Enduring Magic of the Stone Jetty

(Above: the Stone Jetty as it is today. Simpler, but deeply loved. Across the bay you can see the outlines of the Lake District hills. Image by the author)

The great Victorian steamers that used to take excited day-trippers across Morecambe Bay to glimpse the still distant splendour of the Lakeland fells are gone.

(Above: look back at Morecambe from the end of the Stone Jetty)

Much later, old and tired ships would be chained to the north side of the industrial dock and broken up for valuable iron; to be re-smelted and given new life via giant and ‘satanic’ furnaces in Salford and Sheffield.

(Above: The Stone Jetty (right) during the time of Ward’s ship-breakers; a very industrial landscape. Behind and to the right you can see the old Midland Hotel (replaced by the present Art Deco building below) and the terminus of the Midland railway that gave it its name. Photo courtesy of New Morecambe and Heysham Past and Present)

The space at the start of its length was large and open, and looked across at the terminus of the Midland Railway – the reason that Morecambe could attract so many visitors in its heyday.

And then, in the course of a the decade of the 1930s, not long after the end of the ‘Great War’, in an age when the well-off were intent on enjoying themselves, two wonderful things happened to the bleak and largely abandoned Stone Jetty.

The first was the creation at its landward end of the new Midland Hotel – an Art Deco masterpiece known across the world.

(Above: the Midland Hotel as it is today. Photo by the author)
(Above: facing the sea and the Stone Jetty, the ‘mighty Midland’ hotel retains its Art Deco charm, courtesy of the recent refurbishment. The hotel now forms the start of the restored Stone Jetty. Photo by the author)

The second was the opening of Morecambe’s state of the art ‘Super Swimming Statium’ – a giant pool that had a record-breaking capacity of 3000 people.

(Above: the Super Swimming stadium – showing the vast number (3000 max) of visitors it could accommodate. The Stone Jetty is behind and to the left. Photo from New Morecambe and Heysham Past and Present Facebook Group)

Time passed… and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who flocked to Morecambe during the industrial ‘wakes weeks’ dwindled. Cheap flights and guaranteed sun drew families to spend their precious summer holidays in Spain. Morecambe suffered, badly. To this day, its promenade, though popular for day-trips, still holds a fraction of those of its Edwardian heyday.

The Super Swimming stadium is long gone, as is the much smaller ’Bubbles’ pool that replaced it. The Midland Hotel thrives, newly restored by developer Urban Splash and now owned by English Lakes group.

But the Stone Jetty remains. Simple and enduring, stretching far out into one of England’s most beautiful marine landscapes, it retains a special magic born of time, endurance and something special that no-one can define. These days it simply sports its spectacular views and a small cafe half way along its quarter kilometre length.

But, a few times a year something truly magical happens…

At certain high-tides, the sea appears to rise up and nearly engulf its structure. People flock to experience the remarkable ‘peace’ as the high-water laps quietly around its concrete and stone.

(Above: people begin to gather at the ‘end of the pier’)

People begin to gather at the end of the Stone Jetty. Everyone is quiet, as though hypnotised by the feeling of the place…

(A couple reminisce…)
(Above: Fishermen seem uninteresting in their fishing, content to just be here)
(Above: the ocean becomes a bowl of glowing light, perfectly reflected in the mirror-smooth sea)

At moments like this, I feel a new perspective emerging, one that takes us from the grime of the old ship-breakers to the splendour of nature and the potential of Morecambe Bay to fascinate and enchant, I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey though the Stone Jetty’s past and present.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

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

Light in the Park

It’s not a park in the usual sense of the word. Levens Park is the ancestral home of the Bagot Family who maintain a footpath along both sides of the often turbulent River Kent as it winds its last mile out to join the vast expanse of Morecambe Bay.

The ‘park’ is the perfect place to walk the collie. A round trip from Sedgwick takes three hours, so it’s a great benefit that the Bagot’s manor house – Levens Hall – has a tea room. Sadly, it only allows dogs in the open courtyard. We’ve got used to dining outside… even in this dog-friendly region.

There are usually a few days at the end of April when the bright sun and spring greens make this place a joy to photograph.

