Curried garlic

diana nick ashridge 090

I recoiled as I opened the door. There had, quite apparently, been garlic the night before. Lots of garlic. Evidently in curry. And there can be few things worse than second-hand garlic, except, perhaps, walking, all unsuspecting, into a small, hermetically sealed room where the stuff has been exuded from every pore overnight. My tormentor laughed at the groans that escaped me, in spite of my attempts to hold my breath, as I beat a hasty retreat after diving for the window and throwing it wide open. I wasn’t going back till the miasma had cleared.

Those who say that garlic is good for you have evidently never encountered the phenomenon of the exudation of the stuff overnight. It may indeed have many health benefits, including as an antibacterial. Certainly nothing, even as virulent as a virus, could have survived in that room.

He, of course, had enjoyed the meal and was so habituated to the gradual garlic infestation of his environs that he was unaware of it. I had detected vague precursors to the pollution of his airspace as soon as I had opened the front door to let myself in, of course; but the sheer scale and venomous stench of the stuff was overpowering. Especially so early in the morning. Though I was fairly glad I’d only gulped down a coffee before the taxi arrived to take me to his home. Breakfast and I would otherwise have undoubtedly parted company.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like garlic. Properly used as a condiment it is rather like salt…barely noticeable; enhancing, rather than adding, flavour in a dish. As an ingredient, it adds a wonderful freshness and distinctive character. As a curried-morning-after-the-night-before, it is, however, vile.

The stench, for I cannot call it by a lesser name, holds memories for me. Vague wafts of the Parisian Metro at rush hour, coupled with its own distinctive smell of sulphur, as if the underground train runs through the bowels of Hell instead of beneath the steps of heaven. The doctor whose face was, for hours, inches from mine as he stitched it back together again. The desperation of mint and fresh parsley when a first date came immediately after a garlic and green bean salad… I have memories of garlic. And those that sprang to mind, elicited from the depths, were, it has to be said, none of them good.

My tormentor, however, having thoroughly enjoyed the meal the night before, was blithely unconscious of the effects of his allium indulgence. Until those effects were made abundantly apparent by my reactions to the olfactory assault. His hilarity was not, however, consummate with own state of mind and body by this point, as said body went into flight mode and headed for the open door…

A little garlic, I can cope with. It is easy to simply ignore and you become so accustomed to it, in small quantities, that you soon barely notice its presence. It becomes part of the atmosphere. It is easy too, to fail to notice another person’s memorial garlic, when you have shared the platter with them, or eaten a similar one of your own creation. One’s own level of exudation, however, remains often undetected.

I could, however, see an analogy in that as I breathed the fresh, clean air on his doorstep; wondering how often we can all create situations whose chain-reactions ripple through the lives of those around us, while we ourselves remain unconscious, like the toxic exhalation of curried garlic previously enjoyed… until something snaps, bends or breaks… and metaphorical fresh air is not always so easy to find. We do what we do, without malice, without any intention of causing potential harm or indeed discomfort to others, yet we cannot always foresee the effects of our behaviour until it becomes a cause of regret.

Rather like eating too much curried garlic.

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.

 

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.

 

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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Eye of the beholder

the-toilet-of-venus-peter-paul-rubens
The Toilet of Venus, Rubens c.1614

“…item, two lips indifferent red; item, two grey eyes, with lids to them; item, one neck, one chin, and so forth.”

Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare

Let’s be clear… fashions change, in beauty as in all else. Many of the celebrated beauties of history would not cut the mustard by today’s standards. Cleopatra had a big nose. Emma Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson, was fat by the time they met. And Rubens’ Venus had cellulite. The list could go on. These women, accounted great beauties in their day, to modern eyes may lack that certain something we are almost indoctrinated to seek. Was it just fashion that gave them their place in history? Or was there more to these women? Charm, grace, laughter and intellect; or did they exude that sensuality that attracts regardless of face?

I was speaking with a woman today, very beautiful to my eyes. Just a chance acquaintance, but so much of her story was poured out in that brief meeting … a tragic one… and all rooted in a simple fact; she felt worthless unless she could feel beautiful. It made me angry and set me thinking about my own journey to being comfortable in my skin. Both men and women are too often made to feel they must live up to an aesthetic ideal, yet what really matters is what is under the skin.

