Emotional journey of the Deep-Me (Part 1)

(Image by the author)

The spiritual quest is simple: we need to:

(1) Recognise that, in our present ‘state of mind’ we are not as we could be.

(2) Begin to follow those ‘inklings’ within us to a new ‘Kingdom-Queendom of me’.

(3) Keep our eyes – and minds – open for clues that may provide simple or substantial course-corrections.

(4) Observe everything as though the end of this day were the end of our life…

Simple then… But we may need some help.

There are some deeply helpful tools in our kitbag that can help us take what may seem an initially unsettling journey.

One of these is the EMOTIONS.

Emotions are the movements of energies within us. We are elated when they move in one way and depressed when they move in another but the whole framework of their movements belongs to us.

And our reaction to them governs everything…

All of this means we have carefully crafted our negative emotions…

Emotional energy is one of the greatest allies we can have to propel our progress to the Deep-Me.

We are not used to the influx of ‘right-energy’ from within us.

When it first comes, it’s like an infusion of the most delicious optimism, and there is no doubt it belongs to ‘you’.

In posts that follow, we will explore the elements and steps of this journey. The content will mirror the stages of the Water-Circle+Cross workshop on the weekend on 19-21 May. For more details contact us on Rivingtide@gmail.com.

©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Been there…

You may not have been there…

You may not be a ‘dog person’. Heaven knows I wasn’t.

Cats were my thing. A lifetime of cats; beautiful furry, purry creatures that are haughty and mysterious and can manipulate space, time … and place, when you’re looking for them.

But few of them would wait by your side when you’re having a sandwich in the garden of a country pub.

And none of them will sneak under the table when you’ve dropped your napkin…

To offer it back to you.

©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Fear No Object

(Above: Not Derbyshire, but the new home of our Silent Eye weekends)

I was looking through some photographs from various trips we had taken, when prepping Silent Eye weekends. The beautiful hills of Derbyshire were a home for our monthly get-togethers, largely because they gave a sensible meeting-point for journeys from home that began in Buckinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Cumbria.

The opening shot is the only one of this post that is not Derbyshire. Tess is looking down from Loughrigg Fell, here in the Lakes. It was taken during one of our exploratory hikes to get the timings right for the forthcoming ‘Water-Circle+Cross’ weekend on 19-21 May, 2023.

The reminiscing got me thinking about how much of our investigations into human nature – our own included – revolved around the experience and effects of fear. This is not said in a negative way: our focus was the elimination of fear by preventing it being an unknown.

We are not the first to propose this. The great modern philosopher Krishnamurti made it a cornerstone of his teachings, though he made you work for an understanding of what he taught…

Built into us as the primary (conscious) survival mechanism, fear can become corrosive in our lives if we let it live front and centre in our consciousness. In order to protect us, its voice is preeminent; but that authority can be challenged, understood and reacted to differently. The trick is to make its working conscious…and anticipated; then we have a choice as to how to act. Even in extreme cases.

(Above: Sue Vincent at the end of one of our Derbyshire weekends. Taken September 2019)

Sue Vincent had used this as one of her central themes. One of her favourite motifs was the idea of ancient tribes using that fear – and overcoming it – as a rite of passage to a higher state of consciousness; a voluntary process that created a true priest from an ordinary life. It’s a similar story of initiation within many cultures around the world.

(A panorama shot reveals the dramatic sweep of the Cresswell valley)

Such moments are usually pivotal in the lifetime. Each of us has their own direction, and presence with what is the heart of our lives and existence. That ‘contact’ is deeply personal and powerful. But it has to be found in a way that reinforces how powerfully personal it is … and has always been. In much of Sue’s fictional writing on the subject, the person involved may have been groomed for the role, but nonetheless is facing the unknown.

Many of Sue’s experiences of the later decade in her life were in the hills and dales of Derbyshire, where she and Stuart used their precious free weekends to explore potential sites for Silent Eye landscape workshops.

(A mysterious hill near Wardlow)

On one of these journeys through Derbyshire, they identified a mysterious hill near Wardlow, at the northern end of the beautiful valley of Cressbrook Dale, which links the village of Wardlow Mires with the dramatically located Monsal Head.

