Gilgamesh descending (7)

I watch as he runs. I am tired of his slow-witted learning. Act Four is half way through, but already he has exhausted the patience of everyone but his mother….

Where did that come from! One of the features of a central role in these mystery plays is a certain degree of exhaustion. Even if you are familiar with it, the script will have many points where you will wish you had studied it in more detail. Sometimes the fine details cannot be pre-written into the script, and have to be adapted to the conditions on the day.

We three – the annual writers in rotation – are by no means above making a mistake or three… and these crop up as part of the ‘testing’ that must apply if this ritual drama experience is to be raised beyond a simple ‘reading’ of the text.

We learned our temple craft from Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, the former head of the Servants of the Light organisation. I remember her saying, at the beginning of one such intensive weekend:

“Long before the end, you will be tired, very tired – and that exhaustion is a part of the process. Do not forget to learn from what is happening to the player as well as the character…”

The character you bring to life in these mystery plays is what Dolores would have called a thought form. Sue’s, recent post, Lord of the Deep: Getting under the Skin touched on this process. When you realise how much power you can bring to such an occasion, you have a double responsibility on your head and in your heart. You must guard and guide the role… and your self playing it. Both are part of the emerging alchemy of intent and delivery.

So now we face a double danger. Gilgamesh charges through the labyrinthine passageways of the temple of Ishtar, not realising that he is in a magical place that is not subject to the laws he knows and can control. Clutched in his sweat-streaked right hand is Enkidu’s axe… He pursues a woman he thinks is his enemy – Shamhat. But this is not the high priestess but the goddess to whom the Temple of Ishtar is dedicated.

But now I must surrender to his presence and, literally, be there for him…

She is inhuman, this Shamhat who can outrun her King. As the passageways get darker, I know I am losing her in the endless triangles along which she flees… Surely, we must be near the very centre of the temple – the Holy of Holies. My feet slide on the warm stone and I arrest my movement facing one who stands before me, unafraid–so familiar and yet, other-worldly. The Bull of Heaven is like a man, but his face is masked in pure white, as though a pot has been thrown to demonstrate the perfection of the art…

He calls to me from across this chamber, “Gilgamesh, you have offended the Divine Council.”

I snarl back that I will cast his corpse down the narrow streets, so that the city orphans may gorge on it. My taunts seem to leave him unmoved. I would be disappointed if it were other than this…

I am about to tell him of the bravery of my brother, who died leading the fight against Humbaba, the tree-demon, but, as though knowing my thoughts he says, “You have slaughtered Hu-Wa-Wa, the watchman of the Cedar Forest.”

I raise my weapon. It is time to silence this half-animal fool. I will not have the memory of Enkidu besmirched. But the weight of the blow is wrong, and only then do I realise I am clutching an axe – Enkidu’s axe; the one with which he led the attack on the demon. My soul soars, knowing that Enkidu is somehow here with me, in the form of his fearsome weapon. A warrior knows how to tune his strike – learning in an instant how to make fine changes to its arc and balance. I have earned and defended my kingship…

The blow splits the head of the Bull of Heaven and he sinks to his knees. Not even granting him time to die, I cast away the dripping axe to rip off the pure, white mask he wears…

And die another death… Before me is the stricken and bloody face of my brother Enkidu. I have killed him with his own axe.

In death – again – I can see he was, indeed, my twin; that the word brother does not encompass the wholeness of my love for him.

But how have I twice caused his death? Only beneath the spires of Ishtar can I imagine that this has been arranged by the Fate Dancers to show me the pitiful place to which my will and desires have brought me. Sobbing, my life seems to spill out from eyes that have seen too much, the hot tears falling through my fingers and becoming lost in the old dust that covers the stone floor of the inner temple of Ishtar. It is a fitting picture of my life…

Unseen hands raise me, the Fate Dancers are directing my life more openly, now. With eyes than can cry no more I watch as I am placed at the left side of a portal. Disbelieving, I see that a ghostly Enkidu has been raised to stand at the portal’s right side. Like two statues unearthed from the ground, we stand, undead, as the Fates and their charges pass through this portal of inner learning to their blessings.

Only the ghostly Enkidu and the worthless Gilgamesh remain unblessed…

The temple Guardian looks at me with something like pity in his eyes, seeing my exhaustion… and his. The King’s fingers clutch at where his sword used to rest on the wide leather belt… But, for now, there is nothing.