Today was one of them…

©Stephen Tanham 2022

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

Shaping the unshapeable

We had a lively discussion the other night; ten of us linked at 8:00 pm, English time, across the planet…

On these occasions, it’s hard not to be moved by the sheer wonder of technology in making the impossible possible. The ten of us – the number varies from month to month – are part of what we call SE-Explorations; ‘SE’ for Silent Eye, our mystical school.

The ‘tech’, in this case, was Zoom – that universal enabler of ‘real-ish’ contact during the Covid pandemic. In our case, learning to operate Zoom also allowed us to keep in touch with my son’s family – including our grandchildren in Australia. As an aside, a new grandson is fast approaching via my other son and his wife who live in Yorkshire… Watch this space…

Some of those attending these talks are connected with the Silent Eye school, but most are not; they are from assorted backgrounds, each with a deep interest in the power of consciousness and emotion to take us deeper into our ‘lives’ than we thought possible.

Before Sue Vincent and Stuart France joined me in establishing the Silent Eye School, back in 2012, I worked with an organisation known as The Servants of the Light, SOL for short. Many of the people who join us for the monthly SE-Explorations meetings are from that background. They are a wonderful bunch, full of warmth and wisdom. To connect across the planet once a month, using the Zoom video signal, is a joy.

There is no sense that this is an ‘elite’ group. It’s not. We work hard to ensure that the conversation topic is generalised and applicable to all: beginner and seasoned practitioner.

Our topic last Thursday followed on from my Thursday blog, here: ‘Alignment’. By this, we mean the power of certain symbols to fine-tune our consciousness to a certain purpose, to take us on a journey, or alter our orientation to a goal, renewing that spark of attraction that we glimpsed when we began an endeavour. The purpose of our meeting in cyber-space was to discuss this, and share our views on what really works… and makes a difference. Diagrams can be one of the most wonderful teaching aids. Say I asked you to consider the image below:

If this were our first such discussion, you’d rightly be horrified…

Realising my mistake, I might apologise and offer you another:

(Above: an image that quickly makes sense, even though the details may be unstated)

Suddenly, there is a difference – the human being superimposed on the geometrical figure inserts the idea of a relationship into what is being discussed. Here we have a dual image that invites discussion – and that is the key. Diagrams are all well and good but the best ones are those that invite discussion and even suggest the questions:

What is happening to the figure in the diagram? Why is he (or she) surrounded by two sets of coloured spheres? Is there a third column of spheres running up the middle of the figure? The sphere at the top appears to be brighter than all the others; is that because it’s representing God or is there an elevated state available to mankind, too?

Immediately, through a combination of clear diagram and something that can easily be related to our experience, we have a starting point for what could become an important discussion.

Some time later, we might return to the first diagram – the complex one – and be shown, now that we were familiar with the core meaning of this ‘tree of life’, how the findings of psychology were mapped onto this story of spiritual evolution of the individual consciousness.

The SE-Explorations group decided that the really important thing was that whatever the image used, or even the system of teaching, it should be designed to promote and provoke discussion. Only in the comfort and familiarity of spoken language do we get the necessary dialogue of question and resulting understanding.

The spiritual journey is within, but that gives the impression that it is entirely about the interior of our lives, whereas nothing could be farther from the truth. This journey deals only with realities and the test of those is how much they have the power to change our worlds…

That moment of beginning such a mental and emotional journey has great power, and we can often look back and know with certainty, that many benign ‘forces’ were at work to bring to a beginning something that may subsequently have changed our lives for the better. The attraction of a symbol or glyph is part of its magic.

(Above: the spiritual journey is one of going home)

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

#StillLight : Night then Day

A simple grouping, photographed, then post-processed to look like a painting. The spring beauty of night and day.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

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

Blossom in the Park

We all love blossom, and the time of year with which it is associated. That visceral feeling of renewal is a deeply tangible thing.

It’s difficult to photograph, in my experience. Ideally, you get yourself beneath the tree and point the camera upwards – becoming wrapped in the soft light beneath the floral canopy.

No such luck with this one, taken at Grange-over-Sands, yesterday. The sky was gloomy, but it did highlight the lovely colour mix of the deep green and the delicate, linen-like texture of the blossom.

