A Mental Health System With Soul?

The social issue we are going to explore in this essay is the role of the mental health system in Wales in managing people with mental health conditions. There is a mental health crisis in the western world especially the UK, where according to Mind, a UK based mental health charity 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health condition of some kind each year in the UK. Other crisis’s which has effected the UK population such as pandemics, economic crisis and climate concerns as well as increased reliance on technology and divorce from the natural world has only added to the number of people experiencing mental ill health.

A Mental Health System With Soul?

A Mental Health System With Soul?

The social issue we are going to explore in this essay is the role of the mental health system in Wales in managing people with mental health conditions. There is a mental health crisis in the western world especially the UK, where according to Mind, a UK based mental health charity 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health condition of some kind each year in the UK. Other crisis’s which has effected the UK population such as pandemics, economic crisis and climate concerns as well as increased reliance on technology and divorce from the natural world has only added to the number of people experiencing mental ill health. The mental health system is meant to be a healthcare safety net for people experiencing mental ill health to manage and care for their needs while their unwell. However there is an increasing body of people known as psychiatric survivors who all feel they have experienced something of a human rights abuse in the way they were treated by the mental health system and its reliance on compliance to psychiatric drugs

The mental health system is an allopoietic system in that it has a purpose. “Allopoiesis is the process whereby a system produces something other than the system itself.” (online dictionary, 2022)

The mental health system is a subpart of the general health system and its purpose could be defined as a system which helps manage individuals mental health crisis’s, nurse a person suffering from mental ill health back to healthy functioning and look after the health and social needs of those deemed unwell. If its purpose is to restore health, why then are there so many people with mental health conditions simply taken out of the pool of societies workers, awarded social security benefits and are left to struggle at home with their conditions without receiving the proper care and support they need, or worse are abused by the system, losing homes, family members and dignity.

“ The least obvious part of the system, its function or purpose, is often the most crucial determinant of the system’s behaviour.” (Meadows, D H 2008 p. 16)

So the purpose of the mental health system needs to evaluated and understood and if its purpose is to provide a health service, then real discussion is needed on how effective it is at achieving the health goals of its clients.

There are many stories which can be listened to from psychiatric survivors of mistreatment by the modern mental health system from people in all strata’s of society, from notable celebrities like Frank Bruno to You Tube celebrities like Lauren Kennedy who runs a popular channel called “Living well with Schizophrenia” and produces videos on all aspects of mental health including forced medication and being excluded from society. I propose that due to a growing number of stories, as well as several movements of psychiatric survivors from those who have been vocal about their treatment by a system that is meant to heal them, not including those who feel too unwell or unable to complain, that the mental health system needs a redesign. For the purpose of this essay I will be exploring human centred or user experience design and systems thinking, ecolinguisitcs and craftivism when considering how I could contribute to the redesign of the mental health system over the future course of my design career.

Design thinking is an exciting new paradigm for dealing with complex problems including environmental, political or social issues. It is an optimistic positive approach using design methods to look at a problem and its solutions in a new way. User experience and design empathy is important in design thinking as it often look at a problem from a users perspective.

“Human-centred design and design thinking have become popularised over the past 20 years largely to improve a company’s creative innovation potential— as well as the bottom line” (Kelley and Kelley 2013 cited by Jones, H 2022) and is useful not only for commercial enterprises but also for designing around social issues and systems.

I have a mental health condition which I am told requires lifelong treatment so I will likely be working with the mental health system over the next few years of my design career and I hope to play an active role in the way the service is delivered not only to myself but to others also by highlighting the issues and providing feedback to the service providers and volunteering for mental health charities who press for change. I can also use my art and design work to participate in craftivism, Craftivism or activism through craft to tackle social injustice is the way of the peaceful warrior in creating arts, crafts and designs which press for cultural change. I exhibit art in my local area with an artists group called the “Last Foundation” and I can use the exhibitions to highlight the concerns in the mental health system and showcase the work and talents of people with mental health conditions.

When looking at the design of the mental health system its worth noting that there,s been a paradigm shift in design thinking itself in recent years when designing for the greater good in things like health services, education systems or charities and that shift is based around who does the designing. In the past it was just the stakeholders who did the designing employing specially trained designers, but now we are looking at scenarios in service design, where everyone does the designing and innovation is everyone’s responsibility.

To have a fully human centred design of the mental health system the design of it would need to be done not only by isolated trained experts, but by those who are on the front line of the services, people such as mental health nurses, social workers and even the service users themselves.