(Above: the other end of the Cresswell Valley trail – the beautiful Monsal Head and its famous railway viaduct)

The top of the encountered ‘sinister rock’ could be approached via a narrow and hostile gully which runs across its spine. Sue said she felt physically sick as she climbed this, and was unable to haul herself over the final ledge of stone and onto the summit.

Stuart had stayed to support her, so neither had made the small plateau at its peak – and the presumed spectacular view down the valley. They reported that the upper surface appeared to slope, so its safety was called into question.

(Above: seen from below, the summit looked sheer and foreboding. But there was a gully running through the middle of the rock – but only for the sure-footed or foolish…)

On one of our monthly meet-ups in Derbyshire, they took me to the hill so I could feel its energies. It did feel ominous, and we had heard that it had a troubled history. Its real name was Peter’s Stone – biblical, one assumes, but it also had a local name: ‘Gibbet Rock‘.

A little research revealed the full story.

(Above: The gully. A tricky ascent over sharp rocks)

Anthony Lingard was a labourer from nearby Tideswell. In 1815, just after his 21st birthday, he was convicted for the murder of Hannah Oliver, the Toll Keeper at Wardlow Mires, allegedly so he could steal her red boots.

The full story, assembled over many years by local historians, is slightly different. Lingard was a poor labourer whose girlfriend was pregnant. He knew that the Toll Keeper would have money on the premises. Whether by design or intent, he did murder Hannah Oliver. Fleeing the scene, he noticed her red boots and took them.

Lingard was caught, then tried and hanged at Derby Jail in 1815. The crime had so appalled local people that they petitioned for his body to be brought back to be hung in a gibbet from St Peter’s stone – which then became ‘Gibbet Rock’. His remains were left hanging in the gibbet so that the incarcerated skeleton would be a warning to others. It is thought this was last known ‘gibbet hanging’ in England.

No-one seems to know how long the remains hung there…

(Above: the gruesome gibbet: a form-fitting set of metal hoops, rings and chains that enveloped the entire body. The headpiece had a strong suspension link from which the entire device could be suspended)

Enough to put anyone off…

It’s a popular tale amongst Derbyshire’s professional story-tellers, apparently. Pint of beer in hand, they regale visitors with a lurid tale of Hannah’s death at the hands of a man intent on stealing her red shoes. Not quite how it happened, but a better front page for the red-top.

On my visit to Gibbet Rock, the hill commanded a wonderful view down the valley, and, to me, was calling out for a fuller exploration. Legends often grow up around such places, but their ultimate purpose is not always what it seems.

Sue and Stuart were happy for me to make the final ascent on behalf of the group. I scanned the rock. There was an obvious route involving some stable hand-holds. Many others had been this way. Less than a minute later, I clambered onto the plateau at the summit.

To be met with beauty…

(From the top of Gibbet Rock (Peter’s Stone) the scene below is one of complete beauty. Not shown in this photo is the carpet of wild flowers that were interwoven with the grasses at the place where you hauled yourself up from the gully. The peak did slope downwards, but it was a gentler incline than it appeared from below and quite safe – though I wouldn’t have wanted to linger at the edge)

Sue later drew on the location for her writing.

Is there a moral to the tale? No single sentiment, for sure… Sue’s fear was real. Stuart’s care for her was paramount. My propensity to ‘give it a try’ is well recorded…

The key to why all this is important is Sue’s belief that there existed – now and throughout history – a psychological process that produced ‘priests of the spirit’, and that the landscape contained certain locations that were propitious to this. She was certain that Peter’s Stone (Gibbet Rock) was one such.

This process always revolves around the individual’s triumph over fear. But it is not an ordinary tale of courage. What happens to the priest of the spirit, the shaman, or any other true hero, is a change of perception brought about by the intensity of the experience … and the courageous heart.

I have written, before, of the way our mind treats all external things as ‘objects’ and how this is hard-wired into our use of language: ‘I do this to that’.

