Set in Stone

The Silent Eye’s Landscape Weekends were born from a mad-cap day on Ilkley Moor and a number of subsequent events up there.

Join us on Sue Vincent’s birthday (14th September) for lunch and a short walk to one of Ilkley Moor’s ancient monuments as we remember our former colleague and fellow director in the landscape she regarded as her home.

Meet: Noon at The Cow and Calf hotel and restaurant on Wednesday, 14th September 2022.

You can contact us via email at

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

Arnside and Autumn Pastels

(Above: Arnside at low tide)

At first glance, it has something of the ziggurat about it. In reality it’s the final bit of Arnside’s Victorian pier, taken from a short distance back in order to include part of the famous viaduct – nearly 1600 ft – that links Arnside with Grange-over-Sands.

Arnside has the kind of beaches that you’d rather photograph than paddle from. The sands around here share Morecambe Bay’s treacherous reputation. The danger comes from two directions: the estuary is the outflow of the rivers Kent and Bela. The Kent being so powerful that it has carved deep gorges in the limestone rock in its approach to the sea – this over rather a long time, admittedly…

The other is the strength of the incoming tide, which crosses Morecambe Bay with a speed faster than a galloping horse.

Frequent trains cross the Arnside viaduct, linking it, south, to Manchester and northwards to Barrow in Furness.

I love it, as you can probably tell… The whole landscape of estuary, cascading village, station and viaduct reminds me of an boy’s ideal model train set! Not that I’ve had one of those for a very long time…

It’s also a great source of good photographs – in particular sunsets, of which I must have hundreds in my iCloud online storage. Today, while taking the collie for her morning walk, the pastel colours of the October sky reflecting in the calm waters of low tide were the epitome of autumnal stillness.

(Above: a very calm Arnside)

Not that it’s always quiet… During daylight hours, the peace of Arnside village is disturbed by a series of very loud klaxon noises. These mark the turning of the tide – fed by the powerful currents in nearby Morecambe Bay. At very high tides, the klaxon is also used to signal the approach of the estuary’s own ‘bore’ – a single wave that travels inland, often for miles. It’s not as dramatic as that of the river Severn, but is a fascinating sight, and people travel to Arnside specially to see it.

(Above: The way to fine coffee…)

There is a safe place for the collie to chase her ball; it’s near the entrance to the village and forms a kind of wild park on the foreshore. When she’s exhausted with that, we walk though the town and along the shore path to a newly-opened tiny cafe set back in the rock in a steep path that takes you into the posh residential part of Arnside. It’s run by two young women who do their own baking. It offers some of the best coffee for miles around… and they sell home-made Cornish pasties… I admit it’s not your usual breakfast…but I always make sure I am hungry when we go.

The cafe is take-away only. It is too small to do much else. Clutching what we have come to call our ‘Arnside brekkie’, we walk a little way down the estuary to a favourite block of limestone which boasts an accidental cup-holder, and I spread out my walker’s padded mat to get a degree of comfort.

(Above: that Cornish Pasty moment…)

And then it’s back to the village with a wistful glance at the rapidly filling estuary. The drive home can wait a few more minutes while I finish the last of that coffee, and reminisce about the pasty…

(Above: the final few minutes of calm before the tide begins its race)

©Stephen Tanham 2021

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

North by Northwest

It sits over the ocean like one of the spice-navigated, space-time warping Guild Ships from Frank Herbert’s novel ‘Dune’.

It’s probably an old lighthouse extended into a cafe…probably.

In front of it, in futuristic letters, forged into the stone of the pier, is a giant metal compass dial, announcing to those passing that this landing space is designated ‘North by Northwest’.

Which may be borrowed from the Hitchcock masterpiece of the same name, starring Cary Grant in one of his finest roles, playing opposite James Mason; arch baddie and Soviet agent.

But who knows…

Here, on this reinvented marine breakers yard – a traveller in time from a hundred years ago, there is dimension-bending imagination and fantasy all around.

Iron cormorants, made from thin metal sections, warn the unwary that, beyond this point, jumping to conclusions about reality may be missing the point…

Only the presence of the beached fishing boats, waiting quietly for the returning sea – which flows back faster than a galloping horse – bring a hint of rhythmic normality.