“That same kind of revolutionary shift is under way today in innovation. Innovation I, the old paradigm, looks a lot like quality assurance. It is isolated in experts and senior leaders, decoupled from
the everyday work of the organization….. we are seeing the emergence of Innovation II, the democratizing of innovation. In this world, we
are all responsible for innovation. Even the term itself has a new meaning. Innovation isn’t only—or
even mostly—about big breakthroughs; it is about improving value for the stakeholders we serve. And
everybody in an organization has a role to play” (Liedtka, J, Salzman,R, Azer, D 2017)

If I as active participant in its innovation was going to redesign the mental health system using design thinking I would certainly need to utilise design empathy and to get to know the clients, or the users of the system from the inside out and design for these clients foremost, I would also draw on my own experience of the system which has at times been less than human. “In moving ‘beyond designing’ in its current form today, Jones reminds us that we should ‘not forget what is still important— the humanity’” (Jones 2020 cited by Jones,H 2022) especially when designing something for the vulnerable.

This humanity is fundamentally what often seems to be lacking in the current way people with mental health conditions are treated, where illness is not always seen as a very human problem, but something of a materialistic scientific puzzle focussed on biological processes and chemical imbalances in the brain and it is the humanity and empathy with peoples lives, soulful concerns, needs and care which would have to be put foremost in a redesign of a complex health system. A new way of looking at the system from a design thinking perspective specifically addresses this problem

Driving this approach has been an imperative to better understand what users need. The central tenet of human-centred design and design thinking is empathy— putting users first in the design process to create more applicable products and services. This has led to many useful innovations, from redesigning patients’ and medical practitioners’ experiences, to making cycling more accessible (Brown 2008 cited by Jones, H 2022)”

The Hasso Plantar Institute of Design at Stanford first evolved the concept of five phases in design thinkingwhich involvesempathising with the users, defining the problems, ideating and coming up with ideas, immersion or development of these ideas, prototyping or developing these ideas on a grand scale or real life scenario before leading to actually testing these ideas.

While empathising with the users of the mental health system, we need to look at the stories they tell about themselves and their treatment, as well as the stories they are told by their doctors, friends and family and culture and media about their mental illness.

“stories are the secret reservoir of values; change the stories that individuals or nations live by and you change the individuals and nations themselves (Ben Okri, 2018)

This includes looking at the names or labels given to people with mental health conditions, the DSM is the psychiatric bible which contains the names of all the disorders with all the symptoms, but many of these names have loaded meanings or stories attached to them. Renaming the disorders with less stigma attached names with better stories such as schizophrenic being renamed to creative daydreamer may do a lot to change how the illness is perceived and handled.

The whole system has to be taken into account as well as the culture in which the system is placed with all their stories and guiding narratives, competing ideologies and worldviews.

Social systems are the external manifestations of cultural thinking patterns and of profound human needs, emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. Changing them is not as simple as saying “now all change,” or of trusting that he who knows the good shall do the good. (Meadows, D H. 2008.p. 167)

Looking at the stories and cultural thinking patterns which a system is formed by leads us to the study of ecolinguistics.

In essence, ecolinguistics consists of questioning the stories that underpin our current unsustainable civilization, exposing those stories that are clearly not working, that are leading to ecological destruction and/or social injustice, and finding new stories that work better in the conditions of the world that we face. These are not stories in the traditional sense of a narrative, however, but rather discourses, frames, metaphors and, in general, clusters of linguistic features that come together to covey particular worldviews. (Halliday (2001)

Ecolinguistics is not only useful for considering ecological issues but also social issues by examining the stories we live by and make up our world or culture. The redesign has to be considered not only from the perspective of human centred design and looking at the needs of the users and participants in the system with empathy and humanity but also by evaluating the stories and cultural assumptions which cause the system to exist in its current form. The world-views which the designers and operators of the system hold which cause mental health to be treated in the way it is. Is mental health considered purely from a scientific mechanistic perspective for instance?

A paradigm shift in the way the mental health system operated could only occur when the main stories which make up its current functioning, such as the chemical imbalance theory for mental health were effectively challenged and overturned. Service users too would have to be revaluated not just as service users, a sick and disabled “useless” class whos function is to consume psychiatric drugs and use the services but as living breathing human beings with complex issues in their lives and culture which could be contributing to their mental ill health and whom also have unique abilities and talents which can contribute in a meaningful way to society. These service users also cannot be considered in isolation, but as people who are part of the greater whole of society and the natural world.

