The Bedouin

Image by Cuyahoga from Pixabay

It is said we learn most from those we would wish to emulate. Not copy, perhaps, but take from them an essence of thought, of action. If we are younger, of style, even…

There must have been a thousand people in the room. The university hall was full. When he stood up to speak, his movements were relaxed. His body language gentle, open.

What was it, that air? It wasn’t bravado…. just a sense of being at home, there.

Before him, there had been a speaker giving lots of do’s and don’ts – mainly don’ts. The celebratory mood with which we had all gathered had been blunted. The new speaker looked around the room to encompass the space – as though drawing in all the negative energy and using it as raw material for something very different – like crushed stones in roadbuilding. That act, alone, taught me so much; that you can always ‘dance on’ negativity and treat it as a foundation layer, thereby giving it a home, rather than resisting it. Therein is true magic…

He looked around, drawing in breath to begin. Then smiled…. just that; a silent smile. I swear that all of us leaned forward when he did that, waiting for him to fill the pause: the not-thing, the empty glass he had just created. Instead of words, he filled it with gesture. There was a hush as everyone realised that they were not smiling and addressed it accordingly.

We smiled….

“Good morning,” he said, not looking or sounding like anyone should after a recent transatlantic flight.

Everyone responded, some twice and more loudly the second time. Laughing, good-natured. So far all he had done was to speak those three words; yet most of those watching were already with him, already a joyous part of what was being created.

And that was when I had the mind-picture of drifting sand; sand making lazy, curling and twisting patterns in the hot breeze…

“So the question is…” He spoke fluently, breathing and talking in measured beats, letting the rounded language sink in before moving to the next idea in what he was building. The rise and fall reminded me of a wave… and then I saw where the wave and the tumbling sand were headed. And I saw the dune – a vast wind-blown barchan, set in the middle of a hot desert, with a beautiful blue sky. A savage place to be, perhaps, but not in this projected mental space.

“I need a couple of people to help me?”

My raised hand was too far back to be noticed. His playful eyes ranged over the first few rows, picking out a man and a woman. They rose from their chairs as assured as I was that they would form part of something wonderful – that they needed to have no apprehension, let alone fear, in the spiritual composition to come.

He gave them each a simple prop and asked them to describe it, moving with the microphone to stand alongside them – not across – as they spoke. He nodded at the answers, taking what he needed from each.

“So what happens when we combine any two of these?” he asked.

As in a dance, he moved the two of them around the small stage, being playful but purposeful. At each key angle of his imagined circle, he stopped to check the arrangement and smiled. Whatever was being built grew…. there was no doubt in anyone’s mind; we could feel it. We might recognise the elements being used, and the circular pattern, but what he was creating was still a mystery.

“And now any three of them…” From his battered leather document case he produced a crescent of silver… and the beautiful desert in my mind was suddenly under faint stars and a bright moon. His two volunteers saw the pattern, and each, independently, began moving towards their host.

Three figures stood at the top of the dune. He took their hands and aligned them, stepping behind both and disappearing…

For a moment before the thunder of applause struck, the hall was full of a beauty that could never be rehearsed. Then the wind blew and the beautiful grains of desert sand dispersed into the imagined night…

I never forgot the Bedouin… and I have carried his lesson with me ever since.

©Copyright Stephen Tanham

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit teaching school of modern mysticism that helps people find a personal path to a deeper place within their internal and external lives.

The Silent Eye provides home-based, practical courses which are low-cost and personally supervised. The course materials and corresponding supervision are provided month by month without further commitment.

Steve’s personal blog, Sun in Gemini, is at stevetanham.wordpress.com.

