tied hands
My thoughts have focussed quite intently on this word ESSENTIAL over the last while. When lockdown closed in on all of us we were constantly reminded of what is essential and what is non-essential. As countries recover from the alleged waves of the pandemic, the lockdown severity is decreased in accordance with the essential nature of services.
(Some would consider that very debatable but that is another matter.)

Prior to the lockdown in South Africa, I was in hospital for surgery and had first hand experience to remind me of the vital role of medical staff. Whenever I heard about frontline staff I thought about the many traumatic sights and sounds I experienced during those eventful five days in hospital. A week after I was discharged the lockdown began. My admiration for medical service providers during my personal experience was reinforced in the context of the covid-19 pandemic.

There was however a shadow side to all this admiration. I began to feel less and less “essential”. I could not save lives. I could not even cook a pot of food for myself let alone contribute to relief efforts struggling to cope with a hunger crisis resulting “from no, work no pay”. My non-essential existence was reinforced with every message that only essential services are required. Childhood experiences have tuned my psychic antenna to search for messages of worthlessness. These had become vital cues to my survival. Many people share those experiences and for those who don’t, there are sufficient messages from modern society fear-mongering us to question our worth. We spend a lifetime trying to prove that our existence matters. Most of that effort is to prove our worth to ourselves. We hope that our skills, money, status will save us from the doom of being worthless.

As I sunk further into feelings of worthlessness, my efforts to validate my existence included thoughts of learning some essential skill at least. These thoughts were involuntary and intrusive. They arose from the unconscious processes over which I have no control. They found their way into my dreams demanding attention. I had a series of such dreams one night in which there were various scenes from the pandemic. In all these scenes there was a common thread – I could not make a contribution no matter how hard I tried. In one scene I was unable to wash the dishes. If I shared these thoughts with friends they will shower me with ideas and reminders that I matter and that I have some contribution to make. I could write an essay on all the wonderful things I have done in the world to argue my worth. I could also write an essay deliberating on what essential really means in a given context. I am not going to do any of that. Instead of dressing up an old wound to make myself feel better, I am going to walk toward this dreaded mirror and face the fear-feeding boggarts like Potter did.

I am going spend time embracing a part of myself I have rejected my entire life. I am going to welcome the part of me that I have fought so hard to banish. I am going to spend this lockdown period with my non-essential self who can’t save lives or cook a pot of food right now. I am going to ask her to forgive me for a lifetime of exile. I am going to forgive her for the silent ways in which she tormented me. I suspect fibromyalgia was one such way given its ruthless way of triggering thoughts of worthlessness. She and I will share stories and find a way to bring the fragments together and form a whole.

I will eventually cook a pot of food for a relief effort and I will sew face masks again. I will use all the skills I have gained over the last 50 years. When I do these things, my non-essential self and I will work together. We will have times when we are of great and admirable service and we will have times when we have nothing to offer anyone. In the productive times she will not be a rejected part of myself. In the idol times she will guide me. Instead of the harsh judgement and questions of self-worth, there will be gifts of wisdom from a part of myself I will have access to. This is what is meant by the Jungian term of integration and wholeness.

I am non-essential as much as I am essential. As the outer-world continues to remind me of my non-essential part, I accept the invitation and pull up a chair at the great mirror. I know this part of myself and now it is time to bring her home from the exile. Though she is not me, she is part of me and without her I cannot be whole.

Michelene Dianne Benson

Sophia and the Chalice

april scs symbols

Clear blue skies and ancient mountain slopes

Despairing I search them tapping on elusive windows of hope

Another doctor, another hospital another encounter with fear and fate

Anxiety and trepidation mount in another waiting room


A tower rises boldly above the maze of medical buildings

In plain sight guiding like a beacon and I hear it speak

I know my journey will end there

But there are mountains to cross and miles to cover

In the dark of night I see the tower and the clear blue skies

Wearily I consider the mountains and the miles

Those that are behind me and those that are yet before me

Helplessly, I surrender to this journey


Searching for solace, my hands begin to craft

A full moon is rising in this dark night of the soul

Sacred Sanskrit symbols burning into the wood grain

Burning, scarring,  gaining meaning and significance


The windows of hope fly open and grace finds me longing

I pass by the tower reverently  lifting up mine eyes to this hill again

I see her – The Lady with the Lamp

Her voice that guided me over mountains and across many miles


Her lamp shines bright even amidst the clear blue skies

A solitary guidance through that Dark Night of The Soul


Endless, timeless holy, fount of wisdom – Sophia!


Sophia I called out

Sophia I learned to trust

In her bosom I rested my weary being

Sophia, her voice channelled, “You are here now!”


Chalice Divine, I call thee Blessed!

Chalice of life, sacred source of my blood, vessel of creation

Life and death danced harmoniously within your walls

Mother moon directing our seasons of living  and our seasons dying


Blessed are you Sophia

Blessed are the sacred words of the wise ones

Blessed are you chalice of creation

Blessed are you in your living and in your dying


Divine you must be for in your dying there is great living

Creativity flows again, a life blood through my being

The ancient one who guards the cross roads welcomes me mischievously

Adventure awaits, new mountains and new miles


She, who leaves gift offerings to remind me she is my companion

She, who changes form and is not confined

The one who is creation herself

This is the new season of my becoming


I am the creation

I am  life in all my changing forms

I am the mountains and the blue skies

I am the tower that beckons

I am the blood

I am the divine  chalice

I am the sacred words of the wise ones

I am beloved Sophia

I am the lamp that shines brightly

I am the formless ancient one at the crossroads

I am the roads and I am the traveller

Pains of initiation and pains of dis-ease


Being a chronic Pisces (lunar Cancer & Cancer Rising) does not make for an easy life but when I get ready for Alchemy and Magick then I love my stars with all my dust. The descent into the dreamworld is as easy as taking a breath and when preparing to facilitate a process, I have a valid excuse to be there so it is free fall. Our personal genius, our truest calling, our dharma is a precious precious gift!!!
It is fascinating to me that in my most authentic state, my (fibromyalgia) pain is in fact at its worst. It challenges the myth that when we do what we love we have spontaneous remission. Sometimes or for some of us the archetypal warrior imagery is more apt. The more the warrior is closer to victory, the greater the pain of the gaping wounds inflicted along the journey. The ego will do many “stranger things” to prevent you from manifesting your deepest calling – your dharma.
Know thyself is a critical armour to understand the difference of the pains that emanate from dis-ease of inauthentic living and the pains of initiation into your highest calling,
Beloved Know Thyself!

A different kind of wise

“In the dark night of the soul you need not give up your intelligence, but you may have to change your idea of what it means to be wise in the conduct of your life. You may have to adopt a different kind of knowing, one is suited to the darkness and not in conflict with it. You need special vision for your dark night because the ordinary ways of thinking may not work. Seeing in the emotional dark is a special talent that might draw out resources you never knew you had.”
Thomas Moore – Dark Nights of The Soul!