From out of the Depths

Image: Pixabay

More from the non-poet as I like to call myself. Again something inexplicable emerges from an unusual image. I leave it up to you dear readers to make what you will from this offering. Perhaps create the next stage of the story. This isn’t a writing challenge but I would love to see what it instigates. Please leave your offerings in the comments box.

You don’t have to be a strong swimmer to participate, bring armbands if you wish:

Between Sky and Water lies a space set apart. It defies laws and belief. From conscious to subconscious does it flow. 

Power nascent emerges and enfolds. Alchemy of a strange kind enacts, Sun reaches out to Moon. All becomes hidden and transformed, as Alchemy of a strange kind enacts. 

How Fares The King of the Wasteland?

Image: Pixabay

Lonely and embittered is the King of the Wasteland. Ruler over phantoms and of regrets, he sees little of worth including himself. How blind, how tragic.

I watch him tread the path well trodden. Deep are the furrows, in body, mind, and spirit. He perches on the precipice, unwilling to retreat. The breeze whispers, torments endlessly, carries the voices of those abandoned, those unloved.

We circle one another, my shield and sword at the ready. Strong is my resolve, harsh is my gaze. I shall not be cowed, shall stand my ground, shall challenge forthwith. Where is my compassion? Held in abeyance, held in Hope.

Be still and at peace I say to ruler of all and ruler of none. How his gaze falters, how his gaze darkens. The tears flow, they glint like diamonds. I say yield unto Love, yield unto Forgiveness. Will he listen? Will he speak?

Heal he must, rejoin the living. Discard hurt he must and notions of revenge, notions of anger. Free yourself, free the others. This I urge but will he listen? Battle he must the fears of his heart. Shadows past and shadows present stand in his path. They are but empty shells, dust filled memories.

He advances but I do not retreat, cannot retreat. How the wounded beast circles, aches to bite, aches to tear. His heart bleeds, his tears fall. Dare I wipe them away? Dare I soothe his heart? Both he and I must divest all that hinders, all that pains. Naked must we face the other, tread the path of freedom. How vulnerable we are, like newborn babies. Hush, hush the Mother whispers. She hears our cries and soothes our hurt.

At last the Sun rises, bringing Light into our Darkness. Yet the path goes on, beyond the horizon. Yet more we should divest, do so in the fullness of time. Gain illumination say our hearts, gain flight and freedom. Be at Peace one says to the other. Journey further, learn much. Part in humility, part in Love.

Image: Pixabay

Filaments of Light

Image: Pixabay

Serenity ushers in thoughts of sun soaked dreams and filaments of light. The Night passes into Day, Introspection into Action.

Their nightly vigils fade, embraced by song and homage. Thoughts deconstruct and Speech Assembles.

Warrior monks rise, forsaking doubt and tribute. They look into Void, seeking answers, finding only paradox.

Priest and Knight seek silence, so solitude beckons. Communion embraces spirit. Wisdom releases, humility receives, illumination encapsulates. Duty capitulates.

Filaments of light cascade, breath captures in awe. Silence profound unveils, mysteries quicken. From Introspection comes forth Action.

Here end these perplexing words from this non-poet as I style myself. All has not been well in my world lately. The past few weeks have been filled with mishaps, people misreading my communications, me misreading my communications. Plans have been scuppered and in hindsight probably a good thing. Much the same has been happening to many people around me, some experiences being worse than others.

Additionally, my brain is stubbornly refusing to behave. Like a recalcitrant teenager it moans about being asked to do things, “I hate you!” it’ll mutter in a surly manner. What do you do but send it to its room to cool down. Give me strength! Now for some ‘Me’ time.

I take a seat in the Shed and look at my little creation.  What am I trying to say? Sorry for being indelicate but I’ve been suffering a little mental constipation lately. There, said it. The build up of psychic and physical toxicity in the system creates strange back-eddies, leaving you feeling uncomfortable and tired. Accordingly the words are backed up, desperate for release. How to best express the inner agonies and sense of unrest? Where else could I go back seek advice of the mysterious band of priestly knights I call brethren. I am of course being deliberately coy, leaving crumbs, perhaps hoping you’d follow. I usually have a picture in my mind of what’s waiting to be written and these priestly knights were waiting in infinite patience. It has been a long time since we last met up. I’ve been avoiding the silence, perhaps for fear of what’s waiting in there. They speak and I’m trying to digest what’s been brought to the table.