It was and is our belief that all fear can be seen as an ‘object’ if its instinctive power is removed or reduced. When the hostile ‘it’ is seen as part of our-selves we can choose our reaction – or not to react at all. Sue believed this ‘presence’ with fear was at the heart of such ancient rituals, to which she was a modern empath.

Her sharing of that fear, she felt, was honouring those who had passed this way… on their way to greatness.

The three of us had always worked closely together. Here was a good example: Sue experiencing an empathetic dimension; Stuart, as ever, steadfast in support of her… and me… free to climb. And in that climb discovering a ‘new world’ – the beauty and otherworldly symmetry of the vista.

I doubt any of us saw the totality of that in the moment. My companions eagerly wanted to know what it was like ‘up there’. But the threefold nature of the action and the events that became its ‘container’ will linger long in the memory.

My extensive library of images from those times is proving to be quite a treasure-trove. If these blog-revisits are popular, I will look at doing a regular series of photo-driven ‘retrospectives’.

There is a postscript to the story. We were able to incorporate this landscape into one of our weekends. We used a lower-level plateau for the final ceremonial events but all were invited to take the tricky climb to the summit. Only one did – Briony Stott, a regular visitor and supporter of our events, whose Shamanic Healing practice is not far away from us in Penrith.

The smile on her face as she, too, experienced the Gibbet Rock summit was a delight, as the photo shows…

(Above: Briony – Shamanic teacher and healer)

To finish the weekend, we walked back to Wardlow Mires, and the not-always-open Three Stags’ Heads… a mysterious place serving the strongest ales in Derbyshire.

It was open, and we had a wonderful parting lunch. During this, we learned that the building had been the Toll Office, the place where Hannah Oliver was murdered in the grim events of 1815.

May they all rest in peace.

(Above: Hannah Oliver’s workplace – the old Toll Office – is now an iconic pub, serving some of the strongest ale in the county…)
And one of the best puddings, I’ve ever eaten. The beer was Stuart’s. I was driving…

©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

The hidden Birdhouse Meadows

(Above. The combined rivers flowing through Birdhouse Meadows)

It’s largely unvisited by people passing this way en-route to busy Ambleside – just a mile up the road. I’ve been coming to the Lake District most of my life, and we now live on its southern edge, yet, until two weeks ago, I had never heard of the small triangle of land between the ancient Roman Fort and the Rivers Brathay and Rothay, whose name is Birdhouse Meadows.

(Above: the location of the hidden Birdhouse Meadows (B))

As the saying goes, we were simply passing through on the way to somewhere else..

That somewhere else was carrying out a timing check for a Silent Eye walk down part of the eastern shore of Windermere via the Clappersgate district of Ambleside – the gateway to the famous Loughrigg Fells.

(Birdhouse Meadows)
(Above: the beautiful Loughrigg Fells, less than a mile from Birdhouse Meadows)

The weather was gloomy on the day of our visit. I’ve supplemented the shots with others taken of the surrounding landscape on previous occasions.

(Above: worthy of its own blog, the Roman Fort at what was Galava – adjacent to the little-known Birdhouse Meadows)

To find the Birdhouse Meadow, you need to skirt the Roman Fort ruins and pass through the gate that appears to lead to the very tip of Lake Windermere. This part of the land spends much of the winter and part of the spring flooded, so it’s not on most people’s explore list.

(Above: The cherry blossom at the Hiroshima memorial in Borran’s Park)

The Meadows shares the shoreline with Borran’s Park, famous for its views across to the Langdale Fells and for the quiet and dignified memorial to those who died at Hiroshima, when the first atomic bomb was used in anger to force an end to the war between the USA and Japan – and thereby bring WW2 to an end.

(Above: Sunset at Borrans Park. Birdhouse Meadows lies behind the trees across the bay)

Birdhouse meadows are situated at the head of Windermere, where the Brathay and Rothay rivers meet.The winter flooded meadow comes into its own in spring and summer, when it becomes a special home for wildflowers, grasses, insects and other wildlife. The meadows are managed traditionally, without the use of artificial fertilisers.

(Above: Birdhouse Meadows and at the confluence of the rivers Brathay and Rothay. The gloomy skies could not hide the fact that it’s a magical place)

This encourages wild flowers to grow. Late cutting of the meadows, at the end of July, allows the flowers to set seed for next year.It is at this point that cows start to graze, which disturbs the ground and allows the seeds to germinate.