Advertisements

Orphans of Summer

Orphaned shoots of summer’s fullness

Sway high in January’s blue

Like gifted children graced with wisdom

Defying winter’s hidden fury

Escaping falsely changing hue

Against the black we could not see you

Yet, dancing in the violent storm

Your gentle tips flowed round the deluge

Untouched by night’s electric harm

A younger magic, bold and warm

But, come the day when icy winter

Bows to brightening of the morn

And deep in earth green thirst awakens

Then screaming “Life” the upstretched fingers

Become the first to catch the dawn

©Stephen Tanham

Ash Samara

In the gold-washed glow on green

Of July’s vivid evening blue

I watch your spinning fall to earth

Through softer air than day’s has been

Your path to ground is freshly spoken

The soil-drawn spiral just for you

Entranced, enspelled, entwined

My sight conceives of your conception

In six seconds of descending grace

 

Stephen Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit organisation that helps people find the reality and essence of their existence via home-based, practical courses which are low-cost and personally supervised.

His personal blog, Sun in Gemini, is at stevetanham.wordpress.com.

Here, you’ll find writing, mysticism, poetry and photography… and some great guest posts on related topics.

©Stephen Tanham

 

Summer’s Last Kiss

Summer’s Last Kiss

 

When ocean’s shine turns mirror bright

And deeper love seems written there

When crested waves hiss rest awhile

And be with us in formless dream

Then know that summer’s parting kiss

Casts lingering promise bold and bare

To cling is but a dreamer’s sigh

As worlds rotate and tides return

Her russet hand will still caress

Though leaves are falling, thick and slick

Her naked skin still shines within

The wood-flame’s crackling burn

The smoke mosaics to fall of snow

When deepest dark encloses

Reducing days from distant blaze

Which culls as much as harvests

Now tightly held in midnight’s cold

Endurance starkly, sweetly urges

Till one damp morn when green is borne

Upon a tide of coming bliss

She’ll call the rising of the sap

And deep you’ll breathe the urgent need

To be with her above the sky

Entwined in endless summer’s kiss

©Stephen Tanham

Intimate Flames – #Silenti

What is it to be intimate? The touch  of a lover’s hand or lips, perhaps?  Two bodies locked together in desire for a common fulfilment; the intellect muted while the emotional and sexual energies dance their own bolero?

We generally associate intimacy with the body, but it’s not always so, and the exceptions can point the way to something much deeper…

The body has its own wisdom, and lives by an organic truth. We can play all sorts of games with our minds, but a bodily ‘state’ is just that – an undeniable and persistent experience that has no form outside of its representation as pleasure or pain. As such it exists at a level beyond misrepresentation. 

The ability to move, especially two beings together – like when we dance – might be considered another physical aspect of intimacy, and certainly forms an abiding part of physical passion.

Can we move beyond the physical and retain intimacy? Can intimacy also be exchanged around a dining table, when the pressures of the day give way to a sudden sharing of moment? Or at a meeting with a close, but non-sexual friend, one that we might not see for another decade or so?

Encounter is a good word to set the scene for real intimacy. It implies something new in that meeting of body, heart and sometimes mind – although our usual level of mind can introduce as many problems as it seeks to solve. 

We might substitute encounter for what happens in this intimate context; yet how can there be anything new from two organisms that have shared much, before? We could have said ‘different’ and our minds might have felt more secure. Mind can understand different – it builds its picture of the world – our lives – out of differences…

The essence of these kinds of intimacy lies in their potential for opening a new level of awareness – even if that lasts only for seconds or less. In that moment we can glimpse a far more peaceful, harmonious and ‘speaking-to-me’ level of life, as though a liquid nectar has poured from another world into this one.

The deeper level of  ‘speaking-to-me’ is not an experience, it is a certainty. There is no room for doubt in one who finds it. The finder moves from possibility into knowing. 

Many kinds of love can point the way. Some of them, like the moment of orgasm, are brief, though wonderful. Others are calmer and longer-lasting. Mysticism is founded in the the personal unveiling of the deep intimacy of something behind the self. Many words have been used to describe the qualities of what is found, yet all are doomed to be approximations. Words come from the mind, and the mind is incapable of experiencing what is known without reason. 

Only the heart, understood fully and not the subject of romantic trivialisation, will take us there. This is true meditation. To follow that path is to take the openness and trust that normally accompanies physical intimacy and offer it, internally, to that which lies above the mind and is wedded with the heart. This state, if spoken of at all, is referred to in hushed or symbolic terms. One of the best of these is what the Sufi mystics have called ‘The Beloved’.

