A Farewell to Sue Vincent

Today will be the funeral of our dear friend and fellow Director of the Silent Eye, Sue Vincent. Many words have been said over the past two weeks… Today is a simple goodbye for a few family and friends.

For those who might wish to know what is happening today, we include, above, the two pages of a simple tri-fold ‘Order of Service’ document, that we have produced, ourselves, for distribution at the Crematorium in Aylesbury. As you can see, many people have contributed content for this. The Celebrant is an old friend and fellow light-worker, Lorraine Munn, asked by Sue, prior to her death, to conduct this. There is also a poem by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Director of the Servants of the Light. Two poems written by Sue feature in the programme.

In honour of Sue, this will be our last post of this week.

Thank you to everyone who has written or commented to share our sadness. Being a mystical school, we know that her spirit has entered the world of pure Being, free from pain, and able to begin its new existence.

To this spirit, we and many others send our undying love. She will be held in our hearts and long-remembered.

Stephen Tanham, Stuart France

Directors, the Silent Eye School of Consciousness.

21 April, 2021.

And tomorrow…

And tomorrow we will gather

Within this garden country, rich with life

To gaze, inside, upon your memories

And tell stories of your laughing fullness

Outside our garden guest-house

I found this quiet group

Of faded, used-out artefact

Held close in tulips’ embrace

The whole, sun-wrapped

And I thought of you.

©Stephen Tanham

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

Still Light

I think of it as ‘still light’, adapting the idea of still life; a style that originated centuries ago in the world of the painted image, and went on to influence the early years of photography…

(240 words. A two-minute read)

(Above: the warm light of a sunset creates an almost lifelike, secondary image of a vase, together with the contents. The shadows of the Venetian blinds add sympathetic texture, without overpowering the surface layer. Such ‘painting with light’ opens up the versatility of the natural medium)

The big idea of still life is to have an intensity of quietness, whose arrangement may also carry a hidden message; ranging from political to moral… or something entirely new.

With still light, I don’t deviate from this much, but look to the direct effects of light to add to the forms to be viewed and, hopefully, photographed.

The best shots are usually sympathetic to monochrome treatment. Tone and contrast are important factors in choosing the original subject.

An image can be changed, completely, by cropping. The eye and the mind can see parts of an image, subconsciously, which may not be immediately rendered by the photography.

But you know it was there….

(Above: sensitive cropping can reveal a different image. Here, the willow stems seem to reach into their shadow counterparts)

A little trial and error reveals it, and the image springs to life, as glimpsed in the original moment.

©Stephen Tanham

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

Making sense of it – hidden capabilities

Our five senses may not be five at all… It turns out we have far more capabilities than we thought…

(800 words; a seven-minute read)

We all have our favourite concepts of physical capability – breathing, flexibility, strength and such like. But what if the power of our senses extended far beyond what we know? This is not about the historic idea of a sixth-sense, though that can be entirely valid. I’m referring to the kind of synthesis that enables things to work together as a ‘whole system’, in the way that the science of Emergence has shown us that ‘mere matter’ can become self-organising and apparently exhibit ‘intelligence’; the very same way that the first protein-based RNA molecules formed into life-repeating chains and gave rise to our DNA, the very substance of life’s persistence…

In a age of fast-paced scientific discovery, we are learning that what we think of as our separate senses are capable of ‘raising their game’ so that they become the basis of new levels of feeling and action in the world.

Philosophers have long postulated this; and psychology has shown us that, though it is often hard to see what others are thinking and feeling, we can train our senses to enable us to ‘see’ into the bubbles that are their worlds – with much deeper empathy.

The model of the five senses I wrote about in last weeks’ Thursday blog is derived from no less a figure than Aristotle. Though easily understood, it has been shown that the five-sense model of consciousness undervalues and underestimates how and how far the human being can ‘sense’.

I learned about the advances in this field from an article in the British Psychological Society’s online magazine. This is free to subscribers and offers frequent insights into how the science of mind and behaviour is progressing. A recent edition showcases an article from author and researcher Emma Young. She writes, ‘We have many more than five senses – here’s how to make the most of them’, she discusses such mechanisms as Proprioception – the sensing of the location of our body parts in space.

