Geographically, it’s an unlikely partnership… One person in Victoria, Australia, the other in Cumbria…
Giselle Bolotin is an Australian artist, but was born in Europe. She and I have never met, face to face, but have established a good working relationship via the virtual world of the internet. We are collaborating on a set of images to illustrate the Silent Eye’s new ‘Oracle’ deck of cards.
When I say ‘we’, I mean Giselle paints what will become the oracle images, while I do my best to define to her the physical, intellectual and emotional nature of each of the characters to which she is giving form.
Giselle is joining us for the May 2022 workshop based in and around the Lakeland town of Keswick, so we will finally get to meet.
The words oracle and tarot are often confused. Both pertain to a set of cards representing the position and meaning of the image in a symbolic diagram.
In the case of the Tarot cards, the images are pictorial representations of states of consciousness and experiences within the Tree of Life: a map of personal exploration. Those exploring the Tree can use the cards as a basis for meditations about where they feel themselves to be on the journey that the glyph encapsulates.
In the case of the Silent Eye’s Oracle, the cards will represent the journey of nine characters (each person’s different primary mix of characteristics) interacting and moving over three inner landscapes, taken in sequence as the journey from ‘self to Self’ deepens. The three landscapes are:
1. The Land of the Exiles – a desert kingdom representing the experiences of the egoic self.
2. The Shallow Sea – an emotional and watery landscape in which personal transformation gathers speed.
3. Nine Gates of the Sun – a place of mysterious laws where the Egyptian Gods assume the forms of living beings who teach…
The Silent Eye’s work does not use the Tree of Life, though the founders of the School have experience of both systems. Instead, a figure called the Enneagram is the visual basis of the system.
Brought to the west by G I Gurdjieff, an Armenian philosopher from the early 20th century, the Enneagram has evolved in the hands of a fusion of developmental psychologists and modern mystics to describe the dominant characteristics of mankind’s ‘interior makeup’ – its personality, and the accelerated evolution that is available to us all.
In the Silent Eye’s system, the companion’s journey is taken through what we call the stations (1-9 in the image) of the outer personality. These develop inwards, eventually revealing the faces of the soul whose early loss – in childhood – gave rise to the shape of our personality. Each of the outer stations is reflected at two deeper levels, each involving deeper levels of our Self.
It’s a journey to the inner Self, by – as the Sufi poet Rumi wrote – ‘removing the barriers to love.’
Giselle’s opening image is of a character known as the Arbiter-Queen within the landscape of the Shallow Sea. It illustrates the psycho-spiritual transformation of this formerly self-important and judgemental figure.
The Silent Eye Oracle is a work in progress. We hope to release the full deck, with accompanying guide-book, before the end of the year.
You can find samples of Giselle’s work on Instagram. Just enter her name in the search box.
©Stephen Tanham 2022
Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.