There is a deep mystery about the beloved that can only be found through a personal journey. She has always been present. She waits; and the only key that will open her chamber is that offering of love, trust and presence spoken of above.

We may think that we already possess these qualities, but life, in its development of the personality, takes the ‘brilliance’ away from our existence – it becomes more important to be secure than to be occasionally touched by the inner parts of who we really are. A certain resolve is needed to re-learn the essential qualities, and then refine them from the darker clay that the outer ‘us’ has become. It’s not an easy journey, but it is mapped out, in many reliable forms, including the Silent Eye’s three-year correspondence course.

We might liken the quest for this deepest of intimacies to the re-finding of a ruby jewel, given by Mother to us in childhood, and which was subsequently lost. For years we searched for it, gradually surrendering to the fact that the vague and fading memory of its glory was all we had left of what was once so precious.

And then, one day, we enter a room in a strange and quiet inner state, to find a drawer in an old cabinet whose existence we had forgotten. Inside is a glowing red jewel, more intimately connected to everything in our lives than we could possibly have imagined.

From then on, the journey becomes one of the heart rather than just the mind, though the mind also finds renewal in the ruby rays, allowing something special to happen to its nature, too…

©️Copyright Stephen Tanham 2017

The Finding of Polarity (3) – #Silenti

 

Arrows of polarityAA

In parts one and two of this set of three posts, we have examined how the development of the individual, the ‘self’, is a different process from the development of our young bodies, and relies upon our departure from ‘oneness’ in the womb towards a reaching for individuality – a process that eventually matures into what psychology calls the ego.

From a psychological perspective, the scientific definition of the ego is in terms of a ‘self-image’, increasingly strengthened and stabilised as we grow through childhood. Various problem conditions, from aberrations to pathologies, are related to how well this ‘self-image’ takes hold and becomes the centre of our ‘me’ existence in the adult world. Narcissists, for example, often reach senior positions because of their extreme need to define themselves by projecting their self-worth onto what they do, rather than what they are. More rounded psyches are grounded in true relationship, whereas the narcissist relies upon a perceived and  constant reflection of their own worth in the world around them.

Western civilisation places enormous value on the achieving of individuality, particularly emotional and physical individuality; and glorifies financial independence above all else. Success in society is generally equated with such independence.

Here we have an increasingly agonising divergence: the world’s spiritual traditions have, for millennia, equated individual progress towards a spiritual state (one that is more real) with the diminishment, and, in some cases, the complete annihilation, of what we now know as the ego… the very centre of western culture’s mark of achievement.

We can take the view that the ancient knowledge of the inner states of our ‘selves’ is past its sell-by date and that modern thinking, based on science, is much more in tune with the truth of things. The majority of the population do just that, if they think of it at all. Many see spirituality as religion, only, and conflate the latter’s diminishing importance as mirroring its relevance – a view understandably fuelled by the constant headlines from the extremes of fundamentalism.

But absolutely none of this makes us happy… or even fulfilled. Something is missing if a person living a simple life in humble conditions can get more from life than those with an array of possessions and achievements.

The conventional response by those believing themselves on a spiritual path has been to attack our way of life. Only radical philosophers like Gurdjieff dared to consider that we might actually be on a perfectly valid spiritual path of our own.

The egoic nature of the western world has not stopped people from being caring individuals. Political societies might cycle through a lack compassion, but there is always a great degree of kindness in the family units that comprise them. The hunger for the personal truth and meaning that drives us may well be of a different nature. What if the ego’s development were necessary as a ‘fuel-tank’ for another journey? Suppose that the seeming negatives of the egoic self, with its anger, selfishness, avarice, pride, lust and the rest of the well-categorised deadly ‘sins’, were really signposts to what was missing – in effect the way home…

We’d have to want to be ‘home’, as in somewhere else, inside ourselves, of course. But if we are truly at the point where increasing our store of what society views as the stuff of happiness was simply producing more angst, then where else is there to go?