Other parts in this series:

Part One> Part Two> Part Three> Part Four> (opens in a new tab)” href=”https://stevetanham.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/gilgamesh-descending-5/” target=”_blank”>Part five> (opens in a new tab)”>Part Six> This is Part Seven

©Copyright Stephen Tanham

Lord of the Deep, the Silent Eye’s 2019 April workshop, was adapted from the Epic of Gilgamesh by Stuart France, and Sue Vincent.

This narrative is a personal journey through that ritual drama in the persona of King Gilgamesh.

Header image by Sue Vincent, © Copyright.

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.

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Gilgamesh descending (6)

Faces… If there is one thing upon which Gilgamesh would wager his life, it is that life is all about faces…

His own face now burns with a permanent redness; whether from anger or something deeper, he does not know. But it burns… and gets hotter with every passing encounter with the faces that fight to decry and destroy what he has achieved as king… and before that, as they would see if they gazed down from their indifferent heights and invested in understanding his noble life.

Once more, he clutches the jewel at his throat: the amulet taken from Enkidu’s dead body in the forest – the jewel bestowed on his lost brother by Ninsum, Gilgamesh’s half-goddess, half human mother.

He is becoming thin, he can feel it. There has been little sustenance of any nature in the past few days. Enkidu’s death has robbed him of all appetite. All he can do is to carry on…

With heavy tread, he returns to the city of Uruk – his city, though it now feels controlled by strangers – who do not wish him well. He tries to tell those who will listen that Enkidu is dead, that, though, together, they slew the dreadful demon Humbaba, his brother died like a hero, with their king, Gilgamesh, fighting to save him.

But, no-one is listening. He shuffles away, seeking the shadows. His bent and dirty form goes unrecognised as he hides from the people – choosing alleyways, where once he strode in splendour through the main streets.

He is surprised when he looks up and sees that his feet have brought him to the pillared front of the main temple – the home of the high priestess, Shamhat, his enemy… Everything in him curls inwards as her mocking voice calls to his ragged and dirty form. He sees her shape in the shadows, emerging to witness his disgrace. His greasy hand clutches his sword and raises it, but its power is absorbed by the temple and he sinks to his knees, screaming in frustration.

Then, from nowhere, the Fate Dancers encircle him and begin their dance; only this time, he is not in the King’s position – in the withdrawn east of the temple – he is in the centre of its pattern, his fate being spun like a toy in their cruel movements.

As their dance comes to a close – but before they withdraw – he sees two faces looking down at him from between the pillars of the Temple of Ishtar, but, when he blinks away the tears of rejection and sorrow, there is only one… Shamhat’s face shimmers as she gazes down on his…

“Rise and bed me, O mighty Gilgamesh. Give me of your luscious fruits,” she mocks. “Be my sweet man…”

The taunts burn him as nothing ever has before, though the words offer him everything he could have desired. His mouth fills with bile and he sputters his reply. His voice is a dull rasp. “In my pride you scorned me, yet now you offer yourself freely. Why do you mock me at this, my lowest estate?”

He sees it now. Shamhat’s motives are revealed. She will try to destroy the King in retaliation for the death of her lover, his brother, Enkidu…

With this anger, a wild energy at the heart of Gilgamesh returns to empower him and he leaps to his feet, shouting, “A curse of destruction on you and your temple of harlots”

Shamhat, her edges shining and twisting as though person and shadow have mixed, laughs and turns to enter the dark chambers of the temple. She disappears into the internal labyrinth of its passageways and Gilgamesh charges after her, blazing, as his fury consumes him… He does not see that the movements of the Fates have changed his sword into Enkidu’s axe.

Outside, in the brightly-lit city, the Fate Dancers are dancing, again.

Other parts in this series:

Part One> Part Two> Part Three> Part Four> (opens in a new tab)”>Part five> This is Part Six

©Copyright Stephen Tanham

Lord of the Deep, the Silent Eye’s 2019 April workshop, was adapted from the Epic of Gilgamesh by Stuart France, and Sue Vincent.

This narrative is a personal journey through that ritual drama in the persona of Gilgamesh.

Header image by Sue Vincent, © Copyright.

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.

Gilgamesh descending (5)

And now we must move swiftly, as the king’s heartbeat quickens with purpose.