We take this for granted, but try closing your eyes and extending a hand or leg. You can no longer see the limb, but your mind has a good idea of where it is. The accuracy of this sense, known as ‘proprioception’, is vital to our physical wellbeing, and saves us from what would be frequent injury without it.

To get an idea of how automatic this skill is, try closing your eyes and walking around a familiar room – much as a blind person learns to do – and you will find a very different ‘self-process’ is engaged.

Emma Young references how Covid has eaten into the degree to which we make use this extra sense. She suggests we use artificial exercises, such as making up stepping-stones from mats placed in the garden or home. This will replicate the under-used activity of proprioception and help restore this hidden but vital part of being alive. The benefits go further, and according to recent American research, such exercises actually stimulate working memory in the brain.

The problem with our eyes is that they are open all the time. We depend on them too much – a sentiment no-doubt echoed by Shamans of all ages, who have always taught that we can have total knowledge of things only by embracing them as both the ‘now’ and as vividly alive in a holistic way – allowing the higher consciousness mechanisms to engage and ‘self-organise’ at a level above the individual senses.

If it is safe to do so, try moving around your house with your eyes closed – or even blindfold! Who does not remember the intensity of consciousness generated by the child’s game of ‘blind man’s buff’?

One of the levels of synthesis available to us is the result of the body’s vestibular system, used by our minds to establish both balance and the sense of being located and homed inside a physical body. We take this for granted, and it is undoubtedly one of the ‘senses’ that make us feel settled and calm. But many people faced with unusual conditions – such as undergoing surgery – report ‘out of body’ experiences that may relate, directly, to the suppression of the vestibular self-locating mechanisms that are fundamental to our normal consciousness.

Emma Young references the particular efficacy of exercises that move the head, such as Pilates, or Tai Chi, in addition to any action that challenges our balance, such as walking along a rope placed on the floor.

It has been demonstrated that psychological well-being is greatly assisted by the correct use of our eyes, in the sense of what kind of light we ‘take in’ at differing times of day. Bright and ‘sunny’ light is really good for us in the morning; while the more restful evening should be bathed in muted, soft lights, and we shouldn’t stimulate our senses by using computer screen before we go to bed.

Research shows that an acute sense of smell – such a that possessed by wolves – is still with us, despite evolutionary fears that we have lost such capability. We just need to begin using it, again. For all we know, much our society’s depression may come from ‘tech smells’ that have a semi-poisonous effect on our lives. “If you see a rose,” says Emma Young, “stop and smell it…”

Apparently a ‘fishy smell’ improves our critical thinking; and people who are more sensitive to smell have better sex lives…

Emma Young goes on to talk about our ability to ‘inner-sense’, including our own heart-beat, without the use of external devices. I remember an exercise from my youth where we had to use the second hand of our watches to time a six-second period and count the heart beats by placing a finger on the back of the wrist. Multiply the result by ten, and you have your heart rate.

With a little effort (and I’ve tried this) you can feel your heartbeat quite easily simply by ‘listening within’. If you add the second-hand technique, you can measure it… or you could just bask in its magnificent presence and thank it, knowing that some day, it will have finished its loving and dutiful job… to carry our outer ‘self’ through the continuity of life.

———————

References:

British Psychological Society’s weekly online digest:

Digest.bps.org.uk

Emma Young’s article

https://digest.bps.org.uk/2021/04/01/we-have-many-more-than-five-senses-heres-how-to-make-the-most-of-them/

©Stephen Tanham

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

The Wrong Queue

We were sitting on the M6 motorway. The car was stationary, as it had been for the previous thirty minutes. Ahead of us was the next junction, within sight, but closed off. Beyond that there was a wall of standing traffic. The motorway was closed but we – the stranded – were still on it.

The fourth ambulance came screaming up the thankfully empty lane next to the central reservation. It had been closed for resurfacing; a miracle, really, given the likely mayhem that lay ahead of the wall of silent cars in front of us.