(Above: new life growing sidewards on a tree fallen by the winter’s winds)

Characteristic plants found here include Ragged Robin, Marsh Marigold, Bistort, Hay Rattle and Eyebright. The vibrant combination of meadows, pastures, riverbanks, lakeshore, hedgerows, trees and sweet vernal grass make Birdhouse Meadows a very special place.

(Above: from the Meadows looking north towards Ambleside and, beyond, to the mountain ring of Fairfield)
(The ever-present fells are directly visible from Birdhouse Meadows)

Birdhouse Meadows is owned and managed by The National Trust. It was created when The Lake District Tourism and Conservation Partnership invited local tourism businesses to help fund the wetland habitat and riverside walk.

One could say it has been a ‘quiet success’ … and deserves to stay that way.

©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Led by Bent Metal #Phoetry

Voice of war from a wizened tower

Orchestrating irony, avoiding boulders

An iron stave of howling notes

Issues forth.

And throws its force of straightening iron,

Slick by rocks that tear and sands that grind

To arm the ninety, ready soldiers of the right

Angled mage-like, she guides her seeing out to sea

And does not deign to turn and watch the curves

Of darkness settling on the broken thrust…

#Phoetry is a hashtag amalgamation of the words Photography and Poetry, a form of visual and poetic communication.

©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Through the looking glass of Polarity

(Image ©️Stephen Tanham, 2023)

Students of esoteric studies – focussed on practical techniques for understanding and accessing the deeper potentials of our being – are exhorted to consider the idea of polarity at the start of their journey.

Polarity is the idea of opposites creating a dynamic environment in which some kind of evolution takes place… For example, the play of heat and cold in a watery substance creating patterns and currents in the fluid.

We might consider the idea that heat and cold are, in reality, different degrees of the same ‘quality’ – temperature.

From a mystical perspective, the evolution may be in one of two directions – something higher in-volving itself with a lower medium which it has first created: a primal substance; or evo-lution, where a ‘corner is turned’ and the upwards, or return journey to the source is pursued. In practice, these two directions are taking place, simultaneously.

The parable of the Prodigal Son is related to the inner symbolism of this: the idea of a ‘wise’ return’ to the ‘Father’. This is a classic example of the symbolic rather than literal use of the word. The tale is told in terms of father and son, and yet the subject of the story is ourselves.

One of the best examples of polarity at work is the biological coming together of male and female, as in father and mother; to create, then birth and nurture the child. I am careful here not to confuse the biological aspects of male and female with the characteristics of masculine and feminine.

We all have a mixture of masculine and feminine in our natures. But only the combination of biological male and female will continue the species. We have seen, over the past century, the widespread presence and acceptance of mixtures of masculine and feminine traits in behaviour and character. Societies that allow for this are generally more gentle, artistic and creative.

From a mystical perspective, these words need to be considered carefully. Masculine and feminine are qualities within the human character. They are not to be confused with the male and female biology. In that sense, each ‘set’ occupies a functional ‘level’ of being that is different from the other pair. The exercise of feminine and masculine elements of character holds a different balance in each of us.

Such levels are seen as vertical. Their purpose is to create a hierarchy of increasing intelligence and sophistication so that the whole may express and explore itself more mindfully.

There is in all nature a scale of what we might call organisation. The single-celled organisms, from which mankind evolved over billions of years, had the ‘lower’ level qualities of such attributes as persistence, separation and the ability to exchange material with their environment. Did they have awareness? In a simple form, yes. They were aware of what would meet their needs in the oceans in which they arose and matured – which is not to say they ‘thought about it’. Thought requires a brain and a reflective mind; something that was not to arise until the higher mammals evolved. Brains developed from primitive nerves.

The Kabbalistic Tree of Life – a polarised representation of the highest intelligence manifesting in matter. The ‘levels’ of function are seen in the pairings of the pillars. Source Wikipedia.