Again, he watches the Fate Dancers… and begins to see the depths of what they do. These movements describe a ‘whole’. They are parts of how that unity evolves itself, while carrying its essential nature, unchanged… except for the result of its own process, working on the material of that which is not yet awakened to that change. It is something for which the mind has no language – except to watch the dancing…

Gilgamesh knows he is the agent of change… That all good change in the face of the chaos that came before comes from him. Enkidu – his brother and twin – is learning well. But there is a test of his new life coming up. Gilgamesh has determined that the kingdom of Uruk is still not safe; that there is another threat to his consolidated power. The demon named Humbaba lurks in the wild cedar forest. It is time to plan the death of this wild force so that all may be brought under the rule of Uruk.

His energy is all-consuming…. I am consumed.

They do not understand. Before, they did not need to understand. What has changed? Is it the presence of my brother, Enkidu, next to me, as we take turns to sleep in this vast cedar forest, where the trees really do touch the sky – this place of the greatest wildness in the whole of Sumer? The sky-father will bless me for this, as his night-time rest will no longer be disturbed by the hissing of Humbaba’s deadly whispers, echoed though the tall trees… Soon, there will be no great trees here, as they fall to the bloody blade of that which will kill the tree-demon… King Gilgamesh.

The final battle approaches, I can feel it. For seven days and nights we have gone deeper into the great cedars – to get to the heart of where cowardly Humbaba hides. My brother, Enkidu, is failing me. When confronting the Council, he even said he thought I was wrong! I, his brother, who shared with him my life and my throne, He said that Humbaba, the source of all our ills, was really Huwawa, the great and provident spirit of the cedar forest!

I had to compel him, showing him the nature of true strength in the face of the weak. Only when kneeling, again, before my mother, Ninsun, did I waver for a second, when she took Enkidu as her own child, leaving my blessing until the end of our audience. I bit my tongue, knowing that to prove my strength would vindicate me. Knowing that, on our return, she would hold me up in triumph…

Each night in the darkening forest, we take turns to sleep while the other watches. He says I cry out in the blackest of hours, but I know I have no need of dreams. When he sleeps he cries and rolls on ground, as though clutching his heart… With each night of dreaming he seems to lose a little colour, and awaken a paler man. When me met in battle in the square of Uruk, he was resplendent with the bright colours of adventure… Now, they fail him, but I know that at the bottom of that black pit lies courage; and that his dreams of suns falling from the sky into valleys are his loss of his bravery.

He will prevail, He will find that courage….

I know, too, that when the colours of cowardice have washed away in that valley of his mind, there will come a blackness – a blackness within which he will find, as all good warriors do, his inner nature… and then, in victory, he will shine once more.

When I stand guard over his fevered sleep, I take my sword from his leather bindings and hold it over him, sweeping the air to rid him of these ghosts. But his writhing continues and I am sickened. Tonight, there is a yellow sickliness about him, but, as I stand over him, I see that it is leaving his body and draining into the earth.

I sit back and watch this wonderful return of bravery, as shining black takes over his skin. While his courage steels itself, I hold my sword and will its strength into him, my brother. They do not understand my sword, whose handle grows too wide in the palm of anyone else who tries to hold it. Its potency is mine, alone… They do not understand the curve of the blade and how it reflects the arc of the sky – home of the Sky-Father who, I know, guides me.

Above all, they do not understand that it has a name, a curving, shining black name, that I shall never speak… For to speak it would be the death of what I do…

There comes the sound of crashing trees, giant cedar trees… and Humbaba is upon us! Wake, my brother, I call, your time of courage is now. And he does, and rises mighty and restored and shining black from the inner victory over his final nightmare. With a skill equal to mine, he weighs up the monster whose magic emerges from all around us, then calls, Come Gilgamesh! and charges at its hidden heart.

The battle is long and has many faces, all of them screaming. The mighty cedars roar with rage that I dare to lead this attack upon the demon they have concealed… but it matters little, for the sword that has no name and that cannot be held by another is singing its black song… and nothing, not even tree-demons, can stand in the way of its will – my will.

Humbaba the tree-demon is dead. The trees are silent. They are silent because I have cut them all down. My black strength surged after I let Enkindu deliver the last blow… it was important that he see his re-found courage at work. He kneels at the side of the monster, Humbaba, sliced open in a thousand places.