More for something to say than any real content, we began to talk about how it had been ‘one of those days’ and how we were always unlucky in trying to pick the fastest queue for checkout at CostCo, the place from which we had just come, only minutes before hitting the brakes at the sight of the wall of cars and trucks going nowhere.

We do a lot of our monthly shopping there. Like most warehouses, it’s not pretty, but it is functional, and allows us to buy in bulk, rather than shopping every weekend. The collie and her need for lots of exercise usually dictates the nature of our days. We’re probably a lot healthier than we would be without her. We’d rather spend our time dog-walking and writing than shopping. So CostCo serves us well.

Our chosen queue, moving efficiently when we switched to it, had proved the very opposite in the few minutes afterwards. I knew how sensitive the northern M6 would be to peak traffic, and we were about to enter that period of almost exponential build-up. I had muttered under my breath; eager to be checked out and on our way back to Cumbria.

Now, sitting on the vast tarmac strip that is a modern motorway, we could see movement. Two of the traffic policemen were removing the barriers to the exit road – an escape that would at least allow us to find another route home. In less than a minute, we were moving and driving up the ramp, from where we could see the carnage that had been just around the shallow bend of the carriageway.

And then the revelation struck me. At 70 miles per hour we would have been at what had become the crash scene a few seconds ahead of where we were. In other words, we would have been in the middle of it…

Switching queues, with our usual dismal result, might not have been bad, at all. The wrong queue had, quite possibly, saved our lives.

©Stephen Tanham

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

Turning Tides

There are some moments when you just know that a seasonal tide is turning. It’s not often that they are capable of being recorded.

This morning, I stepped out of the house, carrying the recycling, to find the brightest, most energetic cloud I’ve seen for months. It was ‘climbing up’ the sky behind the larch trees and seemed to be accelerating in a way unrelated to the rest of the atmosphere.

We’ve had a week-long Arctic blast here in Cumbria. This northerly ‘spike’ made every day feel somehow still and frigid, requiring outer clothing that had already been stowed away for the warmer months.

But this cloud spoke of a change; a resurgent spring energy that would restore the balance.

Sometimes these things are fanciful. Sometimes not… To my accepting eyes the cloud wore the garment of the new, the restorative.

This time, I was lucky. I had the phone/camera in my pocket.

©Stephen Tanham

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

A Song with Sue Vincent (2) from the eyes of another…

Sue and Stuart moved forward from the start of the Silent Eye to become a formidable writing team, beginning with their book, The Initiate, published in September 2013.

(Above: a very dynamic combination – Sue Vincent and Stuart France, photographed in 2014. You can find a list of their prolific writings at France and Vincent.

In this extract, Sue describes the 2013 ritual birth of the Silent Eye, but through the eyes of an ancient female priestess she felt she knew, psychically. This figure – later named ‘Bratha’, was to be an often present figure in her later writings, and in the workshop “The Feathered Seer’ that she and Stuart created in 2016.

——-

There was smoke again, and flames, but this time they were for her alone. The fire had claimed her and images rose and fell within the orange glow.

She gave herself to the moment, seeing with inner eyes a strange scene unfolding.

Far below, it seemed, a golden vortex drew her, sending up motes of light like the ash from the burning wood, rising into the night. She followed their trail in vision to the centre of the maelstrom of power whirling deosil, an island of Light in the darkness…

A sacred space…

The golden robed figure sat veiled and alone in the centre of a strange symbol. It reminded her of a great, winged bird, its wings wrapped around the seated priestess. At her feet a golden chalice held a single flame, while around her invisible gold flowed in a river of power.

The figure was immobile as a statue, her robes catching the light of the flickering flame, only her breathing, slow and steady, made her seem alive. A man approached through the base of the winged symbol, a great Eye on his breast. He sat before the silent figure, taking her hands and speaking words unheard into the night. The golden one bowed her head in acknowledgement and he took up his place to her right, one hand outstretched on her shoulder.

There was a new shift in the swirling vortex as they waited in silence. She could sense the streams of colour spiralling around the enthroned Priest and the Lady. They could not see her. They saw nothing but the Purpose they served.