I’ll try to get a few more shots before its brief season ends. The cold and often dark spring is resisting all attempts at present!

©Stephen Tanham 2022

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

Aligning with Gods

When we encounter the word ‘Gods’, we think of entities related to ancient views of the world; of ages before science threw the ‘definitive light’ of repeatable and numeric method onto our subjective experience of the world. In other words, we think of an outdated symbol system; one that describes natural events, and which seemingly lost its relevance to modern man a long time ago. Mankind came to define itself by reflections of the ‘without’ – such as wealth, and stability, rather than what was ‘within’.

Until the advent of modern psychology, we lived in a world that was fixated on the fruit of the senses, with no thought to how we as ‘selves’ experienced and related to it.

After the pioneering psychologists, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, we began to have a picture of the inner landscape that had some significance, instead of the random and meaningless flow of sensory impressions – plus the mysterious things called dreams. The psychologists recognised that this sense of ‘me’ had some validity; moreover, it had a structure, one shared by us all. Our inner architecture had rooms… Together, these rooms made up a mental and emotional construct we called ‘self’. When we act, we act from within this self. It has likes and dislikes, fears and triumphs,

(Above: The Silent Eye’s mystical enneagram; a map of the ego’s potential to take us home)

In Freud’s model, which is often used as a foundation by those studying the interior paths to a ‘deeper self’, the regular ‘daytime’ self is divided into the (1) the lower passions – unruly and energy filled; (2) the image of perfection, such as a child might inherit from a stern church; and (3) the daily self (ego), whose impossible job was to mediate between the two, managing excitement and guilt while maturing a strong sense of being the ‘captain of the ship’.

Superimposed upon this were the elements of character, variously indicated and interpreted by systems such as astrology and, latterly, the findings of developmental psychology expressed in the mysterious figure of the enneagram; and historically related to the esoteric Christian work of the Desert Fathers, who mapped mankind’s highest ‘Christ’ potential to the lowly state of the average personality, and showed the latter’s weaknesses, yet linkage with the original nine deadly sins. These included acidia: the turning away from spiritual purpose, perhaps the most deadly in the face of much-need alignment.

All of these encouraged us to examine our inner lives, where we find not only psychology’s broader ‘containers’ but also encounters with certain archetypal figures – first pointed out by Jung – that appeared to correspond closely with the cast of ancient mythology – the Gods, heroes and heroines.

Those interested in the esoteric ‘mystery traditions’ were the first to point out that this was no coincidence; that the visualisation of such Gods were, in fact, examples of early teachings designed to take us on active imaginative journeys of ‘inner workings’ – landscapes loosened from the grip of the material in such a way that our consciousness is free to explore other realms of our interior, and literally ‘meet up’ with that which was trying to reach us from ‘within’.

(Above: the hour-glass, two worlds and a narrow channel. Image Pixabay)

We can envisage two worlds, set in an upper/lower relationship like an hour-glass, in which the sand grains glide through, vertically. To change the relationship of the worlds, we turn the glass over… a similar state to that of the Hanged Man in Tarot, who, though apparently sacrificed, is smiling…

(Above: The Hanged Man Tarot card)

These symbolic systems are reference maps to states of consciousness. For example, the Tarot card of the Hanged Man corresponds to one of the paths connecting the spheres on the Tree of Life (see below). On one level, it’s just a cleverly painted and striking image. On another it’s a place we live in when we are on a particular journey.

(Above: The Kabbalistic Tree of Life – a truly cosmic symbol)

To be on that journey, we need to have a longing for reality…

This may seem a strange notion. Surely, we already live, firmly, in a reality? Well, yes and no. We do appear to live in a physical reality, but what of our interior one? Does that offer us the same stability of existence and purpose? And what about those ‘rooms’ that divide the ‘self’ into id, superego and ego? We may find we need to understand ourselves at the level of the everyday self, or psyche, before we can use that as a start-point for a journey into the beautiful interior world that appears to be much bigger and real than we had thought. This doesn’t mean we need to be psychologists; just that we need to borrow a few of their well-worked notions to help us on our way.

