illuminate this retelling, casting a unique light on the symbolism hidden beyond the words, unravelling the complex skein of imagery and weaving a rich tapestry of magic.

‘The author’s creative and scholarly engagement with the material and enthusiasm for the original tales is evident throughout.’ The Welsh Books Council

‘I found it very inspiring!’ Philip Carr-Gomm, former Chosen Chief, Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (O.B.O.D.)

Available worldwide via Amazon, in paperback and for Kindle.

 

Nice weather for ducks

Hellebore

It has been raining yet again. So much for getting anything done outside today. Walking the dog will be enough. The camera is getting used to it by now. Though not designed as waterproof, it has been out in all weathers, tucked under coats and shawls. It is seldom that I move without it. A road trip, where I know that all I will get to do is drive, still sees it tucked up on the back seat of the car, looking at me as hopefully as Ani when it is time for her walk. You just never know what you will find, or where you may be able to pull over.

magpie strutting

One recent, rainy day saw me drenched and with squelching feet, wandering around a west London park. My son was there on business, and I was there on taxi duty. While he was dealing with the sharp end, I wandered off for a while and was glad I did, in spite of the fact that the little lace slippers were rather less than appropriate. That too, seems to be something of a feature.

mallard

“Nice weather… for ducks!” grunted an elderly gentleman sheltering under a big old tree. The ducks may well have been appreciative. Other birds were less so, though the rain did not appear to have dampened the amorous ardour of at least one determined suitor. It is, after all, spring, and, in spite of the drenching they were getting, or perhaps because of it, the trees and flowers were making the most of the season.

pigeons

I think it is the contrast between freshly washed petals and rain-darkened bark and earth that does it. While sunshine shows the playful gaiety of spring, rain seems to highlight the details on every leaf and petal, throwing textures into relief and marking a sharp contrast in the colours. The sparkling drops add an extra dimension that links earth and sky in a very intimate manner.

blossom

Thinking about it, I realised that our instinct is still to think of the sky as being ‘up’… like the blue strip a child paints across the top of a picture. Yet the sky and the earth embrace, their meeting as close as it can be as every contour of the earth and sea, every grain of sand, every leaf and blade is touched by the sky, without any possible separation. As are we.

wet thrush

Yet we imagine a separateness; simply accepting that the sky is above us. The poets tell us so with their starry heavens… yet those heavens are here on earth too, all around us. How could I have missed that, all these years? What logic knows lacks a soul until understanding illuminates it. We are not children of earth, but creatures of earth and sky.

flowers bike 032

I remembered my younger son, drinking the water dripping from a rock face half way up Ben Nevis one day. He had asked where the water came from, so high up… “So, I am drinking clouds, then?” he had said. The child’s logic too was poetry to me and I realised that by extension of the same thought, I was myself poised between heaven and earth, breathing in the sky. I wondered about that; an analogy could be made there… how many other things do we live and breathe and know without Knowing?

magpie

Thinking about that as the rain fell changed the feeling of the day from simply soggy to glorious. The all-pervading damp was no longer a chill imposition but the kiss of the sky upon my brow. The little plumes of steam that rose from both me and the sheltering creatures more than just a drying out… it was a reaching up, an answering embrace, like a child stretching their arms to a father.

water bird with big feet

A little clumsily, still learning to find our feet in the world, unsure of quite who or what we are, we walk through life in unconscious wonder. We may focus our gaze upon the earth and its rewards, or we may look up to a distant sky and reach for diamond stars. Yet perhaps we do not need to strive so hard to reach the apparently unattainable; perhaps the beauty we seek was right here with us all along.

magnolia

Hidden Avebury…

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… And from Needles of Stone,

to Avenues,

or at least,

what remains of one…

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The ‘Mary Line’ which we had been following from Cornwall

runs right through the two ‘small’ stones

that had ‘called’ to us from the roadside,

and would once have been ushered, by these same avenue stones,

all the way into the Avebury Ring…

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Not so small, then…

No, not small at all.

 

Mistletoe

Bare winter fingers Unveil the treasure hidden By summer's mantle

This picture was taken in early spring last year, just as the world began to warm itself in the pale sunlight. The place was Pilton, a little village near Glastonbury with a legendary history as big as a heart. It is here, the stories tell us, that Joseph of Arimathea landed on a trading visit to the Isles of Tin, bringing with him a boy… his nephew, say some… whose name was Jesus.

None know the truth of that story, though historically it is possible. There is ample evidence for the trade and it is not the only such legend in Albion. It gives credence to the other legend of Joseph that says that after the crucifixion, he brought the story of the resurrection to these Isles, landing, once again, in the shadow of the Tor… bringing word and a Vessel to Avalon.

I hover between a natural scepticism and a desire to accept. So many of the most ancient tales were bent to serve Christianity in its early days, turning the sacred knowledge of the old gods into the hagiographies of fictitious saints or tying their miracles to the hills of the Fae and the healing wells of the goddess, robbing them of their true lineage. I am not a Christian in the orthodox sense; I belong to no church but serve what I conceive of being perhaps better termed the Cosmic Christ. Yet I am also a child of these Isles and rooted in the land, and there is a warmth and simplicity in these old tales of the Child whose feet walked these blessed shores that makes me choose to believe that there is something in them; something that speaks to the heart rather than to the logical mind. As such, perhaps subjective truth is a matter of choice or faith.