But this is Morecambe’s Stone Jetty … and anything could happen in the next half-hour.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

Devon Drive (1)

(Above: it may look like a painting, but its a just after dawn photo of Marldon village, near Torquay)

From the ages of two to fourteen, I lived in a small village called Ainsworth, halfway between Bolton and Bury, in old Lancashire.

The streets in the new estate were named after places in Devon. The main trunk avenue, where our home was, was Devon Drive; others included Kingsbridge Avenue and Salcombe Avenue. I’d never been to Devon, and these sounded exotic. It was exciting being on a new estate of bungalows and I hold fond memories of those times.

I’ve retained a fondness for things ‘Devon’. We thought we’d have a winter break there in the run-up to Christmas. It’s too busy in the summer for our tastes. We’ve gradually been filling in our knowledge of this beautiful county, and know a few of the areas quite well.

If you follow my writing (and thank you), you’ll know that photography is one of my passions. The late Autumn landscape of Devon offers a series of delights and some photographic challenges. Many of the colours are still present – the season lasts longer than in Cumbria. The light fades fast, though – but the ‘gathering gloom’ of the mid-afternoon has its own attractions – wonderful things happen to assist the creativity…

(Above: another shot of Marldon and the ‘coombe’ landscape in which so much of Devon sits)

We spent a week in a village (Marldon) not far from Torquay. One of the busiest parts of Devon in the summer, and quite popular in the winter months, too. This proved an excellent base for exploration of the nearby towns of Torquay, Brixham, Babbacombe and Dartmouth.

Our visit was prompted by Bernie being on a ‘Magimix’- based cooking weekend to develop her skills; something I am the beneficiary of, so wanted to encourage. Being in Devon as part of the process helped… Her course lasted the weekend, during which Tess (collie) and I explored the surrounding landscape. The rest of the week we spent together – a delightful pre-Christmas sojourn.

(Above: one of Torquay’s many Art Deco buildings)

I’ve taken a good many photographs and thought it would be fun to spend the run-up to Christmas sharing the best of them, here on the Sunday blog- along with short comments about the locations.

Wishing everyone a gentle and peaceful December.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

What if the week didn’t exist? (2) : the planting of life-seeds

(Above: Image by the author)

At the close of last week’s post, we concluded that, although the ‘week’ was only broadly defined as a fraction of a moon-cycle, it had become an essential ‘container’ in our our outer lives. Our working and social existence depends on the week being in place. International travel would be unworkable unless we had agreement on which day of the week was being swept across the world with the sunrise.

Can we move this usefulness from a purely convenient and temporal basis to something that might help us on a higher level of our being?

The beauty of the week of seven days is the power inherent in its recurrence. Like the notes on a keyboard, the pattern is always the same, though the octave may be different. From ancient times, the days were seen to have different ‘characters’, just like the notes of music are seen to combine in different ways that can be harmonic or not.

Viewing the names of the seven days in French gives us a clue to this ancient derivation of a link between each day and the energy of one of the seven planets visible to the naked eye.

The Days: Lundi – Monday; Mardi – Tuesday; Mercredi – Wednesday; Jedi – Thursday; Vendredi – Friday; Samedi – Saturday; and Dimanche – Sunday.

Some of these immediately suggest a planetary connection. Let’s examine the list again with this in mind:

Lundi – Monday – suggests ‘Moon’ ; Mardi – Tuesday – suggests ‘Mars’; Mercredi – Wednesday – suggests ‘Mercury’; Jeudi – Thursday suggests Jupiter; Vendredi – Friday suggests Venus.

For the weekend, English is good enough: Saturday suggests Saturn; Sunday speaks for itself…

We can put our results into a table, as below:

(Above: the seven planets visible to the naked eye arranged according to the days of the week after which the latter were named. Image (c) copyright the author)

Note that the planetary names have been replaced by the letters A-G. We will refer to these as intervals. There are also a majority of blank squares in the above matrix, which we will address, later. But first things first…

In this table, the interval letters (A-G) in this table are the ruling planets for each day. ‘Ruling’ here means the planet in question lends a positive and creative flavour to that day. We are going to examine a method of using this energy to take things forward in our own lives.

The days of the week were assigned these planetary attributes in ancient times to convey that each day had a specific nature. This is not the same thing as having a personal horoscope charted. These are general energies that work to assist everyone.

Through popular astrology, we have a ready-made set of mental and emotional associations for them. A few examples of these characteristics are:

The Sun (A) is all-feeding, glorious in its power, benign and seemingly ever-giving. It promotes growth and development. It shines the light of truth and knowledge on things, but it can also burn.