Paradigms resist change because they are driven by complex vested interests, habits and assumptions that sustain each another and are embedded in the language. Words and metaphors reveal some opportunities but hide others. By identifying ‘unthinkable-possibles’ then ‘re-languaging’ them, we can create ‘future-possibles’.(W, J 2022)

To identify unthinkable possibles we need to look at other cultures and their stories which will be different to ours in the UK on how they imagine people with mental health conditions to be. In some shamanic cultures for example people who exhibit signs which we would say are signs of a mental disorder, indicates

“the birth of a healer,” …Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.

What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm” (M P Some, 2012)

In such cultures the person is taken aside and trained potentially becoming a shaman for their society. The article “what a shaman sees in mental hospital” which quoted Malidoma Patrice Somé an elder from the Dagada community of Dano, West Africa popularised this theory and gave people in the west including the mentally ill a new way of seeing their illness. The scientific paradigm doesn’t consider the spiritual or the soul in their mental health care, and the crisis was not in other cultures just something of a chemical imbalance but a real spiritual and existential crisis which needed careful management and treatment with care compassion, humanity, empathy and sharing in community. In their culture a person undergoing such a crisis could come through to the other side with real gifts to share, empowered and strong and with a valid role in their soceity ,wheras in our culture such people are often simply wasted being considered disabled or sick for life.

The stories believed and told about the mentally ill person and what was occuring in their life being very different depending on the culture they belonged to with outcomes being very different depending on the stories that were believed, one leading to the birth of a healer or even a shaman with an important role to fulfil in their culture, the other leading to someone being considered disabled and sick or even useless in society.

A system for mental health would be very different in design depending on the underpinning cultural assumptions or stories that were believed about the people being treated. People are less likely to be abused by the system if the people being treated by the system are viewed differently, not just as broken people who may become a burden but as valuable members of society with something to give and share.

To conclude when contributing to the redesign of the mental health system and a mental health paradigm shift in my own life over the course of my design career. I can look at my circumstances and the circumstances of other people with mental health diagnosis’s with empathy and compassion. I can be an active participant in the innovation of the mental health system by being vocal about my treatment and providing feedback and working with mental health charities. I can utilise the tools of design thinking and human centred design in how I think about the problems people with mental health conditions face and contribute to coming up with better solutions. I can also participate in craftivism and use my art and design work to highlight the issues and showcase the talents of people with mental health conditions and show how we deserve better treatment. I can use ecolinguistics as a tool to re-examine the stories told to myself about mental health by the doctors, medical professionals, media and culture and challenge the assumptions or ideologies these stories are based upon to ensure I receive better treatment and care. I can reinvent myself using language stories and positive labels to tell my own stories to myself about my struggles and role in society. I can view myself not as a broken person but as an artist and designer and creative daydreamer who has been through a life changing transformative experience which has given me a unique insight into the systems we work with in the UK and the world-views and myths which govern our lives. There are millions of people with mental health conditions in the UK undergoing similar experiences and can all push for change with the right tools and insights. I can use my gifts of being a creative daydreamer to access the royal road of the unconscious and dream into being new paradigms, new stories and ways of being for our culture and society which is inclusive of all people including those deemed disabled or mentally ill and see life through a different lens.


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Halliday, M. (2001) New ways of meaning: the challenge to applied linguistics. In Alwin Fill and Peter Mühlhäusler (eds) The ecolinguistics reader. London: Continuum

Kennedy, L. (2020) My experience with forced medication, YouTube. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vejAlrkRue8 (Accessed: December 11, 2022).

Liedtka, J., Azer, D. and Salzman, R. (2018 )Design thinking for the greater good innovation in the Social Sector. New York: Columbia Business School Publishing.

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nuffinlongtv (2017) Frank Bruno says mental health medication is destroying a lot of people , YouTube. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HxaGwKz620&t=1484s (Accessed: December 11, 2022).

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Wood, J., Jones, H. and Lockheart, J. (2022) Metadesigning designing in the anthropocene. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

The Journey

We are all on a sacred journey in life – sometimes it can take the prescribed path for us dictated by society this is where we go to school, go to college and then onward to work or university and then into our careers. It all seems so clean cut, we plan which way to go and we head in that direction.

However life often has other plans for us, its seldom a straight line of plan goal reach goal, next plan goal reach goal that we anticipate – things happens to us in life – we have relationship troubles, sicknesses, money worries and even existential crisis’s which take us off track, we make poor choices and sometimes we are victimised by others.

Sometimes we may wonder often around midlife what are we doing all this for – or we decide we need to rest and would happily wish not to do anything or we settle into a daily grind were we give up in our lives and just do what we have to stay afloat.