The key is not to find someone else’s truth; it is to find our own. The value of what psychology has given us lies, ultimately, not in the production of stable egos – though that is an important goal for anyone in whom that vital stage has not crystallised; the value of it lies in the clarity it has provided for the inner meaning of those ancient traditions and their relevance to those who would find their own spiritual path, today.

The founders of the Silent Eye gained their experience within a varied and mixed background of mystical traditions ranging from Rosicrucian, to Qabalistic to Fourth Way. We had all experienced the real power of people working together in a group aimed at ‘raising the consciousness’ of each individual, without drugs, so that we could begin to perceive deeper realities. We established the Silent Eye School using a core set of teachings that combined everything we knew to work, including mystical drama, and based it around a symbolic variant of the enneagram – a nine-sided kind of star that has evolved to describe and illustrate how ‘nature’ works the world and, latterly, how psychology’s map of the inner human maps into the heart of this. Only our synthesis of this is new; all the components were there before, though not in the form we gave them for our symbolic and inner three-year guided journey which is at the heart of the correspondence course.

The Silent Eye’s version of the enneagram

Our journey begins with this quest: to find and understand the ‘gap’ between the western self as described by psychology and the ancient wisdom of the ‘no-self’. Our goal as been to show that the value of the egoic nature can be preserved, but that its nature has to be healed rather than polished. Instead of retaining its desperate role as the ‘captain of the ship it must keep creating’, it can now relax into knowing that it is really only a picture – an image of our outer reactiveness, useful in terms of its skills, but redundant in terms of its knowing the answers about our real coming-into-being.

Those answers lie in a personal journey which unzips the ego, carefully and with love, using its restlessness (and suffering) to point to how those elements of unease are generated, in each part of its psychic anatomy, by a lack of something else. That something else eventually takes shape, and that is where the enneagram has its unique value – it acts as a map of the homeward journey, a journey in which the real characteristics of a true Self become apparent, requiring no validation from the material world. This newly discovered entity, which many call the Soul, is perfect in its individuality; is supported in its vivid feeling of being truly alive; and is secure in knowing, beyond question, that it is already a child of those formless realms spoken of so long ago…

Other posts in this series:

Part One, Part Two.

©️Copyright Stephen Tanham 2017

Wise crows, raven-kin

 

crow-trees-falling

Wise crows, raven-kin

Driven from your ancient trees

What home will call you now?

Where cosy craft

Of power’s secret circle

Convinces gentle folk

That cut and death and burn

Deliver best the clearing tide.

Revealing light?

Barren gaps and ugly fires

Of healthy wood consume

Both eye and view in sadness

The darker light made clear.

 Be welcome, now

Among our ash and sycamore

The noble wood of sharing

Noisy dawns we will abide, and smile

When joyous roosting fills the brightening sky.

Wise crows, raven-kin

Driven from your ancient trees

This home will call you now.

©Copyright Stephen Tanham 2017

And Life shall have Dominion

Inspired by an exhibition of Aboriginal art in Narbonne. 

Image: Milky Way by Louise Numina, 1965
Native Australian Artist

And Life Shall Have Dominion

Whatever you can touch

You have dominion over

Whatever you can touch and move

You have power over 

Be kind to it…


Whatever you can see or hear or smell

But cannot touch or move

Has dominion over you

Pray that it is kind

And knows love for what you

Could be…

——-
©Stephen Tanham, 2016. 

Finding Gawain – Act Five (final part)

Gawain Roses and Hind Hart

Finding Gawain – Act Five (final part)

Deep within the Hart, the white hands reach for him…

And, in the space between the single drop of blood leaving his skin and hitting the dry earth beneath the headsman’s block, the Bright One pulls his unresisting being out of time and changes him.

Meeting no resistance and working within a the field of total trust, she reaches up to the stars and brings down the chalice of what he can be. Pulling the energy pattern that is the essence of Gawain from the kneeling block, she performs on his still active mind, the Unmaking that he has dreaded; ever since the dream of the cornering of the Stag in the Castille Diablo.

