Confounding Perception – use of collage for transpersonal psychotherapy

Any good definition of transpersonal psychotherapy includes something about how we can consolidate, ground, and embody moments of transpersonal knowing.  Over time, these moments can begin to come together in to a coherent pattern, a change of heart which opens new vistas of awareness and understanding for the person. Transpersonal approaches to psychotherapy seek to…

A Blackbird Singing: full throated beauty.

This poem by RS Thomas captures this alchemy of joy and sorrow – the heart opening depth of the evening. It seems wrong that out of this bird, Black, bold, a suggestion of dark Places about it, there yet should come Such rich music, although the notes’ Ore were changed to rare metal At one touch…

Storming out of the darkness

When transformation comes, it is sometimes at the pace of a glimmer, a hint, the tiniest and merest minute sign that something is different. But sometimes that spark catches, like an early May day, and the whole of a person’s life can be transfigured. Boom! Just like that. Did you go to the countryside this…

Albedo – alchemist’s purity, alchemist’s peril.

By the light of the silvery moon…..albedo is the whitening stage of alchemy. How do we recognise it, how do we work with it, and what are its dangers? Although we are often mightily relieved to move out from the dreadful clutches of nigredo in to the white, imaginative, open, diaphanous, cleansing rising of albedo,…

Solutio – the Alchemist’s surrender

Coming apart, dissolving, letting go of structures. The alchemical operation of solutio, the purification by water, is a fundamental and observable feature of the transformation of matter (and of what matters). The alchemical operations are ways of understanding how something is worked on in the process of transformation. So if we are changing lead to…

The Emerald Tablet

The earth reflects heaven and heaven reflects  earth, and there is no division between these realms. Everything proceeds from the origin. This knowing is, and is  engendered by Light and by loving reflection. It became known through the body and understanding gently emerged there approached with wisdom and love. It will be constant and it will…

The upward pointing icicle and other miracles

So the upwards pointing icicle came to my garden one morning about five years ago. I still have no idea what to make of it. It was there, bold as brass, or a little icy excitement, emerging from the frozen ice of the pot. Icicles usually go downwards. This one went upwards. There was no…

The forgotten mistress of the king.

This poem by Rowan Williams has become a favourite of mine. Glory and defeat, victory and humility, all  there.   For Inna Lisnianskaya Barefoot, down the long woodland corridors of frost, Over the needles, walks the forgotten mistress of the king. She smells of grapes, candles, black furs. Of cooking smells, and smoke in a…

Imagination and Psychotherapy – the neuroscience is friendly

The imaginal function is important to psychotherapists because it connects us directly to what is  not yet know. Psychotherapy is not about what is known. Any therapist who purports to be able to tell you what is ailing you and what you should do about it is one to run a mile from. No, psychotherapy…

Advent, waiting, and alchemy.

Alchemists work with consciousness to bring greater light, greater consciousness, to the world. The transformation of this in to that (the great secret of course is that that turns out to have been this all along, but that is a whole other story…). Advent is the Christian season of waiting for the new consciousness to emerge, to be born. It is the…

Fuelling hallelujahs – a parable about an apple tree.

‘And even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand before the Lord of Song, with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.‘  (L. Cohen) There is an apple tree in my garden, a lovely old  rambling Bramley. It is gnarled and distinguished, and for a number of years had been having diminishing returns on the apple…

The Brexit Challenge – take one dragon…

How do we detoxify our anger, purify our passion so that it becomes medicine not poison? The fire element powers our anger, but it is also the bringer of light. The current Brexit situation (the 48/52 split and all its social and political ramifications) has awoken the dragon of anger on all sides. The dynamism of this fire…