I laugh when you call in the light
For you don’t know what you’re asking
You wanted warm and fuzzy
Instead you got a huntress on a horse
Chasing you down, a white-hot beam
Shining right on your most painful places
A hand grenade that is about to
Go off in your gut, and an excavation
Into all you had forgotten and never
Wanted to see again

Oh fool, did no one warn you
This light you long for would first
Dredge the darkness curled up
In an aching corner of your soul
And sear you so badly that only
The bravest of you would come 
Through its flame of fiery scrutiny
With the nobility that is your birthright?

© simon heathcote


Mortal – a poem




This portal you see in me


Is in fact a gateway to You


I wonder, when two people


Are caught in Neptune’s


Watery glare, under Aphrodite’s


Spell, within reach of Eros, her son’s


Aim, what chance they have to


Recall they are also mortal


And bound by law and code?


For in our flight into the heavens


Held captive by those gods


Who long for us and envy our


Exquisite, ecstatic possibility,


We so easily forget we need


Saturn’s earthy limitations


And are held in this dimension


For reasons profound, mysterious


Mundane, and mortal


I love taking flight yet find peace


And fulfilment when I can


Straddle both Heaven and Earth


While accepting the cross I chose


In a pastness lost to time




© simon heathcote











Tao Days – a poem

Be done with becoming 
And rest in being
Cease betterment and
Ideas of healing
Relinquish struggle

Relegate the mind
To its own recesses
And step, joyously
From its prison on to
The Floor of all possibility

Only this one action
Does not come from you
Instead, it opens like a flower
And is both fruit and finality 
Of all other possibilities


For Jessica

Let me walk back to you

Down the years of your life

Erasing your hurt, carefully, tenderly

Every nuance and hint heard

Robbing you of all dismissals

Taking back my failures

So you slowly turn back toward life,

The life that you are, the girl that you were

Let me pass through the pain and pour honey

Into the recesses of your heart

If I could do it all again, I would never leave your side

I wonder if you heard my silent night-time words

In those years away from you my child,

In my lonely bed at night, calling you

Trying to hold on, to walk the tightrope

That lay, taut, over the crevasse of our life

We were cast in this play by unremembered ghosts

And the Fates who spun our lots

Yet the events that fell upon us only appear to distort

Our love, each to each

For I am your father and I live in you and love you

Soul to closest soul

 Let me walk back to you



See me, see me now

‘Each man’s soul demands that he be, and that he live, every great archetypal role in the collective unconscious: the betrayer and the betrayed, the lover and the beloved, the oppressor and the victim, the noble and the ignoble, the conqueror and the conquered, the warrior and the priest, the man of sorrows and the self reborn.’ Robert A Johnson

I like this fraudulent arc that runs through my soul with its cast of characters that appear to evolve and devolve life after life. They are projections on a screen in a brightly lit cinema that makes these days happenings of glorious wonder; the blue vein under the skin of my life.

And yet there is only light, and when I see only your shadow I know I have work to do, mining my interior for the cruelty, calamity and chaos that crawls through time, casting clouds of doubt between us.

I am reminded that when I stray into unbelief in your essential goodness to look again through the eye of my troubled heart and cleanse the lens that has obscured my view. Perhaps then I can see both you and I, once more with a timeless eye that looks beneath, beyond and behind both shadow and dust.

It seems to me now, that beauty and the beast are one, one without the other, and each needs something the other has to circle back and complete itself. Can I, will I, see the love hiding in your pain? Will you see mine?

I can only hope and have faith in your vision and keen eye, and a heart whose purity is still traceable despite the rude interruptions of your biography. Will you do the same for me? For we have spent lifetimes together and apart and something in us needs the other.

See me, see me now.





To become human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.’ David Whyte

The woman before me is 64, awash with grief, holding on to a husband she has wanted to leave for 30 years. She stayed for her son, laid herself upon the altar of his becoming and watched him disappear down the tunnel of the life she had hoped for him.

She sits revving up courage like a teenager on her first motorbike and, of course, she keeps stalling. First gear seems a canyon away, and she draws back, tears welling, down the years that disappeared, scarcely daring to look as if even in looking she will fall into the dead dark void that should have been her life.

Shame and years of persecution stop her seeing the depth of her love, her kindness, her loyalty and I realise that platitudes about loving herself, putting herself first now the boy is a man, grown and gone, would infer her sacrifice meaningless when, in this life, it was her one true offering.

Sometimes, when a person has been deeply wounded, encouraging initiatory leaps is both dishonouring and dangerous. At others, it is what a person needs the most, and occasionally, it is just hard to know. But the hidden dilemma for every person, it seems, is the same: what I both long for and fear most is the dissolution of ‘me’.

Synthesis cannot happen without conflict. What is true in a relationship or a culture is equally true for the individual. Struggle and stuckness are always the prelude to new life, even a leap to the next level of consciousness. And so when she came for a second visit and told me she had found a friend to stay with, I smiled, knowing she was on her way.

We all come at initiation differently. My own tendency has been to build up a head of steam and leap into the flames. It seems I got burned so badly so young this has just been the way I do it. For some of us, the longing for union, to be fully who we are, is a primordial force that will lay waste to all barriers:

‘I lost my world, my fame, my mind. The Sun appeared and all the shadows ran. I ran after them, but vanished as I ran. Light ran after me and hunted me down.’ Rumi

Pragmatism also plays its part. Once you know the light is hunting you, once you know your dissolution is inevitable, once you click the joy you seek has eluded you in the world precisely because it only lives in one place (and then you discover it lives in every place), then why not rush to meet it like the long-lost lover it is?

Like all of us at the outset, my American friend had no living mystical experience to call her forward. The Fool stands at the edge of his longing, naïve, not knowing the road, but willing to face what is unknown, unseen and, until this point, asleep in the soul. He has answered the call.

However we do it, the call is always to embrace the unity of selves, unify the masculine and feminine aspects of the psyche at the throne of consciousness, having raised more and more of the unconscious above ground until the wholeness of the Self reflects our God-like nature. Once joy is known within what more need is there to look without?

As I realised in the worst dark night of my life only recently, it is our very emergence from the Self in the first place that caused all the misery there is! As it says in A Course In Miracles, we chose the one tiny mad idea of separation and uncovered universes of unwanted consequences. Our fall is the spiritual equivalent of not wearing a condom!

The soul, however, has other plans, different to the ones we make, painfully pulling us back into line and purpose. My tearful friend didn’t know any of this, but she was being called out into a new life:

‘The human being has to be born twice, once from his or her mother, and then out of his or her own body and of his own existence. This body is like an egg, the essence of man must become in this egg a bird, thanks to the heat of love. And then he will escape this body, into the eternal world of the soul, beyond space.’