In old anglo saxon lore there is the concept of the wyrd – the wyrd is the personal fate or destiny of every human on the planet. Its shaped at birth and its like a rope, or thread which is flexible and winding. The peoples of old never tried to make a straight path out of life, they knew life had many twists or turns and this thread which we follow is a web of life connected to every other human being on the planet, also all the birds and animals and the environment too.

In times past they honoured the journey by walking the labyrinth – the labyrinth goes round and round but not in a spiral it often doubles back on itself before going round till we meet the centre and from there go back out into the world.

The christians also adopted this practise to illustrate the journey back to the heart of God and then once we have found this to go back out into the world in service. So shamans too journey as part of their practise, they go within themselves along the great royal road of the unconscious and meet the spiritual beings and archetypes we find in our psyche.

The inner journey we make helps us to complete our outer journeys in the external world. Maybe we meet an animal, or go to an exotic location and receive a gift, these are all pointers from our unconscious mind to help us with our winding path in life.

Its the inner guidance which we are so often lacking when we follow or wyrd or personal destiny – we may find ourselves sick or lost and not be sure where to go for guidance – we may receive a teacher or mentor or helps us but often we may be alone on our road, we may have guidance from a Great Teacher like Master Jesus – we may receiving a guiding Spirit such as the Holy Spirit as a helper – but ultimately its our life and our choice how we live it, through the winding wyrd road.

In quero shamanism they say we are all on the medicine wheel, in different stages of consciousness which I have outlined in my previous post on Christs Journey – so here too we may receive a map of the actual journey which is not at all linear. We may through art work make a vision of our lives, with vision boards each year, trying to take matters of the web of life into our own hands to shape wyrd as we see fit making the best out of whatever circumstances we are in.

However we choose to live our lives, know that the road is long and winding – the meaning of Journey means so much both the shamanic journey and the journeys we take through life – I wish you all a good journey where you complete life, silver haired and wise – reaching the heart of the labyrinth and then out again in service to our world. Our world needs everyone to have completed good journeys and to have shared their wisdom and insight which they learnt along the road.


Our path is a winding one with no end in sight
It takes many passages round and round like soul flight
Its a labryrinth really that runs through our heart
We try to express it in poetry and our art
Sometimes we are in solitude all alone
and sometimes with friends who can sometimes moan
about our precarious ways as we journey
There are no locked doors always only keys
Journey on through the darkness as we find the light
Here or there in a teacher or in a book we cannot fight
The meandering way that is our wyrd
Inside we find and image or a guiding word
That spurs us on in service to ourselves and our world
We received congratulations for the things done well hurled
Up in a ball with insults too when disaster strikes for me and you
But this serves us well to reach our goal on the wheel into
Which we all dance where we are all one in unity
Alone with us or them life is beautiful in its simplicity
We serve our roles well in archetypal symmmetry of the divine
Mirrored in us all, I wish “you” well because you are mine
The path is ever winding its certainly not a straight line

The stages of consciousness and Christs Journey

I have been recently studying the Quero Medicine Wheel of Peru and relating it to Christs Journey – and I feel this wheel really is wisdom and it also illustrated humanities journey through life through the 4 stages of Consciousness where we too can one day embody Christ Consciousness and be of real service to humanity.

The stages of consciousness is an universal shamanic path that should also be found in Christianity but sadly seems to be neglected in the current church as they follow churchianity rather than Christs teachings first and foremost. The cross of the wheel is an universal symbol which is also found in christianity as the cross christ was crucified on

So the universal shamanic path which is found in Christianity too

is STEP ONE – the serpents way (eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil) entering the wheel of life  duality us and them thinking good and evil or even good versus evil. I am good you are evil. God is good we are evil and all the variations therin. Persecutors and victims, toil, suffering wisdom by bitter experience – life and death We learn empathy by suffering – we are squinted with grief and the sufferings of mankind. In Christian terms this has been mankinds way since the Fall –  we are shocked and horrified by everything in the world – we shed limiting beliefs and our ego but on the plus side we can also shed diseases and our bodies when we die – The victim archetype requires a saviour archetype to “save” them – the task here is to integrate the victim – this can be done by seeing ourselves in the “other” what is evil in the “other” is the shadow of ourselves – you who condemn your brother do the same things – forgive as you want to be forgiven – I am you – you are me – Ill understand this better once ive completed the training for the south medicine wheel – but regardless of whether we do the training or not – we are ALL on the wheel somewhere and serpent consciousness is where most people are at Life is happening TO ME –

