Digging deeper… with Anne Copeland

 

A story is told to engage the imagination and the sense of wonder. A tale that does so will stay in memory… making it a perfect vessel to hold a deeper meaning that may lie dormant until we are armed with the tools of life-experience and ready to understand. Many of the tales that have come down to us from the farthest reaches of our collective past are treasure chests of knowledge, allowing us to glimpse not only the belief-systems and cultures that bequeathed them to us, but to lift the veil on the inner workings of the human psyche, both as individuals and as societies.

When Anne Copeland, a student of the Silent eye, first came across a reference to the story of Gilgamesh in a post about our upcoming workshop, Lord of the Deep, she became fascinated by the story. Instead of simply reading the ancient Epic, she looked beyond the surface, seeking for understanding and symbolic meaning… which is exactly what you are supposed to do with these ancient tales.

Anne has yet to recieve a copy of the workbook we have produced for the weekend and has used a different translation from those we have employed… but some of the questions and realisations she has gained may blossom and bear fruit when, in two weeks time, we begin to share the story of the workshop.


Gilgamesh Makes an Appearance at My Home

Anne Copeland

The first time I read about the oldest piece of literature known, found in Sumeria, I was intrigued and had to find a copy and read it.  I had absolutely no clue as to what the story could contain that might be of specific interest to me, and yet as I began to read it, I was intrigued and could not stop reading.

In the version I read, which may be different from the version you will be following with the event, Enkidu, who became a best friend of Gilgamesh, was part of the wilderness in a most personal way.  It does not even make any sense that he was anything other than an integral part of it.  He is shown as the protector of the wilderness, and it is not clear in the reading where the wilderness ends and he begins.  It is a beautiful and amazing feat that these Sumerians considered that he was a part of and that the wilderness meant something totally significant to those people, something deep and abiding that the people needed to protect.

And yet, Gilgamesh comes into the story, and when he hears about Enkidu, he wants him to be brought to this place where the Gods he knows dwell.  He wants to join with Enkidu in an adventure that he wants to experience, in a world very different from his own. And so it is that the “trapper” comes to bring Enkidu, who is a form of God on his own, to the dwelling place of Gilgamesh.  And again, for what most might consider a primitive culture, the Sumerians had a clear understanding of the duality that exists in the world – good and evil, light and dark, droughts and floods, pain and wellness, sorrow and joy, life and death, and each part has its place.

I don’t want to spoil the event for you by giving you the whole story, but I WILL say that this story clearly has helped me to see what my own part in this world is in process of becoming. Is this story truth, or is it a myth or legend? What parts of it do you relate to or wonder about? Is there any part of this that causes you to shudder or feel concerned or uncomfortable? If you could change anything about this story, what might it be?  I know I spent a lot of time thinking about this and wishing that certain changes that take place might not have taken place.  But then I am just finishing my first year, and endeavoring to understand things that are still new to me.  This is not an overnight course or workshop where I spend one entire day and then I am full of great wisdom the next day.  How can I understand this duality in life and become one with it?  And how can I come to understand and believe that not everything that seems horrible may be so, and that it may or may not be everlasting when it happens?

Although I am not able to be there in person this year, I will definitely be there in spirit.  I will be studying this same story and trying to find the depth of meaning for my own life.  I wish each and every person in attendance the best that has been, the best that is, and the best that ever will be.  Enjoy!!!


You can find out more about Anne at her blog, All in a Day’s Breath


Would you like to know more?

For details of the School and our methods, how to join our Correspondence Course, or to find out more about our Workshops and Events please explore our website or email The Silent Eye at rivingtide@gmail.com

Two Aprils Inside the Magic of the Silent Eye ~ Alethea Kehas

 

With less than two weeks to go before we journey to the ancient land of Sumer for Lord of the Deep, Alethea Kehas, a Companion of the Silent Eye, shares her experiences with the Silent Eye’s April workshops:

Alethea as Guinevere, Leaf and Flame, 2016

I’m not an actor, nor have I ever had aspirations to be one. The only plays I’ve participated in were obligatory grade school productions many years ago. So, it may seem strange how much I was drawn to the Silent Eye’s annual April workshops in Derbyshire, England. They felt mysterious and evocative. A weekend of ritual acting was a foreign concept to me, yet to be explored, as was the land of England. Sometimes, though, we must heed the call of the heart and be open to where it will lead us. The mystery unfolds through trusting that the heart knows what the mind does not always understand.

I can’t even tell you for sure how I met Sue years before I flew out to England, and through the amorphous world of blogging. That our two paths managed to intersect through words sent out over the vast, invisible threads of the World Wide Web seems both miraculous and destined. I suppose it doesn’t matter who found who, only that the finding occurred at just the right time.  A time when I was seeking answers to life’s inner mysteries.