That was Rumi’s son, who had either undergone the experience himself or had seen his father’s utter devastation amid the birth pains that would release a poetry of incomparable fragrance into the world. Attar, another Sufi mystic, said there are only three roads on the path to Love: tears, blood, and fire.

It is little wonder that we resist, dancing back and forth over our decision to step out, envisaging nightmares of ruin: financial, relational, emotional. But when all is said and done, when all steps danced, Samsara is destined and designed to break you. But it’s the you that can never be found, the you that does not exist, the one that lives in the mind and is as changeable as a winter wind.

Once upon a time, transformative rituals were planned and purposeful. For most of us now, they are sudden and incomprehensible. There is no tribe or community to hold most of us, no understanding of the sacredness of person making, yet the soul will have its way with us, ready or not.

I understood my friend’s dilemma. I had lived it and although impelled by trauma rather than choice, I knew the value of being a fool and stepping into the unknown. The disasters of life are the genius of the unconscious. They invoke longing and longing carries us home.

If we refuse to take the journey, if we refuse to face our brokenness or allow ourselves to be broken up so the butterfly of consciousness can be freed, it is perilous to think we will get away with it for we never do.

Life always exacts a tribute and the stakes can be high, fatal even. I once had to tell a client that if we keep circling the same issue refusing to budge, on occasion the soul just gives up and leaves the body. His transformation was fairly rapid there on in!

Yet initially the tribute demanded is more mundane: inertia turning to depression, obsession turning towards addiction, lethargy, hopelessness. What we think of now as standard human fare, and we put up with it. Yes, if we are obsessed with anything, that is life exacting a tribute and telling us we need to look closely within.

Disease and illness then enters the picture. Those who are really walled off at the core, those people who are so fragile and defended they have become personality disordered, will most likely not make the required leap further into life, into their essence, as they are too busy defending against it.

Penetration of the shell around the heart is what is needed and sadly, for some, such a thing seems impossible.

What is required is a true sense of sovereignty, a knowing in the soul and by the soul that you are worth it; not only worth it but both royal and noble, knowing with certainty that a secret self lies hidden in the heart. As the great mythologist Michael Meade says, ‘The people who are destined to become royal are at first hidden or abandoned.’

The divine awakens our heart with the memory of union (our royalty). We then, must make this conscious, embody it, and take it to others struggling in the chrysalis of their lives with the story of our own battle and victory over the forces that wish to keep us small, ignoble and forever impoverished at heart.

We are all pilgrims in this life and I look forward to walking the road to Santiago de Compostella with my daughter in May, for there is always more, and some days I am not yet home.





We cannot avoid divine messengers. They fly in like that trickster Hermes across the landscape of the soul heralding the next chapter or cycle of life.

If we are wise, we will pay attention or at least climb aboard the lens of hindsight in our quest for a soul-centric life – one that with both eye and ear for initiation seeks to take our life not further into the world but deeper into the Self. What Rumi called ‘the root of the root of your own self’.

I didn’t know it at the time, but a divine messenger came to me on my 18th birthday. Her name was Sian, and she was sitting A-levels with me. She was quiet, slight and ephemeral; I did not know her well. We didn’t mix in the same crowd. Whereas I was wild and untamed, already a drinker and fighter of some repute, she exuded a subtle soulfulness. We had never really noticed each other, or so I thought.

She stopped me in the corridor and gave me a present, a copy of John Fowles’ book The Magus. It was a pivotal moment in my life and started me on a journey back to the no-thingness I longed for. But her greater gift was in seeing me. I mean really seeing me, the soul that resided beneath all the hurt and pain I carried.

Within a year or so she had died from a rapacious cancer, which made our meeting all the more poignant, but not before she had delivered her gifts.

After I devoured what was a mesmerising novel about the de-thawing of the anti-hero’s shutdown soul into a real humanness, I returned to the quotation from Little Gidding by TS Eliot that started it:

‘We shall never cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ‘ We come from oneness, are born into twoness, and return to oneness at death or, if we are very blessed before, if the divine wills it.

Of course, our own dissolution both stalks and terrifies us. It is coming for us and cannot be escaped – a shadowy grim reaper opening a door filled with light. And yet we hold on to what we know, a small character trying to be big in the endless drama of the soul played out on a stage filled with what indigenous people call the ten thousand things.

Yesterday, discussing these things with a friend, it occurred to me I had started a website supporting the soul’s descent because as a natural underdog and outsider, I like to champion those at the fag end of things.

And it seems that soul currently languishes as spirit’s poor cousin at a time when those who have no roots into their unconscious, no true wholeness, want only love and light and banish the blackness that soils all of us further into the dingy recess where they have it tightly locked up.

As Carl Jung said, it is not in the shadow but in the denial of the shadow that evil finds fertile ground. It seems then that we have to embrace our twoness if we want it to morph into oneness, to love it rather than hate it, to declare it rather than to defame it.

In emptying ourself of ourself we have to face what we don’t want to look at, the taboos, the disavowed and disallowed. The hateful, violent, rageful Medusa within. That means facing some pain knowing we have divine backing.

The Sufi mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee put it this way: ‘The divine awakens our heart with the memory of union and our job is to make this conscious.’ He goes on to point out the emptiness we fear, the nothingness that will consume us, loves us with an intimacy, tenderness and mercy beyond imaginings.

When the mind bows to the heart and takes its proper place as a bridge between the conscious and unconscious life, the veils that obscure our experience of oneness are lifted. For those of us who are not gifted with sudden and permanent spiritual awakenings, such an experience is, as Alcoholics Anonymous says, of the ‘educational variety’.

The story of Majnun and Layla in the Sufi tradition illustrates why: when Majnun saw his beloved Layla and caught a glimpse of her ankle he passed out. See, said God, if that makes you faint, don’t come running to me! Walk and you may just have a chance of surviving.

Don’t we need both soul and spirit, masculine and feminine, up and down? And don’t we need to slowly cook and synthesize the pairings as the animals aboard Noah’s Ark had to give birth to the world?

We can see this merger of the human and divine everywhere. Sometimes it goes wrong. The giant Nephilim, said to be the result of the lovemaking of fallen angels and humans may be a case in point. In the story of Eros and Psyche, the youthful god, son of a jealous Aphrodite, is sent to kill the mortal but – as is his wont – seeks instead to merge.