Step Two – the Jaguar Illuminate our shadows – in the church they do this by confessing our “sins” or the things we are ashamed of to GOD/Jesus – all the things we would rather not be we bring to the LIGHT of God to be healed by Him – but this is also continued in the christian walk by NOT CONDEMNING our neighbour but by understanding him or her – I already covered this but the things we condemn our brother or sister for we ourselves do in a different way – like condemning tarot card readers when we prophesise the future using the pages of the bible. Condemning witches when we do charasmatic witchcraft in the church and so on – this is their shadow but they CANT see it – they can only see it in the OTHER – scapegoating etc

This needs to be illuminated – once we do – life is created by me

Step three – The Hummingbird – JOY and flow of life – flowing with SPIRIT – this is when spirit really works through us – we are in a flow state – if your an artist your creating works of beauty  love and truth – or a poet or whatever it is you do well – athletes are often in flow states abundance – life is created through me

Step four – Eagle Condor – I and the Father are One – unity of all things – Oneness – we consciousness – All beings are in me and I am in all beings – No judgement acceptance of all

So this illustrates Christs journey also – Christ was in eagle consiousness in a world full of people in snake consciousness- Christs teachings show the WAY through the medicine wheel so we too can reach eagle consiousness – its not just the victim in me needs a saviour to be saved – thats how it starts – but then they need to follow His teachings to go through all the stages of the medicine wheel.- the religion of the church doesnt do that – they stay as victim archetype clinging to a saviour archetype – Christ IS the saviour but they get saved by following his teachings that is the way – but the quero also teach this way. GOD is known by many names to all cultures and is yet unknown to us all – God created this world and everything in it – including all the other religions traditions and associated beings – if christians loved their neighbour as themselves instead of demonising (serpent consciousness – I am good you are evil) they would know and understand that Gods has taught us the way

  Eagle Consciousness AND Christ Consciousness are one and the same thing

To be HONEST – i didnt cover integrating the victim very well (ill understand it better once I travel the wheel by studying Quero shamanism) –

New Year Path

My new Year 2023 life path is now laid before me for this year – I wasnt clear on what it would be in January – but in recent weeks its become apparent what I must do, so I am laying it here as a comittment to the world

I must finish my degree in Surface Pattern Design – the arts is a great subject to study as within the design discipline which is positive and solution focused – I can study art making, designing as discipline including designing for the Anthropocene and redesigning systems and paradigms, religion, soul art, archetypal psychology, myths, shamanism, the natural world, environment etc as well as making great designs for clothing and wall paper from my findings. (ok finish the 3rd year part time)

I must continue to study Carl Jungs work and become really familiar with it as hes really where Im at, there are other mentors but I really resonate mostly with Jungs work and how this relates to the mind, the soul and other religions and traditions.

I must really explore my inner world through art poetry dance and mandala making – keep up my chakradance practise till I really embody the positive archetypes of chakradance as opposed to some of the less positive expressions of these archetypes such as victim or saboteur. Bring forth material from these realms either in the form of mandalas art or poetry or other expression

Live mostly according to God of the Bibles laws (as I open myself up to cursings of blessings from this Deity and its the cultural norms/laws of the country I live in)

Live a productive life of service, not just doing my degree and volunteering but working in the mental health field for the NHS and aiding those deemed to have a mental health condition by modern psychiatry

Once I have finished my arts degree continue my therapeutic studies (I have a higher education certificate in counselling skills) and work as a chakradance facillitator with my business Swan on the Sea Wellness and my design business Shelly Smith Designs and maybe do a Masters in Art Therapy at Welsh University

Continue to heal and care for myself and share my findings on this blog – JOURNEY the soul realms.

The soul of Psychiatry

In healing myself of a complex mental health condition which I consider to be a spiritual crisis and the plight of the soul/ I have been through many avenues of healing. The modern materialistic psychiatric system and medical model views these issues as simply a “chemical imbalance” to be treated with drugs alone and big pharma makes billions from this industry. BUT does it work? On the one hand I am sure there are many people who could say they couldnt live without their psychiatric drugs and even that these drugs saved their lives – but equally there are MANY people who are dissatisfied by the way they have been treated by the mental health system which is often heavy handed in the way it deals with human beings who are made to feel ashamed for being in crisis which is a very human calamity. I have so far healed myself to a good degree so that im in university and working part time.