The Kabbalistic Tree of Life (above) is a diagram of how polarity was the tool that created and maintains both living things and consciousness. There are three vertical pillars that span the ‘above’ to the ‘below’. The above is the bringing into existence of the world as we know it. The below is the evolving of organic life from the material of that world and its climb back towards its non-material source.

The right pillar is that of Force, and is traditionally seen as a masculine (not male). The left pillar is that of Form and is seen as feminine (not female). The middle pillar is that of Perfect Balance and represents the ascent of the human mind and heart as it learns, through what will eventually be wisdom, what it really is and what its place is in Creation.

Thought, through its tool – words, provides the building blocks of communication with others and with ourselves in the form of ‘working something out’. What we are really doing is holding something up to the light of the highest consciousness we have ‘inside us’ – before speaking it. This is mind at work, but, as we shall touch on, later, mind is not the highest consciousness we possess, though it is intimately related to it.

It is likely that the molecular structures we now consider to be DNA and RNA were the proto-form of life which established the principles of persistence – the foundation of living things that change and yet stay the same – in other words, Life. We are very conscious, during our lives, that something stays the same. What is it? The answer, which must be found by each of us rather than being told, is the catalyst to the real spiritual journey of Self.

That journey to the personal spirit surpasses the mind… reaches back in time and forward in potential, simultaneously.

Although it is centuries old, there is nothing childish or primitive about the Kabbalistic conceptualisation of reality. Understood fully, it is a map of the way home. It can suffer from a degree of over-ornamentation, which is why other forms of portaying human consciousness have arisen that map more closely with psychology as we know it. One of these is the Mystical Enneagram, as below and created by the Silent Eye.

The two symbols are best studied together, with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life illustrating the whole scheme of creation and personal evolution, and the Mystical Enneagram providing the findings of esoteric psychology and how the personality is a mask for the wonderful parts of us that lie beneath.

Organic life began with persistent molecules. In other words, its long climb of organisation began with matter plus this unseen ‘upward reach’. For unknown millions of years the principles inherent in matter that drove it to ‘self-organise’ provided an ‘upwards’ gradient to development towards more sophistication.

Single-celled life emerged around 3.5 billion years ago. The persistence of ‘form’ inherent in the DNA/RNA molecules was evolved in order to create a more sophisticated ‘body’ – one that was sensitive to its environment.

We take it for granted, but defining LIFE is difficult… The famous Quantum scientist Erwin Schrödinger – celebrated for his dead/not dead cat – wrote one of the classic science books of the twentieth century on this subject: ‘What is Life?’. It was written for the layman but proved to be one of the drivers for the birth of molecular biology, the subsequent discovery of DNA and the entire field of ‘Emergence’.

The link is in the text if you’d like to get yourself a copy. I recommend it.

To close this thought: the radical philosopher and spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff maintained that polarity was actually three things and not two. He said that behind any system of creative polarisation, there was always a ‘third force’ driving on the creation to its next level. We could, he said, train ourselves to be conscious of this ‘third force’.

I can’t think of a more noble ambition…

©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog


A Rite of Spring Green

As dwellers on the southern edge of the English Lake District, we are very conscious of the seasons. The dawning of what I call ‘the real Spring’ is a feeling rather than an exact date. It is triggered by the sight of a certain shade of green in the local forest’s foliage.

I couldn’t define that green; simply state that it has a ‘voice’ and is quite different to any other green in the whole year. It carries with it a potency and an almost vocal sentiment that ‘the winter was worth it’.

‘through the forest…’

The word ‘rite’ has always fascinated me, as though this short synonym for ‘ritual’ has a degree more natural power.

My annual spring ‘rite’ is a walking and photographic one, but carried out with as much reverence as I would bring to a more formal gathering with ceremonial purpose.

One third of our garden is the line of the old Preston-Kendal canal, created circa 1820. It was bought by the owners of the plot in the 1950s. We’ve landscaped it to give a split-level lawn but, if you know what you’re looking at, the line follows its original course through the few private gardens before burrowing like a mole beneath the farmer’s land before entering the forest, where, ironically, it emerges into the daylight, again…

‘Where it emerges into the daylight, again’

Just me and the Collie along a two mile square: through the forest, down to the river, across a mythical bridge, along the road before going across the river, again. Then a climb up a steep meadow…

‘down to the river…’
Which we cross by a mythical bridge…
Looking towards the sea, two miles that way…

Its a short walk along the southern bank of the River Kent to bring us back to the final leg of our square… where the Hawthorne blossom is in its full bloom.