The mystical enneagram will give us the rigour to work with our psyche, showing us how our outer characteristics are closely related to deeper and more spiritual layers of ‘us’, and requiring us to strip away ideas and attitudes that are detrimental to that journey.

(Above: The Silent Eye’s mystical enneagram; a map of the ego’s potential to take us home)

Once we have a clean foundation, the Tree of Life is there to show us a journey to a different Self, one that lives with the Gods and has always done so.

The Sufis would simply say that our one task is to look for love and the bestower of that love – the Beloved. In this task, no map is necessary, since we can always determine if we are closer this day than we were the day before, by how we feel. The work of that path, as with the enneagram, is to remove the obstacles to love.

Each of these systems, and many more, are the ways to align ourselves with something higher within us, and to make that a way of life rather than an idea which will soon fade. The intellect of the modern age is a wonderful thing… but it won’t take us to the Gods.

Only the whole of you can do that.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

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

Nightmare in Béziers

In dream I woke and stood bewitched

Before a door of oak and cedar

To hear a voice that played upon

A song of keys, part lost, part won

And tugged and pulled my heart to be there

With haunting glimpse of lifetime fixed

As though my past had been remixed

Who knocks? – In truth, I had not yet

A saving grace of dream’s regret

For shame, I turned and stole away

Returning to the light of day

By darkened alleys’ coffee cake

In little houses where they bake

The whitened streets of darker Bézier

And if I’d stayed to read the keys

Of life deployed in sated needs

Would piercing eyes unseen but known

Which through the cedar mocked my guile

Then chase through ever darkening streets

With courage ‘lost’ and weakening knees

This fragile soul so far from home…

Come breakfast Cognac, help dispel this dream

And let me know not what it means

Content to walk this ancient place

Where death once stalked with foulest face

Albigenses, Cathars, hear my prayer

And lift my spirit’s deep despair

And with this light of morning give me grace.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

Photo of Bézier door-knocker by the author.

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

Easter Skies

I think of them as ‘Easter skies’ – that combination of cold air, bright light, and the hue of fresh green as the trees begin to bud.

It’s not unusual for April to be winter-like, even though we are past the spring equinox and the light has an entirely different power. To my mind, the coming spring literally ‘shoots’ its presence into the skies, giving a dramatic life-colour to the more barren blues and silvers; wonderful in their own right, but nothing compared to the emotional effect of the three together.

‘Hang on,’ it seems to say. We’re nearly there…

©Stephen Tanham 2022

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 preparation of Magical Landscapes (2)

You begin with an idea; in this case an entire workshop held outdoors, in the vivid landscape of the English Lake District. It’s vast and wild… and you have no control over the weather, not even in May.

The goal is for those attending to experience themselves in a new way. In these dramatic surroundings, and in the midst of warm companionship, we can become inspired and intrigued by a new kind of physical and emotional quest.

The inner goal, experienced by many on these weekends in the past, is to SEE differently. We consider that we see, accurately, all the time. But the brain is subtle in its power to replace the real act of seeing with ‘recognition’ of what it has already viewed and processed. Situations that are ‘different’ provide a split-second of potential to break through this. It is the intention of our workshops to enable amplified moments that have this ‘magical’ quality.

The content needs to be fascinating. People will join for many reasons:

  • You’ve run workshops before, and that joyous bunch of people who support the Silent Eye team know you will, once again, put your heart and soul into making it special.
  • They trust you to make ‘outdoors’ work. No-one wants to spend the day sodden, so you need to have thought through what it’s like to be in their minds on hour three of a rainstorm…
  • But providence has seemed to move when you’ve done this before, so you trust…and have that Plan B tucked in your pocket.

The lakes, hills, and rivers of the Lake District are your best friends. People would come just to see a well-organised visit to them – but if you can add some additional and real magic into this experience, they will never forget it. But you are not in the comfort and ease of a village hall or retreat in the Peak District… It’s just you, the landscape, the people… and the plan.

That magic is already in that landscape – especially for an event beginning and ending at Castlerigg Stone Circle. The skill is in how you bring it out of the ‘ground’ and into the hearts of the players in this dramatic setting.