The Moon (D) relates to the emotions and also to the reproductive cycles of women and their higher energies. It is nurturing and linked to mysteries in general.

Mars (G) is warlike and typically male. It is linked to initiative, energy and assertiveness, but can be impetuous.

Mercury (C) is quick-witted and the heart of communication. It is the thinking core of the ‘messenger’. But it can be shallow and move on too quickly.

Jupiter (F) is a party- animal. Bountiful and playful. The bringer of good fortune to all, but excess might beckon…

Venus (B) is the goddess of love, sex and beauty. Feminine, but capable of being beyond sexuality.

Saturn (E) is limitation. The rule and law maker that creates a framework in which orderly things can happen. Often misunderstood. It slows to ensure perfection…

The above are just a few examples of the characteristics of the ancient planets. Those familiar with astrology will be able to add many more to each. If not, a small reference book will flesh out this list of attributes.

This small amount of effort fits with the essence of what we do next, which is to work to make these personal.

There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, when taken at the flood leads on to fortune…

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, where Brutus talks to Cassius

Equipped with the above, we can use the week to establish a principle of recurring harvest. Regardless of what time actually is (or is not) there is a principle of seed to flower to harvest to seed in nature. For, say, an apple harvest, this is an annual cycle. For our psychological intent, which moves within faster cycles, we can use the week as the period of recurring harvest – and subsequent re-sowing.

Select from your own life an aspect of yourself you’d like to work on – something you’d like to improve, to moderate, or to extend. Let’s say you decide that the pressures of life, and specifically that big undertaking you’re working on, are making you too reactive.

Firstly, examine the nature of each of the planets (A-G) to see which is the best fit to your desire for change. I might be going through a period of great effort where I want to acknowledge that things will take time – but that I need to accept this seeming delay to my goals – in the interest of greater ‘fit’ of the result.

I look at the table and see that this goal corresponds well with the character of Saturn. Indeed, my quest seems to align closely with the ‘hidden nature’ of this vast ruler of time…and process.

I see from the table that the day ‘ruled’ by Saturn (E) is Saturday. I resolve that, as close to the sunrise as possible on the next Saturday, I will take myself away from my normal routine (including sleep) for a short period in which I will focus on the desire and the fact that it will benefit everyone if it is successful.

With some gentle breathing, I note how the breath has an in and out cycle. With the next in-breath, I take into myself the essence of this ‘Saturn’ interval, and ‘feel’ how the powerful slowing and limiting energy is the real nature of its effectiveness. I use this to align my being with the natural power of the Saturn effect.

Now, I breathe out, feeling that I am letting go of my preconceptions of things that take too long and opening myself to what might enter my life with the next in-breath.

I take that in-breath and feel, with confidence, that something new has happened. At this stage it is just a seed… but seeds are mighty…when planted.

After that, I only need close my short vigil with whatever positive words I wish. It is always important to see any benefit being shared with others.

Now I need to leave the ‘earth’ of my life to bring the seed to the start of its development. For the next six days, I will attune to the idea and the feeling that this dawn of the new is taking place within me.

On the evening before the next ‘Saturn dawn’ I take a notebook and jot down what each day – at work and in my home life – has brought me, in terms of understanding of the process I have begun. I sort these into a short summary of positive results and prepare to take this, mentally and emotionally, into the new Saturn dawn of the next Saturday.

This next step is most important: we must be prepared to let go the gain we have seen. Letting go is as important as gaining and taking. But our letting go is back into the process of harvest.

After the general alignment of the first out and in-breath, I let go the gains of the past week with the next out-breath and feel them enrich the general ‘earth’ of my life. Then I take the in-breath and know that the previous gains have become new seeds.

This exercise is repeated each week at the time (in this case) of the Saturn-dawn.

The exercise can be repeated for as long as you wish. You will know when the results have reached a point of maturity. At this stage you might have a new perspective and wish to continue the method but with a new objective inspired by the success of the previous stage.

Next week, we will fill in the blanks of the table, and in the process examine the deeper nature of the constant effects of these ancient guardians on the Earth’s life.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

It’s a liquid?

“It’s a liquid?”

“Well, I’d say it’s a kind of liquid”


“Because it’s warm and flows?”

“And rises?”

“Yes. Rises like a warm liquid rises.”

