Into the Deep…

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…Shiduri, the tavern keeper, sat,

at the edge of the Great Ocean,

her golden brewing-vat resting by her side.

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Gilgamesh, whose heart was still full of anguish,

strode toward her…

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‘This desperate man must be a murderer,’ thought Shiduri,

‘Why else would he be heading straight for me?’

She locked the lid of her brewing-vat and stood in front of it.

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Gilgamesh heard the lock click and looked up.

There stood Shiduri staring at him, “Who are you,

and where are you going?” she said.

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“I am the king of Wall-Girt Uruk,” said Gilgamesh, “I am

going to find Utnapishtim, so that I can ask him about the Herb of Immortality.”

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“Why is there so much grief in your heart?” said Shiduri.

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“My beloved friend, Enkidu, is turned to clay,” said Gilgamesh,

“Won’t I too, one day, lie down in the dirt like him

and never again rise?”

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“There are none who can cross the Great Ocean

to Utnapishtim,” said Shiduri,

“Only Shamash, who traverses the sky, is brave enough!”

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“But I am the man who slew the tree demon, Humbaba.

And it was I who tore the Bull of Heaven limb from limb.

There must be a way!” cried Gilgamesh, drawing his knife…

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‘Gilgamesh is among the greatest things that can ever happen to a person.’
– Rainer Maria Rilke.

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The Silent Eye’s Spring workshop for 2019

A Dramatic adaptation of the Epic of Gilgamesh…

Full details, cost and booking form are available by clicking HERE

 

The Round Ark?

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The story of Noah’s Ark is one of the first Biblical Tales that people in the western world hear.

Yet the story far pre-dates the compilation of that venerable book.

A tablet recently came to light dating back to Ancient Babylonia, that threw the Bilblical account into question.

Not only was the story of the flood far older than the Bible but it appears the Ark was round!…

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Many of the tales we know from the Bible have more ancient counterparts,

including this one which in its earliest known form comprises a part of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

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In this epic, the character we now know as Noah is named Utnapishtim

and it is he who holds the key to immortal life….

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‘Gilgamesh is among the greatest things that can ever happen to a person.’
– Rainer Maria Rilke.

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The Silent Eye’s Spring workshop for 2019

Full details, cost and booking form are available by clicking HERE

 

Choose your own adventure…

New Year … it is one of those threshold points where we resolve to make a new start… quitting bad habits, starting a health kick or a new project… drawing a line under some aspect of the past and moving forward in a new way. And yet, for all that determination, most of those who commit to change will have broken their resolutions by the middle of January, and that can leave behind the bitter taste of guilt, inadequacy or failure… which, by a cruel irony, was often at the root of the problem in the first place.

It does not have to be that way… we have a new opportunity with every passing second. Every moment is a potential crossroads where we have the chance to choose our way forward. Every choice we make, consciously or unconsciously, shapes the path our future will take and leads us off in a new direction. Like any interesting path, we cannot see where it may lead as we stand at the crossroads, and we have yet another choice… to face the journey with excitement and curiosity, or fear.

The idea reminds me of the old ‘adventure’ books that were popular a few decades ago. You read the story so far and, at a critical moment, were presented with a number of choices. Each choice sent you to a different page in the book where the story took a new direction, leaving you with a new set of choices and eventually leading to one of the many possible endings. In effect, you ‘wrote’ the story, based upon your choices. All the words were written… all possible endings were in there…all combinations of the choices were available… and every time you made a new choice, you rewrote the story. You know the sort of thing…

…you turn the corner and are confronted by a ravenous monster…

Do you:

a) Stand and face it

b) Run away

c) Buy it lunch

The ‘choose your own adventure’ books were targeted primarily at young teens and inadvertently provided a graphic life-lesson. They illustrated that while you may not be able to control external factors in your life, you always have a choice in how you face them… and a responsibility for the path you have chosen to follow and its consequences. The advantage that they had over ‘real life’ was that, if you made the wrong choice, you could always go back to the previous chapter and try again. We do not have that luxury, but we too can learn from our mistakes…and learn more from our worst choices than our best.

I doubt if there are many of us who have not made glaring errors of judgement at some points in our lives and many of us have carried them as a burden of grief, guilt or simple embarrassment that may have weighed us down for years. In many ways, this too is a ‘choose your own adventure’ scenario:

you are confronted by a ravenous monster…

Do you:

a) Stand and face it

b) Run away

c) Feed it

If that ‘ravenous monster’ is named Fear, Guilt or Shame, the chances are that most of us feed it a diet of regret, reliving old emotions engendered by the events that caused it to appear. Just like the adventure books, you cannot erase the chapters that went before…nor do you need to do so. Each step you have taken and choice you have made have combined to bring this you to this moment… and this you can choose to rewrite your adventure whenever it wishes.