Looking down the valley in the photograph towards the Tor, you can trace the ancient waterway, now no more than a stream, that once brought ships to safe harbour at Pilton. The channel remains, deep and wide and the eye of the mind can trace the outlines of moorings and see the bustle of a small trading port. Seeing the land open itself in this way somehow permits belief.

The trees were bare of everything but the balls of mistletoe that would soon be hidden by exuberant spring. The brilliant young green would cover them, hiding from view the ancient orbs, sacred to those who walked the earth long before Christianity reached our shores. The mistletoe lives upon the branches, its seeds rooting and drawing sustenance and life from roots other than its own so that it may flower, fruit and set future seeds, colonising the trees. Not unlike the story that was brought to these shores so long ago.

The mistletoe is hidden for most of the year, covered by the leaves of its host. You only get occasional glimpses of its presence… and only if you are looking. Yet, when the world is bleak and cold and the branches raise skeletal fingers to the sun, it is there… a plant that has been sacred since time immemorial, and which has come to be a symbol of peace.

Here too I find an echo of a faith that is seldom broadcast, perhaps, but which is there in the darkest of times. It does not belong to any particular denomination or religion…it may not even have a name… it is the faith of the heart that turns towards something greater when the shadows fall. In those moments seeds are planted in the soul that may find a place to grow. It does not need logic, facts or explanations. It does not need dogma or teachings… those are for the exoteric world. The heart knows no logic and faith is not rooted in religion… it is an unruly and invasive tendril that winds through the soul. And when it is free to grow wild, then it is beautiful.

The Great Mystery: Dreaming…

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The mystery conspires with the

animal world whose souls so resemble

the purity and innocence of a human child.

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It recognises the miracle of life

in both seed and egg

and the wonder of a harvest which

springs from an ear of corn.

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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

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The Great Mystery: Crowds

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The mystery needs no

shrines or temples

save those that nature provides.

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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.

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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

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Weland Mind-Weld…

14th September 2021…

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‘On such a day as this two fools who laughed at death

embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime…’

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…Today, the adventure is all but over

with just a sealing of fire

and water, inevitably, and air, and earth still to accomplish…

‘Stones for the earth,’ he said.

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Comparisons with our first trip here together are unavoidable.

Dragon Hill looms equally unexpectedly,

and is also just as gracefully, ‘unoccupied’.

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Had we known then what we now know

would things have been different?

‘About the hilt of Albion’s sword…’

Probably.

Small wonder then that it is difficult not to

lose balance when approaching this point.

Think what could have been done.

And still can…

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*

The ash shadows the grooves of the manger.

A Dragon-Wing,

mirrored in staccato billowing…

‘Deep Breaths of the Fire-Drake.’

Obeisance turns brackish.

*

*

A raking cough greets us from the ‘forge’.

Manifest irony or iron-age humour?

Our grinning Jester emerges from the copse

with dancing dog in tow.

If more magic were required…

What once held no faces now holds hosts.

‘I’ve made a circle with the stones.’

A web-of-light where once the heat-haze rose…

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*

The manure mounds become

a million hubs of cobbled-corn.

No birds to speak of,

only flying rabbits…

hopping bad, and a rare hare.

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No fare at an Inn which had previously provided the finest…

The Greyhound, though, ‘salved’ the day.

‘It’s got lights on and everything!’

With an over abundance of those things most needful,

and, incredibly, Red-Kite Ale…

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*

But what a tale!

Of shooting stars,

and ‘Old Skool’ bars.

Of skirt tails and hair trails,

to tell in the slow, slow, dawns of mourning…

Sue would have been sixty-three years old today,

‘Now, she is everywhere.’

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Sue, and beloved Ani, at one of her favourite haunts – Photograph courtesy Alethea Kehas

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The adventure, continues…

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File:Reconstruction of face A of Leeds cross fragment 2c.jpg

Weland-the-Smith with Swan-Maiden

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In the Land of the Living Heart

Brig and Weland Mind-Weld are playing fidchell…

Brig: Wen to Blakey-Topping.

Weland: She’ll never get there.

Brig: But I have a poem for her.

Weland: Which she will never receive.

A mist on Blakey-Topping.

A mist of mists on the Old-Wives-Way…

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… BRIG’S LAY

Lay me down beneath an Iron Sky

In the centred stillness of a Dragon-Eye

And let sweet-odorous heather be my pall

On a speaking hill where angel-feathers fall

With earth beneath my skin and sky above

I shall await, in silence, the descent of love…

Heart of Albion

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Heart of Albion – Stuart France & Sue Vincent

Wayland: The White Horse…

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But according to some, Wayland has far more onerous

responsibilities than shoeing the horses of passing way farers…

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A group of local lads were enjoying a drink

one evening at the White Horse Inn, Woolstone,

when an unknown man wearing old fashioned garb

entered and ordered a pint of the local beverage.

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He wore a leather apron, a tall hat,

and he took his drink and sat

to one side of the ale-house by himself…

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After awhile the sound of a horn rang out

and could be heard

echoing eerily through the vale…

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Startled from his reverie by the horn,

the stranger leapt to his feet and hobbled

out into the night, his pint unfinished.

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As the uncanny sound faded over the downs

the locals looked out and up to the hillside

to find that the White Horse was gone!

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When dawn broke the following day

more than a few of the previous night’s imbibers

looked out of their windows

and up at the hill with some trepidation…

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Only to see the White Horse

back where it should be on the green hillside

but with feet-tips

that seemed to shine in the morning sun light.

 

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