Another joined them, a younger energy flowed in as he too sat before the priestess. He took the hands in a silence that sang to the morning, bowing over them and placing a kiss on each. Three pairs of eyes, shining with Love… He took his place on her left and rested his hand on her shoulder.

They were an arrow, she the point, they her strength and source of flight. Another three added to the symbol traced on the ground around them. They waited and the power grew. Three strands now entwined in the vortex.

Others came, men and women in strange garb, one by one. Hesitant, awed by what they felt as they entered the sacred circle. In turn they stood in silent offering before she who held the moment, giving of themselves to what stood before them… The One that was Three.

The priestess in gold held each pair of eyes, accepting their gifts with Love and silence, bowing her head to each in thanks and blessing. They took their seats to either side, forming great wings of life around the three.

She did not understand, but she recognised.

When all had entered, she too, invisible and beyond time, entered the circle, stepping across the worlds, it seemed. She too offered to the Mother and the eyes that met hers were her own. There was a shift, a dizzying moment, when she felt herself seeing through both pairs of eyes and looking into her-self across millennia.

She joined the Vigil and wore silence.

After a time the priestess stood, taking up the light in the cup, placing a cloak of white fur about her shoulders. Holding the power and wrapped in silence she led the way into the pre-dawn light, her companions following in silent procession. It seemed to the watcher that they walked within a globe of golden light.

The temple building was strange to her eyes, but not as strange as the sleeping landscape into which the priestess led them. Tall huts of stone, square and angular beside a hard, unnatural path, disconnected from earth. Shiny chariots with black wheels lined the path. She felt sick with shock, yet curious about this strange world.

They saw no others as they walked, climbing the path towards the tree-line. The silence was broken by the bleating of a new lamb. It must be spring, she thought. The lamb watched, meeting their eyes and bleated again, three times in all. The companions shared smiling glances. They understood this. It meant something to them.

They turned to the left between trees and were walking in dew-drenched grass, sparkling with rainbows and diamond droplets, climbing the hill. She felt better on the grass, the earth touching her feet. It felt like home.

Up they climbed, beyond a tree to a small plateau in the hillside. A board of black and white squares held bread and the cup was placed there on the ground. The golden one and the priest of the Eye stood facing the coming dawn, a pale glow on the horizon heralding its birth. The Man-Child stood behind them, with their companions arced at his back.

She watched as priest and priestess raised their arms in unison, greeting the sunrise. This she understood. Her own priests greeted the dawn thus. As the sun rose, and with their hands still raised, they turned to each other, becoming an arch, gate of the morning, through which the first rays of the sun could touch the company.

Thus they stood as the Man-child crossed his hands on his breast and bowed. Then he dared to pass through into the Light. As he did so, a strange sound rang out, a sound chanted by the two who were the gateway…

The gathered silence finally split and broken by a two-fold word of power… A mingling of energies that she could see…

Birds sang and a hawk flew from the rising of the sun, spreading its wings over those below in benediction. This too they understood.

Each then passed in turn through the gateway, to that strange chant. Each spoke words she could not understand into the morning. The first were anointed with fragrant oil. Some were not, yet all gave themselves to the Light. She could see it in their faces, read it in their hearts as they stepped forward in joy.

She too passed through that gateway invisible and silent, feeling the change, joining them across time and space, knowing somehow that neither existed, only the moment in which she stood, the reality in which she was.

Dream or vision, it mattered not.

Here, now, she was.

The arc had shifted to stand in the sun. Now facing the priest and priestess, behind the man-child…

Something new was born into the world, a beacon of Light and she felt herself part of it.

The priest carried bread to the companions, each taking a small piece and breaking the fast of a new dawn. The priestess carried the cup, sharing the blood red contents with each. Then the two shared also, with each other and with the earth.

For a moment she shared their joy as the ritual ended. They were smiling, laughing and embracing each other, the release of power at the birthing leaving them light as feathers. And light as a feather she felt herself begin to drift back to her flames in the darkness.