I joined the School, under the mentorship of Sue, a year before I attended my first April workshop. It was not a requirement for me to fly out to England to receive my first-degree initiation, nor was I required to attend the ritual weekend in Derbyshire. Yet I knew there was something waiting to be found and woken within me by being there.

So, I went. Traveling more than 3,000 miles into the unknown to a place and group of people I had never met in the physical realm in this lifetime, but felt like home. I was nervous, to be sure. Mostly because I had no idea what I would find. I didn’t know what ritual acting was, and even though I had been asked to play a minor role in terms of lines spoken, I was anxious about how I would perform.

I need not have worried. The ability to act a role is not a requirement, and in fact may even be an inhibiting fact if one allows it to be, to the part one plays in the weekend’s events. Instead, what is required is a trust and surrender to the role of becoming. Becoming, that is, the aspect of the self that wants to be awakened. And, in the process, opening to the unknown and all its magic.

In order for this opening and becoming to occur, the ego must take the backseat to the heart. Even though I may have felt the ego’s doubt as to my performance as Queen Guinevere during that first April, I allowed myself to open to the role and see where it led me. And, in the process, I discovered that the “role” one is asked to play does not leave you once you leave the room and the rest of the cast. It lingers inside of you. It becomes you. Urgent, yet not unkind, it enters your cells and awakens a long-forgotten memory. That is the true magic that awaits you.

 

I thought I was being haunted at first. The white queen appeared at the foot of my bed at the Nightingale Centre. Waking me from restless slumber, she pulled the covers that bind the self. I feared her at first. It was unexpected, yet not uninvited.  To travel through the veil of illusion, one must run naked, shedding the wrap of the false self. Magic comes with trust and surrender. And it is not the magic of potions and spells, but of the true, unfettered self.

I left that first April changed. Opened in a way I could not wholly explain. During the day, I had played the role of the fairy queen, and at night I ran into her land like a wild boar, fearless and filled with wonder. And in the days passed, I opened more, and I am still opening to the self that embodies the aspects of the fairy queen that had been hiding within.

The following April, the role of Bratha was offered to me. The Feathered Seer. This time I did not question worthiness, because I had learned that the outer has no significance when the inner is called forth. I did not question that it was my role to take, because I knew already that the Feathered Seer was within me and always had been. My job was to become her and to become myself at the same time. One, the same as the other. And, like with Guinevere, I am still becoming Bratha as she continues to open my sight to the land’s magic and the magic within.

Each role is the same, but different. It is yours alone to take as offered and to become it wholly and completely as only you can in that unveiling of the magic of the true self you hold inside of you. There are no awards offered at the end of the weekend for “Best actor,” instead the award is yours alone to give and to receive.

Sometimes we hesitate to gift ourselves what we most need. Flying out to England every year may on the outside appear as a luxury, but I have learned to let that go. Each time I return back home to New England altered and opened in sometimes very unexpected ways. But each time, I receive what I most needed, and it is all the magic I could hope for and more.


Alethea Kehas, owner of Inner Truth Healing and Yoga is a Third Degree Companion of the Silent Eye.

Alethea lives in New England, with her family. She is the author of A Girl Named Truth and the young adult metaphysical fantasy series, Warriors of Light.

She blogs at Not Tomatoes and can be found at her website.


Would you like to know more?

For details of the School and our methods, how to join our Correspondence Course, or to find out more about our Workshops and Events please explore our website or email The Silent Eye at rivingtide@gmail.com

Fragile strength

butterfly 41

Unfettered beauty

Riding the storms of Chaos

Fragile as a heart

There are few things as strong…or as fragile…as a butterfly. Their delicate wings can withstand both wind and rain, yet the touch of a finger can damage them beyond repair. Their physical strength starts early when, as caterpillars, they munch their way through leaves ten times their size before moving on to the next, decimating the plants upon which their parent laid their eggs.

They have another strength though, not visible to the irate gardener or passionate lepidopterist… they have the strength to yield to the inevitability of their own dissolution. Retiring to their homespun cocoon, metamorphosis occurs; they are dissolved into the component parts of their own being before their final emergence as beauty incarnate.

butterfly2

It makes you wonder about the strength of the impulsion of Nature…and whether the caterpillar is aware of its future. How much awareness does a caterpillar have? Enough to fear its transformation… or just a blind obedience to the urgency of instinct? Either way, the process is inescapable. They cannot hold on to their juvenile form… only let go and allow Nature to do her work and the inevitable transformation to occur.