The mistakes and apparent failures of the past are a valuable part of our journey. In 1159, John of Salisbury wrote: “Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.” In 1675 Isaac Newton said, : “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” If we have a past filled with mistakes and failures, then perhaps the bigger they seem to us, the higher we can climb upon them and the farther we can learn to see beyond them.

There is only one New Year’s Eve every year where we can make those traditional resolutions, but there are three hundred and sixty four other days. Each one of those has eighty-six-thousand-four-hundred seconds within it… and any one of those can be a threshold of opportunity when we can choose to change our world.

Hearing Beyond Fear…

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We do not take these things lightly.

We try to approach them as informally as possible.

We want to share their magic and inspiration with others.

We want people to enjoy them as we do, in respect and reverence.

We ask people to give as they receive.

We never ask anyone to do anything we are not also prepared to do.

We never insist they take part in any of the exercises or meditations.

We meet always as a community to share our experiences and to learn.

We leave in peace and harmony.

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Being Beyond Seeing…

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One of the ‘hardy perennials’ on many of our workshops is the thorny problem of intent.

Thorny because much of what we now see may not have been originally intended by the erstwhile perpetrator or perpetrators, yet some of what remains most definitely was!

On our recent sojourn around Cornwall, having been cruelly divested of our guide book, we still managed to find one particular unsought spot ‘blind’, as it were, and this is pretty much the task we had now set our Companions…

The telluric current we were ‘following’ passed through the remains of Penrith Castle and on through the site of the Old Church.

The legends that attach themselves to these sites in many cases assume the outward appearance of unbelievable ‘gibberish’ and most certainly do not follow the reasonably delineated form of history, official or otherwise…

And yet, the wry smile which they inievitably engender, the moments reflection which they sometimes inspire, if held onto, and wondered about, and returned to, and nurtured, may well turn into a personal revelation carrying more truth than any spuriously contrived history.

Did Arthur’s Knights ever fight Dragons was the unspoken question gnawing away at the fringes of consciousness? There were none which immediately sprang to mind. And if not, then why not? Given their raison d’etre it would, at first sight, be an obvious way for them to spend their time.

The telluric current we were ‘following’ specifically passed through the body of Penrith Parish Church and was marked on either side by a Sun Dial and a conglomeration of stones which now goes by the moniker of the Giant’s Grave.

The plinth on which the Sun Dial now stands is undeniably late, but has it recently replaced a much earlier one? The conglomeration of stones are much, much, earlier but how long have they been associated with a Giant?

Perhaps, at least as long as the story of Yvain and his friendly lion…

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Feeling Beyond Form…

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We certainly hadn’t intended to talk about Arthur, let alone Merlin when we pencilled in Penrith as the starting point for our weekend workshop.

But the land has a way of communicating it’s own ‘sweet terror’ and when we came across a Welsh Triad referencing Penrith or ‘Pen Rhionydd’ as one of the ‘Seats’ of the legendary British King the ‘cogs’ had inevitably started to turn…

Our June workshop in Dorset had thrown up some poignant ideas with regard to how the ‘ancients’ might be regarding their kinship with Mother Earth…

The constellation we now know as Orion, with its mid-summer rising over the Cerne Abbas hill figure may well have gone under a different name in former times and we still have Arthur’s Wain or ‘Waggon’ illuminating a course across the night sky, better known today as The Plough…

Since our research for the very first literary outing we penned together we had been aware of a plethora of local legends that predated our national Dragon Slayer, George, himself a late medieval replacement for Edmund, as Patron Saint of our Blessed Isles and all relating a similiar tale of sinuous earth energies ‘brought to book’.

The Lambton Wyrm, The Wantley Wurm, and The Laidley Worm, which also featured in our September workshop, to name but a few that we had, only recently, encountered.

Could the notions of authentic, living-land directed, leadership and ‘snake charming’ be linked in some esoteric way we had singularly failed to spot?

Our thoughts came home to Penrith with a jolt of recognition.

The ‘Spirit of Place’ had certainly been operative all those years ago when first it had impinged upon our consciousness and insisted we cross the busy main road to say, ‘Hello’…

And was that any different from being dragged to Dragon Hill at Uffington, or being repeatedly accosted by Glastonbury Tor, not to mention our Ambush by Stone at Long Meg? etc.

What were these sites trying to say?

There was really only one way to find out…

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A Sea of Souls.

willowdot21

This is a mystical moment from this past weekend spent in Cumbria with The Silent Eye. The weekend was entitled The Full Circle : Finding your way home.

It was late morning on the second day of the course and we visited a ring of stones and trees. Physically there were eight of us present, (one of our number was unwell) After a few moments instead of the space of this large place holding only eight people I was aware that I caught up in a crowd of thousands of souls. I have a fear of crowds and I was afraid. One tree called to me and drew me to it.

I did confide this to one of my companions and she assured me, as the tree had done, that I was safe. There is more to tell.

A Sea of Souls

Gently you called to me

Through the crowds…

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