Although we relate solely to this asteroid’s erotic longings, he represents the life force that drives us all, and seeks to penetrate and impregnate us, getting past our defences so we can experience the bliss of the conjoining of our divine and human selves. He sits up in the heavens, in our astrological charts, waiting for the opportunity that so often brings devastation.

Psyche, the adored mortal, lost him by disobeying a divine directive, and had to go through many trials set by the envious Aphrodite before she could win him back. This is our own story, the story of the soul, and the story of our journey to merge with the one we love.

Those we love the most, are bound to trigger our most labyrinthine defences and so often we separate without working for the rewards of healing and togetherness.

We are also a bridge in this generation; a bridge between divine and human realms. We wrestle and struggle, oscillating between oneness and twoness and this is as it should be. In years to come, those who come after will have a different experience no doubt. But we are the transition team. It is both our burden and our blessing to be so.

Perhaps it is time to stop being ashamed of our humanness, our ‘mistakes’, our rage and pain, and realise we are brave pioneers, going where no man or woman has gone before.

As Pema Chodron, the Buddhist nun says, it is human to prefer Samsara or Nirvana, but there is something about embracing both to realise they are in fact one.

Someone else whose work I admire reminds me that liberation is not liberation without acceptance of that which appears to be non-liberation.

Amen to that.





‘The world is too much with us; late and soon,

Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:

Little we see in Nature that is ours;

We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!’

William Wordsworth


A friend recently told me of her dealings with a major publisher of self-help books. Originally with the group’s self-publishing arm, she received the exciting news they thought her book important enough to become one of their main titles.

There was the verbal carrot of a movie, a makeover, worldwide talks and the remoulding of her as a brand. It was a marketing man’s dream, and a human being’s nightmare. Not a human doing perhaps, which most of us seem to have become, but a human being.

She felt nauseous, tense, bullied and invaded by the agent at the end of the phone. Fortunately, a gifted and psychic person she saw into the future. It felt, she said, materially rich but numb. Wise and unusual, she was smart enough to see the devil’s bargain and refuse it.

Such a move is unthinkable to the modern mind, for the mind is seduced by the world and falls further into it, and rashly blinds itself to the price of success. The truth is the more we are tempted to do, the more we submit to the world’s demands to be someone, the more likely it is we will keep moving away from what we truly want.

For is it not the need to give and receive love, to live in that river of loving the great mystic poets talked of, that is the hidden and underlying motivation and desire of us all? And yet so often we take the long road home, spending lifetimes lost down worldly cul-de-sacs, drawn into the illusion again and again in our confusion.

And just like my friend’s offer it seemed sensible, desirable and plausible. It is always that way when the devil’s on your back. Her body, however, was informing her of the truth, that this was not her way; hers was the road less travelled. If her book sells, it will happen because the divine wills it, and it will feel right.

Luckily, I have always had a similar bodily response to the world’s enticements. There is just an inbuilt awareness that in this life there is another way. Recent events affirmed that for me after it was suggested in the summer I join a group and a project to help me promote my work.

I had misgivings but thought I would give it a go. It has been an interesting, beneficial experience – although not for any business gained as there is none, but for the experience of again seeing what happens to good human beings who get caught up in the world.

And, as you can see, on this page and others, I started down that road. Yet I witnessed people I care about overworked, stressed, angry, lapsing into dishonesty and justification, my own reactive anger and then acceptance and compassion. I was reminded of one of my favourite pieces on the addictive personality:

‘What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?’

I saw this acted out in front of me and am aware enough of such self-centredness in myself also to circumvent thoughts of retaliation. It is simply not the way. What I was being shown was that my own path does not lie in the world and that any ‘success’ I may or may not have comes only through keeping my motives pure.

Yesterday, as things would have it, I received the monthly newsletter from my spiritual teachers. It came in the middle of the time I had given myself to ponder my experience of marketing and those involved, during a bout of ill health. It confirmed what I already knew:

‘The Lord of this creation wants us to believe that it’s by our blood, sweat and tears that we will make our way through this world. That’s the world. God says, ‘I’m Loving. You’re Loving. Be Loving.

‘If you are listening to the world, you will answer the world’s call of working hard, of believing that it is supposed to be hard and difficult, but if you’re listening to God, it’s enjoy, learn, experience, have fun, create, love – it’s just a very different approach.

‘So, if you have the other pushing on you, look at that and say, ‘I’m going to let go of that. I’m not going to do the way of the world anymore.’

The divine is radical. We forget that. The devil’s bargain on the other hand, despite, or perhaps because of, the temptations, leaves people tired, dull and numb. I saw it in my colleagues who are no better or worse than I and who were caught, as many are now, in straddling two worlds.

We see it everywhere on Facebook and I have been caught in the same confusion myself: spiritual beings dealing in the world, using the world’s ways to sell something nobler. But is it really possible? Perhaps it is, and yet I wonder what happens to those spiritual teachers in the deepest sense who become products.

Our suffering is so unconscious we accept it is the price we have to pay. And we remain oblivious to the devil and his bargain, not aware of how we have been duped. Even the tiredness, irritability, anger etc does not alert us to the fact something is wrong – we are just so used to it.

In these sophisticated times we tend to dismiss talk of the devil and Satan as the province of fundamentalists. That’s a dangerous misunderstanding and indeed part of the plan that seduces us.

If you watch the redoubtable Bill Hicks on YouTube talking about marketing, the point is made with a satirist’s savage humour: ‘By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing…kill yourself….There’s no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan’s little helpers.’

Robert A Johnson, one of the great Jungians, brings Satan into his argument about the dangers of dealing with the world in his tale of a hard-working miller who is told by the devil: ‘For a fee (every satanic offer begins in this way) I will show you how to grind your grain with much less effort and much faster.’

The miller, intrigued of course as we all are, agrees to a bargain, in his eagerness not noticing the price he will later pay. But the price, it turns out, are the hands of his daughter, which the devil chops off and carries away.

What is shown here is how the feminine, the tender feeling part of ourselves, is violated by the mechanical masculine drive to success and how modern people make this deadly bargain all the time.

‘It is so deeply ingrained in our mentality,’ says Johnson, ‘that we fail to see it is a devil’s bargain in its modern form. This delusion is so common in our modern mentality that grocery shops are full of its language: two for the price of one, or a second one for only one cent, or one third more for the same price, or this is marked down from $7.99 to $4.99.’

As he says, this is not necessarily dangerous in the market place and we see it everywhere now, not least in the sort of internet marketing that I and others embarked upon. Yet, however unpalatable it is to think of ourselves in this way, Bill Hicks is right. Marketing is manipulation.