“Could it not be a gas?”

“I don’t think so…”

“Why not?”

Because is doesn’t feel like a gas flows, it feels like a liquid flows.”

“I agree. Though I’m not sure we have the proof for that.”

“But we can agree it’s not a solid.”

“Exactly! Not like a warm rice pudding sitting happily in the stomach.”

“Must it be a solid, liquid or gas? Is there no other state that it could be in?”

“Well, there’s plasma – like the incredibly hot stuff in the sun; a kind of super-energy state of matter.”

“But we feel it, strongly, in the body at ordinary temperatures, so its nothing to do with very high temperature?”

“That’s right. It just is…”


“Yes. It’s not fuelled by anything extraordinary except an invisible sense of attraction for another.”

“Another person?”

“Usually, but not necessarily.”

“What else?”

“It can be for a profound idea – one that makes us resonate within with its effect.”

“Resonate? Sounds like this can affect a single person within themselves?”

“Most certainly – happens all the time in mystical work…”

“So… It’s a liquid, then?”

“Not really… It’s just that we don’t have a word closer than liquid to describe how it feels.”

“How about radiance?”

“Could be… funny old thing, love…”

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

Pale sun, November river…

That moment when you look up and realise that the sun is as high as it’s going to get … and, yes, it’s the end of November.

On our ‘town and castle’ walk, the Collie and I pass over this old stone bridge and gaze down at the silver-gold of the river Kent.

And reflect…

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

What if the week didn’t exist? – Part 1

(Above: Image by the author)

I don’t know about you, but I find the week comforting…

Over the years, I’ve built up a pattern of working through things that I need to do, in order to get to the things I regard as ‘me-time’.

There is the stuff of keeping an orderly house. Then the dog has to be walked… and time to visit my mother in her care home. In the summer, the garden takes up a lot of our week. Keeping on top of this does involve some early mornings and late nights – most of that for either the review of Silent Eye companions’ journals or the writing of blogs. But the ‘me-time’ is all the more special for that…Experience teaches that, if you can keep on top of things, the pattern of seven days works well….

But what would happen if we continued the days beyond seven, not into one, again, but numbered the next one ‘eight’, then gave it a new name… and so on? Perhaps we’d get to 365 and have a pot of tea before concluding it was boring…. Then pick up Sunday, again.

Does ‘the week’ really have any reality? Our week is cyclic: it comes round again on the eighth day. But nothing really comes around apart from the habitual patterns that fit into seven days. We cut the grass on Sundays, perhaps. We do the shopping on Saturdays. Weekdays, we collect the kid or grandkids from school…

These patterns of familiar events give us a warm feeling that the week really does exist, but what really exists is a seven-day cycle of recurring events made by ourselves. The traditional ‘working week’ is a big part of this, of course. It’s at the root of how we are trained to view the seven days as a real composite thing – in order to fit in with our society, even our world.

Can we find a reality in the larger cycles of our lives? To do this we need to find some boundaries – some natural cycles of definite character and presence – that will provide an anchor for the derivation of the week.

The year is the obvious starting point. Every 365 days (plus a quarter), we find a repeating cycle of four approximate seasons driven by the time it takes the Earth to travel around the Sun. We don’t actually see that, of course, though we do see the sun crossing the sky every day, bar a cloud or two.

But the sun does return to its annual start-point reliably … sort of…

(Above: the real journey of the sun and planets in the galactic orbital system)

It is, of course, the planets that move around an apparently stationery sun. In reality, the sun and its planets – including our home, Earth, are hurtling through the space of the parent Milky Way galaxy at more than a hundred miles a second, and all this at a right angle to what we think of as the ‘saucer’ on which the sun and planets lie – the ecliptic. See the above diagram for an illustration (original source itskosmos on Instagram)

The week is simply a series of days following nights; eventually leading to the changing cycles of nature as we progress from spring, to summer, to autumn to winter. The solstices and equinoxes are real events and can be measured. The year provides a primary ‘time container’ for the passing-time of life on Earth – something that has a substantive presence beyond any artificial concept.

All these belong to solar cycles: the orbits of planets – inclined on their axes of spin so that seasons exist. Were we not to be tilted at 23.5 degrees from the ‘vertical’ we would have no seasons, and the equator would be a fiercely hot hell-zone. We would have no instinctive feel for what time of year it was, and all our days would be of fixed duration depending on our degree of latitude.

