St John the Evangelist
“We’ll need books!”
“What do you mean?”
“All good schools have a range of associated texts which their students can use as background reading.”
“That’s true, do we have any?”
“We may have a few…”
And so began what can only be described as a frantic scramble to put together and publish a catalogue of books with subject matter related to our new school.
We did well, and continue to do so, with upwards of twenty books now published under the Silent Eye imprint.
In the seven years of the school’s existence, this may be regarded as remarkable and probably has something to do with the fact that what we have to say needs to be heard, and also acted upon!
There was though, a downside to this headlong dash into print. We were new to publishing and had a lot to learn. Some of our earliest efforts now look less professional than our later ones.
This is inevitable.
In the case of ‘The Living One’, which intertwines a road-trip through the Australian outback with sayings from a now-infamous Gnostic text, I also felt that we got the balance slightly wrong with the emphasis very much on the ‘sacred’ rather than the ‘profane’ when the two should have been equally balanced. The primary motivators of this imbalance were the illustrations which we culled from our ‘church tapping’ exploits and which presented an orthodox view of the ‘Christian story’.
This is not the story contained in the book.
The above illustration is possibly the only one used in the first edition that I have an affinity with and this image, when it’s symbolism is correctly understood, represents a view which is far from orthodox…
The illustrations have now gone and the story is book-ended with two ‘Aboriginal Australian’ myths which more poignantly set the scene and present the problems our culture and theirs are facing.
The book’s new cover, crafted by ‘my co-conspirator in grace’, Sue Vincent, adroitly addresses all of these concerns.
At the time of writing, my thoughts are with those who struggle to survive on that ancient landmass.
Extract from The Living One: Caravan to Cairns –
Approaching the amusement park from a great height,
its rides converge into angles.
An unscalable wall smooths the park’s perimeter,
and an old bus swings, unstable, around a wide bend in the road
which winds past a field in summertime.
Somewhere, a man baits a bear through market-day crowds,
the beast’s roar frightens the by-standers,
who laugh and drop coins at the man’s feet.
An alleyway runs overhead.
Its walls contain glass doors like windows in a small gym.
The limbs of the exercise equipment squeal,
clank and groan, like mechanical muscles.
I find a small friend swallowing toads.
He offers them as alms to the beggars in the street.
Their mouths are shut-tight but their eyes are open-wide,
and gleam as black as the empty bowls which they clutch
… and shake, feverishly.
In the scrap-yard built on the side of a hill,
the wire-gates are rusting open…
two tall, thin, pale-men
whose enormous eyes shine brightly, move together, unconsciously.
Watching their faces change with the motion of the clouds,
the sky turns, a cold, fresh sun rises under a frown,
and green trees dance in the distance.
“Show me the place where you are,”
said Judas Thomas, “for I must seek that place.”
Joshua said, “Your teachers have taken the keys of knowledge
and have hidden them. They have not entered the kingdom,
nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so.
You examine the face of heaven and earth
without recognising the one who is in your presence,
for you do not know how to examine the moment.
Know what is in front of your face,
and what is hidden from you will be disclosed,
for there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed,
and there is nothing covered that will remain undisclosed.
The one who knows all but lacks the self is utterly lacking.
What you look for has come but you do not know it.”
THE LIVING ONE
Caravan to Cairns
Two young men, a road trip across the Australian Outback, strange encounters in isolated settlements… and a book that will change one of them forever.
From the harsh heat of the dusty road to the cool of the Temple, two stories… one immediate, one timeless… intertwine to illuminate each other.
Many scholars believe that the Gospel of Thomas preserves a glimpse into the oral tradition of the Essenes. The book is a collection of sayings, parables and dialogues attributed to Jesus. In this unique interpretation author and essayist, Stuart France brings the oral tradition to life, retelling the Gospel in his own words, in the way it may have been told around the hearth-fires of our fore-fathers.
Accompanied by in-depth comments which draw upon the Mystery School Tradition, The Living One provides a new window on an age-old story.
“… fascinating and unique …” Amazon review