(Above: the mysterious ring of Castlerigg and its many energies…photo as taken and unretouched. The ‘green fire’ was not visible to the naked eye at the time, but showed up subsequently on the photo)

There needs to be a central theme to the whole event, one that faithfully follows – and to some degree dictates – the participant’s experience. This time, the theme is ‘The Journey of the Hero’, and is based upon the work of Joseph Campbell, whose book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces proposed that all myths followed a similar pattern. Campbell extracted this pattern into a standard form, which he called ‘The Monomyth’.

The ‘Monomyth’ describes a number of key stages in the hero’s journey:

1. The hero’s adventure begins in the ordinary world.

2. He/she must leave the ordinary world when they receive a call to adventure.

3. With the help of a mentor, the hero will cross a guarded threshold, leading them to a supernatural world, where familiar laws and order do not apply.

4. There, the hero will embark on a road of trials.

5. Other-worldly allies sometimes assist.

6. As the hero faces the ordeal, they encounter the greatest challenge of the journey.

7. Upon rising to this challenge, the hero receives a reward or boon.

8. They return to the ordinary world, empowered to act in a higher way.

(Above: the Cumbrian lakes and mountains are the perfect backdrop to this kind of adventure )

It’s a potent formula which invites us all to pay careful attention, particularly when the word ‘ordeal’ is noticed. This has to be real. It won’t be life-threatening, but it will demand a kind of sacrifice… In return, what is found at the destination will be both unexpected and greater than the expended effort.

By gesture, the landscape will be asked to serve the heroes, as they travel from unknowing to knowing; each new location adding to their intimate knowledge of an inner process that belongs only to them….

(Above: the tracks and paths may be high or low…)

The final element is something new: gesture. Being an outdoor event, we are limited in how we express the inherent truths of ‘being’, personality and self-development. Everyone attending will be shown a new set of gestures at each site.

By the end of the weekend, each will possess a compact but comprehensive vocabulary of gestures by which they can review and describe their own hero’s journey. We can confidently predict that each person will have experienced at least one extraordinary experience.

Waterproofs and sturdy, walking boots are strongly recommended. Regular walkers will be used to such things, but these events are also for the casual walker.

Our meeting at Castlerigg Stone Circle on Friday, 6th May will be an introduction to the weekend, and local to the site. Saturday 7th May will see the most active day, about which we can reveal no details. Dinner is booked in the early evening at a country pub local to our final walking destination. Sunday will see us walking locally to Keswick, followed by our closing gathering once again at Castlerigg Circle.

The Journey of the Hero, May 6-8th, 2022. A few places are available.

Contact us for details:

Rivingtide@gmail.com

©Stephen Tanham 2022

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

Yellow and Blue

I’ve always been a bit artistic, but more of an illustrator than a painter. Sue Vincent was our painter, and a very good one – though she was modest about her achievements.

In the early days of the Silent Eye, Sue and I worked together to create a version of the Silent Eye’s enneagram – seemingly, a nine-pointed star, until you look deeper – in a style where I laid out the geometry in Adobe Illustrator, and she added the ‘heart’ of the interior in a rose-based design. People were still commenting on it, years later. it was a very emotive image…

(Above: a Vincent-Tanham production!)

When we lost Sue, we lost our ability to have ‘paintings’. There are some subtle – and usually emotional – creations that need the gentleness of touch that the painter brings.

Our world brightened in this regard when Giselle Bolotin offered to help our work with her designs for the Silent Eye’s Oracle Deck – a work in progress; example below. But we can’t keep abusing Giselle’s time and need a degree of expertise in the use of simple ‘painter’ techniques to support the photography that Stuart and I rely on within our blogs.

(Above: a prototype of one of Giselle’s Images: The Tyger Lord)

So, I gritted my teeth and bought a licence of Adobe Fresco for the iOS platforms – iPhone and iPad. My iPad is rapidly becoming my main creative tool – something I would have thought impossible a few years ago!

It’s not that it’s better than my desktop Mac. For one thing, it’s far less logical. But it is very fast at doing certain things; especially with images. I may not be a painter, but I’m a busy photographer… and the iPad/iPhone combination is at the very heart of that work.