As the vision faded into embers, the ground hard beneath her, the wind cold beneath the stars, she held out her hands over the dying flames and sent her own blessing upon that bright company. In whatever realm or world they moved whatever time or place, what they had wrought in the dawn light was sacred. She did not understand, but she knew and recognised her kin…


If you would like to read the story of the Song of the Troubadour, as given in the workshop, Sue Vincent helped to turn the workbook for the event into an Amazon book, available in paperback and Kindle formats. See below.

(Above: The Song of the Troubadour book and script is available on Amazon, priced at £5.99. Click the image


ISBN-13: 978-1910478035)

©Stephen Tanham, 2021.

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a modern yet mystical journey through the forest of personality to the sunrise of Being. 

Making sense of it…

We have this interesting phrase: ‘Making sense of it…’ But we may never stop to think of its origins, or what logic is behind it.

(870 words, a five-minute read)

(Above: the setting sun reminds us that there is a single reason why all things are ‘seen’.)

There are at least two interpretations of what ‘sense’ means. The first refers to the domain of our five physical senses: sight, hearing touch, smell and taste – all but one of them centred directly in the head – the seat of most of the brain.

Physics tells us that we really live in a vast electromagnetic world, and have a meagre five narrow windows onto its expanse. Whatever our true ‘beingness’ is, these five windows are obviously important… to us, and possibly beyond. We pride ourselves on being a ‘dominant species’ of life on Earth, so we assume that the five senses and the information and context they bring are an important part of that eminence.

The other use of the word is when we get a ‘sense’ of something. This refers more to understanding than any individual sense, like taste. A novel may refer to a character, say a detective, ‘smelling fear’ on someone; a phrase that evokes a whole series of images in our minds. These draw on our past direct experience of such things at the composite level. We may well have been in fearful situations and ‘smelled’ our own fear… Sensory experience can often be unpleasant, so we build a life in which this aspect is minimised.

It’s a useful exercise to go through a week and deliberately try to experience one or two key situations with all the senses alerted. We may find connections we hadn’t thought about as the delicate hues of the rose blend with the ‘ebb and flow’ of its perfume, and the tiny noise as the breeze vibrates its petals.

The five senses continually ‘stream’ a vast amount of information to the brain, whose initial job is to get rid of most of it. If it didn’t filter it in this real-time way, we would go insane. To do this for us, unconsciously and continuously, requires that the brain learns what is important for us. These ‘heads of importance’ (the expectations of our mother, for example) become central to how we collect, filter and refine our experience. The refining stage recognises that the heads of importance may change over time – my mother may become old and suffer memory loss, so the way I gather and process her ‘data’ may need to revert to a more child-like model, effectively reverting backwards in time.

Making sense of our world, and continually refining it, is therefore a high-state process centred on memory. The structures in the memory – these heads of importance – are sophisticated ‘silos’ of information that go to make up living images of our world; in fact, they are our world…

Our ‘self’ is derived very much from how we feel about theses images. Those to which we have attached importance have a sense of belonging to us and we move towards them. Things we don’t like will be attached to a sense of rejection, and we move away from them – often building sophisticated barriers so we never have to meet them, again. As children, we may not have had that luxury… and suffered in silence. But our adult life is entirely shaped by being able to put force behind these preferences.

From a brain perspective, this is all well and good. We feel protected as much as our lives can allow. Poor people may live a life of horror, in which they are forced to live adjacent to the unpleasant. Very rich people may live in gated communities and feel a sense of disconnectedness with their worlds. This is not moral comment, simply how our brains are wired to drive our lives.

The problems arise with the self. The self is a composite image we hold of what is really important to us. It is what we identify with: ‘Yes, that’s who I am’. The self is double edged sword. A strong sense of self is essential to have a stable and successful life.

But… by its nature, being based upon memory’s structures, it is formed only from the past. Our existence in the present – in the now – is not consciously lived.

Thankfully, our senses are still working in the present; still gathering and passing data to the brain so that our heads of importance can be updated and fine-tuned (‘that Tony Johnson has turned out to be okay, despite my initial dislike of him!’)

