Fairytales, Astrology and Enchantment in Relation to Child Directed Creative Play

This is an excerpt from an article written in collaboration with  Sandra Lamb Kilburn, a medical astrologer whose work enhances  applied clinical practice at the Living Memory Research Trust .

The article explores astrological psychology and specific astrological chart indicators.  A detailed case study of child directed creative play sessions demonstrates their application in a therapeutic setting.  The child’s astrological chart indicates key personality traits which could be matched to the trials and tribulations that beset the leading characters within the fairytale of Cinderella. Insights gained from this exploration together with an understanding of the symbolism of fairytales offers healing opportunities, where the child leads the therapist through a personal interpretation of the fairytale, Cinderella.

Fairytales are as old as mankind itself and in all cultures, people have shared stories from generation to generation.  As metaphors for the growth of the soul, fairytales have spiritual significance and meaning and reflect our personal journey of life on earth.  (Wilhelm H 2015) They are not stories of rational behaviour but are symbolic of deep psychological, moral and spiritual messages to the soul to guide it on its journey through the trials it will face during its physical life experiences.  Through their experiences the characters in the fairytales demonstrate the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual pressures the soul will encounter during its contact with the material world; this acts as a guide to help the individual to navigate the tests and trials experienced during physical life.  (Jung C 1996)

Astrological Psychology and the Symbolism of Fairytales

Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, was deeply interested in mythology, religion and fairytales.  After studying medicine at Basel University in 1900, he graduated with an M.D. from Zurich University in 1902.  Paranormal experiences in his childhood led him to delve into the mysteries of the psyche (the soul) which resulted in his incorporating astrology and psychology into his studies.

The origins of archetypes appear to go back to the Greek philosopher Plato, who believed that pure mental forms were imprinted in the soul prior to birth.  He developed the idea that archetypes are the original models in the non-physical world and that physical forms are copies of these pure thought forms.  Carl Jung furthered the concept of psychological archetypes (metaphysical ideas of the nature of reality beyond physical existence) which were influenced by Plato’s ideas.  Jung formulated four major categories of archetypes; the animus/anima, the self, the shadow and the persona, which are archetypes that feature in fairytales.  Jung believed that at the unconscious level i.e. everything that is not at the conscious level of awareness, everyone retains understanding of human experiences and this creates a collective knowledge, which he called the collective unconscious.  Jung put forward the idea that a group experience takes place on a lower level of consciousness than the experience of an individual.  This is due to the fact that when many people gather together to share one common emotion, the total psyche emerging from the group is below the level of the individual psyche, stating that ‘If it is a very large group, the collective psyche will be more like the psyche of an animal, which is the reason why the ethical attitude of large organisations is always doubtful.  The psychology of a large crowd inevitably sinks to the level of mob psychology.  If, therefore, I have a so-called collective experience as a member of a group, it takes place on a lower level of consciousness than if I had the experience by myself alone.’  (Jung C 1991)

To read the full paper go to Academia.edu

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Little Drummer Boy

Sam was eight years old with a diagnosis of Down’s syndrome. He attended a local primary school and received daily help from his support assistant within the classroom.  His limited understanding meant that he expressed himself using single words only.  To help him communicate, he had been taught from the Makaton Signs and Symbols Communication System which uses speech with signs (gestures) and symbols (pictures) to aid communication.   Sam’s mother had asked for my help because Sam’s interaction wasn’t improving, adding to his other difficulties.  She also mentioned that Sam was now refusing to walk along an area of path on his way to school, where he had previously fallen down.

Sam’s father was unwell and often at home, battling depression. Sam’s mother had given birth to Sam in her early forties, the daily demands of caring for a child with special needs left her physically exhausted. Although a trained dancer, she felt she lacked any joy in her life having also recently lost her own mother to a terminal illness.  In an effort to control Sam’s behaviour, No’, ‘Stop’ and ‘Don’t’, were words she regularly used before picking up items that he repeatedly threw to the floor.

The innovative work of the Living Memory Research Trust is based upon the belief in the continuity of the soul and its journey through lives.  Our colleague, a consultant astrologer and numerologist focuses upon medical astrology (Iatromathematics) and the psychological and spiritual aspects of the soul journey.  This innovative work provides insights into current relationship issues related to previous experience of shared lives together. I have found this to be invaluable guidance, when searching for the optimum approach to specialised therapy.  In this instance, I requested a chart for both Sam and his mother.

Sam’s astrological chart indicated that he and his mother were opposites in many respects and could therefore learn much from each other as each had the ability to ‘free the other’s spirit.’  The chart indicated that his mother would be able to teach her son to be practical and to take responsibility for his physical needs and he would help her to relax and ‘lighten up’ to enable her to find some joy in life.  She had feelings of self-doubt which limited her ability to achieve, putting duty before pleasure, Sam on the other hand, was an ‘optimist with an innate faith in life’.  He ‘needed adventure with a desire to soar, intellectually and spiritually.’  Sam’s ‘light touch’ could stop his mother from worrying and his mother’s realism would temper his enthusiasm.  However, there was a danger that his mother’s seriousness and inflexibility would limit Sam’s ability to progress.  To avoid this happening, their joint charts indicated that they were required to work creatively together.

Information in the chart indicated that Sam would respond positively to singing, jungle images and drums. This could easily be incorporated into his play sessions, as a reminder of the strength of positive memories from previous incarnations.

 Therapy

Therapy for Sam was partly focused on encouraging his mother in the use of positive language e.g. to invite Sam to do what she wanted him to do rather than to use negative words such as ‘don’t’, ’stop’ and ‘no’. For example, to first gain Sam’s attention by saying his name and then when she had gained his attention, to make her request e.g.  ‘Sam, put the cup on the table’ rather than ‘don’t throw the cup on the floor’ and ‘Sam, please walk’ instead of shouting ’Stop running.’

To inhibit Sam’s habit of throwing objects on the floor, I suggested that his mother put her hand over Sam’s hand and then together they were to pick up whatever he had thrown on the floor, ignoring his resistance.  By repeating this ‘hand over hand’ action each time he threw something, I assured her that Sam would eventually tire of making extra work for himself and would stop throwing things.  It was also a demonstration for him that his mother was in charge not he and this method proved very effective.

We tackled Sam’s remembered fear of a previous fall by distracting him.   As he and his mother set off for school, his mother sang action songs and appropriate nursery rhymes as he approached the area that caused him concern.  This encouraged him to keep moving and before long, he had replaced the trauma incident with a happy memory of the sing-along- journey to school.

Specific vocal tones based on the Rainbow Chakra Toning System were practised at home and in our play sessions.  Using his voice in this way to make sounds rather than words improved his overall confidence.  The action of toning impacts positively on cellular processes and on the neurological system and daily practice began to improve Sam’s ability to process his thoughts and express himself through words rather than gestures.

The sacral tone /O/ (as in home) was used to strengthen Sam’s voice and stimulate left brain neurological connections, improving social interaction and communication which helped him to relate to other children in the classroom.  Toning is an ancient and powerful method of healing with the voice.  It provides a means of creative expression through simple vocal techniques to create specific sounds.  Focused toning can alter the molecular structure of our bodies and the vibration of the space around us, triggering our own self-healing mechanism.  Each tone within this toning system corresponds to a specific chakra (energy centre) and a specific colour, creating a rainbow of colour and sound to strengthen and balance the auric field.  The sacral tone resonates with the vibratory frequency of the colour orange; together we made an orange tent from a clothes airer covered in orange material for Sam to sit under while making his tone.

Singing, drumming and finding jungle images were incorporated into our play session and encouraged at home.  Sam’s mother responded well to the suggestion that she should dance to Sam’s drumming.  As she danced to his drum beat, Sam was shown the positive impact of his actions. Their relationship improved as they laughed together and this empowered both mother and son and helped to redress the balance of control in their relationship.

The Emerald Alignment a self help method of aligning the subtle energy field was practised by Sam’s mother at home in the morning and evening, this improved her sleep, enabling her to cope with the stresses of daily life.

The Emerald Alignment for Children also played an important role at the beginning and end of Sam’s play sessions, I hung a swathe of emerald green material from the ceiling as a visual prompt.  Before he was taken through the emerald alignment process, Sam always chose to sit on the emerald green material where it fell in a pool on the floor.

As a result of his play sessions, Sam became more aware of his surroundings and because of our turn taking activities, his teacher reported that he was beginning to share and cooperate in activities at school. His mother had pulled back from anticipating her son’s daily needs and he was now dressing and toileting himself. Regularly drumming to a rhythm improved Sam’s ability to listen and his ability to identify specific speech sounds when spoken to.  This in turn improved the clarity of his own speech because we can only reproduce what we hear.

Sadly, Sam’s parents moved from the area and we were unable to continue our sessions but this work was instrumental in illustrating for me the value of  medical astrology  in assisting the therapeutic process.

Information on the Rainbow Chakra Tones can be found on the Living Memory Research Trust website

Further informationrelating to therapy with children is available on this link on the Living Memory Research Trust website 

Jennifer can be contacted at Email: jennifer.warters@lightvoice.org.uk

 

Fly Me To The Moon

 

One wet Saturday afternoon in Scotland, several years ago, my four year-old grandson and I  spent the morning exploring the towpath on the Polwarth canal bank in Edinburgh.  I was ‘baby sitting’ while my son and his wife took a much needed over night break . Undeterred by the weather, Fin and I shared an easy lunch of  yesterday’s lasagne and  went into the living room to play. The previous day, on my arrival, Fin had asked if we could make a rocket to go to the moon and having talked about the requirements, we went in search of  the basic framework for the craft.  Eventually, we found two wicker basket chairs in a bedroom and with difficulty, carried them downstairs .  I tipped them towards each other, which left a seating space in the middle for the self-selected astronaut.  Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Fin had found an empty giant packet of soap powder to cut up to make fins and a control panel. Unfortunately,  when carrying the box into the room, he had powdered the carpet with the remains of its contents… it looks like ‘moon dust’, I said . Relieved by my positive response , he went in search of scissors.  I  followed his instruction to cellotape flat pieces of card to cover gaping holes in the side of the craft.  We folded cardboard to provide a control panel and Fin drew three circles to represent the dials before cellotaping it in place. + Read More

Principles Underpinning the Origins of Sound

Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates….. that all that we call matter and energy are but modes of vibratory motion .’    The Kybalion

‘We are the same as plants, as trees, as other people, as the rain that falls.  We consist of that which is around us, we are the same as everything.’  Gautama Buddha

Exploration into alchemical theory informs us that there is but one primary source and one cosmic substance and the only apparent difference between any form of this cosmic substance is its different state of motion.  Alchemists postulated that matter is a consequence of a single pure ripple of vibration from an original Divine creative source.  This wave of vibrational frequency reverberates through space causing everything to vibrate at its own vibratory rate, whether a cell within our body, a daisy, a tree, a stone or a star.  In our advanced technological age, we are able hear the hum of each starry cluster or planetary body.  These energy forms group together in sympathetic resonance causing ripples of harmonics across the cosmos, known as ‘The Music of the Spheres’.  This is an ancient philosophical concept that regards movements of celestial bodies – the sun, moon, and planets as a form of music.  Pythagoras proposed that they all emit their own unique hum based on their orbital revolution. + Read More

Playtime

In my early days as a speech and language therapist, I had a deep desire to work creatively with children with special needs but became disillusioned with systems and methods of working that failed to address the child’s underlying emotions.  In the past, I had made hasty judgements which may have interfered with the child’s ability to progress.  Professional assessment whilst providing a diagnosis , also indicates a list of assumptions about what the child is or is not capable of and this limits and veils our perception of the child’s potential.

Having tried and tested numerous working methods with children struggling in the school system, I eventually came to the conclusion that focusing on a child’s impairment and endeavouring to encourage them to do what they find most difficult, is a debilitating exercise for both child and teacher.  I was inspired by the dawning realisation that children are able to heal themselves surprisingly quickly when offered positive creative choices.  These choices should be based on what the child enjoys doing within a structured framework of familiarity, routine and clear boundaries.  This approach caused me to shift my focus from the logical and rational left brain, the seat of impairment, to the creative intuitive aspects of the right brain.

All too often we ‘shine a torch’ on a child’s difficulty in the hope that any new learning will be integrated into their daily life.  Instead we need to refocus their minds away from their own difficulty and involve them in an enjoyable creative activity of their choosing.  This will relax the child and restore their confidence and begin to melt away self-doubt.  A relaxed child will learn more easily.  The positive energy of enjoyment will change the child’s perception of their own difficulty which will be diminished as a result.

Children benefit from interacting with the elements of nature, earth, water plants, trees and all life forms.  This activity engages those parts of the central nervous system that are unimpaired.  There is now much evidence to show that plants, flowers and trees respond to our emotional state and harmonise our energy flow.  We feel better if we smell the roses.

My search for answers led to post graduate training in metaphysics and alternative therapeutic approaches and I focused my therapy on creative play, incorporating vocal toning and energy field alignment.  Toning is an ancient and powerful method of healing with the voice.  It provides a means of creative expression through simple vocal techniques to create specific sounds.  Focused toning can alter the molecular structure of our bodies and the vibration of the space around us, triggering our own self-healing mechanism.  Each tone within the Rainbow Chakra toning system corresponds to a specific chakra (energy centre) and a specific colour, creating a rainbow of colour and sound to strengthen and balance the auric field.

My  work with children convinced me that a child’s enjoyment of a creative activity, increases the flow of  positive light energy into impaired areas of their brain which improves neurological functioning, just as sunshine and water droplets stimulate plant growth through photosynthesis.

Relationship with other people, to the earth and to animals is how we become connected to each other and it’s how we learn.  I have been lucky enough to visit central Australia more than once and  in my oveland trips across the desert to central Australia, I discovered that relationship was of paramount importance to Aboriginal society.  Exploration of the environment is encouraged and within the family groups, all generations learn together, sharing knowledge and socialising.  The children learn at their own level, sharing resources, ideas, thoughts and feelings.  Through observation and interaction they learn to gauge each other’s emotions, behaviours and style.

Hyperactive children who in their vulnerability, reflect the anxiety of those around them, are more likely to become calmer and settled in the presence of an adult who predictably responds to them with a calm voice and demeanour i.e. an adult who is aligned.

It is my hope that my passion and love of this work will inspire you too.  Check out my manuals,  Sensory Rainbow and Happy Talk    I have provided some guidelines to encourage you to follow your own intuition when playing creatively with the children you may be lucky enough to meet.

Healing Through Play

Robert, a subdued little boy of eight, was referred to me for creative play because of his struggles at home and at school where he was unable to order his thoughts.  When he tried to express himself, his speech was muddled and incoherent.   His actions were clumsy and he often tripped and banged into things.  If a child cannot cope with stress, he or she may also have difficulty coping with changes of plans, paying attention, sharing with others or sitting still. Without good sensory integration, learning is difficult and the child often feels uncomfortable about himself and cannot cope with ordinary demands and perceived pressure. This is because the child’s brain is not processing or organising the flow of sensory stimulation in a manner that provides good, precise information about himself and his world.  Physical activity stimulates the senses and develops the brain’s ability to adapt and to organise.

If as a therapist, we don’t make what we are doing look like play, a child will not participate with enthusiasm. Activities need to be purposeful and directed towards the goal of self development and self organisation. A child can self organise if he can play at one thing in a constructive manner for a reasonable length of time.

One afternoon, when given a choice of play materials, Robert chose to turn the playroom into an obstacle course, using everything in the room: wooden boxes, chairs, tunnels and small tables.  He then asked if I would let him blindfold me so that he could lead me through his creation. I agreed because it felt important for his confidence that he was in charge and that I was dependent on his instructions and physical prompts for my safety.  He then proceeded to tell me when to crouch down, when to lift my foot, when to crawl under a table or slide through a tunnel etc.  He had invented the game and took full responsibility for his role and was totally focused on my safety in our joint venture.

I attached a very long piece of yellow ribbon to my waist and as I moved, I left a yellow trail behind me.  When we had completed the course, I emerged unscathed and we looked back to see the length of ribbon that had marked my steps. The yellow track was a symbol of hope and a demonstration of how it is possible to relink a child’s  own impaired neural pathways through play.  I was given clear instructions and he was confident throughout because he was thinking more about me than his own difficulty in communication . This activity proved a turning point for us both in many ways because through this game of trust we had connected in a unique way and had both learnt from the experience.

On subsequent visits to the playroom, Robert and I played this game over and over again, taking turns with the yellow ribbon to lead each other over,  under and sometimes tunneling through the obstacles blocking our path.  If we give a child emotional support without trying to control what he does, he will probably try the task again and again until he masters it.

Gradually, Robert’s confidence improved and with  his improvement, his speech became clearer.  This confirmed my belief that children know how to heal themselves , we just have to hone our observation skills and watch for the clues they give us. We need to actively listen to the child , allow them to choose the activity and play materials without making suggestions and always follow their focus of attention.   Shining a torch on a speech difficulty or specific impairment may exacerbate the problem and demolish the child’s  confidence.  When children are allowed to choose and are given opportunities to direct the play without adult interference, they are  more likely to tap into their own unique self-healing mechanism.

If you would like to deepen your understanding of my approch to play,  please check out my manuals Sensory Rainbow and  Happy Talk  .  I have provided some guidelines to encourage you to follow your  own intuition when playing creatively with the children you are lucky enough to meet.

Emerald Alignment: Agent Of Change

This updated blog was first written in 2006  but so much has changed since then.  Hopefully, in the current turmoil, my words will encourage you to reduce your own stress levels and discover your true purpose in life.

In the 1990s, in search of  the meaning of spirituality, I found an answer to my quest and my own healing . Healing was a word frowned upon in the UK National Health Service  (NHS) where I was currently employed as a speech and language therapist/specialist.  My therapeutic work involved coordinating and delivering an area wide service to adults with learning disabilities and children with special needs.  I  was continually searching for new and creative ways  of working to improve my clients’ communication without the need to ‘shine a light’ on their specific difficulty.   Over the years I had come to realise that an orthodox, symptom focused approach didn’t work.  Instead, if I engaged the adult or child in a creative and enjoyable activity of their choice, all aspects of their communication would spontaneously improve . When we are relaxed and happy, we are unaware of our problems and in this space healing can take place. This isn’t rocket science but it wasn’t the prescriptive way I was expected to work.

Meanwhile, my home life was running out of control.  I was in the throes of juggling a demanding full time job with supporting my mother in caring for my father with a terminal illness ( cancer) and desperately struggling with the unhappiness of a troubled second marriage.  The emotional roller coaster of  being a mother to five children from my first marriage, three of whom my ex husband and I had fostered prior to adopting (the children were challenged by their own personal traumas), combined with the family problems associated with  three visiting teenage step daughters from my second marriage, was exhausting.   Not surprisingly, our family lurched from one crisis to another….. In an attempt to find some inner peace, I had read books on Buddhism and earnestly practised a plethora of meditation techniques without any noticeable success . My anxiety interfered with any attempt to focus and still my thoughts .

Thankfully, my life turned a corner after overhearing a colleague’s conversation about a therapist and healer she was seeing locally.  I  impulsively requested the contact details of   Carol Lamb, the  therapist in question and  I eagerly booked  an appointment.    At the close of my first session,  Carol aligned my auric field with an Emerald Alignment ,  a method of attunement to  a higher stream of consciousness which I was told was the primary source of energy that governs the body and would realign my auric field and forge a connection to my heart and my intuition to correct imbalance and restore stability ….an attractive prospect.   The alignment process had an immediate and positive effect . + Read More

Leonard and Ron: Colour my Life

I had been called to a residential home because Leonard, one of the older residents with learning disabilities and a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder was exhibiting ‘disturbing behaviour’. Apparently Leonard was making ‘strange noises’ to annoy residents who had gathered in the television lounge to watch their favourite programme. I arranged a visit to the home to observe the reported behaviour and discovered that Leonard was making deep growling sounds whenever he was in the company of others.  The sound he made resembled the deep Tibetan tone and it was also interesting to note that the  base chakra tone from the Light Voice system of Rainbow chakra tones  was also very similar to Leonard’s sound. The base chakra tone corresponds to the vibratory frequency of the base chakra in health and to the colour red on the rainbow colour spectrum. This powerful Tone breaks up any compounded, trapped energy of unreleased emotion held in the base of the spine.

Leonard was both bemused and delighted when we were later alone and I repeated the base chakra tone every time he made his tone. Toning with him in this way helped me to forge a closer connection with him.  To enhance the toning process,  I also produced a length of vibrant red silk from my bag to brighten the room.

Subsequent arrangements were made for me to visit Leonard weekly for six sessions. I was intent on discovering the cause of his behaviour and as a speech and language therapist, I had a responsibility to advise care staff on the best way to encourage appropriate communication.  The vibration of the base chakra tone releases held emotion and anatomically resonates with the lower bowel,  kidneys and adrenal glands.  On a metaphysical level, in expressing this deep tone,  Leonard would be releasing emotion associated with memory of painful past experience. In later visits, I demonstrated the base tone to care staff and told them of its healing application .  Having taught them the tone, I encouraged his care staff to spend time toning with Leonard in his room, explaining that this would lessen his need to tone infront of  others.

Ron

During my visits to see Leonard, I also noticed Ron, a man in his sixties,  peering through the glass partition of the door and laughing at the tonal sounds we were making. As he watched, he pointed excitedly at the rainbow coloured silks on display.  However, his support worker chastised him for interrupting the session and endeavoured to distract him and lead him away from the door.

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Fairytale Healing for Grief

Alice was referred to me for play therapy when she was five years old, by a team of health service professionals who were offering counselling support to Alice’s father and his new girlfriend. Alice was grieving for her mother who had passed away with cancer two years earlier.  The little girl had watched helplessly as her mother slowly deteriorated before her eyes. Her father’s inability to come to terms with the loss of his wife had led to his new girl friend, who had recently moved in, leaving the family home on repeated occasions.  These dramas obviously had an impact on Alice.

This pale, solemn little girl with long brown hair and large grey eyes spoke very little in class and was reluctant to join her classmates in their activities at the group activity table. Alice refused to read or write.  I suggested that rather than insisting on group cooperation, a place could be kept for her at the group table, so that she could take her place if or when she felt ready to do so.  Meanwhile, she should be allowed to sit separately and encouraged to draw and paint, activities which she enjoyed.  This would enable her to freely express the painful emotions she seemed to be holding inside.

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Richard’s Ash Wednesday Pilgrimage

Billie Holiday Music touches our hearts when words fail.  It allows healing to take place by altering the vibrational field within a room. It can reduce the debilitating effect of a potentially stressful environment and lessens the impact of colds and ear infections during the early months of language acquisition.  This research is documented in the Sensory Rainbow.

Through music the senses are heightened and the ability to receive sensory stimulation is enhanced. In an attempt to establish musical preference or dislike, it is important to offer a wide choice of music which should include spiritual, popular, folk, romantic , classical , cultural indigenous music etc.  The individual’s personal choice will facilitate their relaxation and healing by helping them to painlessly release imprinted memory patterns of past negative experience retained at the submolecular level within the subtle and physical body systems.  Hone your observation skills and watch, wait and listen for preference to be indicated through body language, eye movement, facial expression and vocalisation.

Clients with intractable conditions have often been referred to me as their last hope when other health professionals have withdrawn. This story is about a man who had been incarcerated in a large asylum hospital for many years before he was moved into community accommodation and subsequently referred for therapy because of his complete dependence on care staff to meet his everyday needs, his self-harming behaviour, lack of speech and limited mobility.

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