I clear the last of the trees from the place of our final sleep and return to look at the kneeling Enkidu. He is slumped forward, as though praying. I clutch his shoulder to give him strength but he falls into the blood and the maw before us both.

Now, there is only the blood-lust and the beatings of both our hearts; and the other is not Enkidu, for I see, with a scream that fills what was a mighty forest, that Enkidu is dead…

The hidden eyes in the forest are downcast, as are mine. Not even the temple guardian can look upon the devastation.

Other parts in this series:

Part One> Part Two> Part Three> Part Four> This is part five

©Copyright Stephen Tanham

Lord of the Deep, the Silent Eye’s 2019 April workshop, was adapted from the Epic of Gilgamesh by Stuart France, and Sue Vincent.

This narrative is a personal journey through that ritual drama in the persona of Gilgamesh.

Header image by Sue Vincent, © Copyright.

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.

Lord of the Deep: Dawn and Seven Radiances.

Willow enjoyed her first time with us at the Lord of the Deep workshop. Her retelling continues…

willowdot21

The morning of the first full day of The Silent Eye Workshop had not yet dawned. I had slept well, “If I had dreamt I did not recall” words I would hear more than once that day.

I rose quickly, really looking forward to going into the hills to greet the dawn. We had done this in Cumbria and I had really loved it.

I went downstairs early enough to have a coffee before leaving. After a while the others arrived. Stuart was in the conservatory and announced it was too wet and windy to go up to the hills. I have to admit I was disappointed but Stuart asked us to keep our outdoor clothing on and so recreate being outside. Another lesson in mind over matter.

Listening to Stuart describe what we were about to do helped. Then I closed my eyes as he took us through…

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The Quest for Immortality: Dreams…

From Stuart…

The Silent Eye

*

When the people of Uruk rebel against the tyranny of Gilgamesh,

they petition the Gods…

*

Hearing their plea the Goddess, Aruru, fashions the twin of Gilgamesh

from the clay of her heart

and sets him loose in the wilderness

where he lives and runs with wild animals…

*

Then Aruru sends Gilgamesh a dream.

*

Although vivid the dream is obscure to Gilgamesh

so he seeks an interpretation from his mother, the Goddess Ninsun…

*

In this dream Enkidu, the wild man, is likened to a boulder

which falls to earth from the sky.

*

The people of Uruk adore this fallen sky-stone

and treat it as though it were a divine-child.

*

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Lord of the Deep: True colours?

Ahead of Sun in Gemini blog, tomorrow, Sue provides the objective truth about the Cedar Forest and poor Enkidu’s fate…

The Silent Eye

Gilgamesh and Enkidu journey into the wilderness; pursuing the king’s desire for personal glory, the two have left Uruk to seek out the ‘forest demon’, Humbaba. Gilgamesh has vowed to kill the demon and cut down the Great Trees of the forest, seeking to prove his own might and carve his name in the annals of memory.

His mother, the goddess Ninsun, had blessed the two brothers in arms before their departure… but had offered advice; the gods know the value of free-will and the necessity of choice. His people had begged their king to set aside this quest, and he had scoffed, having no value for the opinion of those he should have served. Even Enkidu, who had stood beside him on many a quest, tried to persuade him against the journey, knowing that the apparently fearsome Humbaba is none other than Huwawa, the Great Spirit of the Cedar…

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Where Scarecrows End

On a day of scarecrows

The little patch of oil, beneath your sump

Called to me

To put aside Wray’s springtime pride

And ride my early miles, again.

Where teenage fingers

Cold or burned, begged broken thread

To mend and seal

The engine’s heated flow

And let the boy get home

And sliding frozen rump

From frozen saddle, fingers stiff

To feed and heal

In mother’s kitchen

The willing price of independence

Where scarecrows end

The little patch of oil, beneath your sump

Sang to me

To put aside Wray’s springtime pride

And ride my life, again.