One of the long-standing exercises in mystical training is to deliberately dwell on the senses, as we mentioned in the opening. When we first approach this, we may think we are ‘going the wrong way’; dwelling on the mundane and physical rather than turning to elevated thoughts and concepts. It is only when we experience the sudden influx of the truly new that we gain the contrast between our supposedly present state and the truly present

We may, then, have some life-changing choices…

©Stephen Tanham

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

Any thing

Mystical poetry: 87 words. A one-minute read

A blade of grass, a hand, a way

To shadows on a path that say

There’s truth here to be found

The sky above, so blue

The sound of birds so true

The kiss of evening’s sun in tree

All say, but not together

But when together, shout:

Any thing can speak to you

Whose eyes are open…

Whose fingers touch

Whose ears can hear.


©Stephen Tanham, 2021.

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

A Song with Sue Vincent (1)

In the near darkness, the woman’s right hand came gently down on my shoulder from behind. It was the signal that she was ready, that we could begin either the bravest or the stupidest thing we’d ever attempted.

(Above: the cast of The Song of the Troubadour)

It was April 2013. Sue Vincent and I were about to sing the opening of a temple ritual drama. Sitting on a small stool in front of her, I took a breath and let my fingers rest on the nylon strings of the Spanish guitar…

We were on our own, as Troubadours had often been, in history, conveying their truths as songs.

Around us in the half-light, lit only by a few electric candles and one small real flame in a glass lantern, around thirty people were pretending to be asleep, their heads nodded downwards, The hoods of their robes were pulled up, monk-wise, into a universal symbol of withdrawal from the everyday.

Their sleep was symbolic of a shift in consciousness: the essence of what the Silent Eye was going to try to achieve over the weekend.

The workshop was to mark and celebrate the launch of the new School. Many of those present were from other esoteric organisations. All had come to wish us well and to celebrate the birth of something spiritually new.

(Above: Sue’s artistic skill allowed her to create variants of our enneagram for specific roles – in this case a painted image of the soul)

Within the ‘sleeping circle’ was Stuart France, the third Director, who was to play the role of a mysterious ‘child’ protected from dark forces by the two Troubadours, and, eventually – having reconciled their differences – the whole cast.

(Above: the ever-creative, ever mischievous Sue Vincent takes a break)

It was no time to mess up those precious guitar chords. I strummed the strings into life. The gentle tones filled the large room in the Nightingale Centre with a soft and haunting sound. You could feel the intake of breath around the circle. Then our two voices rose, in harmony in the darkness as Sue and I sang the Song of the Troubadour; something we had written for the workshop, but never performed in public, though Sue’s ‘learning by repetition’ technique, practised while looking after her son, Nick, caused him to create a rap version, just so he could torment her with equal frequency…

Beginnings are powerful things… Looking back, the coming together of Sue Vincent, Stuart France and myself within the Silent Eye was hardly an accident.

We had known each other previously through the Servants of the Light (SOL) – Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki’s celebrated school of the Western Mystery Tradition. I had joined SOL in 2006 and stayed seven years, helping to computerise the ageing administration and membership systems. Sue and I had met there, but not known each other well.

Prior to our time at SOL, Stuart and I had been long-term officers within the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC.

For the three of us, our participation in these organisations had given us a rich perspective on the teaching of practical mysticism. In particular, Dolores had taught all of us that the use of drama, played out with the sacred in mind, could be a powerful tool on many levels.

In my own case, I had deeply enjoyed every one of these journeys into different organisations, gaining in knowledge and confidence with each move. I was not in any way unhappy with any of them, but I felt there was another, and more ‘direct’ way of going about it. I had studied the work of Gurdjieff in some detail, and a group of us had piloted a novel ‘magical’ approach to the use of his nine-pointed figure: the enneagram.

(Above: the final version of the Silent Eye’s enneagram, a figure that combines enneagram theory and personal, mystical practice

The enneagram had been created to show how nature’s processes flow and reset themselves, much as the seasons do, but generalised in a deeper way. A group of psychologists in California had merged a deep theory of the arising of personality with the use of the enneagram to make visible our deeper natures… eventually knocking on the door of the personal ‘soul’.

That became my trigger for establishing the Silent Eye, a school of consciousness that would combine this use of the enneagram with our ‘magical’ training of the mind, heart and instincts. In 2012, I left SOL to to this, hoping to keep the wide circle of friends I had made, there.

