The Giant and the Sun – Accident or Design

Sue’s post on Crop circles in Dorset and a beautiful video shot from a drone…

The Silent Eye

Although the hexagram was the main ‘pattern in the landscape’ that we had come to investigate… with a little help from the Giant on the hillside… there was another pattern that had been intriguing our companions… that of the crop circle that had recently appeared on the hills opposite the Giant.

We had no luck in finding it with the scant information we had that morning, but the girls had been doing some research of their own, and it was no surprise when they bounded into the pub, looking as pleased as punch.

Crop circle below Hackpen Hill, Avebury

Trawling the internet for pictures and asking the locals, they had, between them, located the circle and two of them had gone in search of it on the ground. They had found the field in which the crop circle had gone down but had been unable to find anywhere…

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The Feather

The Feather smaller

There was a feather on his pillow when he settled down to sleep that last time. He had no idea where it had come from. If it was time to die, so be it…

Always the same beginning to the dream; the swim to the hidden beach on the Greek island, the beautiful sun blazing down on his naked body–far from the world he had left when he plunged into the water and began the half-hour’s crawl.

That much had been real, though the recurring dream gave it a new quality. When his world had come crashing down, when all meaning had seemed lost, he had gathered up his meagre savings and taken that last minute holiday to the tiny, poor place on the Greek island; its white rocks reflecting the sun amidst the glittering, dark blue of the Mediterranean sea.

On that far sand, he remembered actually falling asleep and waking to see the patterns in the bright rock face above him, though upside down to his normal vision. He had renewed his climbing as an act healing for the breakdown; a form of living therapy that absorbed him and took his febrile mind away from its imagined woes…

Upside down and with his climber’s mind, he had seen, clearly, the foot and handholds in the rock. Most would have missed them, but the strange perspective seemed to emphasise their position, their do-ability. And then, above the visible way-markers – far above them – the opening of the dark cave, set midway along the cliff face. For a second he had glimpsed the tiny outlines of vertical rocks set as pillars in that mysterious elevation. But, when he blinked, he couldn’t see them any more.

He remembered, then, the regret at having to swim back, the now sunburned skin left foolishly unprotected. Hauling himself out of the water on the familiar beach, next to the room in the old villa that was his home for a while. A short walk to his towel, trunks and tee-shirt and he was back in the small square with the two tavernas, sipping cheap Greek wine and washing its appalling refreshment down with bottled water and a feta salad. How hungry he had felt, then.

There were other naked people on the beach, but none of them headed for the hidden place beyond the headland. Perhaps no-one else had seen it as he had?

The return to ‘civilisation’ had been hard. He had been granted sick leave by his company, who were keen to see him fully recovered and back ‘in harness’. But then his health began to decline in a way that seemed unrelated to the mental breakdown.

He would wake each night, his whole body dripping with the sweat from the dream. It had become a nightmare. Always, it would go the same: he would be climbing that cliff in the intense heat, his wet fingers only just holding on to the sharp and unforgiving rock. Each night, he would get farther up the cliff face.

And then, last night, he had pulled himself over the final ledge, and lay, panting with wet effort, on the cool floor of the cave.

For a while in the dream, he just lay there, turning his head and marvelling at the fact that there actually were two tall rocks set as pillars to support – and mark – the entranceway. The soft sound of knowing feet walking slowly on dusty rock made him raise his prone body and gaze into the black of the cave. Half-revealed by the light, a man in a simple white robe looked down at him. In his right hand he held another white garment… and then it all faded… and he knew he had one last choice. He could shake himself awake, and die in bed, or he could stay…

He chose to stay. The gentle figure stood before him, offering the second robe. He tried to  rise to his knees but other hands held him pinned, forcing his mouth down into the ancient dust of the place. He fought, but knew there was symbolic meaning here. He let them. They moved his head, firmly but gently, till the image of the dust of the earth filled his senses… they let his head rise.

He tried to see them, but they were shadows, sliding around the space. The one before him – the gentle one – lit a candle. His mind seized on the image and he tried to move forwards towards it, but the two other had his kneeling body fast and he was not able to move. What was the meaning of this? He used all his strength to push to his feet, and, this time, they did not oppose him – but kept hold of his arms. His feet pushed against the cold rock floor, and, together, the three followed the tiny light of the candle, so that it didn’t fade, but grew brighter as his efforts overcame the dark resistance.