Where the blossom has sun-kissed presence…

And then we cross the river again, at its deepest point within the gorge.

And cross the final line of tarmac – a poor neighbour, suddenly…

Where Dandelions take take the golden stage…
And one of our favourite oak trees waves us past, its new green soon to be revealed…
And now the moon calls time on my tapping fingers… Goodnight.

©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog


#SundayHumour : first day in heaven

I’m a simple man when it comes to food.. Especially simple, old-fashioned grub when we go out for a meal; which, given the presence of the Collie, is a rare treat.

A reunion with a much-loved former neighbour in Whittle-le-Woods, near Chorley, Lancashire, saw us sharing the pub’s dining room with a funeral and having some of the best ‘home cooking’ I’ve ever had. One of those slightly surreal but wonderful occasions.

Our home diet is mainly vegetarian plus fish. So this kind of choice from the olden days is unusual.

But, I have to say, once in a while, it’s good for the soul.

©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Drowning not waving

(Above: The truculent Home Page…)

Stage Directions: Cue: Hamlet cigars advert music from the 60’s to the 90’s…. Video link below, if you weren’t there…

YouTube video, late 1970s… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVecbh15dWU

They were a very popular series of ads about heroic failures… All featuring the same theme music ‘Air on the G String’ by J. S. Bach.

It is said that humour is divine. I often find it puts into perspective some of life’s most challenging moments. Sue Vincent loved humour, so let’s invoke her kindly spirit… and understanding.

To steal and paraphrase from Ian Fleming: to lose one Director might be said to be happenstance…

To lose two of them is bordering on carelessness. Sigh. But that’s where we are. Two down but one up, as Caro has joined us, so the outlook is not too bleak.

When I first had the idea to set up the Silent Eye, way back in 2012, I asked Sue to sanity-check some of the proposals. We were already good friends from our shared Servants of the Light (SOL) days, and I knew she had a reputation for being a good blogger – to the extent that she had thousands of followers.

The Silent Eye would need to rely on the modern form of ‘word of mouth’ recommendations, in other words, the internet. It was difficult not to sport a large grin when she agreed to join the School prior to its official launch in the Spring of 2013.

I was a complete novice with social media. Sue even had to show me how to use Facebook. But we were well placed to share the work. She would establish the web presence and announce our emergence to her existing base of online friends. We knew from experience with other mystical schools that the take-up would be a tiny percentage… but people talk to other people. And that is doubly true of the internet.

All my ‘design experience’ during my working life had been with desktop publishing, using tools like the Adobe’s In-Design suite. This wouldn’t help us with the online world but would be a big driver for the quality and look-and-feel of the lessons – a three year programme, for which I would have primary responsibility.

Each lesson would be published in PDF format to a high quality; with me writing them and Sue checking as each one as it emerged. It had taken me about a year to master the use of the Adobe products for my former corporate role, but it was about to pay off in this new world

(Above: An example of the layout used for the three-year Lesson system

In this new writing process, Sue was the artist and I was the illustrator and in-house publisher for the lessons. Shortly after, Stuart joined us as fellow Director. Stuart was already a published author and turned out to be one of our best creators of the Spring workshops held in the wilds of wonderful Derbyshire.

In addition, he and Sue were soon to establish a set of fictional books, the Triad of Albion series, with a recognisable couple as the main characters, and loosely based on the early days of the Silent Eye. By the time of Sue’s sad passing, they had gone far beyond this.

As the library of the lessons grew, so did the list of Sue and Stuart’s books, for which they established their own website, France and Vincent.

My priority was to create the three-year correspondence course that was and still is at the heart of what the Silent Eye does.

Here, the desktop publishing skills were in their element. Some examples of the work produced are shown here.

(Above: clear, concise and deeply illustrated)

And so we continued… until Sue’s tragic and early passing at the end of March 2021.