My thoughts are interrupted by loud music emanating from the teen’s room. Sigh, the little attention seeker needs to be taught a lesson. I unplug the music system. Peace. Time for a long chat with her upstairs.

 

Possibilities

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Image: Pixabay

I was speaking with a friend of mine earlier this afternoon, we’d known each other from the age of 12 years. It’s been a long friendship, both of us are now (mutters incomprehensibly). Perhaps our ages aren’t so important eh? There have been several job changes, illnesses, bereavements and relocation of homes. Let’s just say it’s been a full and interesting journey for both of us. Our childhood ambitions were and still are creative endeavours; alas this was not to be and we ended up in different professions. Both of us are at another crossroads in our lives, considering a variety of options and assessing the possibilities. 

Possibilities. A word worth its weight in gold. Much like Hope, it can sustain us when all appears bleak on the horizon. Our youthful selves were fired with energy and great expectations. As adults our experiences have tempered those expectations, that’s only natural. Hindsight is a great teacher, realistic but not unkind.

My younger self believed she could make a difference and create a better world for all of us. I passionately believed in justice, fairness, tolerance and equality. Still do. I’m going to come out of the wardrobe, fall out of it more correctly and admit to being a Socialist. Still am at heart but its nuances have changed slightly but not its heart. I’ll go to my cremation as one. Protest marches were a staple for me – against apartheid, racism, erosion of employment rights, sexism, etc.  I’d grown up in a culturally diverse part of London, attended a primary school in Soho that had children from many different ethnicities. Secondary school was a little different but still great.

That’s not to say there weren’t tensions in society. London at the time was a place of political and social turmoil. Nothing has changed! The 1970s, 80’s and 90s saw profound upheavals, many necessary. Additionally the activities of Far Right groups like the National Front (and other more extreme groups) created an atmosphere filled with violence, fear and tension. It seems humanity’s atavistic tendencies are once again rising to the fore. The gates of the Underworld have been loosed and the inmates are on the rampage dear friends. One hopes they’ll be dragged back to their cells soon.

Culturally it was an exciting time from what I remember, well, it was neither boring nor safe in terms of output. I do get nostalgic at times for the spirit of those times, more due to the people who I’d known and met. Each one of us has a different perception of that era.

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Image: Pixabay

As for this entity called Possibilities. His Nibs (Anubis) advises that I should network and when am I going to book in a meeting with it. I reply ‘soon’ and look away furtively. He lays a hand on my shoulder and squeezes. Oh boy, the Opener of the Way knows me so well. ‘Check your calendars’ he says firmly. It seems I’ve been too long in the company of certain rogues and low life, namely Procrastination, Fear, Ill health, Being Unfit (call me Cuddles) and the two worst of all, Inertia and Lack of Confidence.

He looks at me for, oh, ages. There is only kindness and sympathy in his eyes. I smile at him in thanks. My spirit needs re-energising. Writing contributes to a sense of great well-being and this blog is a blessing as are spiritual studies/training. I serve both Anubis and Thoth in spirit and reality, the power that is Ptah is never far away. What I don’t serve are other people’s unrealistic expectations of me and the beast of ‘living to work’. Although the latter does have me in a headlock. A bummer as they say.

Back to scheduling this meeting. His Nibs has passed me a list of ‘To Do’s and admitted they were only reminders as I knew what needed to be done. I scrutinise it, fair enough. Clear and simple objectives, the fine detail will require work. Not a problem. To travel between the different planes of consciousness one has to be fit in more than body. Mine needs a little maintenance admittedly but the mind, even if I say so, is resilient. It can be a little wayward, stubborn and undisciplined at times but still manages to survive adversity.

To travel through the landscape of the Collective Unconsciousness requires foolhardiness, a level head, resilience, self-insight and trust in oneself. Many falter, deceived by manifestations of their own Shadow and human longing. We also have to acquaint ourselves with the lexicon of symbols needed to engage and converse with the inhabitants of this other Universe. A guidebook of phrases and possibilities you might say. Keep your wits about you at all times, for the soul and mind can be seduced by all manner of suitors and enemies.