As Johnson says, the real danger comes when we trade an inner feeling, our honesty or integrity, for example, for an outer advantage. That is the devil’s bargain: we give away our true self, our values for something in the world.

It is particularly dangerous for those selling spirituality because it is more easily hidden and justified. We are all encouraged to give away free products, work on that sales funnel and so on, for the great god success. It can be hard to see the truth in such circumstances, which is why, like my friend at the beginning of this piece, I choose to listen to my feelings and how I see this mentality affecting those around me.

I recently saw this quote from The Dalai Lama:

The planet does not need more ‘successful’ people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds. It needs people to live well in their places. It needs people with moral courage willing to join the struggle to make the world habitable and humane and these qualities have little to do with ‘success’ as our culture is set.

Those of us who find ourselves wrestling with how best to get our message out there need to consider the issues carefully and be aware of the risks of losing both hands and hearts in the process.

For there is nothing particularly spiritual about that.










 ‘The heavens cannot contain me, or the void, or winged exalted intelligences and souls: Yet, I am contained, as a guest, in the heart of the true believer.’

When, as a boy, Rumi was forced to flee his homeland, Afghanistan, soon to be ruthlessly ransacked by Genghis Khan’s mongol hordes, he went with his father on a pilgrimage to Mecca, stopping en route at Nishapur.  It was here that he met another great Sufi poet, Attar, author of The Conference of the Birds.

The boy never forgot his meeting with the master, who predicted ‘this boy will open a gate in the heart of Love’. Continued…



Global Teleseminar with relationship experts hosted by Angelique Tsang

When a relationship summit has a title like ‘Let Love Come To You’ I know it is on the right track and I am delighted to have been invited as a guest speaker.

Let Love Come to You relationship telesummit

For love is not something we order, not another commodity to be bought and sold in the market place, not something we can get something out of – though many of us have tried.   Continued…



‘Those tender words we said to one another are stored in the secret heart of heaven. One day, like the rain, they will fall and spread, and their mystery will grow green over the world.’ Rumi

The mystery that lies within the hidden heart of the human being, and is also the secret heart of heaven, takes us right to the core of creation and the dark wholeness that births what indigenous cultures call the ten thousand things.

‘In the whole of the universe there are only two, the lover and the Beloved.’ And for some, for the mystics of the world, the divine is not father nor mother, but the sweetest, most ecstatic lover that seizes our heart in the most passionate affair of our life. Continued…



‘How long will we fill our pockets like children with dirt and stones. Let the world go. Holding it, we never know ourselves, never are airborne.’ Rumi

There is a wild, sweet fierceness, both tough and tender that whispers awake a burning in the heart that will one day flame out and tear away the veil that parts us from who we truly are..

We are here for one thing, one thing alone, but distracted by so many others – what the Toltecs called the mitote in the mind – that whisper is lost in what the late poet John O’Donohue called ‘neon culture’.

Rumi again: ‘There is one thing in the world that you must never forget. If you were to forget everything else and remember this, then you would have nothing at all to worry about; but if you were to remember everything else and forget this, you would have done nothing with your life.’ Continued…



Tina Turner, that gravel-voiced, Ike-battered, comeback kid said this: ‘I didn’t have anybody, no foundation in life…so I had to discover my mission in life.’

It’s a plain enough statement: without support she had to cut out on her own, uncover her path, focus hard to push through the neglect that birthed her talent. It speaks to the victimised child in us all, galvanising the hero to action.

Yet it also says something else, something other and reveals a truth that sprang straight from the author’s unconscious without either her awareness or her consent. If you listen to people carefully, with what I call an eye for initiation, often something quite different is going on.

If you ask the right questions more is revealed. Continued…



‘The human being has to be born twice, once from his or her mother, and then out of his or her own body and of his own existence. This body is like an egg, the essence of man must become in this egg a bird, thanks to the heat of love. And then he will escape this body, into the eternal world of the soul, beyond space.’
Sultan Walad

The tiny circumference of the world into which we are born is a gross assault on the grandness of the soul. Concepts, ideas and belief systems soon enclose us, blinding us to our vital essence, rendering us forgetful of our greater purpose. But the soul is bigger than you in the same way the baby is larger than the tunnel through which it is born. It is as if everything has to be squeezed into life, shrink-wrapped to take its place, a small egoic self suitable for the universe of time and space.

That works for a while, for many it works for a lifetime and beyond, but for all, finally, the soul, long forgotten and contained within the confines of family and culture, must emerge Continued…



‘What places us in the dark? Letting go of those illusions of the mind that keep us from seeing clearly – hope, motivation, interpretation. Always we avoid the dark by rushing on to the next imagined source of life, the next hope or ambition. Never do we settle down and stay quietly in the dark.’

Peter Kingsley

For how long do we gestate?

In these quickening times of speeding energies, a precedence of light flooding the planet, the clear polarisation of light and dark and global transformation, slowing down may seem like a grievous error. Everything seems to call us on board The Starlight Express. Much of humanity has its collective bag packed and is ready to depart the station for new colonies of endeavour.

But the wise man – or woman – is like the ripest of fruit, is pakka as they say in India. Ever mindful of the signs, he knows that the key to success is a ripening that allows him to fall from the tree of life only when he is in perfect readiness for his next initiatory move.

He knows he is not the mover nor the doer but merely and beautifully the embodiment of life’s aliveness. He lives and dies in complete alignment with divine timing and neither tries to separate himself from what is nor attempts to run the show. He has little interest in escaping pain or profiteering in the world.

He came into life to heal the pain he saw from afar, drawing exactly the right experiences into his body to make his contribution to the current collective healing. In all likelihood, painful episodes began early as the longheld patterns he carried within his psyche rose up for their final cleansing.

He also understands and holds the essential paradox in this Kali Yuga: the closer we are to the light, the closer we are to the dark, and knows the light is challenged and driven by forces both within and without. One augments the other in fact, in a duel that propels us all further into the light.

‘The childish individual wants someone to save him, the adolescent wants to fulfil himself absolutely and independently, the true man simply serves good company and surrenders to Truth, the Living God.’ (Adi Da)

This seedling waits with eternal patience its time of service. This knowledge is innate, pre-conscious and, of course, mindless. There is no mind to interfere with its sacred duty, no personal desire.

It does not engage in the drama of the search for oneness, now preoccupying most of us, because two-ness is anathema. In a person, it expresses itself warmly and openly and straight up; and in that way it can see and feel the kinks and perversities in the responses of others, those whose wounds remain out front. In that way, he acts as a perfect mirror for those who care to see.