Variation seems to be a key ingredient of a healthy life. From a perspective of consciousness, that is easy to understand: the mind gets bored if it is not stimulated by freshness. The body would quickly die without a constant exchange of material with the outside world to provide food, air and excretion.

We can see that some of the parts of our ‘time-container’ are valid boundaries, determined and backed up by the realities of physics. The day, and the year – with its solstice (longest and shortest) and equinox (equal night and day) – are actual physical occurrences that can be mapped onto, say, a ridge on the horizon, allowing for the precession of the equinoxes, a cycle that takes 26,000 years to complete.

Is the week still a mystery? The truth is its meaning and origination have slipped from our consciousness but is rooted in our ancient study of moon-cycles – something we find pretty but otherwise irrelevant to our busy modern lives.

Twenty-eight days was the approximation to the full cycle of the moon whose actual length is 29.5 days. This closely fitted the average 28-29 days of the full menstrual cycle of women: the basis of all human life on earth…

Before the patriarchal society imposed upon us by religion and power politics, women were the priests…and for good reasons.

The ancients knew of the magical nature of cycles of seven. Harmony emerged from a cycle of seven notes, repeated on higher levels with the eighth note being the same as the first but an octave higher. The proportions of frequency within the seven gave rise to endless harmonic innovation.

The seven-day week originates from the calendar of the Babylonians, which in turn is based on a Sumerian calendar dated to 21st-century B.C. Seven days corresponds to the time it takes for a moon to transition between each phase: full, waning half, new and waxing half.

Seven times four is 28: the nearest ‘whole’ number to the moon cycles and therefore key to reproduction in woman. The week was ‘born’…

Incidentally, the scientist and philosopher Rudolph Steiner developed a system of agriculture based on the cycles of the moon – Biodynamics. It was deeply in harmony with what became ‘ecology’ and rewards an increasing number of farmers who use it.

The sun and the solar system are moving at 200 kilometers per second, or at an average speed of 448,000 mph (720,000 km/h). Even at this rapid speed, the solar system would take about 230 million years to travel all the way around the Milky Way. So, the length of the week is fairly trivial, in galactic terms.

But not to us…

Were we to live on a desert island, off-grid and self-sufficient. We could forget the days, weeks and even months. The shortening, then lengthening days and their twin solstices and equinoxes would remind us of the four polar points as the years of our lives passed – a tiny blink in the life of the universe.

And yet the consciousness we hold, the seat of the ‘I’ which is the real jewel of creation – is still inexplicable to the great minds that map the universe we have just explored in our imagination.

The seven days of the week can hold a wonderful key to self-development. In next week’s post we will explore the use of this key.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

Goths on the Lake?

(Above: Derwent water looking decidedly dodgy…)

A mid-November trip to Keswick and one of its two lakes – Derwent Water. The last few days of the visit of our artist friend from Oz, before she leaves for a final rendezvous in Manchester and then the long journey back home to Melbourne.

(Above: Giselle, our artist for the Silent Eye’s oracle deck, with Tess the Collie)

A week with us then she had two days with a fellow artist and his engineer wife… who happen to be very fond of Gothic clothes and decidedly edgy festivals in Whitby…

Whitby… mmm. Wasn’t that where Count Dracula came ashore in Bram Stoker’s infamous novel?

Derwent Water, a ten minutes’ walk from the centre of Keswick, is usually a safe place to garner a set of shots for a blog… In the summer, it looks like this:

(Above: Derwent Water on a non-Goth day…)

But, today, it didn’t look anything like that… It looked gloomy, lightless and awful. In fairness, it was half an hour before the darkness took over… and that thought gave me an idea…

We four could adopt a decidedly Goth mentality and see if the lake would lend itself to a Gothic photography session. I’ve never been a Goth, but two of our friends had… and loved the idea.

We set about taking shots of the dark lake; shots that would lend themselves to a certain style of post-processing.

(Above: It’s a big lake – let’s give it some ‘dark depth’)

Over an atrocious cup of coffee at a reluctantly-still-open cafe, we processed a chosen subset to get these…

(Above: the near shore and the far mountains… of Mordor?)

Our mood lifted (or should that be darkened?) as the results emerged

(Surely not a home for any ordinary island-dweller!)