But this is no surgery of the flesh; this is a descent of intelligent fire that cleanses. Everything that he is, everything that he has desired or even loved, everything that he has hated, is held up to the flame and burned to its true value…

When the Unmaking is finished, she begins the Remaking. Connecting the fire-forged and inverted vessel below to its heavenly twin, above, she vivifies the two with a lightning bolt for which she is only the witness; for she, mighty though she is, is still the pair of steady white hands that hold him, trembling, as the alchemy of the spirit works its magic.

And then, finally, she and he are one, as a fisherman whose arms reach below the surface of the water, while he works; and there is a measure of heaven on earth for those with eyes to see and ears to hear…

The single drop of blood, drawn by the Lady of the Hunt with an exact cut into mortal Gawain’s offered neck, hits the ground, returning the life of everything he had built from the earth back into the soil.

The Bright Hart pushes himself from the block and stands on unsteady feet, seeing, through the suddenly parted crowd, the smiling face of Lady Verdant. The Lord and Lady of the Hunt step away, drawn by the fires of the night to a further purpose, their work of the Hart complete.

The Lord Verdant comes from the shadows to take the Bright Hart into his arms and hugs him, with the words, “Welcome Brother…” Lord Verdant places bright, gaily coloured ribbons around his neck and a garland of white flowers in his hair. The Bright Hart is led away to rest and to watch the fires of Foxes in the night, still wrapped in the white cloak of the forest.

They leave him then, to gaze into the flames, and to decide what he will do next…

During the long night he gazes at the stars, and dreams with them while his body rests.

In the morning, the cloak is gone and The Lord of the Dance, dressed in the Foliate Mask brings them all into the Chamber of the Table Round, holding aloft the Wondrous Head and turning, as the Sun turns, to show all present the glories of the human potential.

Foliate Gawain enters the temple, and is greeted by all with joy. Even he is confused about his great adventure, but the details are soon forgotten in the warmth of reunion. The Veiled Lady appears, soon to be his bride and tells him that he must choose whether she will be beautiful by day or by night. With grace, he bows and says that she, alone has the power and the right to make that choice.

The evil spell that hid her beauty is broken. She will be beautiful, always… The couple smile in joy as the Lady of the Veils removes them, becoming the Bright One.

There will be dancing; dancing as there has never been before… But first, there is a wedding to conduct.

The Lord of the Dance invites the Lady of the Veils, once Ragnell the Hag, to take the offered hand of Foliate Gawain the Hunter and to join their lives in beauty by placing their joined hands above the Wondrous Head, whereupon the Lord of the Dance unites them in holy marriage and Arthur and Guinevere crown them with flowers. The entire company of the Table Round and that of the Castille Diablo unite in their blessings for the couple, whose happiness is joint and bountiful.

Even Mordred and Morgause become part of the happy weave, though perhaps not as enthusiastically as others…

There is mead and bread, shared by all, given out by the newly married couple, and offered, first, to the Lord of the Dance. When all are served Foliate Gawain and the Bright One serve each other.

And then there is dancing, as the Lord of The Dance conducts the couples of Camelot in the mystic union represented by the six paths of the magical enneagram. Couple by couple:

Merlin and the Lady

Lord Bedivere and Lady Dindrane

Lord Uriens and Lady Morgan

Lord Pellinore and Lady Yglais

Lord Gareth and Lady Liones

Lord Lancelot and Lady Elaine

Lord Gawain and the Bright One

Then Lord and Lady Grene, Lord Mordred and Morgause, and King Arthur and Queen Guinevere take up their positions on the triangular centre of the dancing space and are led by the Lord of the Dance in a pattern of threes.

The Lady of the Lake and Merlin come forward to join with the Lord of the Dance in reciting the essence of the spirits of the Hind Card, the Red Dragon and the White Dragon, The Hind’s essence is given here, those of the Red and White dragon, we leave for the retelling of others…

A silent given grace you seek to find

Within the moonlight forests of the mind

Where mossy doubt obscures the silver stream

And clarity comes only in a dream

Where thou and I and we are of one mind

Blessed by the lucent magic of the Hind

There is dancing, which fills the temple and then spills out onto the earth and spreads across the world.

——-

We hope you have enjoyed this subjective journey. It is only one of many from that wonderful Leaf and Flame weekend in April 2016. We hope many others will tell their own stories…

END


Previous: Act One, Act Two, Act Three (i), Act Three (ii), Act Three (iii), Act Four.


The journey of Gawain is a personal interpretation of one of the parts in Leaf and Flame, the Silent Eye’s annual workshop held in April 2016 and created by Stuart France and Sue Vincent.

The Silent Eye uses a combination of magical ritual and psycho-drama to illustrate its teachings on the journey to the Soul.

For more details click here.

Details of next year’s workshop (April 2017), The Feathered Seer, can now be found on our website events page. Everyone is welcome, all you need to bring is your self…

 

Finding Gawain – Act Four

Hieronymous Bosche Garden of Earthly Delights

(image: detail from ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ by Hieronymus Bosch.

Wikipedia Creative Commons)

Finding Gawain – Act Four

Reckoning…

Within the forest there is a sense of reckoning. Plucked from Castille Diablo, the man who may once have been Gawain finds himself, again, with wild blood in his veins and standing in the middle of the Clearing of the Ways, facing the West from which he knows Hunter Gawain approaches.

As the twigs break, clumsily, underfoot, at the approach of the other, he smiles. There will be no escape this time… The riddle cannot be solved by mortal mind, the forest will have its sacrifice, the true hunt will come to its conclusion, but it will be swift and merciful, not ritualised and brutal, as those of predatory mankind are…

The Guardian of the Hart has no need to follow the secret pathways in this encounter. He strides from the middle of the clearing to face the intruder Gawain and draws his sword. “Now you die,” he says.

There is a strangely confident look in the eyes of his victim… The other begins to fire answers, appearing to waste time, yet his eyes speak of another game. The Guardian of the Hart tires of this and raises his deadly sword to strike…

“Wait!” says Hunter Gawain. “One final answer… Sovereignty…”

No… this cannot be. Gawain re-sheathes his sword and looks around at his forest… What now? Hunter Gawain has won his life, but a life is now forfeit under the ancient magic of this place. Gawain knows that there has been an intervention; that the only person who could have saved Hunter Gawain has sealed the Guardian’s own doom, instead.

“May she who told you find what she most desires,’ he bows and whispers to the smiling other, as the grasses on the edge of the clearing part and a Veiled Woman glides into the clearing to take the Guardian of the Hart’s hand and lead him away. Her grip is iron. There will be no escaping it…

The Veiled One leads him through the forest, to a place where nine dark trees form a tightly-knit circle, their abundant foliage completely obscuring the light overhead. In the middle of the space is a carved wooden chair, draped with the skins of the Stag, the Boar and the Fox. The Veiled One thrusts him, none too gently, into the chair and tells him that the next faces he will see are those of the Lord and Lady of the Hunt…unless he choses to run, instead…

The symbolism of him joining the hunted is not lost on his hammering heart. Does a slow and painful death at the hands of the many-knived hunters await? Is this, finally, his Unmaking?

The Veiled One passes gentle fingers across the outer leaves of the of trees and it begins…

It begins with Hell… The music that the trees make is one of horrifying discord, and jerks The Guardian of the Hart upright in his seat. He wants to flee its painful noise, but knows he must stay seated and see out what has been started. The greenery all around him is filling him with a strange emotion – that of inevitable acceptance; of relinquishing any idea of being a Knight who fights… He wonders if he has been drugged… and thinks back to the healing potions given by the ladies of Castille Diablo. Why is he not defending himself?

At the point where he feels he will lose his sanity if the music continues, it changes. The chanting of monks is a welcome respite, and he drift away into his own thoughts, considering his life and the strange paths that have brought him here.

Knight of the Goddess they named him from his earliest of days. Some jested about his fondness for the company of women, others saw that much of that destiny was not of his making. Either way, the description was apt, and he had spent much of his life either protecting, defending or making love to, women.

Where are they now? he thinks. Where are those whom he defended with his skill and his blade in his hour of need? But then the acceptance sweeps over him again and with it a deep sense of trust, something his life has seen a dearth of… But to trust in this way is to not act and the inner war rages on…

She appears first, the Lady of the Hunt, resplendent in Red, masked and horned, leading the equally exotic white-robed Lord by the hand. They approach him, frozen in focus in his carved chair atop the animal skins, and stand behind him, placing over his eyes a tight band of cloth so dense that there is no chance of light penetrating the imposed darkness.

“Trust,” says the Lady of the Hunt, placing her hand on his left shoulder. “Trust,” says the Lord of the Hunt, placing his hand on his right shoulder.

And then another form of hell erupts. Into the now darkened chamber cavort what sound like hundreds of wild spirits, spirits that scream and cackle and make noises that would be at home in a nightmare. They move around the room and around him, swooping in and out of the space. The Guardian has to clench his arms to the chair to avoid moving his body away from their approach to his head as they glide by, speaking into his ears and giving him their signs and meanings – but too many to remember, though some he has met before.

There is a lull and he thinks it is over, but then they come again… And through all of this the Lord and Lady rest their hands gently on his shoulders in the human sigil of ‘trust’.

And then…

And then the sense of time spinning away from him quietens, and there is born in him a whiteness…

This whiteness comes directly from the juxtaposition of the cacophony and the gentle hands on his skin. It adds to the acceptance and gives him an inner presence that matches the outer gentleness on his shoulders. In the total darkness he can almost make out another pair of hands, white ones this time, the hands of an infinitely patient and loving woman, but they are too far away from him to reach for.

“Trust,” says the Lord of the Hunt. “Trust,” says the Lady of the Hunt, and both pull him to his feet, guiding his blind steps to the edge of the clearing and down a steep flight of rocks, alongside a dancing stream whose cold waters splash his bare feet. Each step is guided by the firm but gentle voice of the Lady, with the Lord watching his every step.

At length he reaches level ground and the Lady of the Hunt takes his upper arm and walks him, in tightly controlled steps, around a strange series of movements. She rests him at the end and tells him that he has just walked the secret pattern of the forest…in trust.

And then…

And then, he is propelled towards another place where the cold breeze blows and the blindfold is taken from his eyes. Ahead there are fires and, he knows, something else…

The headsman’s block is waiting, waiting amidst a crescent of all the people he knows in both Camelot and the Castille Diablo. The block is waiting for his acceptance and his neck, as the debt must be paid… The people are kindly, but look upon him as though he were a ghost.

The Lord and Lady’s strong hands propel him to his fate, making him kneel in the dirt and offer his head in the final act of his life.

It will be good not to be Gawain any more, he thinks to himself, as the trust and the acceptance take him and the last shred of resistance dies…

But then the voice of the Lady of the Hunt becomes the voice of the Lady of the Lake; and the Lord’s becomes that of Merlin. The lady holds his neck steady and he can hear the soft hiss as she takes her dagger from its sheath. The cold steel presses to his neck and cuts the flesh with caring precision.

In a time beyond time, he can feel the welling of a single drop of the running blood on the tip of his chin… And then it leaves the flushed flesh of his face and drops towards the waiting Earth below, carrying the last of this Gawain with it.

Deep within the Hart, the white hands reach for him…


Previous: Act One, Act Two, Act Three (i), Act Three (ii), Act Three (iii)


The journey of Gawain is a personal interpretation of one of the parts in Leaf and Flame, the Silent Eye’s annual workshop held in April 2016 and created by Stuart France and Sue Vincent.

The Silent Eye uses a combination of magical ritual and psycho-drama to illustrate its teachings on the journey to the Soul.

For more details click here.

Details of next year’s workshop (April 2017), The Feathered Seer, can now be found on our website events page. Everyone is welcome, all you need to bring is your self…