I have a love-hate relationship with Adobe. In my former, corporate life, I had a licence for their entire Illustrator/Photoshop suite, including the desktop publishing component – InDesign, in which the three years worth of monthly lessons were created.

Adobe let all these older licences ‘die’ when they brought out their new ‘CC’ architecture, and would not update the older software to be compatible with new Macs. I can see the commercial logic – just about all the big software companies have moved to an annual ‘subscription’ model – but their actions increased the cost of running Adobe software as a ‘small creative user’ by an order of magnitude.

With the considerable skills of Caroline Ormond joining our management team, we were able to migrate the older InDesign documents to a Microsoft Word format, enabling us to roll out a new generation, protected from the considerable price hikes we would have endured. Despite all this, I remain a big fan of how Adobe software works and is thought through for the ‘professional’.

Generally, I avoid Microsoft applications, finding them non-intuitive and layered with things you need to know from their history, but Caroline says, with the right medication, I may even be able to use Word myself…

But back to Adobe Fresco; the App with which I hope to become a ‘painter’, albeit of simple things…

After some particularly harrowing TV news from Ukraine the other day, I took Tess for a walk along the old canal path. Festooned with golden daffodils, it’s a joy at this time of year.

There, in the middle of the path, were a group of daffodils that had been mutilated, perhaps by some children venting their frustration at something. I picked them up and photographed them in my hands, seeing in the unnecessary death a loose parallel with the unthinking emotions that drive occupying soldiers to massacre civilians. I’m not comparing the two, but the blind emotions of destruction are related.

By photographing their ‘wounds’, I felt I had prolonged their life a little bit longer. Later, I wondered if they would form a visual centrepiece for a post… this one.

The bright yellow reminded me of the Ukrainian flag. I considered whether I could create a photo-based image that also had that flag’s blue as well? To do that in the way I wanted, I would have to ‘paint’ over the photo in a way that showed the brushstrokes.

Warily, I opened the Adobe Fresco app and began to learn. Several hours later, I had the opening image, above, made by layering the broken daffodils over a recent landscape of Derwent Water, then painting over some of the flowers in different brush strokes and colour washes with a digital ‘watercolour’ brush.

It’s not great… but it’s a start. We can get better from here. The exercise also let me channel my feelings about Ukraine onto the flowers. Perhaps their mutilation was not a total waste.

Note: You can see more of Giselle’s work on her Instagram page. Just key in Giselle Bolotin.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

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 preparation of Magical Landscapes (1)

There’s no ‘But what is it’, today. The series will continue for a few weeks, restarting next Sunday.

Three of us have been busy doing a ‘dry run’ of the plans for our ‘Journey of the Hero’ workshop 6-8 May, centred in Keswick. We’ve been crossing lakes, walking up hills and following rivers to mysterious stone structures… Oh, and a quick visit to a couple of ancient stone circles too.

It sounds fun… and it is – on one level – but its also exacting. You have to be certain that its going to be right. And that takes a lot of detailed thinking and creative imagination, which, as any psychologist will tell you, is at the heart of the ‘magical practice’ of encouraging things to happen.

(Above: Castlerigg – you’d think I’d have learned not to get my shadow into the photo by now…)

The central issue you have to get right for each of the weekend’s segments is timing. You envisage a visit to, say the Castlerigg Stone Circle, a mere 3000 years old, and decide that will make a great beginning and finale to the ‘Journey of the Hero’ weekend. But that’s just one place and there can be several miles between each location, and that needs careful planning. A convoy of cars, each following the other, is not an exact science; not when they have to pull out, separately, onto a busy dual carriageway.

Believe it or not, we have even developed a ‘protocol’ for this that – if followed – ensures we all arrive together.

(Above: mysterious symbols in stone)

We known the drill. We’ve been doing this since 2013. On Tuesday, I’ll be writing about what it’s actually like to plan and execute a ‘magical landscape’ workshop.

For now, below is one of my favourite shots of the past three days: Ashness Bridge on the shore of Derwent Water, near Keswick.

The magic’s already in the landscapes. To work with it you just have to tease it out… On Thursday, in the Preparation of Magical Landscapes (2) post, I’ll be looking at this fascinating process, and how everything ‘comes together’ in the last week before the event.