©Stephen Tanham

The Wray Scarecrow Festival takes place in the lovely north Lancashire village of Wray each year in the first week of May. The beautifully restored pre-unit Triumph motorcycle was a complete surprise

Gilgamesh descending (4)

And as I watch Gilgamesh ascend towards the vast cliff-edge from which his life must fall, I wonder about the origin of the ‘play’ in human consciousness. The plot already contains characters – one of whom is dominant. They have their ‘I’s’ when invested with a player, an actor, who gives the ancient words new life. These I’s are as garments, waiting to be stepped into. If they are well-written, as Lord of the Deep was, they will be coherent and real, provoking a response of reality – merging the actor with the ‘I’ of the part she or he plays…

Precisely because of this ‘gift from the gods’, this human ability to ‘become’ someone else, we have both playing (as children, for example) and drama. When that drama is deliberately infused with a seed which will take root in the consciousness of the player, then we have a mystery play. A ritual drama sets the mystery play within a space which, through repeated use for the ‘good’ in the human soul, has a power of its own.

I am calm, now. Watching Gilgamesh and his new twin consolidate their shared kingdom. Each day, Gilgamesh teaches Enkidu something new, or shows him more of the glories he has inherited as the twin of this greatest-ever king.

Gilgamesh has never been happier. Even the agony of Shamhat has retreated into the shadows of his sun-filled life. Uruk is even mightier than it was. But the children are quiet, for four ears listen for their approval… though two of them are listening differently.

A spirit whose happiness relies upon doing – upon conquest – is never still. Its food is more of the same. But only ‘the different’ will make Gilgamesh free… and different is thin food to the ego.

He, Gilgamesh, is somewhere else… revelling with Enkidu, perhaps.

We have entered the temple for the third act of the Lord of the Deep and there is an emotional difference in this space. For a character that is determinedly engineering his own descent into hell, there is a lot of sympathy radiating from the other players…

In a moment of shock, I realise that it is not directed at Gilgamesh, but me. And, with that revelation comes clarity of origin. 

These lovely people are supporting me, not the character Gilgamesh. 

The minds in the room know that a part must be acted, and that we are all amateurs in this endeavour. The hearts in the room see a friend, and their seeing contains a growing awareness of the inner aloneness of the king’s descent. These beautiful souls are holding me, knowing that there is nothing I or they can do to alter the doom that lies ahead. It must be endured and brought to life, fully, or the purpose of the Lord of the Deep workshop will not be fulfilled: the clever workings of the egoic self will not be laid bare for us all to see and be transformed by.

It is a situation I have never been in before. I have acted other roles since our first such workshop in 2013. I have written several of these productions. But never before have we enacted a story which so totally encapsulated the struggle of the human spirit against the reactive power of what has come to enshroud it…

I do not want these dear souls to go soft on Gilgamesh. In the scale of such teaching stories he is a self-destructive monster. The symbolic dawn – enigmatic though it is- will only come at the end of his descent. 

And yet, in the radiance of that love, there is a moment when I would not be here, halfway down that dark slope. The most powerful learning is done alone… or it feels that way, till we look back….

Ironically, Gilgamesh is happy. His relationship with the no-longer wild man, Enkidu, has blossomed into the love of brother for brother. Beyond that, even – for they could be twins. They appear to think and feel the same way, but I know what Gilgamesh does not: that Enkidu is not a gift for the king; he is a token of despair. To realise that, all Gilgamesh has to do is carry on being him-self…

The King calls. I must attend him, or the intensity will diminish. There appear to be three of us, now… which makes me wonder who ‘I’ really am…

Other parts in this series:

Part One Part Two Part Three

©Stephen Tanham

Lord of the Deep, the Silent Eye’s 2019 April workshop, was created by Stuart France, assisted by Sue Vincent.

This narrative is a personal journey through that ritual drama in the persona of Gilgamesh.

Header image by Sue Vincent, copyright the Silent Eye.

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.

Gilgamesh descending (3)

Entranced by the living spell that is the movement of the Fate Dancers across their patterned marble floor, I, Gilgamesh – for the other is passive – surrender to the music of destiny and allow my eyes to be transported to a place of wildness; a place so far from the order and safety that I have built here from my children…

There is a constant whirling, and in that spinning wind I watch as six days and seven nights revolve around my throne. As the seventh takes hold, I am dragged into this killing wind which leaves me in the wilderness and watching a scene in which I may not participate, because it is controlled by Shamhat… My eyes scream at the realisation of what she is doing… triumphing over my own command, working with the Fates to unseat the sanity of her king.

The air of the watering hole is quiet, as the dance of the veils is enacted. The wild man – huge and powerful, every muscle straining to hold back his power of movement – watches, as entranced as I am by what neither of us can control.