Upon reflection, even the clouds had conspired to help us…

(Above: a dark tranquility beneath the gathering storm…)
(Above: the guilty trio… with thanks to the fourth who took the shot. And a word to the wise: don’t mess with these two ladies… )

I’m pretty sure that’s what happened. Otherwise, I dreamt it… and woke up to the photos…

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

The bridge over the railway at Grange

(Above: Towards Barrow – taken from the bridge over the railway at Grange)

The railway made Grange-over-Sands; and part of that legacy is a wonderful but decidedly odd-looking metal bridge over the line as you’re leaving the town to the West – in the direction of Barrow-in-Furness. It’s a favourite piece of architecture – mainly for the photogenic views up the line, as in the cover shot…

(Above: the metal bridge from the promenade)

The giant L-shaped structure dominates this part of the promenade. It used to be possible to walk across the twin track line at several points, but some near-misses with the children of inattentive parents meant their closure. Today, there is only the station, itself, and this bridge until you get to the end of promenade where there’s an old and dingy tunnel that allows you to make the return via a park.

(Above: taken in summer, this photo shows off the Victorian design of the station)

The metal bridge links to several of the larger car parks – essential for visitors as the centre of Grange is a narrow place and cars enter at their peril! Its also used by promenade cyclists to get back to their vehicles.

(Above: end of the ride. Two cyclist use the bridge to return to their cars in the town’s overflow car park)

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

Representing the Invisible

(Figure1: a descending way from a common centre)

For this you were called, created, formed and made…

The human mind has always sought to represent the invisible…

A feeling might be represented by high art, such as Michelangelo’s marble sculpture ‘Pietà’, in St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.

(Figure 2: The Pietà, St Peter’s Basilica, Rome)

To stand before the Pieta sculpture is to be drawn into the emotion of Christ’s mother, holding the crucified body of her son, Jesus Christ. There is sadness, but something deeper – understanding of what his role was in the world and the sacrifice involved for him and for her.

We could also say that it represents the divine feminine in all her forms, giving birth to life and taking back its used-up form to be ploughed back into the ‘earth’ – nature – and become the visible stuff of life, again.

When it comes to ideas, rather than emotions, we often rely on conceptualisations to convey meaning to the viewer.

(Figure 3: One way to represent Creation)

The object, above, is a good example of an powerful image with a potentially hidden meaning. What appears to be a circle is, in fact, half of a sphere. Were it to be complete, we would not be able to see its interior, so the sculptor has created it as a ‘section’, giving us a semi-physical representation so that we may, more accurately, create a deeper visualisation within our selves.

There are astrological markings on the flattened circumference, indicating that this may represent the life of a person, ‘incarnated’ into the world of matter. That world is governed by laws that seem to constrain but really are the basis of its enduring construction. The outer ring may also indicate the strong inclinations of the personality, as it develops under the rules of the world: combining external and inner influences into a life that strengthens and energises the inner being, now enshrouded in organic matter – great Nature’s own contribution to the process under way.

The horizontal ‘horizon’ line is self-describing in the sense of a navigation tool but could also be used to indicate one of the mystical ‘directions’ that are the seeming boundaries of our brain consciousness. Temples of the Mysteries are aligned along an East-West axis, as are churches and other buildings dedicated to the sacred in mankind and Nature.

There are other ‘directions’. North-South is an obvious complement to the first, but there is also Above-Below. Taken together, these give us the three dimensions of space, forming an endless sphere in which we appear to live and have our daily being.

‘God is a circle whose centre is everywhere, and circumference is nowhere…’

Meister Eckhart

Time is, subjectively, the ‘duration of consciousness’; but physics is discovering deeper and deeper relationships between all the spatial directions, which increasingly appear to be a continuum tightly bound to consciousness.

We should not be surprised at this, since the most dramatic finding of Quantum physics was that energy only resolved itself into either wave, particle or both when it was measured, i.e. observed.

The most important element of the sculpture in Figure 3 is the arrow or pointer that descends from the symbolically highest – the ‘extreme’ and apparent outer – to the centre of the whole figure. These seeming extremes should generate a strong feeling in us… The idea of something vital penetrating to the very centre of our existence – being the centre of our existence is designed to make us think about who we really are…

The human is born into the middle of this ‘world’. At birth, the physical separation from mother is mirrored in the developing consciousness, which comes to see and experience itself as separate from the world in which it awakens. The mind becomes subject, the world, object.