Most important of all, a Guide is vital. So far I haven’t upset His Nibs (and hope I don’t).

“I’m not going anywhere, if I do there will always be another one of us with you. Even if your angelic friends want to come along” he mutters interrupting my thoughts. I’m vastly relieved and don’t think it’s wishful thinking. “Have Trust” he loudly responds. Of course. The vista opens up before us. We sit down and take our time looking at the strange sights appearing out of nothingness. Images from my life, one after the other. Regret, unhappiness, happiness, anger, loss, fear, manipulation, capitulation, success, failure, hate, love.

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Image: SURREALISMART.ORG

I also see the ancestors amongst these many aspects of myself. We all need release it’s evident. My hands are clenched, holding on to much. He kneels before me and takes my hands in his. I can sense the power and gentleness within them, as does my heart. We wait, breath held in, silent. My fingers are uncurled one by one until both palms are facing upwards. We see the remains of things that were long gone and begging for freedom. Smoky wisps, rising and falling. He breathes upon them, chanting incantations. There is no other sound except for his voice. He gathers them up and deposits them in a barque that’s appeared to one side. Their journey now begins to the Duat (ancient Egyptian Otherworld).

I sense the release of the many from all my line, we are being unburdened one by one. My eyes close, seeing the world as it appears to the inner eyes. It ebbs and flows, inhaling and exhaling, communicating in ways that I didn’t think were possible. In silence can we hear the Universe as it unfolds its mysteries.

As Khepri rises in the sky so do we feel our own Coming into Being, that oft repeated phrase holds a wealth of meaning, highly symbolic. How we forget the beauty and magnificence of the stars, the Imperishable Stars, holders of memories from the birth of our existence. What of the light that’s journeyed for millions upon millions of years? Possibilities upon possibilities exist, why not take note and draw in that light into our own being? Bathe our cells in its essence. My thoughts scatter in all directions, seeking, questioning. How fare the ancestors? Of like mind it seems, all respect to them. Yet, I also understand that their burdens and history, good and bad have been passed down the line to end with my siblings and I. Do we accept their legacy?  Not if it perpetuates further negativity and damage to body, mind and spirit.

Anubis is still kneeling before me. I return to the present, time for the introspection to end. The evening light casts a golden glow on everything in the garden. It feels so peaceful and still. I sense the Opener is still here, watching. “I agree to do it” is all I say to him. Where’s my diary?

Where are You Going?

Where are you going Reaper Man?

I watch you ride by, silent and absorbed.

What are you watching with your eyes of gold and endless obsidian?

Arid vistas, fabled cities, towers of dunes,

They flash by, places caught in time, crumbling into the past,

A memory of when we were young.

 

Where have you been Reaper Man?

How we feared your coming, a shadow fleet and grasping in the night.

How wrong we were, eyes dimmed by fear and blinding light.

I yearn to hear of your adventures, songs of love and whispered regrets.

Sing to me lone traveller, garbed in leather and wreathed in smiles.

He speaks and entrances, holds spellbound:

I rode on the wings of dawn, endless roads and too brief sunrises.

My kisses fall on parchment skin and babe in arms,

They embrace me warmly, ride pillion without a backward glance,

Seeking the wonder of life that is to come.

There are no final endings, no final tears, only new beginnings.

Only new roads to ride on, caffeine fuelled encounters in nomad camps,

Magic infused silences before oceans of blue.

 

What can I say Reaper Man?

How your songs of strangeness and wonder hold in thrall,

Echoes of our own longing cascading,

Falling like waterfalls through the canyons of eternal dreams.

What can I say mighty Azrael, so named Angel of Death?

How we feared your coming, a shadow fleet and grasping in the night.

How wrong we were, eyes dimmed by fear and blinding light.

With eyes of gold and endless obsidian you peer into what we were and will become.

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photo credit: Neil. Moralee See the light. via photopin (license)

Where are you going Reaper Man?

Lone traveller garbed in leather and wreathed in smiles.

