Weekend Workshop at The Abbey Sutton Courtenay

Saturday the 19th and Sunday 20th of September 2015

  The Kabbalah

   Awakening to Unity

  with Stephen Pope

 “At your core is your spiritual Being. It is accessible to you now. This is the essence of Kabbalah.”

Kabbalah teaches that the spiritual dimension is not distant or separate. It is present within us right now, as the core of our being and the Essence of who we really are. Only our mind-made sense of separation and fear keep us from awakening to the direct experience of Unity and Peace with all life.

Patterns of Creation - book coverLike the mystics and shamans of every culture, as we awaken spiritually, we make the mystical, journeys of ascent into the formless heavenly realities, and descent into the life of the body and the natural world and know them both as aspects of the One Creation.

This weekend we will work with some of the most powerful gateways to spiritual awakening – expanding awareness through meditation and the conscious breath, awakening the vital energy of the body and connecting with the animal spirits and the living Earth.

From this comes true freedom, as we transcend the mind dominated by ego to know our Unity with all life and realize the Peace and Stillness of Sacred Presence at our core.

A practicing mystic in the Kabbalistic tradition for over thirty years and a meditation teacher for the past 20 years, Steve Pope has a B.D and MA in Theology and translates Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts. His book Patterns of Creation –Axis Mundi Books, June 2012. Is a radical and acclaimed exploration of the mystical teachings in the Gospel of John.

 10.00am Saturday – 4.00pm Sunday, including evening session on Saturday                           

Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals   £165
You can join us for this companion Friday evening session as well  at a special price with two nights accommodation   £190

The Heart of the Wild

 7 – 9pm on Friday 18th September
with Eleanor O’Hanlon and Stephen Pope 

eyesofwildplusaward small

The mystical and shamanic traditions teach that all life is conscious, interconnected and whole and we humans can commune with the spirits of minerals, plants, animals and the Earth itself. Western science and religious dogma broke that connection between humans and other life.

But now western science and shamanic teachings have begun to meet – many leading researchers in animal behaviour have come to see animals as conscious individuals that can choose to interact and commune with us.

Award-winning author Eleanor O’Hanlon speaks about this recent revolution and shares her own experiences of intimate connection with wild creatures from the desert elephants and rhinos of Namibia to the gray whales in Baja California. And with guided meditation, Stephen Pope takes us deeper into direct experience of inner connection with the animal spirits and the living Earth.

Eleanor O’Hanlon is a writer and conservationist. Her book Eyes of the Wild won the 2014 Nautilus Gold Award for Nature Writing. http:www.eyesofthewild.org

  £12 suggested donation for the Friday evening only 

All bookings through The Abbey Sutton Courtenay:

 The Abbey Sutton Courtenay, Oxon OX14 4AF 
Telephone: 01235 847 401 
Email: admin@theabbey.uk.com  

The Birth of Spiritual Consciousness

  Spiritual Consciousness begins as a seed within the heart of every Woman and Man.2014-10-11 23.38.18

This is the Birth of  creative potentiality within, which takes place when you become Conscious of Being Conscious. This is  spiritual awakening. It means you are no longer identified with your thoughts. The mind is silenced and you are aware of the spacious stillness within.

The seed of spiritual awakening is carried on the Conscious Breath.

The Seed of Life

The Seed of Life – the six directions of Space.

The seed of consciousness comes from the depths of who you really are. It exists as creative potential wihtin you now. For it to blossom, open, grow and bear fruit, you need to give it conscious space.

As you read this now, feel the space within you. Feel the aliveness of the energy field that continually manifests your body.

Feel the aliveness of the breath entering the body, entering every cell in your body.

The birth of Cosmic Consciousness is not someting abstract. The beginning is here, within you, now. You know, without thinking, that everything is alive; inner and outer are connected, continually emerging out of the formless, timeless One.

The Seed of Consciousness becomes a Great Tree. 