One reason I think the mental health system is failing is because it lacks SOUL – the root of the word psychology is psyche and ology – so psychology was originally the study of the psyche or soul. We know that only a tiny proportion of the mind is conscious which is mainly the ego and persona, the rest is hidden in the depths but nethertheless drives our life, behaviour and purposes. FEW people in the modern world really study their own mind psyche and soul, not even those of a religious disposition. However one such pioneer who did study the soul was Carl Jung. Carl Jung had what he called a confrontation with his unconscious at mid life which as someone of a scientific mind he documented through art and poetry and journals in his red and black books. What he discovered in the depths of his own soul is incredible and know that EVERY human is the same, on the outside there is a body and a seen persona or personality and ego but in the depths of each human being alive there is a chasm of uncharted archetypal material which beggars belief. It can be explored when we dream but some people with mental health conditions such as schizophrenia dream when they are awake. This is because the unconsious is bursting forth into the conscious in response to some individual or collective crisis

As I have documented in my previous blog posts its our DUTY to ourselves to explore this material which can influence the collective and the world around us and plunge the depths of our own soul to bring forth whats within us – this may have been what Christians in the past were doing influenced by the Holy Spirit and what we can still do today for personal and collective soul healing. This doesnt mean there wont be outer mentors and that we disengage with our outer lives, no we continue to live productive and functional outer lives to remain faithful to the spirit of the times, but also in our spare time we explore our dream material, and shamanic journeying material to see what it has to tell us. If you are an artist like me this is perfect to create soul art or even to just keep an interesting journal of your rich inner life.

Im currently studying a great course called Journey into the World of Soul by Craig Chalquist of the Jung Platform https://jungplatform.com/store/journey-into-the-world-of-soul to help do this as my own process of individuation. It looks at Jungs black books to help us with our own soul journies.This archetypal realm within is what I believe Jesus meant when He said the Kingdom of God is within you – sometimes it means breaking out of our social and cultural conditioning through a crisis to be able to behold and converse with it – but I believe its now my life path along with living a productive outer life to plunge its depths both for my own and collective healing in humanity

I also practise chakradance and mandala making for healing my inner wounds and humanities collective crisis as we are all connected nobody is an island and as one heals, we all heal together.

Bring forth whats within us

The gods live within us, please see
within you and me in the unconscious sea
There in the wonders of our soul and psyche
It mirrors reflects the spiritual world above
Its not just the spirit of God as a dove
God Almighty can strengthen us with His right hand
As our bodily lives are but written in sand
But the archetypes live on in our mind and depths
Under the iceburg sea where they rise in steps
We can talk with them and bring them forth
To bring to lights whats within is the course
To save us from all traps and snares
In our inner life we reveal and bare
A healing for the outer world without
So to journey we must give a shout
To the greats who came before like Carl Jung
Then our lives will be worthwhile and sung
By poets of renknown great and small
And living a creative life shall be a ball

Bringing Forth Whats Within Us

I have recently renewed my Christian faith and a comittment to follow Jesus but apart from some online Bible studies I dont attend a traditional church. However I feel I am not alone in this as MANY people in the UK, my country of birth consider themselves Christians or followers of Jesus while they dont attend a traditional religious structure.

One of the reasons I dont attend the church is because I have a different interpretation of the Bible to most traditional churches – it seems most traditional churches teach the Gospel which says ALL must turn to Christ to be saved or will go to hell for eternity. While I agree with this for myself and fully appreciate Gods provision in the form of His Son to excuse me of all sins past present future – I cannot agree with turning around and then condemning my neighbour or the world and telling them their going to hell without Christ. The Church insists this is Gods judgement and can cite multiple passages where God appears to say the world is condemned already, but I can also site OTHER verses where it says God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world and the fact that God does not Judge but has left all judgement to His son and indeed Christians who will judge the world.

This seems dire news to me if Christians will judge the world because many in the churches see only humanities sinfulness, however I refuse to follow suit, if I were to judge the world, I would hope I would send nobody to hell, I have experienced enough human kindness for that. What happened to the old idea of forgiving others how we would want to be forgiven. The idea that we may see a speck in our brothers eye but that surely means there is a plank in our own. The idea that those who judge others often do the same thing in a different way. For instance – if I were a tarot card reader, I could be judged for practising divination according the the Bible, this is a sin. However how many Christians call themselves prophets divining the future through Divine patterns, or through the pages of the Bible?

It seems to me that while the Bible is a valuable book, its not enough to complete our salvation and guide our path through life, The Holy Spirit is another helper which we sorely need to stand firm against the wiles of the devil to and give us Divine inner strength, and intercession. We need a direct relationship with Jesus and to be able to hear from Him who speaks to us directly and allows us to interpret the Bible according to exactly where we are at – and we need to bring forth what is within us.