I suspect both Stuart and I were in state of shock for a while afterwards. We discussed how we might carry on and decided that the lesson system could remain unchanged, though the website needed at least a refresh.

Both of us would continue to provide supervision to incoming Companions doing the course. We would have two ‘landscape’ workshops per year; one in May to capture the early good weather, the other in September. The May weekend would reflect my more ‘spiritual psychology’ approach. The September one was to be based around one or more of the tradition sacred sites, such as Avebury – a type of outdoor event that Stuart excelled at.

Both approaches had been successful in the past.

By now, the use of Zoom-based internet meetings had been well established; with monthly Silent Eye Explorations Zooms attracting people from far across the globe. Stuart didn’t feel they were his forte and withdrew to concentrate on creating new books based on his and Sue’s work together.

But the Silent Eye continued the Zoom meetings each month, with me leading and Caroline Ormrod, our new Director, providing support.

This online world continues to grow and we are planning teaching forums over the same mechanism to support the work of the course and its monthly lessons.

This type of remote meeting with ‘small windows’ for each participant is not ideal for spiritual discussions… but the world adopted it, of necessity, during Covid, and it continues to grow in popularity, now that its viability has been established. The genie is unlikely to go back into that bottle…

Last Sunday, with the subject ‘Presence: gateway to a new personal world’, the SE-Explore Zoom attracted twelve people; which is a great number to facilitate interaction and give everyone who wants to speak a say. Getting there in person would have cost thousands; and in this hard-pressed age, this route is a clear winner.

Which is not to say that we don’t plan to continue with our well-established ‘Landscape’ workshops. The next, Water, Circle+Cross on the 19-21 May, this year, will be using the majesty of Lake Windermere, its waters and surrounding low hills, to give us a travelling stage on which to explore the mystical dimensions of emotion. Contact us on Rivingtide@gmail for more information.

We live in a changed, post-Covid world and we need to move with it. We are doing our best to do so in a way that keeps costs down for those attending.

Unfortunately, neither Stuart nor I used the past couple of years to brush up our skills to rework the website that Sue built… Now, with Stuart’s recent departure, I find myself alone in this technical cockpit. Caroline’s skills mirror my own, so we’re both looking at a steep learning curve to gain some mastery over the vagaries of WordPress.

My own personal site, Sun in Gemini, was based on a simple WordPress theme, and presented no issues in configuration, just needing a couple of photos to fire it up.

(Above: Emotions form a vital and often unvisited part of the ‘mystical opening’ of each of us. See workshop note below)

Not so the Silent Eye, with its more complex structure and mass of history. And this is taking a little bit longer. We want it to look good and be friendly and easy to navigate. Sue would have wanted it to evolve.

We’ve made a fine start, but simple things like how to create header images that scale from the desktop to the mobile phone are challenging; not least because the relevant information seems to be scattered across the WordPress sources.

All offers of help will be gratefully received!

Our goal is to modernise and slim-down the Silent Eye’s website. Stuart has extracted posts related to his and Sue’s time together in order to turn them into book form.

The historic posts also remain on the Silent Eye site, and we have no current plans to remove them.

(Above: The Mystical Enneagram – our own variant of Gurdjieff’s master symbol of process and consciousness)

All created things have their cycle. That of the three of us working together has come to an end… but the Silent Eye’s has not. It is alive and well, and continues to do what it set out to do: offer a practical and fast-track path to mystical consciousness based on a three year journey into, and beyond the personality to arrive at the personal ‘dawn of Being’.

It works, and in Sue’s own words, “This is changing lives…”

“This is changing lives…”

I knew Sue well. We began this, and I think she would be pleased with our determination to continue it.

Now, where’s that Hamlet cigar…. I feel another encounter with WordPress coming on… perhaps an aspirin and even a small Scotch, too?

©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Spring Oak

From a distance it’s just another tree.

Yet, as you get closer there’s something about this oak that makes it a kind of ‘king of the hill’.

It sits on the highest point of a track that used to be the path of a canal linking Preston with Kendal. The stretch of landscape was known among the barge folk as the most beautiful of the canal’s sixty-mile length.

