“It is,” said Steve, not knowing quite how true his words would prove to be, “a weekend for heroes.” While the ancient story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu was originally penned in the grand, heroic vein, our own retelling and adaptation would have to rely on more modest means in order to succeed. Ingenuity, intent and imagination would transform a bare room into a window on a distant past. Colour would evoke the heat of the rich, desert city of Uruk. Costumes and props would suggest, rather than recreate, an era… but the real magic that transforms an empty space into a working temple is the people with whom you share it. And, before we share the story of our workshop weekend, there are heroes other than Gilgamesh and Enkidu who must be acknowledged.
It is difficult to find the words to express my utter admiration and gratitude to everyone who was present at the Lord of the Deep weekend, without first giving a little background. When Stuart started to write the script for the workshop, we decided it should be crafted for a conservative, number. It is always a difficult decision, but we knew that some of our regular Companions would be unable to attend this year and you can never predict how many others will book.
Learning later how many were hoping to attend, we built in further roles for a Divine Council of Planetary Beings, the priesthood of the Temple of Ishtar and the populace of Uruk… as well as space for two Seers to observe the inner workings of the rituals. By the time the workshop was in the editing stage, we could happily have given roles to all those who were hoping to attend… but could equally manage, knowing how swiftly disaster can strike, with half that number. We could not manage with fewer than that, but then, we had never been called upon to do so.
Then, the Fates rolled up their sleeves and set wheels in motion. The unavoidable twin powers of health and life, began, between the pair of them, to reduce our number of attendees. By the Friday of the workshop, we were down to fifteen but, by some nifty rearranging, we had managed to find a way around the problem. Then, while we were actually setting up for the workshop, we heard that two more would be absent due to illness…
It could not be helped. Our thoughts and hearts were with all those who could not be with us. Some of them had sent contributions that we would use during the weekend. But, these very last changes to the list of attendees threatened to make the weekend an unmitigated disaster.
What we had instead, was a workshop that simply took off and soared…
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