Staying within the earth and in the dark, in the unmanifest, his presence as nothing upholds everything and those within his energy field are healed.

How do we become as little children once more and recover paradise?

We sink deep roots into the unconscious and always keep the bulk of us, quietly, patiently in the unmanifest, our true home.



‘If you attend to yourself and seek to come into your own presence, you will find exactly the right rhythm for your life.’

John O’Donohue

Simple words from a now deceased poet and priest. Attend to yourself…..attend to yourself. If you repeat them and listen you will no doubt slow down enough to catch a glimpse of your own beauty or, if not, the beginnings of a steady self worth.

Perhaps there is no greater art, no task more worthy of a dedicated and gentle pursuit, than attending to oneself and seeking to come into one’s own presence. Nothing we ever do is more important than this and, for many of us, nothing is more difficult. Many, grown on a hand-me-down diet of deprivation stare blankly when confronted with the injunction ‘love thyself’.

‘What does it mean? What can they mean? I don’t even know what they are talking about.’ These are common responses in a culture where material wealth often comes at the expense of emotional nurturance. How different in more ‘primitive’ societies where people attend to themselves, including their inner lives, as a matter of course.

O’Donohue again: ‘Inner friendship embraces nature, divinity, underworld and human world as one. For our sore and tormented separation, the possibility of this imaginative and unifying friendship is the Celtic gift’.

Inner friendship? How many in modern western culture have even heard of such a thing? To discover the cadences, rhythms and quirks of one’s own nature could no doubt be seen as self indulgent but so often such criticisms are merely a conditioned response and defence against spending time with one’s own scary but ultimately sublime interiority.

It is not that such critics might not buy a self-help book, but that such vessels are often co-opted by an ego intent on self-improvement and enforced change rather than the art of inner friendship. It is so easy to jump on that particular bandwagon and fail to see that you may be going to war on yourself once more in the guise of personal progress. The books themselves often sprout from the same fixed mindset.

What we are talking of here is something subtly but entirely different in both emphasis and attitude. It is the ability to take for oneself, to draw into oneself what one needs in the moment. It is indeed self love, a love that comes naturally to those who have been well nurtured as children but has to be discovered by the majority and can feel as alien as living under water.

A mother who has not been well loved herself will not be able to reach back into her own babyhood and childhood to empathise with her child. She may well spend a lot of time with her child, but most often will not be present, her mind wandering as she tries to avoid being pulled backwards into the dark pain of her own early past.

She will want to avoid the squawking baby inside her and will be pained by the reminder prompted by her own child. What she is confronted with is the screaming baby within that was not attended to adequately in a cycle of deprivation most likely going back generations.

This later morphs into addiction, narcissism and selfishness as well as possible hospitalisation and collapse. By giving too much to her own child because she thinks this is the right thing and does not know what else to do, she will feel resentful and inadequate as the child exhibits all the feelings she has repressed.

‘God, all the things I do for you and you repay me like this.’ How many of us have heard poor, desperate and misguided parents deplete themselves in their well-meaning but misguided attempts to love? How many of us have been or are such parents?

So often we have been conditioned to believe that taking for ourselves is wrong when quite the reverse is true: if we cannot take for ourselves we have nothing to give to others. This is when things fall apart.

A friend reminded me recently to remember to dialogue with myself, to talk to the child within, to soothe and nurture. I believe focusing on how we talk with ourselves is a critical component of self love – an art to be cultivated like growing a seed. If this does not come naturally then we have to work at it.

But this work can be a joy and unfold a map to an interior landscape that may hold pain but also the green shoots of new beginnings and undiscovered gardens of unrivalled beauty. If we have become addicted to the external we will be haunted by what awaits our attention within.

The baby will always continue to squawk, ever more urgently until we admit it into our hearts.

‘Why do you think that what you do, what you have, what you get or don’t get are more important than just being here,’ writes AH Almaas, ‘We are the pleasure, we are the joy, we are the most profound significance and the highest value.’

In other words, we don’t have to go out there and improve ourselves, rather we have to learn to enjoy our own presence, our beingness, then self care can come naturally as loving ourselves flows out from our own centre.

Just as winter is finally turning to spring.



‘There is no force in the world but love.’


At the core of all longing, striving and struggle languishes the bloodied, tender heart, with all movement either taking us further into the heart wound and the possibility of wholeness or into contraction: the recoil that cuts us off from life and love. The heart is either opening or closing.

In the first flush of romance the heart blossoms like a spring flower but, drawn to rekindle the wounds of childhood, the heart’s eye knows just the right partner to select: those who will frustrate and deny fulfilment just as mum or dad did way back when. Is this some cruel trick of fate that renders love powerless, or is it instead precisely this lighting of love’s flame in this particular person that offers an opportunity to transcend all that is loveless and unloving and return us to the most profound healing?

Relationship as spiritual path has a hard time of it nowadays and it is easy to give up on human love, but for some the journey of learning to love another and allowing oneself to be loved offers the ultimate redemption. Does it not make sense that if a man is wounded by mother and a woman by father then in loving and forgiving and being loved and forgiven by the beloved a person can experience a sense of homecoming like no other?

But why do so few find the healing balm they seek, instead foundering on the rocks that lay in the treacherous waters just outside the honeymoon isle? How can redemption be found when thrashing around for power? As Nietzche said, where there is the will to power then love is absent.

The key battle for most couples centres around the two-year-old self’s struggle for both attachment and autonomy. If you have not had sufficient attachment needs met at that and later developmental stages the psyche will keep seeking closeness and merging. If you’ve not been given sufficient autonomy and independence then the movement is away from relationship to satisfy that particular need.

Few of us had our early need for both attachment and autonomy handled well, setting up the later push-pull of adult connection. We want love, we fear being smothered. We could call this the love addict and the avoidant or the fuser and the isolater.

In truth, both poles are usually operating in both people, although one partner will invariably tend toward one position, polarizing the other partner. Yet the truth is both people have exactly the same need, to love and be loved, with both operating their individual set of defences to protect the wound of the heart.

What compounds the problem to the power of ten is the shame of not just having needs but of having those needs exposed. If someone disdainfully calls you needy you can bet your life they are needy and ashamed of that need.

The childhood need for love and affection is so powerful that when it is denied we contract against our own need like a circuit breaker. Some move so far away from that need they no longer know it is even there. Such people are truly lost and often cannot be reached. Throw in abuse and brutality and you get the Hitlers and Stalins of the world.