As Wordsworth wrote:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:

Ode: Intimations of Immortality (extract)

The mystical journey has one goal: to use our temporal maturity to undo the forgetfulness of this incoming; to place within our consciousness an indigestible seed of a return whose journey may be quite different from what we envisage…

Many diagrammatic forms have been used to describe this. The Kabbalistic ‘Tree of Life’, below, maps a descent of consciousness from divine to human awareness. As part of this, the ‘world’ of the eventually conscious is also brought into ‘existence’ via the work of two vertical pillars of Force and Allowance.

The stages in this descent were famously described by Isaac Luria, a noted 16th century Kabbalist, as ‘called, created, formed and made’ – the subtitle of this post. The ten spheres of coming into being are divided into four regions of descent, corresponding to the above.

(Figure 4: Halevi’s (Warren Kenton) diagram of how modern developmental psychology maps exactly into the Tree of Life)
(Figure 5: Combining esoteric psychology and the ideas behind Figure 2, the Silent Eye’s mystical enneagram is a journey from the key aspects of our personality (lower self), along each of their radii with the centre, to the heart of our being – The Self. In this way, the personality is not negated but used as the raw material for a modern equivalent of the Alchemists’ refinement and enrichment)

To understand why we are ‘called, created, formed and made’ we need to comprehend the idea of tsimtsum, whose literal meaning is contraction or condensation.

In Luria’s Kabbalah, God began the process of Creation by taking away, not by addition. What was taken away was the undifferentiated divine and infinite light, and the taking away affected a region that came to be the universe we know. This allowed a ‘beam’ of new creative light to be allowed back into the target dark region in a specific way: Kabbalistically a four-step process through ten manifestations that allowed the entire Creation to form its own consciousness and see the majesty of the whole from an apparently external perspective.

Consider that carefully… For the culmination of the entirety of that is the completion of the human consciousness.

Many things are said here … many more are left unsaid.

This post also forms the orientation paper for our next Silent Eye Explorations (SE-Explore) zoom meeting on Sunday 20th November 2022 at 8 pm. These virtual meetings last 90 minutes and are an informal gathering of curious people and some established mystical teachers. All are welcome. There is no charge.

For more information and the link to connect to the next meeting, send an email with the subject line ‘SE-Explore’ to:

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

Orkney’s hidden jewel – the Stromness Museum

My iPad, on which I do most of my writing, these days, threw up a random picture of a marine clock the other day. I recognised it as dating to when we made our first visit to Orkney in 2018, staying in the busy port of Stromness.

(Above: the busy port of Stromness; the main route between Scotland and Orkney)

Stromness has an excellent local history museum. An entire room is concerned with the town’s links to naval history and has one of the best collections of marine clocks I’ve ever seen.

Orkney was a strategic base for our naval operations for a long time. During the Napoleonic wars (1803-1815), it was considered a weak point for French attacks and was fortified with Martello Towers – state of the art defence structures with advanced rooftop cannon that were never tested in battle…

Perhaps knowledge of their excellence was sufficient deterrent?

(Above: one of the famous Martello Towers, designed to be impregnable to Napoleon’s naval cannons)

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of major global conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European states formed into various coalitions. It produced a period of French domination over most of continental Europe, and invasion of Britain was a constant threat.

(Above: the roof of the Martello tower, showing the amazing engineering of the munitions circle)

Since then, during WW1 and WW2, the huge sea-loch Scapa Flow was the heavily guarded anchorage of the British Naval Fleet.

(Above: the vastness of Scapa Flow’s waters)

The clocks in the museum are from a variety of ships that plied the local waters. Orkney was the main staging post for Arctic Expeditions headed for tremendous hardship as they searched the summer ice for a way through to Canada – the famous North West Passage.

John Rae was one of Stromness’ most famous sons. A local hero, he was instrumental in finding the way through the ice and establishing the North West Passage as a viable route of the day.

The statue of John Rae is displayed in simplicity in the town square, opposite the port of Stromness.

(Above: John Rae, explorer of extraordinary skill. Here celebrated in the town square of Stromness)

In our age of aviation, this world of arduous and life-threatening sea voyages seems very distant; yet the Stromness local history museum brings and keeps it alive, and the artefacts link us with that past.

(Above one of John Rae’s marked maps, showing his eventual breakthrough to Canada)

Churchill, himself, recorded that future generations could never have the perspective to understand the historical importance of Orkney to Britain, spanning hundreds of years. Perhaps he was sensing that the preeminence of the ‘Senior Service’ (Navy) would be eclipsed by the development of aviation.