I never felt beautiful. I was born several centuries too late to ever be the life model for a painting of Venus. I feel I would have liked Rubens.

Looking back now at old photos, I was a pretty child at that age when, as a child you really do not notice or care about such things. I was a ‘girlie’ girl, with pale curls and the big brown eyes I now love in my younger son. Though he has always had far more eyelashes than any man should lay claim to…

As a teenager I could ape, but lacked, the confidence of my peers. I never felt I matched up. There was no envy, no sour grapes… it was just the way things were and I admired my friends, envying only their confidence. I stopped growing upwards around the five foot mark and rounded out. The pale curls became an un-tameable mop of mousey brown. The nose, broken by this stage already, had become a family joke; kindly meant, but leaving uncomfortable bruises on the fragile surface of the fledgling woman. The legs were decent, but the ankles not quite as fine as my mother’s… nor the wrists… nor the cheekbones… or the dratted nose. And comparison was inevitable… we looked very much alike.

My mother had lovely hair, rich auburn… and better skin too. My teenage acne had me evicted from the doctor’s waiting room one day. “You can’t bring her in here with measles!” the receptionist had said. Which did wonders for my flagging self-confidence, as you can imagine! Yet the weird thing was, I never lacked a boyfriend back then. It certainly wasn’t beauty that attracted them… I made my own guess at the cause and did my confidence even less good.

I could always see beauty in others and have tried to find ways to have them see in themselves what I could see. Bodies are incredible machines, sculpted by a master in every conceivable shape, size and hue. I have never yet seen a face I find ugly or physically repulsive, only expressions … calculated nastiness, venomous hatred and coldness… have ever seemed ugly. People can be unattractive that way. But most are not. Most have similar issues of self-image to my own and, no matter what you say or do, few can accept their own beauty as it is in the eyes of another. Even my own sons will not accept what is mirrored in my eyes… I am ‘just Mum’… my opinion therefore counts for nothing.

Eventually, I was a wife, and could look in the mirror and acknowledge that the reflection was okay… not beautiful, not by any standard I knew. But okay, and that was good enough. The eyes were nice. The nose wasn’t too bad really and could have been worse. The lips a perfect shape. Even the skin was reasonable at last. Confidence began to build… till a drunk driver rearranged the face a fair bit and it was back to square one through the years it took for the scarring to settle.

That taught me a lot. Youth defines itself often by its appearance, but faces do not define who we are. To ourselves, we are more than just a face. To others, we are more than just a face… and if we are not, then perhaps the problem lies within them, not our appearance. It taught me too that if I looked at myself and saw only the scars, that is all others would be able to see too. If I allowed the scars to be at the forefront of my vision of myself, I would see myself only as a tragedy. And so would others.

But you grow up. Priorities shift. There would be jobs and perhaps children. You did your best with what you had, accepting the self-image, flawed or not. It becomes a habit. Years and a few extra curves will change everything anyway.

Confidence came from other things than face or figure. There were more important things than feeling yourself to be beautiful. Seeing a new life changing your waistline to whale shaped, holding your newborn babe and falling into those eyes… closing the eyes of a loved one for that final time. I did not feel beautiful, but I knew that in such moments I was living within beauty.

Nowadays, I look in the mirror as rarely as possible. Not for fear of what I will see, but because I have better things to do with my life than worry too much about my appearance. There is nothing I could do that is going to make me fit the accepted ideal of tall, slender and youthful beauty. Other than perhaps a strict diet and fitness regime, being voluntarily stretched on some torturer’s rack and wholesale plastic surgery… not to mention a trip back a couple of decades in a time machine…

It doesn’t matter. The face that looks back at me is my own. It carries my experience, my joys and sorrows, old worry tracks my brow and laughter draws stars around my eyes. Our youthful perception of ourselves lacks depth. We see and judge ourselves on our surfaces, the sometimes brittle, sometimes bright reflection of our own image thrown back at us by the world like those fleeting glimpses in shop windows. We lack the experience to see deep enough to go beyond the outer shell and, we were to find a way in, there would still be a void the years had yet to fill.

When we are young we learn from others how to evaluate our world. It is all we have to live by until we can replace their teaching with knowledge of our own. It is easy to become stuck with those acquired filters; the habits that cloud our vision and our understanding with patterns that should have been discarded as obsolete and replaced with the rich texture of experience.