My loins surge as I see that the woman I have loved – whose divine flesh I have worshipped like no other – has dressed herself in the thinnest of veils… Seven of them. They do not hide per pale skin; they set it on fire.

Beginning with the outer – the white veil, she moves around the beast-who-looks-like Gilgamesh, holding him paralysed by her beauty; but more by the gradual revealing of her body as she strips the thin, shining gauze from her vibrant flesh. My moaning becomes the wind, spinning around the edge of the hollow that holds the watering hole at which the Enkidu beast drinks.

My impotence is complete when the white is added as a cloak to his shoulders, followed by the red, then the grey, orange, green, black and finally yellow. Shamhat stands naked before the savage…

Then, when the screaming wind can get no louder, Shamhat lays him down on the soft earth and makes exquisite love to him… as she once did to a young king named Gilgamesh…

Far away, my throne is silent, now, Tears make my vision swim. The Fate Dancers have come to rest. They are frozen in time, looking at me. They do not act against me; they act from somewhere else, but their actions have ripped my being in two.

Time has ceased to have meaning. Days pass, here, yet the Fate Dancers remain frozen, until there comes a noise from the city walls, and a great cry goes up in the streets outside the palace. The dancers begin to move again and I know I must go out and meet this man, this anointed man, who the spinning winds say is my twin.

The vizier’s soft voice reminds me there is a bride whose marriage ceremony is complete, whose husband has been set aside to allow the king to enter their chamber… and to enter her, as the laws of Uruk – my laws – demand.

Despite the soft promise, I pull a leaden body from the throne and stride, heavy-hearted, through the palace and towards the bride’s chamber which lies across the square. The crowd is excited, but not by my presence. The Divine Council – that bunch of effete Elders – are pulling and pawing at the creature that Shamhat has supposedly civilised – this Enkidu…

They are saying, “How much like Gilgamesh he is!”

But he is not. There is none like the King. Tears form in eyes that have been, until now, all-seeing. How can they be so disloyal? Have they forgotten the glory of their ruler? Have they forgotten my hand-hewn mighty walls and how well they protect the citizens of Uruk?

The pawed one sees me and tears himself away from the Elders, glaring–then charging at me. The aggression is unmistakable. He knows my intention and intends to prevent it. The crowd retreats to a safe distance as we circle each other, four great arms extended.

In his rage, he shouts that he has been raised up by his divine union with Shamhat; and that I will not be allowed to debase the bride who is entitled to the same and should be waiting for her husband – not her king… My response is a blow to his bearded face.

We fight with such ferocity that the crowd scatters. Our battle becomes a mirror of the Fate Dancers’ whirlwind… but this is my city, this is my skill, this is my art. Mighty though he is, I use the whirling motion – learned from the Fate Dancers – to tire him. Then, at the moment when he is most distracted, I draw on my hatred of the power that made me watch the lovemaking of the wild man and my Shamhat and use it to perform my own special magic, driving him to the ground…

… But Enkidu’s hands, which the Trapper said could tame wild beasts, pull me down with him, and we fall to our knees…

Laughing…

And in our laughter, I think of Shamhat… and I steal from her this lover and make of him my brother.

Other parts in this series:

Part One Part Two

©Stephen Tanham

Lord of the Deep, the Silent Eye’s 2019 April workshop, was created by Stuart France, assisted by Sue Vincent.

This narrative is a personal journey through that ritual drama in the persona of Gilgamesh.

Header image by Sue Vincent, copyright the Silent Eye.

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.

Lord of the Deep: A radiant dawn

Sue narrates some of the glories and challenges of hosting the Gilgamesh – Lord of the Deep workshop…

The Silent Eye

Shamash, the solar deity also known as Utu to the Sumerians, is enthroned behind the altar bearing the sun symbol, dispensing justice. He holds the Rod and Ring, a precursor of the modern orb of sovreignty.

There is something about greeting the rising sun at the dawn of a new day that changes our perspective, especially on a spiritual workshop, when the attention is already focussed beyond the confines or everyday life.

Every April, we begin the Saturday of our workshop by greeting the dawn. Given the time at which our Companions must rise in order to attend this ritual, it is an entirely optional part of the weekend, especially as many have travelled far the previous day and then stayed up late talking after a visit to the village pub. And yet, every year, almost all of our Companions gather in the pale, cold light of dawn to join…

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