2014-10-14 05.06.46

Life is a Cosmic Event and the Cosmos is the visible surface of muti-dimensional space in which creation continually occurs. Life on Earth is inseparable from the creativity of the Cosmos.

Evolution is the continual creative change in the single multidimensional being we call the Earth.  Our planet is evolving along with the Solar System, which is the fruit of the Tree of Cosmic Consciousness: The Tree of Life. 


Artistic representation of the Geometric Tree of Life – from the Madīnat az-Zahrā, Cordoba, Spain. 10th Century.

You are a Tree of Life.

The Tree of Life – depicted by the illuminated Minorah – symbolising the energy centres within you that give life to your mind and body.


You are the light of consciousness.

The light that animates spirit, that illuminates soul, that breathes every form you inhabit, into existence.

Spiritual consciousness is already here, within you now.


The sacred geometric pattern that forms the Tree of Life:  Sephardi synagogue, Cordoba, Spain.

 As awareness of the formless I of Being increases, the illusory i of the ego diminishes: You realise your connection with every living thing, on the Earth, in the Solar system and ultimately, the multi-dimensional Universe.

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life gives birth to multiple flowers of Life – you are a Tree in human form. (Tree of Life diagram, from my book Patterns of Creation.)

The Flower of Life

The Seed of Life becomes the Flower of Life: I Am that I Am: the continual creation of life from out of the Eternal Presence of God: When we breathe with awareness we access the universal creative pattern of life.

The Flower of Life:
Creation continually emerges from out of  Eternal Presence: When we breathe with awareness we access the universal creative pattern of life.

The Flower of Life is the fulfilment of the Universal potential in you, which grows out of the death of the ego.

This brings to an end to the illusion that you are a separate self within a vast, empty universe.

The universe is alive with splendour, full of potential and intimately here, now, breathing through you, bringing you to birth on every breath.

A Mystical interpretation of Noah’s Ark

The story of Noah’s Ark is taught to us as children. For a child it has a magical quality: a simple fairytale of a good man who is told by God to build a boat in which to save himself and his family, taking two of every kind of creature within this vessel so that life may by saved from a great flood that will sweep away all the corruption that is taking place within humanity.

Noah's Ark, oil on canvas painting by Edward Hicks, 1846 Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Hebrew in which the story is written is difficult to translate word for word into any other language. The early translators could not understand the Hebrew text and so many of the Hebrew words were mis-interpreted and reduced in meaning to fit this fairytale version.

The story of Noah and the Ark is really a profound meditation which depicts what happens when a human consciously chooses to spiritually awaken. This means that you become aware of your connection with life in all its forms, and aware of the spaciousness of living as Human-Being.

To feel this as a reality begin by taking a conscious breath:
continue to breathe consciously as you read.

Noah represents your awakening to the essence of your humanity as Being: Presence. 

In Genesis 6:14 Noah is able to commune with God because she or he lives in an awakened state of consciousness. 

The text does not depict God talking to a man in a subject-object relationship. What takes place through the building of the Ark is your inner realisation of Presence. This is placed in the context of the lack of Presence in the unconscious mind.

The Hebrew words for God alternate between Jahweh – To Be-Being, and Elohim – Absolute life. And the name Noah (Noach in Hebrew) means “to rest” and “resting place,” that is, to be still, lucid, and attentive.

In the text the teaching of this inner realisation is put into a story form. So, Noach, your inner stillness, Presence beyond the mind, beyond subject – object relationship, realises this:

“Make for yourself an Ark ( a sacred space – a vessel) from a Tree of flowing rhythmic patterns.

And you shall make within it nesting places, and atone, (reconcile), within this your dwelling place, and in your outward words and actions.” (My translation)

The Hebrew word Kaphar, translated as atone and reconcile, also means that we forgive, and pardon, and through forgiveness, cleanse ourselves of all conflict, all unconscious thought forms that cause violence and unrest in the mind.