One of the most helpful things we can do is make friends with our own needs and neediness and do the same with our partners. It is probably wise to move away from those who act tough and needless and refuse to change and the current crop of seekers who are doing a spiritual bypass and residing in a need-free nirvana, having made a sudden evolutionary leap into A Course In Miracles.

But unfinished business does not just come from childhood, it comes from past-life connections with our partner too. I believe that most, if not all, of our more serious relationships are with those we know from other incarnations.

We are drawn towards those on our path on many different levels and will rehash the same old battles until we learn to love one another. I find current theory on relationships limited and primitive in one way or another and certainly using addiction models to treat relationship issues is a mixed blessing, healing some and reinforcing early experience of shaming and harshness in others.

The most complete and hopeful work comes from the pioneering psychiatrist Harville Hendrix who seems to have put all the component parts of relationship together and made sense of them.

In a nutshell: we are drawn to people who share positive and negative traits of our parents to win an old childhood struggle for love; to change brings up our fear of wholeness, which was not allowed as children; we are so fearful of our own wholeness we fear we are going to die if we change – hence most relationships fail during the power struggle; we have to confront and contain the life force (eros) within us that has been trapped since childhood; in finding a container for our feelings and needs with the help of our partners we begin to feel safe enough to heal and, most wonderfully; in dedicating ourselves to meeting our partner’s needs we restore ourselves to wholeness.

The last part is paradoxical but true. If the partner our heart’s eye selected contains all the qualities that we have repressed in ourselves, which we are first drawn to and later detest, then in loving them we are really loving parts of ourselves.
When partners become allies and not enemies dedicated to healing the childhood wounds in each other, with loving turning outward towards the beloved in reciprocity, a circle of love is formed which is deeply satisfying to both parties.

Love, always cleverer than the self-serving ego, only finds itself through acts of unconditional generosity and giving.

Finally, restored to wholeness not just through their partner’s love but critically through the act of loving itself, a couple can bring love and healing balm to all those around them.



Lips‘Without an appreciation of the soul’s radical desires, psychotherapy can interfere with psychological and spiritual maturation and promote a non-imaginative normality that merely supports people to be better-adapted cogs in a toxic industrial culture’

Bill Plotkin

There is a marvellous moment in Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships by the pioneering Buddhist psychotherapist John Welwood when a client finally hits the ground of infinite possibility. The truth is, she says, that right now I am a completely fucked up human being and cannot be otherwise. This revelation was no doubt preceded – as it is for many of us – by years of therapy and workshops, potions and pills. From that moment of crystalline authenticity doors began to open as she sank into the richness of her own being without judgment or concept.

One of the cavernous blind spots that snag the seeker lies in the poisoned nature of the ground in which she seeks healing. Without the soul as companion too many therapies are simply confounded by what is presented. How can that which is devised within the confines of ‘toxic industrial culture’ – that which fails to incorporate blessings and curses, ancestral hand-me-down wounds and individual karma – bring cure to what ails?

Again and again I have seen clients struggling under the weight of a geis, or what I call conditions on the soul, failed, inevitably, by systems that don’t get them, don’t want them and finally throw up their hands in confused failure offering another diagnosis by way of compensation and to save professional face.

Soul sickness does not respond to that which is soulless. It does not seek a fix, although the personality which accompanies it will. It cannot be touched by much in this world. For what has taken root in a human being, what has found a home there, is both incurable and a reflection of what is not right in contemporary culture. This sickness comes from being separated from the beauty that has been lost and which the soul now desires as a matter of urgency. The individual holds both the illness and the answer for that which lies outside the Self.

It is almost that after the soul’s journey over many lifetimes the pressure builds to a point where only death or breakthrough matter. It has to be one or the other. Nothing else will do. I am either going to find the beauty within or I will return to it in the Otherworld, the realm of the ancestors. The mood is pressing and the initiatory circumstances both more terrifying and exciting.

In Zen, it is said that the nature of dilemma is like having a red-hot coal stuck in the throat. It can neither go down nor out. You can neither cough it up nor swallow it. This stuckness or impasse is common in both individuals and society, and as Jung said it represents a preparatory period before significant breakthrough, even an evolutionary leap.

We are too quick to want to get out of this wasteland. In these days of sound bites, quick fixes and instant communication the thought that the soul might have its own agenda and desires is abhorrent. That it might want you to grow sicker and sicker until you are beyond human aid is unpalatable. This is where insight into the mythological level of life is critical. Without understanding and accepting the soul’s need for slowness and to sink into its own depths it is too easy to think a life is no longer worth living.

But the soul is calling you down, deeper than you would go on your own, farther than seems necessary to the conscious mind that only wants to ‘get on’. It takes a long time and much flailing about looking for ways out of our dilemma before accepting, like the client above, that perhaps there is no cure, at least none that we can see. If you study mythological tales, this image of the fall from grace, the wasteland, and the kingdom once abundant now in ruins is everywhere. And it is a necessary part of being alive.

For the sickness pulls us down into territories of great learning, a brush with death, and strips us of all we have known thus far until all that is left is the vision with which we were born and which has been forgotten. ‘The only way to treat the condition,’ says mythologist Michael Meade is to get everything out of the way and allow the sickness to speak for itself. It can only be heard when all the possible cures have been eliminated and its incurability has been admitted. The soul sickness needs permission to be the strange story that it declares itself to be.’

The only way at such times is to understand we have ingested soul sickness, that it is purposeful and contains great gifts, and to go further into it. In other words we have to follow where the sickness leads and where it leads is often to a threshold we don’t even want to see let alone cross.

In modern times, I see this happen most often in relationships. Everywhere I turn I hear people stuck on the horns of dilemma: should I stay or should I go?; I love him but I’m not in love with him; I just don’t feel anything any more. As soul, that feelings of passionate aliveness, most often enters us in western culture through our romances, small wonder that is where we will feel its absence.

People stay miserable within these dilemmas for years, for the sake of the children or a myriad of other sensible reasons. Yet soul is not interested in common sense or material security. It just keeps pressing in on you until you give it its due and it won’t let up until you do, ever. That does not mean the solution is to break with relationship. That may or may not be the case. It does mean you have to find a way to attend to your deeper life or get sicker.

In a sense, the more soul sickness you’ve imbibed the better equipped you are to heal what is within and without. In turning towards what is dark within the Self and the culture we increase the possibility of bringing some of the beauty trapped in the Otherworld back over the threshold. It is as if we have to risk death to step over and beyond ourselves, but what we bring back can alone illuminate that which has fallen into forgetful chaos.