Sue Vincent had been helping me become a Facebook user. She joined me shortly afterwards, in the soon to be Silent Eye, though we had not discussed it prior to my leaving SOL. My wife and I hosted a party for the creation of the new school at our newly-finished house in Kendal. Everyone enjoyed the evening and wanted to stay over. A small army of sleeping bags were deployed.

The day after, Sue Vincent (in her own words) kidnapped Stuart France, and the two of them spent the day driving around her native Yorkshire and talking about the potential of the Silent Eye. I’d already made the offer for him to join us. The day cemented their friendship, which was later to develop into much more, plus a most productive writing team.

Towards the end of 2012, Stuart confirmed he would join us. In April 2013, we launched the Silent Eye with the ‘Song of the Troubadour’ workshop, viewed by all attending as a success…and new thread in the teaching of practical esoteric knowledge in a modern world.

The Song of the Troubadour was the story of a group of travellers trapped by a snowstorm in a remote monastery, high in a range of mountains between two lands. The Keepers of the monastery gently engineer inter-personal conditions that bring each traveller face to face with their own inner natures. The workshop pioneered the Silent Eye’s use of the teaching enneagram as a mystical tool for dramatic, ritual movement. To our knowledge, no-one else in the world uses this combination.

(Above: the creation and management of an event like ‘The Song of the Troubadour’ is a complex fusion of movement and position. Everything in such a temple signifies an aspect of the human being)

The Troubadours’ sang their song. The workshop was a warm success and became the blueprint for another six years of spring events. Some of these will be discussed in the next post.


If you would like to read the story of the Song of the Troubadour, as given in the workshop, Sue Vincent helped to turn the workbook for the event into an Amazon book, available in paperback and Kindle formats. See below.

(Above: The Song of the Troubadour book and script is available on Amazon, priced at £5.99. Click the image


ISBN-13: 978-1910478035)

©Stephen Tanham, 2021.

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a modern yet mystical journey through the forest of personality to the sunrise of Being. 

Sue Vincent, friend and co-creator

Sue Vincent passed from this organic life into the world of Being, early this morning. Her partner, Stuart France, was with her, as was her family.

(Above: Sue about to have lunch outside one of her favourite places on the moors at Ilkley – her ‘spiritual home’.

She leaves two fine sons and two delightful grandchildren, Hollie and Imogen… and a famous dog named Ani, whose books have outsold anything the rest of us have ever written.

Sue was one of the founding Directors of the Silent Eye, planned through the winter of 2012, and established in the spring of 2013. She described it as one of the most important things she ever did.

I will be writing a little about the history of our Mystical School on Thursday’s Silent Eye blog, and copied, here.

(Above: Sue and Stuart on Ilkley Moor (with hat) after one of our preparatory walks for a coming workshops)

She leaves us all with fond memories of her fiesty and indefatigable spirit, her love of life, and her deep empathy with the cares of others.

(Above: the three of us on Ilkley Moor. Taken with my camera set on self-timer that fell off its rock immediately after this was taken…)

The Silent Eye will carry on its work, as she would have wanted. Sue will be deeply missed…

Sue Vincent

14th September 1958 – 29th March, 2021

©Stephen Tanham, 2021.

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a modern yet mystical journey through the forest of personality to the sunrise of Being.

Old and grey, and Father Time

When I am old and grey, and Father Time has had his wretched way with all the bits that move no more…

I will live in a simple dwelling like this top floor, with endless sea beyond the veranda’s edge, and mountains to the other side, behind the cluttered bookshelf that used to be a windowsill.

And Mags will feed me, not because she must, but because she loves, and I can tell her stories of the sixties, and paperbacks and the sound of your first motorbike.

The dog will be too much and not like heights, but Rascal, the wasted tom, will share my memories and some of my breakfast before we take the sun and read the Guardian and learn of Murdoch’s final hours.

Before our present, in thundering clouds, comes rolling from those mountains, sweeping before it everything we knew had no importance, until the only thing left to write is the word that rhymes with

©Stephen Tanham

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

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