The word for Ark is Tebah, in Hebrew. This is the very same word that is used for the basket in which Moses was placed on the river in Egypt. It denotes an awakening from identification with the waters of psychological forms. This means – to awaken beyond the unconscious mind, where you are identified with your thoughts and emotions. Symbolically, the Soul is saved from drowning in the unconscious mind. 

As you breathe with all your attention in the present moment
feel the aliveness of the energy-field within the body;
feel the spaciousness within you.
You are rooted in the eternal present as I Am - Being: out of which everything is created, formed and made into the life of the Cosmos.

You are rooted in the eternal present as I Am – Being: out of which everything is created, formed and made into the life of the Cosmos.

In the text, the Ark is a vessel made from a Tree of Gopher.

The word for Tree in Hebrew (Etz), is also used to mean building blocks – structured energy – and the spinal cord – the axis of the human frame, centre of the six directions of Space.

Gopher is not a Hebrew word in the conventional sense. It has no known meaning and it can only be understood through taking its three letters as individual ciphers.

These ciphers give us: a conduit of flowing energy; patterns and rhythms arranged in order; and cosmic container – the consciously awakened dwelling place of all life.


The Tree of Gopher – the consciously realised dwelling place of all life – begins as a seed within you.

Within this Ark, are nesting places: these are literally “places of comfort,” where you can “nurture” and “commune” with life – life in all its forms.

Triple circles tree 1

Noach – your own Lucid Presence – consciously brings the Ark to life. Etz Gopher; a living Tree,  a flowing sea of patterns and rhythms as the consciously realised dwelling place of all life. 

Within you is the Ark which Noach consciously builds up. This comes from the essence of who you are.

The dimensions of the Ark are given as 300, by 50, by 30 cubits. In Hebrew each letter is also a number.

Shin – 300 is the primal fire – light of creative life; the power of the breath – spirit of Absolute Life.

Nun – 50 is the generating power of new life through offspring in expansive movement.

Lamed – 30 is that which unfolds and extends and elevates life to its fullest expression.

Breathing consciously increases your awareness of the creative spaciousness that exists within you, here, now.
The Seed of Life becomes the Flower of Life: I Am that I Am: the continual creation of life from out of the Eternal Presence of God: When we breathe with awareness we access the universal creative pattern of life.

The Seed of Life becomes the Flower of Life, the blossom on the Tree.

Within the nesting places of this Tree of Life are all the creatures that we co-habit existence with.

We realise that we exist within a community of souls, that all forms of life are sacred.

Baja California: St Ignacio Lagoon

Nothing is separate: that which we do to life, we do to ourselves.

Our current unconscious state is run by the ego: we see ourselves as a separate entitity in the universe and on Earth and everything before us as a mere commodity, which we can take for ourselves, or wantonly destroy. In the story of Noach, the great flood is the new consciousness which sweeps all this unconscious behaviour away.

We can consciously choose to co-create with life in all its forms.

IMG_2175To enter the Ark with all creation is to awken spiritually and know our fellow creatures as aspects of the One Consciousness. Then all that we do as we emerge from the Ark is in harmony with the creative abundance of life.

We are now confronted with a stark choice. We can remain as we are, and continue our life-negating, destructive behaviour, which is a form of suicide. Or we can consciously choose to enter the Ark and Be at one with the flow of creative life. Then we emerge onto a new Earth, which is at-one with the spiritual Universe – as in the story.

The Light of Consciousness.

The Light of Consciousness.

As Noach, who builds and enters the Ark, you are choosing to spiritually awaken – building a receptive vessel that consciously nurtures life.

This requires your conscious presence. When you are consciously present, your life and your work are in harmony with the rest of life.

By taking moments to breathe consciously throughout your day, you are freeing yourself from the egocentric, unconscious, time-bound mind. This is the work of building the Ark. 

In the work of building the Ark you are making space for all the creatures of the Earth within your own field of consciousness.

This allows universal creativity to flow through you. You are one with the landscape, and all it contains, and at-one with the formless creative space in which the landscape continually unfolds.