To my own eyes my features still seem coarse… but I know that I judge them by a standard learned long ago. To the cold steel of my only tape measure, my figure is not what it was. But it’s not that bad either. The hair is more unruly than ever and starting to be streaked with white. Which is fine. I have lived in this body for a good while now and done a lot with it. It’s entitled to fray a bit round the edges. I have lived, laughed, wept and more than anything, I have loved and been loved.

Looking back at old photographs, it is as if I am looking at someone I do not know. Were I to have met her, I would undoubtedly have told that young woman she was beautiful. She wouldn’t have believed me; she would have thought I was simply being kind. She would have had to learn to look out through my eyes… and her eyes were still too young and too caught by the vision of beauty she saw in others.

Today, those eyes see things rather differently. Although I can admire the aesthetics of youth, the people I would call truly beautiful are those who have lived a little longer. I see their lives in their eyes, their laughter and tears written in the map of their face, the confidence of experience and the wisdom of having learned from it… and an indefinable light within them that shines with a timeless and ageless beauty. And for myself? I live on the most beautiful planet imaginable, surrounded by wonders. I am part of the marvellous dance of creation that links every atom, every creature, each rock and wave. Why should I need to see a superficial beauty in the mirror when I can feel myself part of such living beauty?

There are too many tragedies happening quietly around us, from eating disorders, to self harm. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. It isn’t so much about how others see us, but how we are allowed, and able to see ourselves.

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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Nine Deadly Sins: The Eye for an ‘I’~ a book by Steve Tanham

Their meetings are necessarily brief… seldom no more than a coffee, a momentary pause between the demands of life and work… but for John and Alexandra time matters less than the connection they share…

“It’s about where you put the “I”, isn’t it?” I asked John, as he sat down, late with latté, and smiled, apologetically, at me.

“Where is the “I’ now?” he asked, smiling over the hot coffee he was trying to sip, to catch up with mine.

“That’s what I’m wrestling with,” I responded, trying not to lose the thread that I had carefully assembled in the past week, parts of which were trying to sneak away in the face of the lovable but infuriating man who might just help me unravel it…

Why Nine Deadly Sins, when the world speaks of only seven?

When John and Alexandra meet for coffee, a challenge is issued that will take Alexandra on a strange journey into the depths of the human psyche.

These coffee-break encounters bring to life the mysteries of the spiritual enneagram as explored by the Silent Eye, a modern Mystery school.

Available now on Amazon


About the author

Steve is an ex-software entrepreneur who left the corporate IT world behind in 2011 to concentrate on his first love – the teaching of the mystical life. He is one of the founding directors of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, which uses an evolutionary version of the enneagram to identify the lenses of perception that obscure the world of the real and the spiritual.

Born into a Rosicrucian family in Bolton, Lancashire, in 1954, Steve grew up surrounded by mystical discussion and fascinating but often peculiar grown-ups. In adult life, and alongside a career in IT, he was an active Rosicrucian Officer for AMORC in the North of England. There followed seven years of service with the Servants of the Light – Dolores Ashcroft Nowicki’s Qabalistic school of modern magic, culminating in the entry to SOL’s highest grade – the House of the Amethyst.

Steve’s fellow director of the Silent Eye is Stuart France. In 2013, he published his first book, “The Song of the Troubadour” based on the teachings and ritual dramas of the Silent Eye’s 2013 launch and Workshop in Derbyshire. In July 2014 he published his second work, “The Land of the Exiles” – a combination of esoteric psychology and drama that formed the backbone of the 2014 Silent Eye workshop in the Derbyshire Hills. Both books are available on Amazon and Kindle. In November 2015, he published Ben’s Bits – The Ballad of Bakewell Gaol, a bitter-sweet graphical novel of a man imprisoned in a Victorian gaol for the relocation of a sacred monument. The book is written in the style of Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol, said to be his greatest work.

Steve believes in light-heartedness and humour as much as spirituality – seeing the two as intrinsically linked. He publishes a regular blog where irony, humour and occasional insights may be found.


Find and follow Steve

   Sun in Gemini   Twitter   Facebook   Amazon   Website

Also by Steve Tanham, available via Amazon

 

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.

*

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