We face the same fate as we live and grow… that too is an inescapable process. We can cling on to youth or to the past, to our illusions or to people, desperately trying to maintain the life and comfort-zone with which we are familiar and that conforms to our image of self… or we can let them go. Not everything that we release will fly away; sometimes they remain and in that there is great beauty, for what we then have we do not need to hold, for it is a gift freely given, not the product of restraint and a grasping hand.

butterfly

The saddest thing of all must be the butterfly collector. His strength, he imagines, lies in his knowledge and expertise… and in the completeness of his collection. In truth, he is more fragile than the flying petals he seeks to acquire; he imagines himself master, yet can only appreciate what he has squeezed the life from before skewering it with a pin, preserving its perfection by robbing it of life.

There are many who seek to ‘collect’ people, knowledge or a perceived truth in the same way. Seeing beauty flutter by, they seek to capture it in their nets, pinning it down so that it cannot escape them, yet all they are left with, to display to the world in their pride, is an empty and lifeless shell.

butterfly 3

When beauty chooses to land in our lives, it is a privilege. It is not something to try to capture, not something we should attempt to pin down. It is a gift, to be savoured, with gratitude and wonder, for a breathless moment and then let go, to fly free. Beauty, whatever its form, is as strong as the life we allow it… and as fragile as our fear. It will not always stay…it will not always leave… but our recognition of its inner life and freedom may help us find our own wings.

SE Ilkley 2015 saturday (93)

Pondskating

WaterstriderEnWiki
Image: Wikimedia Commons

“Salmon of Wisdom
Dodging hazelnuts swims the hungry salmon, swallowing the nuts as they plunge into the depths. Pity the poor pondskater skimming the surface while beneath lies the kernel of wisdom, waiting for those who plunge deep below their surface and get their feet wet.”

That bit of oddness represents a page in my notebook. I have but the vaguest recollection of writing it. I know I was sitting on the kitchen step… I know there was wine… and I can see the context of the conversation from the notes either side. We were obviously deep in the throes of discussing the April workshop.

Which has nothing whatsoever to do with the Salmon of Wisdom. Or pondskaters.

I cannot remember the entire conversation that surrounded the notes, though reading them brings back the essence of it. I can’t even recall if this bit was mine. It can be difficult to say when the conversations go so deep and phrases, ideas and sparks are passed one to another, each adding something to the growing light of understanding. It doesn’t really matter… copyright notwithstanding, you cannot exclusively own an idea, only share them.

I do know it was born of one of the ancient tales, so can guess it was introduced to the conversation by Stuart who drew upon them for Crucible of the Sun . One version of the story tells that a salmon swimming in the Well of Wisdom ate nine hazelnuts that fell into the water, from the nine hazel trees that grew around it, thus gaining all the knowledge of the worlds. Anyone who ate of the fish would also gain that knowledge. The salmon may have been an ordinary fish, or one of the immortals, that it could be eaten and yet not die.

The trees have the hazelnuts… they fall into the water, which indicates a transformation and the fish has them too. Knowledge exists in the outer world and falls into the depths. The fish, swimming in the depths and following its instinct to feed , can acquire knowledge that has become understanding by being taken into the inner being… and perhaps that is where the wisdom comes in; something that cannot be lessened by being consumed… like the fish that does not die when it is eaten.

Pondskaters, on the other hand…Some have wings and may reach the nuts in the tree, but they are too fragile, too frail to pierce the shell and eat. Their natural milieu is the water’s surface, poised between the worlds, neither in one nor the other, unable to break the surface tension of the water and swim in the depths. The pondskater can see both worlds, yet is unable to assimilate the kernel, the inner heart of wisdom.

I remember the essence of the conversation, and it was quite specific at the time. But finding those lines in the notebook, I realised that the wider analogy we were speaking of could be applied equally to the many levels of our own being. There is the purely physical where the kernels of knowledge grow as experiences that fall into our lives. There is the part of us that instinctively feeds upon those experiences, each coloured by the flowing emotions they evoke as we try to understand them. With enough, we may find wisdom, which, although it cannot be shared in the precise way knowledge can be shared, can be brought into the world and will only grow with the more who partake of it from each of us. And then there is the pondskater.

Bounded by its very design and nature, our consciousness belongs in both the inner and outer world, the realms of both knowledge and understanding and, though unable to fully access either for itself, can see them both. Perhaps, as we define reality through observation, that is its role… to witness and thus make real … realise… what exists beyond its reach. Being of both worlds and neither, perhaps its apparent lack of ability to access wisdom allows it to observe and create in the purest sense a reality that can hold and see wisdom and trace its beginnings in knowledge and experience.

I wonder if the pondskater ever asks where the trees came from? Or why the water is so deep?