MemoryI have always been drawn to depth psychology and instinctively understood the Jungian concepts and principles that draw on something happening deep within the structures of the psyche. It is my belief that without this deeper understanding therapists often misunderstand what is happening with the patient or are confined to the necessarily limited perspective of the narrow confines of their own training. Like doctors, we are blinkered by our training no matter how ‘good’ it may be. In fact, the better a training is the harder it is for us ‘to see outside the box’.

What I have found again and again is that I attract clients of two basic types: those, like myself, who experienced severe intra-uterine or childhood trauma and cannot seem to find a way out of their suffering through conventional therapy; and those who cannot find reason or explanation for their symptoms in anything that has happened in this life. Both groups, I believe, are suffering from wounds to the soul that have happened in other lifetimes: research would indicate the clients who experience trauma in early life are in a sense starting where they left off in another life and quickly find themselves entangled once more in the same old drama. The second group are more unconscious and have fewer clues to help them from the life they are actually in.

Both feel stuck, desperate and hopeless, unaware the problems lie deep within the soul’s long experience and that they are endlessly incarnating into lives where their particular complex (samskaras to use the Hindu term) will intensify until they find resolution. Clients can be helped whether they believe in past lives or not. The unconscious and physical body stores the memory of trauma, which moves from lifetime to lifetime within the etheric body. Just like in conventional therapy the process of re-membering, recollection and reunion has to happen for a complete healing to occur.

Deep Memory Process, founded by the Jungian academic and therapist Dr Roger Woolger, synthesizes Jung’s active imagination, Reich’s bodywork, Moreno’s psychodrama and past life regression to focus on the timeless journey of the soul. It is the most comprehensive and multi-layered therapy I have ever encountered and reaches the parts that other therapies cannot reach, cannot comprehend or both. Only a remembered trauma can be let go of. If the trauma happened in another lifetime or has its roots there, which is always the case, then full healing is problematic if not impossible while doggedly looking in the wrong place. (Actually I exaggerate: we are not looking in the wrong place as each part contains the whole, the present holds the past and vice versa, only our vision is dimmed without consciousness of other ‘stories’.)

The therapist’s first task is to look at the patient’s history watching for the themes and breaks which will characterise that life – loss, abandonment, betrayal, suicide, addiction, the archetypal themes of human existence that resonate at our depths and shake us to the core. The ancient myths of the Greeks and Shakespeare’s plays point up the dilemmas and tragic nature of life and death where resolution is rare.

According to Dr Woolger, the most heard story of the soul is that of guilt. As Jung has it: ‘ A complex arises when we experience a defeat in life’. The client sabotages their current life because of deep and painful failures in other lives, most often failing to save family or loved ones in tribal battles or global wars. It seems that guilt, believing we are unworthy of either human or divine love, keeps us in a place of unforgiveness perpetuating our self-hatred lifetime after lifetime. Contrary to popular belief, most past lives are not spent as Cleopatra or Pharaoh, but as ordinary anonymous people caught up in often terrifying circumstances beyond their control.

It is a common view in spiritual circles that the soul needs to explore all facets of human life – victim, persecutor, rescuer – and in psychotherapy that we need own all aspects of the Self, letting go of our projections and facing the shadow, to use another Jungian term. DMP then is not a light or easy therapy but deeply soul-searching, often wrenching, but powerfully effective. It is, as suggested, deep work that aims at equanimity and balance but takes us through a painful journey as we act out the conflicting aspects of our own complicated nature.

F Scott Fitzgerald said it is the hallmark of genius to hold two totally opposite ideas in the mind and work with them. The ancient science of alchemy wrestles with the union of opposites, not least aiming to bring together those most fundamental of forces, the masculine and the feminine. DMP recognises this schism and the revolving nature of the Self, identifying with one aspect, then another, over and over until satiated. For it is another Jungian principle that a pattern has to be exhausted before it can be given up.

Where DMP differs even more radically from conventional therapy is that it works to achieve resolution in the after-death states, what the Tibetans call the Bardo realms, where powerful healing work can be achieved as the soul is freed from the limitations of bodily existence. Although clients are not hypnotised as with other regression therapies, he/she does embody the Past Life Character. The therapist encourages the client to suspend disbelief and follow the thread of the story that will come to the mind, or the charge in the body, often starting with a piece of artwork.

As the client finds himself in another world the therapist encourages the client to trust imagination and go with what arises. The therapist then becomes an attendant to the soul, following the client, bringing them face to face with painful experiences and through the story to its end, usually death, before moving to the bardo realms. Often the therapist uses props: a rope around the client’s neck; a prod with a wooden ‘spear’ etc to facilitate the story and the healing. There is often powerful somatic release, crying, shaking, screaming, trembling as the body lets go its hold on the old.

The tabla rasa theory then is discarded, utterly and completely in this practice: all the major complexes of our lives and the psychic structures that drive us to repeat, wretchedly, our past sins, are seen as laid down before birth. As Plato suggested millennia ago, the soul chooses both circumstances and tasks and we are doomed to repeat the task until we learn the lesson. Stubbornness, pride, the desire for vengeance, what AA calls our character defects ensure that in the main we don’t. Some of us are particularly stubborn about that.

Resolution and the relief of unhealed physical ailments are remarkable. Unfertile, hopeless women become pregnant, physical symptoms disappear, guilt evaporates when understood and success descends on a life after years of abject failure unhelped by conventional means. It is one of the great ironies that psychotherapy, which originally meant study of the soul, does not attend any more to the part of us that it names as needing healing. The soul is missing from modern therapy, which is why I despair when I hear about the perpetuation and popularity of the CBTs etc. We continue looking in the wrong place with a limited view and we fail through a lack of vision that is not our own but a culture’s that has ditched meaning for meaninglessness replacing soul with sound bites.

This article was first published in the Jan/Feb 2010 edition of Kindred Spirit magazine



Face‘Myth is the foundation of life: it is the timeless pattern, the religious formula to which life shapes itself…Whereas in the life of mankind the mythical represents an early and primitive stage, in the life of an individual it represents a late and mature one.’

Thomas Mann

The twin themes of exile and longing, one the shadow of the other, are archetypal energies, which sit uncomfortably within each human being. In modern society the sense of being at home in the world is often absent and too often people step right out of the womb into initiatory experiences that set them spinning before they have the chance to touch ground: separation, abandonment, betrayal, parental addictions and depressions. There is neither chance nor time to incorporate love and self-esteem into the psyche before it is ripped apart and the Self thrown away. These early experiences almost always signify an expectation of barrenness due to an actual experience of bleak no-thingness from previous incarnations. The pressure to resolve has built over lifetimes and is immediately re-stimulated at the onset of the current life.