©Stephen Tanham 2022

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

Reaching Realisation

(Above: Realisation: more than meets the eye)

The purpose of language is to convey meaning. We cannot convey meaning directly because it exists in an invisible mental realm unique to the individual. We all live in slightly different worlds, based on our own experience. As a tribe, society or country, we each agree to subscribe to the inherent values present in that shared group.

We use language to pass meaning to others – such as our children, which is why the child’s brain is hard-wired to rapidly absorb language in infancy; an ability that is reduced as we grow older.

If we can teach our children to understand our meanings, then we have a hope of passing onto them our values – sets of meanings that assemble into patterns of behaviour; differences between selfish and selfless, the latter for the good of the ‘tribe’: a quality that seems to be abandoned, cyclically, in our common history. 

Language changes. It can be likened to the sand patterns left on a beach. The water comes in and re-maps the sand (language) emphasising certain popular meanings but partly or wholly erasing the original, deeper meaning.  The time-tides will always be there, but their effects on the beach will not always be positive, from any given perspective. It is up to us as a society to protect the deepest meanings if we value what they are. These are often considered to be spiritual; meaning representative of a higher order of consideration than those we are concerned with in our daily work.

Classical teaching protected the language, allowing the deeper, historical meanings to survive. But it may move too slowly to prosper in an ‘internet age’ of rapid changes. Modern society is both fickle and casual in its populist allowing of ‘meaning-slip’, allowing deeper meanings to be devalued or lost altogether. One look at the Internet shows the alarming erosion of what were considered essential meanings not long ago. 

For ordinary meanings, this is frustrating, but the ‘next generation’ have always had the freedom to create their own idioms. For deeper meanings, we sometimes need reminding that they are there, and a review of their possibly timeless value.

One such word is ‘realisation’. It’s a word at the heart of true spirituality. Why is the act of realisation so important?

It is rare that a single word contains two states: one, the ‘before’; the other the ‘after’ – mirroring a quite definite process of growth within the human mind and heart.

That growth is in the understanding of something, and that something is nothing less than the nature of reality. To make this post into a journey of deeper understanding, we need to step back and define our terms…

An example of the common use of ‘realisation’, might be this:

‘Suddenly, James Strange realised the key to Mariella’s guilt was the colour of her hair!’

It could be a line from a detective story, which is not a bad way to describe the human ascent that moves from ‘world’ to ‘self’ as the mystic strives to comprehend their place in that world. In the above line of fiction, the word realisation means the dawning of a new level of understanding. It’s that moment when the inner comprehension goes ‘click’ and something more than the sum of the parts comes into existence.

The word has an ancient origin. We can approach the literal meaning of it by dividing it into ‘real’ and ‘ise’ (or ‘ize’), both of the latter implying to ‘be’.

We encounter the living act of realisation when we try to learn a new language as an adult. This may be in support of a longed-for trip, for example. Initially, we may struggle, but when, at the end of the term, our teacher invites us all out to a (say) French restaurant where we will be expected to speak a little of the language we have been learning, we have our chance to use this new way to convey meaning.

Initially fearful, we might find ourselves at a moment where – through living it – we come to a feeling of what can only be described as ‘belonging’. Suddenly, French is ours, and we will work so much harder to build on that foundation of inner growth.

We’ve all had such moments. They may be found in the acquisition of any new skill that requires work. In our trivial ‘detective’ example, the hero – by having that light-bulb moment – is able to connect everything he knows about his suspect.

A realisation has that power. It’s far more than the assembly of facts; rather it is a deeply personal involvement in the transformation of what we know into a new type of knowing. The ancients even had a word for it: they called it Gnosis – an increase of understanding that changes the person experiencing the ‘inner expansion’.

The mystical journey may be undertaken by anyone. Schools such as the Silent Eye are founded upon the development of a ‘path’ comprising stages of understanding marked by specific gateways. These gateways are often called initiations – a word that implies a beginning, or more accurately, a new beginning. In that new beginning, we understand the hidden meaning of realisation: to make real…

In that new beginning, a new world is born…

©Stephen Tanham 2022

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

%d bloggers like this: