The journey of healing, of ascension, can sometimes bring us little in the way of comfort. But we don’t journey to gain comfort. We do it to become whole, to become real in the face of whatever we encounter. It can be a bare-knuckled challenge, a conflict of seeming polarities that have to be faced and reconciled, by looking at the brutality of the world directly in the face and acknowledging it, encountering it in all the ugliness, the chaos, and the beauty. Opening to a divine light that reveals our identifications, agreeing to and receiving all that is, as we dis-identify from illusions and become transformed. Transformation can be hard-fought and hard-won. It is what distinguishes us from those who stay identified in states of victim-hood.

No matter what we encounter along the way, as we navigate through the festering tar-pits of our individual and the collective human psyche, what spurs us on is the knowing that beyond the pain and suffering of the world, there is a tangible sense that there is always something else, a destination of eternal becoming that is our birthright; that loves us, comforts us, holds and embraces us, and ultimately transforms us.

This is the polarity of human existence. And in the transformation, we find ourselves landing exactly where we already are, but transmuted into the essence of the cosmos and bathed in newness. An uncompromising celebratory dance of life. A perpetual genesis birthing an eternal nirvanic love. We are the light of the universe. We are Shiva and Shakti – unmasked!


Image: Will Lull
William Blake, Albion Rose, ca 1793.

The World is your mirror.

Its negativity is mirroring the negativity within you.

You are the focal point of this mirror.

You are a divine locus.

A divine locus of light.

We usually react to the negativity of the world with negativity, and this creates confusion and suffering.

But when we discover what we are, the positive, the light of the world, we no longer react. Instead, we respond. And we relax, and we uncontract.

To positively respond to the negativity of the world is to have a perfectly balanced system.

A system of perfect harmony.

The harmony of perfection.

It is time.

Vos estis Lux Mundi.

You are the Light of the World.


Painting by William Blake, Albion Rose, ca 1793.



This is the Vegvísir.

It is an old Norse symbol, similar to a rune. It was discovered in the Huld Manuscript but is said to be of much earlier origin. In Icelandic, the word means Wayfinder. 

The Vegvísir promises that its bearer will navigate safely through stormy conditions. A magical stave, the Huld Manuscript declares of the Vegvísir that “if this sign is carried, one will never lose one’s way in storms or bad weather, even when the way is not known”.

We can feel like we are within a storm, inside and outside our ourselves, or even that we are this storm. It can take courage and a willingness to go deep within, but although we may feel daunted by the magnitude of the journey that we are facing, once we begin we can see that the process is nothing like as complex as it first appears. We discover that this storm is the perfect storm with precisely the right conditions for transformation. We may realise that a guide is needed to help navigate your inner landscape, your soul-terrain. The outcome is likely to be beyond anything you can currently imagine. 

To heal trauma I welcome all resources and exclude nothing, modern or ancient, as the soul’s journey home is as mystical as it is psychological. The Vegvísir can be a valuable companion.

Written for my eldest daughter on her 19th birthday.


Our children are space rockets, and we are their launchpads. By the time they leave us, they should have what they need for space flight. As their launchpads, we need all the qualities that this requires, and if we don’t embody them at the beginning of parenthood, nature makes sure to deliver them to us in spades along the way. Launchpads need gravitas, substance, stability, structure, and a solid platform for when the countdown begins, and our children’s rocket engines fire up into adulthood, releasing loving hellfire as they head for the stars.

Stay raw, ripe, wild and free sweetheart.

Think for yourself, be original and always play from your fucking heart.

You are my girl. You have been from the moment we met, and you always will be.

This post occasionally gets updated.

Of all the healing modalities I have encountered, and with decades of experience that is a lot, I have found Family Constellations to be the most rapid and effective way of healing adoption-related trauma. It has the potential to bring us to a place where we are at complete peace with our parents, an idea that is often and understandably beyond comprehension even to those who were not adopted. Are yourself, are you truly at peace with your parents? What could life look like if you were? My work make changes possible at a deep soul-level, both for adoptees and non-adoptees alike.

I wrote this article in response to a professional Family Constellations facilitator who recently asked for advice on facilitating a client who is adopted. I have written this post with experienced therapists and constellation facilitators in mind. These are simply aspects that I have noticed over time, and are offered as compliment to the knowledge and practical experience of facilitating Family Constellations that you have. It is by no means exhaustive and every person and family system is different. Some of the terms mentioned, such as ‘orders’ and ‘bowing’ will probably only be familiar to Family Constellations facilitators. Still, in the spirit of demystifying processes, I’m posting it here and hope it may be of value to non-professionals.

It is possible that the effects of being adopted are not the client’s main issue or maintaining cause, but this is unlikely. In every family system that I have worked with that has adoption, there has been significant trauma.

Adoption happens after the fact. As facilitators, we need to find the ‘Never Been Well Since’ event or events in the client’s life that occured prior to the actual adoption.

Many people who were adopted, experienced existential trauma, the immediate threat of annihilation as soon as their separate sense of self incarnated. If this is so, life can feel extremely unsafe.

Adoption can save a person from a traumatising family system of origin.

Being adopted is as perfect a set of circumstances for full incarnation and realisation as anyone else’s circumstances.

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with a person who was adopted. In fact it can be quite the opposite. Sometimes a child brings through so much light that the container of the family of the child’s biological origin simply cannot handle this light and it can shatter. It is also possible that it is already broken. In either case it can be the child’s destiny to not stay with this family. With an adoption they may go to a new system that can hold the amount of light that they bring. Sometimes they transcend these systems and become free of the need to belong.

In terms of advice to you as a facilitator, the prerequisite to work with an adopted person, or anyone else for that matter, is that you mustn’t be in trauma. Many therapists have managed to avoid dealing with their own trauma. It doesn’t matter how effective or amazing or successful your work may look on the outside to you or your clients, if you haven’t processed your own trauma/ exited your own trauma story, which is so often the case, you will simply attract people’s trauma to more trauma. This is the nature of the trauma field.

For a person to be able sit with someone who knows that there is nothing wrong with them and for them to experience this can in itself be a revelation. You can make this available with your presence.

Presence can help foster:

The return of safety.

The reestablishment of basic trust.

A complete down-regulation of the system, releasing it from the need to stay in a state of hyper-vigilance, catalysing the way for paradise to become unpaved.

When facilitating Family Constellations in a group, instead of entering into more complex work, it can be enough to invite the person to choose four people in a group to represent their parents, natural and adoptive, at least for their first constellation. They can sit in front of the representatives of their parents. There is no need to bow. They may have had a lifetime trying to see them all together, which may have been an impossible task. You can facilitate this for them. Let the parents do the work.

You can also set up the family orders.

Either or both of these processes can be enough.

Inviting people to represent the client’s ancestors to stand behind the representatives for their parents can be profoundly resourcing and connecting, but for these first steps it may be that you sense it could be more than needs to happen, for now.

The further you go, you need to be aware and have the expertise with multiple traumas: identity trauma, physical trauma, the trauma of love, the trauma of sexuality, and victim-perpetrator dynamics.

Use the client’s language. If at the beginning they call their adoptive parents their ‘real parents’ then follow this, or maybe you can call them ‘parents’. You don’t need to change their words. They already have the answers. Having four parents can be confusing enough. If they call their natural parents their ‘birth’ or ‘biological’ parents, then honour this. You may feel that you know better, but always let them lead, as these terms are all just labels. They may have had their original name taken from them, so this can heighten sensitivity. All will eventually fall into place.

Work with tenderness, sensitivity and humility. Help the person to realise the exquisite level of care that they have always had for themselves. It will be there.

Confusion of identity can be significant, so you may be moved to address this first, or along with any love/relationship related trauma that is present. The relevant family members will appear from this inner landscape.

Some further aspects of adoption that I’ve noticed:

We may assume that one or both parents actually gave their children up for adoption. We should check this. Sometimes this is true, but they may have been coerced or had their baby stolen from them with officials having falsified records. My face to face clients are mostly in Ireland, so I have had to learn these truths from personal experience. If we don’t know that the parents freely gave their child away, then I suggest we should refrain from saying something such as “when a mother gives up the child for adoption they relinquish their rights as a parent”. Did she really just “give them up”, or was she doing her best to find a solution when faced with a world of rapidly diminishing options? If a child was stolen by the church or state and recorded in the records as adopted, has the mother still lost her rights as a parent?

If the child’s grandparents knew of their daughter’s pregnancy and did nothing to stop the family keeping hold of the child, then it can be said that it was they who gave the child up for adoption. The mother may have been a victim of ever decreasing resources and support. So if you are a Family Constellations facilitator, you can bring the child’s grandparents into the constellation to see what is so.

There is a strong possibility that physical birth trauma occurred. The birth is often difficult and can involve intervention such as forceps delivery, and/or anaesthesia. If the mother has advance knowledge that she will be relinquishing her child, it is unlikely she will be in a healthy state when she goes into labour. Knowing what is to come, she may feel that this is her last chance to hold on to her child. The effects of the physical trauma on the child can exacerbate the psychological trauma that occurs when their parents go on to relinquish them.

In between the time of the child being relinquished by the mother and the adoptive parents receiving/taking the child, there will often be a caregiver of some sort, a nun, or social worker. Maybe this person was kind and loving to the child, or possibly cold and unemotional. However short this relationship, this is the one that came immediately after the natural mother. Representation of this person may reveal an extraordinary resource that the client can connect with, or something else. Deep-seated issue with authority? This person may have been experienced as a perpetrator. After all, it can be understandable if the child feels that this person stole them from their mother and that the adoptive parents then saved them. So we can give this ‘intermediary’ a place in a constellation. I would love to hear how many family constellation facilitators have done this and what has been seen.

I was adopted at eight weeks old from Ireland to England. Thankfully my secretly pregnant mother saved up for a plane ticket to get to London. If she had taken the ferry, she would have been stopped by Catholic ‘guards’ who used to wait at the English ports to escort the young women back to Ireland to be locked in a Magdalene laundry/ mother and baby home. Ireland had what has been accurately referred to as ‘The Adoption Machine‘, termed by Paul Jude Redmond, author of the book by the same title. What happened in Ireland was nothing less than a nationwide church and state-sanctioned human trafficking operation on a vast scale. As legislation changed in Ireland and other western countries, this has become a recognisable structure in other countries where helpless babies are more readily available.

There are few adoption-specific pages on this website and also an interview I did with the author Anne Heffron, who like me, was adopted as a baby. The conversation spontaneously evolved into a constellation. It will show just how such a small step in facilitation can make something significant happen for someone who was adopted.

Adoption is highly complex, and society has done a very effective job of glazing a vast set of assumptions over the lens through which we see it.

I hope this has made the lens a bit clearer.

We need to feel safe to feel OK. And to change, we may need to feel unsafe for this to happen. In any relationship, we can ask the question “Do I feel unsafe enough to feel unsafe?”.

If we ever find that we feel completely and entirely safe with someone else, it is possible that all our armouring will suddenly dissolve, our survival mechanisms, creative adjustments and all our coping strategies, revealing perfect, brilliant, flowing love.

Love that never left.


It wasn’t a typical Saturday afternoon. We had just spent many hours chanting. And in a trance. I now sat alone with the Buddhist Lama, and he passed me a bowl made from the skull of a very ancient Tibetan monk and prompted me to drink. I took the skull into my cupped hands, looking down to see what was inside. The fluid inside was dark, red and wet. Was it wine or human blood? I didn’t know, and I honestly didn’t care. I figured that if it was wine and this magic was going to work, by the time it hit my tongue, it would have turned to blood anyway. The bowl felt very old, soft but brittle, and I thought of how once upon a time long passed, it must have pulsed with the breath of life. Overcome with reverence, I put my lips to the bone, and I drank. I was sure that I knew what I was doing, but I also knew that I had absolutely no fucking idea what was happening.

As I swallowed, I slowly raised my eyes to take in my surroundings. I was half-expecting to see some visiting deities or demonic entities coming right at me, but there wasn’t even a Tibetan thangka painting to be seen. Then I remembered that this shouldn’t be surprising as I wasn’t in Tibet. I was possibly in the most unlikely place to be immersed in a tantric ritual. I was deep within the sanctum of St Theresa’s Catholic Church, right in the middle of Dublin.

I may have been in a Catholic church, but there was no dangling carrot promising salvation here. What was on the cards was an invitation to annihilate any illusory sense of self. Holding the skull had made this clear, I was in touch with death, and as I felt the last red drops drip from my lips, the Lama and I connected as I gave him the skull.

A fleeting thought passed as I wondered if the church had a clue about all this when they had given the space. Maybe someone offering their body as a tantric feast to the gods had resonated with their own faith, possibly creating some inward echoes with the domesticated, safe and controlled ceremony of the sacrament.

And although there may have been a resonance, it was obvious that this was beyond the sacrament.

We were in a ‘Chöd’ ceremony.

Chöd is mostly hidden, and very obscure. It is an esoteric and extremely risky Buddhist ritual, at least as far as mental health is concerned. It is a fast-track method of self-destruction and spontaneous enlightenment that historically takes place on rare occasions in the Himalayas.

I remember when I first read of Chöd. In Tibetan, it means “to cut through”. It is pronounced as “Chuh”, and was brought to earth by Machig Labdrön, a renowned 11th-century Tibetan tantric female Buddhist. Machig was named Dorje Wangchuma which translates as ‘Diamond Independent Goddess.’ Appearing to me as a paradox, she was a master of supreme personal autonomy and at the same time an expression of infinite, boundless flowing edgelessness. That was all I needed to know. Deep within my heart, I signed-up.

Having located a book about Chöd as a teenager, I quickly realised that it wasn’t a daytime read. With macabre curiosity, I read page after page, drinking in the words, and digesting them with envy as I learned how the monks, who after waiting and prepared for someone’s death, would visit the fresh grave that very night. After beseeching all the demonic entities to come to the grave, they would then pray for their illusory self to be sliced into pieces and devoured.

In only one night, apparently the adept could bypass years of meditation and spiritual practice in a total and all-consuming sacrifice.

Chöd is possibly the ultimate spiritual ‘hack’.

As demons devoured every delusion, and demons were seen as illusions, the sense of an individual self was destroyed. Only the remains of the monk would be left, as a smouldering piece of shit, egolessly festering on the gravesite. Although the objective was apparently a noble one, the risks were known to be significant, at least to the self, defined as it is by its perpetual seeking for personal relevance.

For every monk that shifted into liberation, many more went insane, forever locked into the world of a madman, the gateway to enlightenment slammed shut for all eternity.

Nevertheless, and with possibly a lower chance of death for the dedicated monk than a game of Russian roulette, Chöd became relatively popular, most likely appealing to those on the fringes of society, who would possibly find solace dwelling in the solitude of burial grounds and other ghostly haunted realms. As a teenager, I had instantly seen the appeal.

Once I’d returned the skull, the Lama handed me a human femur. “Blow”, he said.

I had heard that the thigh bone of someone who died a violent death is preferred when selecting a Kangling, or leg-flute, and I didn’t stop to ask what the donor had done to deserve their fate. I have since been told that the best Kangling is from a young woman who died giving birth; signifying the compassion and love of a mother. A Kangling should be handled with great care.

Without any consideration of placing the largest bone of the human body to my mouth, nor soliciting any tips for proper technique, I took a large intake of breath, pursed my wet lips onto what I imagined was the kneecap end and blew. What came out was nothing like Philip Glass’s ‘Kundun’ soundtrack nor the haunting sound of an energised Kangling, blown by the lungs of an enlightened being. The sound is supposed to terrify all evil spirits but be pleasing to the wrathful deities. I had the sense that my attempt would terrify anything, as what blurted out had been more demonic raspberry than spiritual mastery. At this point though, for all I knew I could have been spluttering blood.

And then Chöd was over, and we went to the pub. And I carried on with life.

One afternoon, six years later I was sitting in my clinic during a break, chatting with a friend on Facebook, when seemingly out of the blue my sense of individual self spontaneously disappeared into oblivion, taking with it the idea that ‘I’ had ever been. It took less than 30 mins.

So it can happen, and it can happen to you. And if it does, you’ll know that enlightenment does happen, but to no-one. That it is simply the falling away of that which was seeking enlightenment. The end of the seeker. A super-complete perfection. Everything and nothing. More love than is imaginable.


Literally one hell of a ride.


I am grateful to Margaret Michie for information on a young mother being the best source for a Kangling.