Straddling oceans of time, shaping destinies.

Bringer of infinite grace, bestower of visions unsurpassed.

I watch you ride by, silent and absorbed.

Fellow travellers on endless roads, through cities of steel and glass,

Through wildflower meadows and oceans of blue.

Exchanging smiles and imperceptible nods.

 

Where are you going Reaper Man?

What are you watching with your eyes of gold and endless obsidian?

Arid vistas, fabled cities, towers of dunes,

They flash by, places caught in time, crumbling into the past,

A memory of when we were young.

A homage of sorts to the great Angel of Death, Azrael. Not your usual subject for a, what can I call this offering? A road trip with a leather garbed angel. I’m neither a poet nor a writer of songs, so this is a Pong. Sorry! My melding of a poem and song…Does it work I ask you dear Reader?

Descent into Matter

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photo credit: Dani_vr Mirada perdida via photopin (license)

Time has moved on since the Alchemist and his infant daughter encountered the great angel Gabriel. The world has since fluctuated between tyranny and fear, settling down into a semblance of stability now. Their journey has brought them to a place that has seen the rise and fall of great empires. Knowledge and insight are to be found in many places, not all illuminated by light though. The lonely path is often strewn by jagged rocks and beset by hungry beasts, of the inner and outer. The path laid out for the child was always going to be challenging, for that is how she was to gain knowledge of the human condition. Both parent and divine being pour all care and attention into fanning the holy flame within the young woman. The omniscience is tempered by total innocence, for she is the Fool going forth into the world of matter. Her eyes mirror the totality of existence, worlds upon worlds emerging out of the great Cosmic Fire of creation. From out of Darkness and Silence do Light and Speech emerge. She knows ending and beginning and as her humanness evolves, an ocean of emotions tinged with sorrow and joy. ‘Is this wrong?’ she asks and they cannot answer. Her task is pierce the perception of what is real and unreal. Continue reading

Blueprint

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Image: Pixabay

My story of an Alchemist and his daughter was first aired in Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt Flames #writephoto, it was entitled Ignis. The short tale can be read on many levels, with alchemy at its heart. The simplest definition I can find so far of this venerable art comes from Cherry Gilchrist’s book “Alchemy: The Great Work”, obviously this is only one source. Adam McLean’s website at http://www.alchemywebsite.com is a thorough and comprehensive library on the subject, worth a look. Now for the definition from Gilchrist:

Alchemy is the art of transformation. The work of the alchemist is to bring about succeeding changes in the material he operates on, transforming it from a gross, unrefined state to a perfect and purified form.”

There are several dimensions to the alchemist’s work, physical, psychological and spiritual. The physical involves the transmutation of base materials via various chemical operations into gold. On the psychological and spiritual levels this would involve a process by which the self engages in a quest to perfect it’s nature. Alchemical texts can be often shrouded in symbolism, mythology and allegory. This allows the texts to be interpreted on many levels. Although it doesn’t mean that the material is either easy to decipher or understand until further research and work is undertaken by the seeker. This can take a whole lifetime! Of course it’s always best to read the original alchemical tracts if you can. Production of a substance called The Philosopher’s Stone (variously called the Elixir or Tincture) is the aim of the alchemist’s work. It’s thought to contain the power of transformation on both material and spiritual levels. A key to knowledge and only to be used wisely and responsibly. A noble undertaking, although as human history has illustrated again and again, ‘wise’ and ‘responsible’ don’t always feature strongly on the agenda.

Apologies to any alchemists out there, this is a rather simplistic viewpoint but sufficient for this exercise I believe. What this exercise is, is an ongoing contemplation of my place in the Universe. Many, many years ago I met a man in a qi gong class in London who confirmed what I’d been feeling for years. He commented that once someone had begun a journey to seek answers they would be changed forever. It would be a lonely path and their loved ones would not either recognise who they’d become or accept the new person. The world can never be viewed in the same way again.