(Above: the waterside location of the local history museum is part of an historic section of coast)

The museum’s exhibits cover many other aspects of Stromness’ maritime history, including the development of powerful lenses which enabled low-power light to be reflected for many miles out to sea to guide ships.

(Above: one of the historic lenses used in early lighthouses and lightships)

If you ever visit Stromness – and I would urge you to do so – be sure to spend an hour or two at the local history museum. You’ll be glad you did…

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

The shifting beach…

(Above: ‘The beach at sunset by the author)

What I love about the beaches around Morecambe Bay is the way you can go back a day later and find them completely changed.

Heysham Beach, near Morecambe, is a wonderful example. In autumn, the tides get stronger, and the landscape upon which you walk – often a liminal zone between rock and sand – changes with each tide.

Which is good news for photographers, as, once more, we can crouch down on a virgin pattern of sand and rock as a new basis for the shot.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

Beyond the Winter

(Above: Lake Windermere, all ten miles of it)

It’s at this time of year, when the nights are long and the days short and getting shorter, that we turn our attention to a what could unfold in the spring – in the form of the Silent Eye’s May workshop. The idea is one thing, the success lies in giving it form and substance…and making sure that everyone there feels a creative part of it.

There is something special about the month of May… Just the sound of it is romantic. It’s the kind of month that demands we do something different; that we cast off the inward-looking considerations of the winter, and perhaps say that last goodbye to the crackling of the log-fires in the hearth.

We used to hold our first weekend of the year in March or April, depending on the date of Easter – which we had to avoid. But May offers a very different energy – and perhaps a degree of warmth and colour lacking in the months before it.

This past year, we celebrated the May 2022 weekend – and the relative freedom from Covid – with ‘The Journey of the Hero’, using the north Lakes town of Keswick as our base. Our adventures took us along the ridges of hills, down a long river walk in the Eden Valley, and deeply into ourselves within the Castlerigg Stone Circle.

This coming May, we have chosen a different theme – Water, and its associations with our emotional natures. Our name for the weekend of 19-21 May, 2023 is ‘Water, Circle, Cross – a rite of Spring

This time we are basing our journeys around the massive body of water that is Lake Windermere; England’s largest lake, as we set off on a spiritual journey across its vastness, along the paths over its neighbouring fells, and a modest degree of merriment in the twin towns of Bowness and Ambleside.

‘Body of Water’ is our theme…

We will explore our spiritual relationship with water, the alchemical element that is most associated with the emotions, and ask whether we can use its healing power. At a time of great tension on the planet, we will carry out a series of guided sailings and walks that attune us to the vast power of harmonisation we all carry – in the water of our cells.

The inner journey, from self to Self, is one of personal discovery. No-one can gift that journey, but you can gift it to yourself.

(Above: There are many hidden faces to Windermere. The Romans came this way…)

The group will use a method of ‘characterisation’ to move from one state and landscape to another. Each participant will be asked to form a fictional character in their minds and hearts; a persona of great power and insight. At various stages of land and lake, we will enact a developing rite that explores and unites this body of ‘players’ into a working group…all leading to the powerful and healing finale on the Sunday morning.

Our personal rite will take the form of a Solarace – a set of movements and gestures that take place entirely within the space of the body. This mysterious and ancient technique has calming and focussing properties that will serve us well in our individual and collective quest.

No experience is necessary. We will all learn, together, by doing…

The central meeting point will be the lovely lakeside town of Bowness. Rail connections are available to the nearby town of Windermere, two miles up the hill from the Lake.

The administration cost will be £75.00, but additional monies should be set aside for a ferry pass to cover the weekend. We will notify the 2023 cost of these tickets nearer the time.

(Above: and much to tempt the palette…)

Those joining us are responsible for their own accommodation costs, meals, and transportation.

We will meet at the ferry point in Bowness on the Friday lunchtime. Attendees may join later if needed. Friday evening will see us having a shared dinner in Bowness.

The workshop will run through to Sunday lunch, allowing early departure for return journey.

(Above: and the lakeside fells are never far away. Our journeys won’t all be by water…)

If you’ve never been on one of our weekends, you will be doubly welcome. Those who have joined us, before, will testify to the quality, fun and happy intensity of these Silent Eye events.

Contact us at: to book your place.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being. and

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