The Silent Eye is busy gearing up for the annual April workshop. Every year we host a residential workshop weekend in Derbyshire and every year people come from across the globe to join us for an adventure of mind, heart and spirit.
Past events have seen us travel through time from the far distant past to the unwritten future. The weekends are a frame for spiritual exploration, the costumes and colour bring the stories to life, while the scripted ritual drama engages the imagination and emotions, allowing us to learn from a shared experience.
Inevitably, these weekends have their ‘best bits’… the memorable moments that stand out from the rest. Such moments are largely subjective and doubtless everyone has their own, although the warm, friendship and laughter are a common thread.
Some of the highlights from the April workshops stand out not just as ‘workshop memories’, but as very special moments in my own life. I will not forget the opening of our very first ritual weekend, The Song of the Troubadour, when Steve and I sang the song written for that moment. Steve can sing…I cannot… yet together we harmonised. My unreliable voice soared, proving that limitations can be swept away, as we were carried on the wave of energy and emotion that lit up the temple.
I will not forget the shamanic drumming that opened each of the remaining rituals that weekend, nor the Child who sat at the centre of the sound, radiating peace. Nor the embrace given and received by the Mother, a moment of simplicity so beautiful I never thought it could be surpassed…until the Vigil.
At four in the morning, I took my place in the silent temple. An hour later, I was joined by Steve and then Stuart, the three of us forming an arrow of intent. We hoped a few would join us stillness before dawn as we brought the Silent Eye into being. We never expected that every one of our Companions that weekend would be there, at that unearthly hour, to offer their gifts and support for the birth of the school. That was unforgettable.
Next came Land of the Exiles, where an interstellar craft touched down on a sentient planet and the crew sought to teach humanity and empathy to the mechanical mind that had taken charge of their ship. It is the hillside ritual that stands out for me most, and the parts of it I did not see, but heard of later. Gold winged, gold crowned and followed by a green Osiris, as Isis I waited on the dew-drenched hill for Anubis to bring the Companions to witness the dawn.
The wrappings of the mummified and near-hypothermic Osiris, were created with rope…and almost caused an accident when an early motorist caught sight of me tying up the green and white Osiris on the hillside… and steered his vehicle into the hedge.
Meanwhile, jackal-headed Anubis stalked the corridors, knocking on the doors of the Companions to collect them. I heard about that later… few were expecting that figure when they opened their doors and the reactions of some have become legendary.
I can attest to what a huge and surprising figure Anubis made that morning. I had left my room for a moment to prepare the temple… and returned to find the Jackal standing there, looking about eight feet tall and filling the space with his presence. Even though I had helped make the costume and done the ‘god’s’ make-up in the pre-dawn light, it was a startling sight…and I knew what to expect!
On a more serious note, what stands out in memory is a chant within a ritual and the cathartic journey of our Sekhmet, whose character grew from vulnerability to strength. What is played out in ritual changes nothing, though it may set the wheels of change in motion. When what is played out in ritual with intent is carried out into the world and acted upon in full consciousness, change and growth are inevitable…and beautiful.
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