Ahead, the candle had stopped moving. He knew this was important, and pulled those dependent on him towards it. The first monk now stood before a small table; and had placed the white robe over a number of objects whose outlines protruded like an Alpine snow scene. Part of the robe was pulled back to reveal a bowl of herbs, some unknown fruit and a stone goblet of what looked like water.  Kind fingers fed him the herbs. They were bitter-sweet but focussed his consciousness. Then came the fruit, which washed away the taste of the herbs. At the end came the water – like liquid kindness. He gulped it down, but it was pulled away too soon. There was a feeling of truth about the water, a simple honesty about what really was, a revealing of what lay beneath everything.

For a second it all  made sense; what they were doing to him. They had shown his his own life in miniature. From the simplest awareness of the dust; the very stuff of the world to be, as he grew from infant to child to man, becoming ever more aware of the ‘world’ around him. Seeing that he had seen, the first monk pulled the robe away from the remaining objects beneath. He gasped as he saw the precision of the model, carved by hand in stone to reflect the simple village bay from which his swim had begun. Every detail was exact, it was as though he were looking down, like a great bird might, on the place he called home.

The robe was placed over his head. It felt strange to have clothes on, again. The whiteness of the soft material seemed to have a life of its own. Now the two hands urged him backwards, creating enough space for the first monk to place the candle between the table-top tableau of the world and himself. What did that mean? For a fraction of a second his vision seemed to spin, to take the light of the candle and turn it into a million threads of woven world...

And then he knew… knew that he was seeing seeing… That he had stepped backwards and unhooked something he thought was inseparable. The eyes that watched propelled him towards the growing light of the cave’s entrance. He knew where he was going, but fought the organic fear as he was rushed, faster and faster – and still backwards – towards the high and empty space outside the mouth of the cave.

The eyes were full of love. As the hands said goodbye, they watched while time stopped and he turned, turned in way that no human flesh could achieve; but that was natural and perfect for the wings of a soaring hawk.


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.

You’ll find friends, poetry, literature and photography there…and some great guest posts on related topics.

©Stephen Tanham

 

Seize, take, remember

Death in the Forest smal montageAA

⦿

Seize!

There is no voice to this command

It is the scream of nature’s green

A rush of breath, a hushed intent

And distant flowers on the wind

Recall sweet Maytime’s yearning sigh

Yet far as can from Winter’s bite

The taunting laughter draws the eye

⦿

Take!

Prepared or not! the vixen’s call

It is the voice of passion’s lure

It is the dare of in-breath’s fool

And yet, its call matures the wise

When leafy eyelid opens wide

And ravages with green intent

Desire spent, no doubts deride

⦿

Remember!

Passion mapped on turning leaves

Soft spins the cadence of the fall

Life at end: dark gravity’s intent

Soft garments torn to coloured shreds

Will lie, bejewelled, in muddy grave

The last of colour whispers wild

To those entranced by Summer’s kiss

Who carry forth her only child

⦿

©Copyright Stephen Tanham

 

The Giant and the Sun – The one with the light…

Sue continues the detailed narrative of the Dorset weekend

The Silent Eye

The current Church of the St Nicholas, at Sydling St Nicholas,  dates largely to the fifteenth century, with the tall tower being the oldest part of the building. However, it stands on the site of at least two earlier churches that go back to the earliest days of Christianity in the country.

We had been unable to get inside the church when we had come down to reconnoitre for the workshop weekend as it was in use, so this would be an adventure for all of us… we had no idea what we might find.

There are a good many unusual features. For a start, the church is covered in gargoyles, all of whom are up for adoption in an effort to raise funds to preserve the building. Gargoyles were working sculptures, designed to carry water away from the foundations of the building when it rained, while grotesques served…

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The Giant and the Sun – The one with the swallows…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

We had assigned our second church, All Saints in the village of Piddletrenthide, to Mars, but nothing less warlike could you imagine than the tranquil stream and thatched cottages that surround one of the finest churches in the area.

Like the previous church, it has an inordinately tall tower, surmounted by more really intriguing gargoyles. Not for the first time, I am grateful for the long lens on the camera, which allows at least a glimpse of what is hiding in plain sight, just too high to see. It is an interesting church with a lot to see…

There is a plaque in the churchyard pointing out the Dumberfield graves… the family that was the inspiration for the D’Urberville family in Thomas Hardy’s book. Being a local man, Hardy crops up on many of the places we visited.

There are heraldic beasts perched on every protuberance around the exterior of…

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The Day I Killed Mom #ThrowbackThursday #humor

From Barb Taub. Just had to… so funny.

Barb Taub

a (mostly) true story

[Throwback Thursday excerpt from Life Begins When The Kids Leave Home And The Dog Dies]

For more humor, kids, pets, death, and other (mostly) funny stuff, please check out my new book! [click on image for previews, reviews, and buy links from Amazon]

When she turned fifty, my mother took up a new career: dying. It was a family tradition, she explained. “People in my family don’t make it out of their fifties. So we have to be ready to go.”

Each Christmas, she announced, would probably be her last—no point in a real tree or all that decorating. Her grandchildren would nod, and go right on dragging in and decorating a huge tree, around which our even more huge family would celebrate as usual, with Mother baking, making up beds, passing around Baileys Irish Cream, and loving every second of the noise and mess…

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Castles of the Mind (2)

Castles of Mind new logo

Continued from Part One

As the group walk through the arched entranceway to the interior of the castle, a new feeling emerges: one of ‘being in it, together’. The transition from outer to inner space of the newly considered ‘organism’ of the castle brings with it other changes of perspective. One of these is that a process – that of the weekend, itself, has begun.

One of the weekend’s companions, new to what the Silent Eye does, asks a question:

“Is this – she points to the entire interior of the walled space – to be looked at as a representation of life, and the possibilities of spiritual work within that life?”

Warkworth tease of interior

The answer is unhesitating. “For the purposes of this weekend, we are using several of the Northumberland Castles to be exactly that.” He pauses, “So, this, as the beginning, is the place where the elements of that search, that quest, begin to work towards the goal.”

The new companion considers this. “So, what is our start point? What is the core idea that powers the rest?”

Castles of the Mind 2 tower and sun

Its a great question. The man looks around him, seeking, not inspiration, for he has begun such discussions many times, but the spirit of the moment. Then he smiles, as an image forms in his mind…

“This is a medieval castle; imagine a shield…”

The new companion is listening. Alert and as keyed into the moment as the group leader. She waits… silent and attentive.

“A shield that belongs to you – that has grown to defend you.” He uses his fingers to draw a circle in the air, and then lets the hand fall and draws it down towards the ground, describing an outline around the group that mirrors the interior shape of the castle.

“So the castle perimeter – the walls – is the shield?” asks the companion. “But why call it a shield. Wouldn’t ‘castle wall’ have been sufficient?”

Castles of the Mind 2 Outer walls

“It would,” the man answers. “but the image of a shield is more useful as a symbol of something that belongs to you.”

“My shield, then…”

“Exactly so. A deeply personal object, one you have crafted and groomed for all of your life.”

She’s getting into this. “A shield alone… I don’t have a matching sword?”

She smiles, as does he. “We’ll get to swords, later. One symbol at once – your shield, alone, took a very long time to make…”

“It defends me, this shield?”

“Look around you – don’t you feel defended? Or would have in the days when this was a functioning structure?”

“Yes,” she hesitates, clutching a the edge of a thought, an important one. “But it’s sad, too.”

“Why sad?” his eyes flash in the morning sun. The smile is one of deep encouragement.

“Because it cuts me off from all that beautiful world, outside…”

Castles of the Mind 2 Country beyond

Everyone in the group is silent – as though the words of a very important prayer or salutation have just been whispered.

“Yes,” he says, softly. “It does, but it keeps you alive…”

The sadness of her realisation has affected her voice. “Must it be that way?”

“No,” he says, running with the hidden wild horses in the moment. “Which is why the shield, your personal shield, has the most beautiful outer face.”

Not wanting to dwell on the sadness, she laughs. “Tell me?” she turns to see the smiling faces of the group. “Tell me…”

“The shield, your beautiful shield, has nine powerful jewels set into its face. They defend, too, but they can be something different.”

She is laughing now. “What can they do?”

“They can be a map back out into the beautiful world.”

Castles of the Mind 2 - staircase up

“Couldn’t I just turn round and make a run for it now?”

Now he is laughing. “You could… but you’d still be a servant. Wouldn’t you rather leave the castle as a King or a Queen?”

You can see she wasn’t expecting anything like this. “A King or a Queen? A shield has this power?”

“Not alone, but the jewels, and their arrangement do…”

Other parts of this series:

Part One, 

To be continued…

Castles of the Mind is the forthcoming September 2018 workshop of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, a not-for-profit teaching organisation that promotes and enables the investigation of our true self, using a combination of modern spiritual psychology and traditional magical symbolism. The workshop is open to all, not just existing Companions of the Silent Eye School.

The dates are 14-16 September. The workshop will be centred on the Northumberland town of Seahouses, but will involve travel to other locations along the coast.

The Silent Eye holds four workshops per year – in April, June, September and December, mirroring the major events of the solar cycle. The April event is the main one, and is always held in Derbyshire. The other three are ‘Living Land’ or ‘walk and talk’ events such as that described above, and are held in different locations each year. The administrative cost is £50.00 per person which does not include accommodation and meals. Meals are usually taken together, in a local pub, and the costs shared.

To register your interest, or for more details email us at rivingtide@gmail.com.

©Stephen Tanham