What of the main players in this story? Time has moved on and we find the father and daughter in a different place. Father may be an Alchemist primarily but he is also many other things as is his daughter:

The child stares at her reflection with great curiosity. Same eyes, same nose, same lips. The mirror remains silent, waiting. Her father watches with intense interest. Such curiosity and thirst for knowledge in one so young! Children like her are quite rare, for she is the attainment of the Great Work. The human spirit contains within it a seed of the eternal Sun. The man’s eyes reflect his temporary withdrawal from this world. How many lifetimes has it taken in the quest for knowledge and perfection? He would willingly live yet many more lifetimes to see and experience all that has gone before. Once the mysteries of the world have been glimpsed one cannot return to the old life and self. The world is not what we perceive it to be; its atoms being self-aware shift and remould themselves into, what they desire to be. They also reflect what we desire and choose to see. Much like the mirror the child is looking into.

He is brought back to the present by the gentle touch of the child’s hand and looks down at her with much warmth and love. She sits on the ground and beams a brilliant smile at him. Her young eyes are like two deep pools, bottomless and wise beyond her years. She contains the sum of all knowledge and experience in the Universe. There is no sadness within her. She knows of what lies beyond the human experience, for it has been transcended. That is not to say she has not experienced grief and loss, anger and pain. They have informed the eternal and immortal being within, tempered their distance with compassion and understanding.

The infant hands the adult a picture she’s drawn. Her father scrutinises it carefully. Adam Kadmon (“primordial man”), a divine blueprint. She looks at her father and waves a chubby little hand, he laughs in response at the numerous drawings spread out on the floor of the living room. She has been busy. A pillar of light materialises in the western corner of the room. It shimmers like a ray of moonlight, white interspersed with silver. They hear the sound of bells, delicate sounds swimming in a sea of light. Then the figure of a woman appears in its stead, youthful in appearance but emanating great wisdom and power. She looks directly at the infant. The child gives her father a knowing look. It now begins.

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Image: Pixabay

Here ends my discourse.

Forged in Fire

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Image: Pixabay

Here we are then, again, facing another year. (Puts on best imitation of Jedi Master, Yoda) challenging it was, unsure we were. I’m determined to review the old year in a frame of mind that’s open and honest. The spirit has been unburdened considerably but there is more to ‘surgery’ to undergo. For this purpose I must call upon an ancient Egyptian goddess, Sekhmet, to help me achieve transformation. Daughter of the Sun god Ra, consort of the god Ptah and protector of the Pharaoh, Sekhmet’s a formidable and powerful presence. A lion headed goddess embodying the fierce heat of the Sun and martial qualities. She’s also a healer. Therein lies the paradox. Much to chew over.

I’ve had reason to call upon her energies lately to combat inner and outer negativity. There’s also the need to defuse the challenging behaviour of a male colleague in my professional life. It’s being managed on a mundane level but still quite irksome having to deal with the issue in the first place. Resolution is necessary though. Fear and insecurity can generate inappropriate behaviour. Some people tend to underestimate me for a variety of reasons; perhaps it’s either my introverted manner or the reluctance to indulge in unpleasantness about other people. My behaviour hasn’t always been perfect. Not proud of those moments. Human nature doesn’t seem to have progressed much over the centuries.

Don’t hold back daughter of Sekhmet, a voice behind me comments.

I pause in mid rant. His Nibs is standing there with a solemn look on his face. The incandescent and wicked gleam in his eyes utterly demolishes the serious persona being projected.

I needed to get that off my chest. Disorder is restored.

He just smiles that mysterious smile and looks at me. Facing the inner demons is one of the hardest things we can do in life. The Mirror of Truth reveals things that are difficult to face, such as soul searing memories that arise from the depths and take flight. J C Cirlot comments that ‘every winged being is a symbolic of spiritualization…Birds are very frequently used to symbolize human souls, some of the earliest examples being found in the art of ancient Egypt.’ The ba has been freed, where’s it going?

The Old Dog, dear, dear Anubis has a way of reaching into the depths of your being, grab insights and bring them to light. He takes my hand and gives it a squeeze. There is reassurance and affection in that gesture. I can feel my spirit unfolding slowly, rather like wings unfurling in the warmth of sunlight. Indigo and tipped with violet, I choose these wings. Forged in fire were the beings of Light, standing guard against the onslaught of darkness and ignorance. The Fall into Matter necessitates additional vigilance due to our free will.