The views down into the valley are beautiful.

(Above: the view down valley – taken last summer)

It’s my tree. In the sense that I talk to it, and have done so, since we moved here, ten years ago.

Like all of us, this oak tree is waiting to emerge from winter’s grip. You can follow its branches and see the new life beginning to emerge at the tips.

Soon it will look like this and be talking back at me…

©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

To Boldly Glow…

We’d like to thank Stuart France for his decade of insightful contributions to the Silent Eye, his companionship, and the depth of his historical spiritual knowledge. We will miss him, very much, and wish him well in his future work.

And now we have to move on…

Deeper into cyberspace may not the only place we glow. 

The world is changing, and we must, too. 

©Stephen Tanham 2023

Stephen Tanham and Caroline Ormrod are Directors of the Silent Eye, a journey behind the personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Presence: seed and flower (1)

Our Silent Eye Explorations group meets online via Zoom on the third Sunday of the month at 8 pm UK time. For April, our topic is Presence.

We live in an age that takes a lot of ideas lightly, professing a working familiarity with such things as meditation, mindfulness and the idea of presence.

Are these separate, or do they overlap and even interact? Perhaps, at some deeper level, they are the same thing?

What is presence? A friend defines it as ‘the unmistakable proximity of a deep, knowing and loving home-full-ness…‘

For me, that’s a wonderful way to orientate ourselves to this magnificent ‘gift of (our) nature’.

A few years ago, I had a deep spiritual experience which transformed and aligned all the esoteric ideas I had to that point.

It was early morning. I was sitting, fully awake in a quiet room. The sunlight was streaming through the window behind me. I was suddenly ‘invested’ with what I can only call a higher version of myself which stared out through my eyes, and knew the world with a depth that my personality had never managed to achieve – in retrospect, could never achieve.

The ‘presence’ of this loving intelligence removed any uncertainly that might have existed at that point about the real nature of spirituality. After perhaps an hour, it gently faded. But I knew the experience had changed me. I never wanted to go back to the former state. The seed and memory of that day has never left me, though I have so far been unable to repeat the experience in its fullness.

But elements of it… yes.

Later, I learned that it was quite common for such intense experiences to be ‘gifted by grace’ but then depart, leaving the recipient to seek that ‘lost horizon’ by their own efforts, and, perhaps, thereby earn them.

During that hour, I was able to impress on my ordinary mind the nature of the experience – not to a depth where I could repeat it at will, but enough to be able to assemble the elements of its ‘being’.

A few days after this experience, I realised -with a flash – that I had entered this state of consciousness on two previous occasions; I just hadn’t connected them. In both cases I was driving a car, in a state of complete relaxation, the day after an important event. The difference between the prior and the latest was that I knew what I was experiencing…

These elements then became the basis of a search for its reconstruction. I share them here in the heart-felt hope that they may serve to assist others in their own search for that ‘higher Self’ of which we so often speak… but do not know in a personal way.

That knowing is our birthright, and it will, one day, change our world.

Element 1: Personalness

Like many of these qualities of Being, the sense of personalness is relatively meaningless until you experience it. When it happens, you realise that there is a space inside you that is more personal than you knew you had.

Element 2: Companionship

There is an intense sense of oneness; a gradient of companionship to love. The Sufis have a saying that ‘the friend returns’.

Element 3: Competence.

The idea that there are problems simply vaporises. This level of Being looks out and sees ways forward from which it chooses.

Element 4: Quietude

As though the whole word is listening. An intense silence that is totally harmonic.

Element 5: Timeless Harmony

There is the sense that ‘this place’ where ‘I am’ is more powerful than time; that time exists to serve processes initiated here. Perhaps this contains the gnosis that time never really existed, at all.

Element 6: Ordinary thought ceases…

These elements of the state of presence will be discussed at our SE-Explore meeting on Sunday 16th April. They will be expanded on in this blog and the Silent Eye in posts to follow.

If you would like an invitation to the SE-Explore Zoom meetings, which are held on the third Sunday of the month, at 8:00 pm, contact us at:


©Stephen Tanham 2023

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

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

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