We left Arbor Low and headed back to the village of Monyash and the pub for lunch. Once again, we seemed to have seen and done far more than should be possible in such a short time, slipping across the borders of time and space as if it were perfectly natural. The trouble was that now, as we neared the end of our weekend, there was not a huge amount of time left before everyone would depart, making their separate ways to homes to in far-flung parts of the country. It always amazes me, and touches me deeply, the distances that are travelled by people coming to share these weekends with us. They are not huge, glitzy events… and for at least three of them every year, all we appear to do is go out for a walk… in whatever weather we happen to have. Yet, people travel hundreds… often thousands… of miles to share what we do, regularly coming from as far away as America to take part.
The weekends are open to all… not just members of the Silent Eye and their focus is about sharing an experience. They are an opportunity to get together with people who walk widely different paths, both in everyday life and on their own spiritual journeys. One thing has always stood out for me at gatherings such as these and that is a complete lack of tolerance for the beliefs of others. There is no need for ‘tolerance’, which still, when you think about it, implies a judgement. Instead, there is just acceptance, pure and simple, of the validity of every other path. The minister laughs with the witch, the shaman with the Qabalist and the druid with the Taoist. There are no borders, no boundaries, no social divides and no prejudice… just a genuine desire to share and learn from each other.
Spirituality is not about looking the part, it is about living it. There is a kindness, an openness and a generosity of spirit that characterises those who have set their feet on their chosen path and turned towards the light that guides them. It is in this, as much as anything we do, that we see the true beauty of the gatherings.
It was a warm and happy group that sat down to that final lunch at the Bull, but all too soon it was time to depart. Here too there is something curious, because the bonds of friendship are freely given and although there may be regret that there is not more time and few of know when we will next meet, there is an ease about such moments; as if our accustomed normality has paused for a while and we return to it enriched by our sojourn in a different world… a world that will take up its conversations as if we had never left should we return to it.
Soon, only Stuart and I were left. It is a curious feeling when you have organised one of these gatherings and the companions have dispersed. We needed grounding and so, there was only one thing we could do… We drove back to Curbar, bought ourselves a well-earned ice-cream and went to lay down in the last of the heather.
We would particularly like to thank author Helen Jones, who joined us for the weekend, for sharing her own account of our adventures. It is one thing for us to tell the story, but quite another to be able to share such a comprehensive and beautiful account written by someone who had come along to her first weekend workshop with us. We hope it won’t be her last. You can read Helen’s account on her blog: Please click here for parts one, two, three, four, five , six and seven.