Forged in fire. It evokes powerful imagery. In my mind’s eye I see the blacksmith at work, diligently working on transmuting one material into another. Their art is most ancient, perhaps being one aspect of alchemy. Certainly magical. Forged in fire, deep within the heart of stars. We are after all made of star matter. Forged in fire, strengthened, shaped, to become resilient in the face of stress and adversity. Challenges show us our greatest strengths and areas of vulnerability. It takes courage and trust to show vulnerability.

His Nibs and I look up at the velvet darkness of the sky, now filled with multitude points of light. Nut’s arched body fills us with hope and anticipation. A new dawn waits, bringing new possibilities.

A lovely thought, he says.

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Image: Pixabay

 

 

The Foliate Man: A Knight’s Tale

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Photo: Copyright Jan Malique

It’s been a week since my return from a workshop in Derbyshire, a deeply profound experience. How dramatic this statement sounds, but there is great truth buried within the dramatics. Humanity is forever pursuing the goals of self-realisation and gnosis; sometimes this goal seems within our reach but is snatched away, much like the Grail was from Sir Lancelot. The Arthurian mythos bears close scrutiny dear reader. Its tales are rich in esoteric truths and symbolism. The deeper you dig, the greater the treasure that is unveiled.

My journey, or quest if you like, took about a year. I am counting from the time I registered for the workshop in 2015 to completion of the “quest” between 22- 24 April 2016. Participants attended from Europe, the USA and UK. It seems we heard the call and made our way to this special location in Derbyshire. The lure of King Arthur and his Court has been a source of fascination for centuries, as has the deeper myth beneath the Christianised version of the stories.   The Goddess, Sovereignty, Green Man, Merlin, Arthur. These archetypes lie deeply buried within our collective psyche. What of my interest in this matter? I am a Seeker after regeneration and reintegration of course.

I was assigned the role of Sir Gareth of Orkney, brother to Sir Gawain and nephew to King Arthur. An illustrious lineage it has to be said! Yet, we must look beyond titles and ancestry to unravel this young man’s nature and purpose. Donning the guise of a simple man he asks for food and lodging at the Court of Arthur and becomes a servant in their household. Known also as Le Bel Inconnu (the fair unknown), this young man is a little puzzling. Yearning to be a knight he undergoes many quests to prove himself worthy of such an undertaking and eventually marries the object of his affections, Lady Liones (Lyoness). Sir Gareth’s journey is in a sense mine, yet I wasn’t truly aware of this until after the weekend. It is an allegorical tale dear reader…

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Apart from participation in this workshop there was a parallel journey my Soul was undertaking. As many may be aware, or not, the enactment of sacred dramas isn’t just “play acting” for would be thespians. It has an important function in ritual, as well as being an integral part of the Lesser and Greater Mysteries.   “As Above, So Below”.

I came on this journey to renew my spiritual vows. For the past few years it had felt like I’d been wandering, struggling in a desert which had sapped my strength and enthusiasm for life. The trials and adversities facing me in the spiritual and mundane planes were hard and I’d become undisciplined. The Templar Knights took vows of Poverty, chastity and obedience.   Was this a template to be used for Sir Gareth (and myself) in this instance? Perhaps.

There is also the issue of the older, pre-Christian traditions underlying the Arthurian mysteries. The Foliate Man. Ah, an incredibly powerful and ancient symbol our Green Man. His energies and presence were palpable within the temple space and in the greater temple of the natural world. . .I am still reeling from the results of our work in the workshop, very much under enchantment dear reader. I peered into the pool in the enchanted forest and saw an image of the Green Man stare back. What was he trying to convey? So far I am not permitted to see beyond the curtain of leaves. Anything more I can’t really say as the experience is too fresh and needs to be integrated. Yet still, there came forward animal powers to assist us on our life journeys. The bonding process will take time.

Life is going to be very interesting for the next few months. The elemental dragons have been loosed and the individuation journey has commenced. I have so many questions, which will be answered I suppose when the time is right. Next year’s Silent Eye workshop will be “The Feathered Seer”. The shaman within is stirring in anticipation.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/12495774@N02/6159216483″>King David laments</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;