According to Plato the world of the Archetypes or God is the reliable stable world of Spirit, the heavenly realm which rules and shapes our material world. According to psychology this world of archtypes is ALSO reflected in the mind. The world we live in is unreliable and cannot accurately guide us although it can give us pointers. So the Bible is an useful book – it was brought forth from the Divine Realm, but on its own its imperfect because everything in this fallen world in imperfect. We need to be able to connect to this world of Forms and Ideas and bring them into the world. These forms and ideas may not currently exist in the world – though they are always existing in the Archetypal or heavenly realm that is reflected WITHIN US. The Kingdom of God is within you, where the mind resides with Forms and ideas. What we bring forth will be imperfect for instance if we behold a perfect triangle in the world of forms, then the triangle we create will be imperfect even if we use something digital such as a computer (it will be pixelated etc) According to the Gospel of Thomas which is an extra biblical text which some believe to be heretical

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

– Gospel of Thomas, verse 70

So its actually important for the Church to bring forth what they have, it may be poetry, it may be blog posts, it may be art or design but we have to Create from the archetypal world within us – and this will help us complete our salvation, we will be able to get past the traps and pitfuls and understand through reflection and creation. In the past the church always used to be a place where everyone had a word, or a poem, or a song, or a piece of art to share with all present. This tradition is gone and its now only the pastor who is authorised to speak – but the church was always a place of shared communion, not leadership by one man, as it was known only Jesus saw clearly, and the rest of humanity was blind.

So this is my offering of bringing forth what was within me – I hope it was helpful to you in its imperfect form.

With many abundant blessings

Halloween Eve and Spreading the Light

Well its Halloween eve night here in the UK and my thoughts turn to my evolving relationship with this time of year.

We all know halloween as a fun holiday for the kids, with great costumes and lots of trick and treating. Its a time of trickery and mirth. However it also has older connotations as a time when the veil between the worlds, the spiritual world and our material earthy home is at its thinest – thats why the children dress up and we have parties, to honour our departed ancestors and to scare the evil spirits away

Christians have always treated the season with caution with many shunning the witch costumes and having light parties instead.

Its also the Celtic New Year, Nos Calen Gaeaf another turn on the great wheel as cycles come full circle and its a time to bring in good times and light before the dark winter which in the past was hazardous because people died in the Winter

With the advent of new diseases like Covid 19 then we are perhaps returning to those times again when the winters were more deadly, and we need every celebration and ritual to keep our spirits up before potentially dark times ahead

I feel both the pagan and Christian ways of celebrating the festival are about scaring away the evil and darkness – I dont believe the old religions were about celebrating evil or the dark but were about embracing our shadows so that greater light could be brought forth for the year ahead. Playing tricks and revelry so people didn’t take themselves too seriously 🙂

So this year, in honouring the old and new in myself – I have done all the things that mark a modern festival – plenty of good food and sweets, carving a pumpkin and pumpkin soup but I also have comitted myself to spreading more light. I feel this honours all of my ancestors, of all kinds and religions and the traditions of my land. To help with this work I wrote a poem about all the little lights that we collectively are and can be in humanity – symbolised by the lighting of the pumpkin lanterns and bringing light into our homes, while we play being witches and ghouls. There is the shadows – and we honour them, but the purpose is to remember and shine our light into the darkness – scaring away all auspiciousness for the winter and year ahead.

The poem is called little Star (by Michelle Smith)

Little Star

There are many lights in the darkness

Twinkling like the stars brilliant in starkness

Some flash on and off seeminingly broke

Covered briefly by the velvet cloak

But shine once more they do

One they rediscover their briliant hue

Some of them have a brilliant rainbow aura

Reflecting all the colours of the world in awe

Some of them shoot to the earth

Trailblazing bringing light to our hearth

Whatever kind of star you are

Know you are shining and seen from afar

We cant all be as great as the sun

But the light you shine brings joy and fun

To an otherwise bleak sky

So never give up and alway try

In little deeds however small or insignificant

There is always something to do there is no cant

Twinkle Twinkle collectively we are

Your inner light is precious little star

This is a time too to remember all the witches who died defending their right to be healers and priestesses, or even just the old women who had property someone wanted, so they were accused. MANY innocent women were killed during the times of the witch crazes and we can but hope that those times never return again.