But resolution is problematical. People in denial about how wounded they actually feel and suffering from the internalisation of early injunctions to ‘pull themselves together’ by parents or caregivers equally cut off from their own emptiness are the norm, the spiritual deadwood that clogs, and finally strangles, the culture. Most of us have done such a good job of hiding our pain from ourselves – often behind a veneer of success or competence – that it seems there is either no way back to the Self or no need. This is mirrored in our disconnection from the earth.

As the late, great John O’Donohue writes: ‘We need to remain in rhythm with our inner clay voice and longing. Yet this voice is no longer audible in the modern world. We are not even aware of our loss, consequently, the pain of our spiritual exile is more intense in being largely unintelligible.’ The truth is most don’t know they are in exile and it often takes life to seriously derail to bring them face to face with reality. A divorce, a major loss, an accident, failure, addiction. All of these are sudden initiations which can deepen a person, pulling their soul towards meaning, purpose and new beginnings, which might otherwise remain out of reach. Crisis and opportunity are natural bedfellows.

In older, wiser times initiations were prolonged and planned encounters that acknowledged the need to mark, honour and ground the movements of the soul. The most well-known, still practised in earth-based societies, are the rituals and markings that transfigured boys into men providing a brush with death that may or may not be survived. Such initiations took place only after initiates had been held and contained within the bosom of family, culture and community and had incorporated the Paradise Garden within the Self. This making and unmaking of personhood is a sacred craft that honours all involved.

How different to the sudden shocks modern westerners encounter, sometimes as soon as they hit shore. But if the culture is lost and cannot provide what is needed consciously, pressure will gather within the psyche to provide what the soul needs to experience to turn back towards a sense of wholeness. ‘The organism,’ as Jung said ‘is self-regulating.’ Without the necessary container of family (and I don’t include families that demand convention and conformity in the child and quash individuality) and community the soul finds itself in exile, often without knowing it.

This sense of exile lies somewhere within each human being whether it is felt and accepted or not. Such alienation was experienced in earlier times as a physical banishment, exile to France for instance. It was understood that separating a person from all they had known and loved, stripping them of all possible comfort and sending them to foreign lands was a fate worse than death. The sense of exile is carried within us all – even in an abundant life it waits quietly in the shadows – but so too is the inner king who will one day return to centre stage, though perhaps in another lifetime.

For the brush with death is real. Without the right nutrients and soil during early life things are hard enough. With abandonments and abuses the child is too raw to risk moving out into the world. Adulthood cannot be adequately faced, as there is simply not enough ground beneath a person and not enough nourishment within. Whichever way the head turns things look bleak. The wilderness is all around and the wolves are everywhere. If you arrive at a crossroads either road looks bleak. The first involves bringing out the survival bag and again toughing life out from within the limits the mask of competence provides. That way involves living from a false self where no authentic healing is possible. The second involves drowning in the sea of sorrows and turning towards escapes, addictions and fixes. Or you may do a combination of both.

Yet the truth remains hiding in the rubble. The poet Emily Dickinson understood it: ‘There is a pain..so utter..it swallows substance up…Then covers the Abyss with Trance…So Memory can step around..across..upon it.’ No-one is heading in the right direction, which is towards the wound. Almost everyone is scrambling like fury away from the abyss. But those drowning in the sea of sorrows are infinitely more able to grab the life raft than those trapped by their self-sufficiency and pride. For the waters of emotion and feeling are flowing and can carry the floundering soul to safe harbour or new adventure – the next initiatory experience.

The sea of sorrows has another vital function: it acquaints us with longing. Out of the wound of exile come many gifts, perhaps the chief of which is the experience of longing. The soul calls for home and somewhere in this world and the Otherworld the call is heard and messengers, unseen and otherwise, come to our aid. Earthly exile mirrors our longing for our divine origins and draws us back to our beginnings, before the world turned. As the Sufi master Rumi says, your longing itself is the return message. Crying out for help becomes both call and answer.

My own calling is to help bring balm, healing, understanding and re-orientation to those who are adrift at sea and those whose heart long ago dammed the tide of feeling in order to survive and protect what was left of them. For I have known both experiences and have lived at both poles. I have a particular interest, compassion and sympathy for those sensitive souls who have been packed off to school at a young age and drilled in a system that replaces essence with conformity. They are those eccentric individuals who did not belong in any camp and have not really found a home in the world where they belong since. Something inside is nagging that all is not well or things are already wildly out of control.

There are many ways to bring the soul home. This is one. It is well-suited to those who find groups difficult or experience them as traumatic. When home can be found within through a reparative experience within a true relationship then the individual is ready to respond to the siren song of adventure and turn back once more toward life, this time with an eye for initiation and a glimmer of hope and faith once lost.



FaceWhat has struck me over the years with increasing urgency is the necessity of and importance of blessing in each life.

I have noticed it particularly through its absence, both in my own life and that of the clients and staff I have worked with as addictions therapist in different rehabs these past 14 years. By blessing, I mean the profound and unsurpassable gift one human being bestows on his brother in that moment of shared presence, of really seeing another’s unique beauty, not with the eyes but in and through the heart.

The effects of such an occurrence can be nothing short of miraculous. But such moments are rare and often missed. The grandness and intent of the soul, its need to be seen and honoured, are most often unmet when behaviour is readily labelled ‘narcissistic’ or ‘disordered’ and patients too easily condemned for ‘acting out’. Modern rehab too often fails those it seeks to serve by neglecting and misunderstanding behaviour within the narrow confines of theories that bypass the notion of soul altogether.

Again and again I have seen clients failed through lack of understanding, their essence and beauty missed just as it was in childhood by quasi-parents not in touch with their own soul and again only offering the same old carrot and stick. Finally, they are snidely put down for thinking they are ‘special and different’ as if it is some new disease rather than the soul calling for the blessing it never received way back when. What I wanted then was to find ways of working that focused on honouring the individual’s intuition of a grander destiny rather than beating him or her into an enforced humility, as is so often the case.

Drawing on the wisdom of soul-based theory, including karmic astrology, Jungian Roger Woolger’s Deep Memory Process (a form of past-life regression), mythology, re-birthing techniques and some ritual as well as meditation I have found that conventional theory, psychodynamics for instance, finds its proper place. Clients are no longer simply pathologised and judged for failing the theory’s demands, tyrannised by an imposed structure, but understood and accepted in a much wider context.