Its a time also to remember the christians also who were in their time killed and persecuted for their faith – it seems everyone has their turn at being persecuted and killed – so this brings forth another important reason for the shadow work involved in this time of year – that we never again point the finger and persecute others for their way of honouring the Divine, celebrating life, the turns in the year and honouring the dead.

Its worth remembering that MOST people try to do good in their own way and tradition and very few people are purposefully getting up to pure evil even at this time of year. Those that do will in time suffer from the karmic implications of their actions, what goes around tends to come around like most cycles and seasons, which is another reminder of the turning of the Seasonal Wheel – everything has a time and a season.

However you choose to celebrate Halloween I hope its full of Joy and merriment and a trickster sense of humour 🙂

Embodied Feminine Archetypes and the Church

A great deal of our history has been Christian and today we still live in a very Christian world – and perhaps too its right that we live in a Christian world still because Jesus is a loving positive force in the world responsible for bringing healing and reconsolidation to our world both collectively and individually. The church is often a bastian of sacredness, decency and refuge in a a challenging world.

This is not to say the church itself doesnt make mistakes because it does – but Christ remains a positive force of hope and a light in the darkness in the world today.

One of the mistakes of the church has perhaps been that its been overly patriarchal. As we know in the past women had next to no rights and were at best seen as property passed from father to husband – and it was like that in the times of Jesus too. However, Jesus was quite radical in that he had female disciples such as Mary Magdalene and the Myrrhophores – or the Holy Myrrh Bearers. These women were given radical respect and sacred responsibility. When Jesus resurrected it was to these women, the Holy Myrrh Bearers he first revealed Himself as they came to tend his body. So why then over the years has the church portrayed women in such a bad and lowly light? She has been praised as mother, but often strong women were cast as witches, burnt at the stake or her gifts marginalised instead of being celebrated. For a long time women werent allowed to be Priests, God was wholly male and the religion primarily a male affair with women to be silent in submission. Mary Magdalene Christs own disciple was cast as a whore and there is NO books in the Bible authored by her and her voice has been excluded from the gospel message.

So this is the history women face when they go to church, and there are many Patriarchial leaders still found in the church today who would supress woman or only allow her to be celebrated if she becomes “like a man” – one of the guys in the church with her femininity left out. Femininity to the church often polarises between 2 extremes of the Holy Mother of Jesus – Mary or the seductress with the apple in the garden of eden, the whole reason the world is in a mess. Church Archetypes for women include Mother, seductress, prostitute, whore, witch etc which doesnt leave much scope for feminine growth outside having and raising children and being a chaste wife to a powerful man to nulify being thought of as a prositute or witch

I practise something called Chakradance, which is a dance movement therapy which is based on Jungian psychology, chakra resonant music, dance and mandala art – and in these movement therapy spritiual practise the feminine is finally celebrated and healed from these past patriarchial influences. Yes she is celebrated as Sacred Mother in the base chakra but theres so much more to the feminine, embodied in our women. In the sacral chakra we dance the abundant empress where the woman is able to find her joy and pleasure in life – empress over her life, business and household she finds pleasure in living and doing things she enjoys – In the solar plexus chakra shes the warrior goddess – so much in our lives requires we fight for what we deserve and this is so true especially for women, where she has to fight for her right to thrive in the backdrop of patriarchy. In the Heart chakra – shes the loving healer, many women do so much healing work in the communties, not just healing the sick but bring people and famillies together and healing communities and lives that way. In the Throat chakra shes the Wild Creatix – women when living their best life are fundamentally creative, it may not just be in art, poetry dance or cooking but in other areas too deign or how they run their business. In the third eye chakra shes the awakened dreamer – this is where she dreams and creates her life how she wants it to be, including the lives of those around her – women have always been asscoiated with fate, wheras here she literally dreams the world into being. In the Crown chakra shes the Embodied Priestess – in the past if you were a priestess and a woman you were just called a witch and destroyed, but times are changing – there are now more embodied Priestesses in their community than ever before – bringing the sacred, the spiritual and divine to their communities – alleviating fear of death and making the sacred available to everyone.


So the positive female archetypes include:

Sacred Mother

Abundant Empress

Warrior Goddess

Loving Healer

Wild Creatrix

Awakened Dreamer

Embodied Priestess

You can experience all these and more on my upcoming course Chakradance – Heal Your Life (9 weeks immersion) – or my short one week long – chakradance archetypes course working on a specific archetype or issue https://swan-on-the-sea-wellness.teachable.com/

Lets help heal the feminine together and heal our lives at the same time – when the feminine rises – we all rise with her.