A Matter of Life and Death: The Quest for Maturity, Soul & Resilience in Uncertain Times – 2022

An Initiatory Programme – Online – for Men and Women

With William Ayot and Juliet Grayson 

To read feedback from people who attended the
2021 version of this workshop 
click here

“In the middle of the journey of life, I awoke to find myself
in a dark wood where the way was wholly lost.”

Thus the great poet Dante begins ‘The Divine Comedy’, his journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. Seven hundred years later we are, once again, beset by uncertainty and existential threat – living through what many believe to be the end of an epoch. How do we find our way in such dark and uncertain times?  How do we navigate our own Inferno?  How do we meet the mystery?

In this eight-part online programme, beginning in June 2022, Juliet Grayson and William Ayot explore ways to wholeness, healing and a soulful sense of belonging in a troubled world. Each afternoon session will stand alone but build – through teaching, exercises, inter-action and ritual – into an initiatory programme for men and women – exploring the great mystery of maturity.  The sessions will be between 3 and 3 ½ hours long.  Session themes to be explored session by session:

  1. Family First: Beginnings and Roles
  2. The Second Self: Embracing the Shadow
  3. Initiations: Conscious and Unconscious
  4. Life Purpose and Meeting the World
  5. Living in Paradox: Love and Relationship
  6. Turning for Home: The Beginning of Healing
  7. A Deeper Dive: Making and Breaking
  8. Full Circle: Spirituality, Nature and Coming Home

Course Content in More Depth

1. Family First: Beginnings and Roles

“To begin at the beginning…” Having looked at the terms and parameters of our journey, we delve into our beginnings, childhood roles and the experience of innocence. Topics include: 

  • How we are made and imprinted.
  • Attachment styles and a sense of belonging.
  • Stereotypes and designated roles.
  • The open child, and the rapture of being alive.
  • The loss of innocence and the sacred.


2.  The Second Self: Embracing the Shadow

A clear-eyed look at the human shadow – source of our greatest troubles, unforeseen dangers, and unexplored potentials. Topics include:

  • The birth of the Shadow and our dark potentials.
  • The Bipolar shadow of too much and too little.
  • Shadow on the grand scale – evil in society.
  • Eating the Shadow and “making the darkness conscious”.
  • The Golden Shadow and our hidden potential.

3. Initiations: Conscious and Unconscious

Occurring throughout life, initiations are about more than transitions from adolescence into adulthood. This session looks at ongoing initiation as a positive necessity. Topics include:  

  • Milestones and marking initiations in life.
  • Trauma and loss as initiation.
  • Self-initiations and unconscious initiation.
  • Grounding grandiosity: naivety, narcissism and initiation.
  • Ritual initiations and rites of passage.


4. Life Purpose and Meeting the World

Here we look at our interface with the world – at vocation and direction. Are we on the right path? Are we leaders or followers? And are we ready to stand up and be counted? Topics include:

  • Finding true purpose: right challenge, right path.
  • Passion and action: standing up and speaking out.
  • Life as an art-form: ambit and ambition.
  • Making a difference: leading and serving.
  • Becoming who we really are: work and the soul.

5. Love and Relationship: Living in Paradox

This session looks into the people-growing machine that is relationship –unpicking the confusions and contradictions of becoming and belonging.  Topics include:  

  • The path of love: from romance to reality.
  • We are one: the dangers of fusion.
  • The wounded heart and the dark side of relationship.
  • Attachment & autonomy the dance of differentiation.
  • Yes, no and maybe, the art of negotiation.


6. Turning for Home: The Beginning of Healing 

Some call it a mid-life crisis, others a great awakening – but there comes a point in life where the soul comes a-knocking and old ways of doing things just don’t work anymore. Topics include:    

  • The soul’s insistence: recognising the call.
  • Refusal and denial, inaction and avoidance.
  • Crisis and awakening – the road to wholeness.
  • Guides and teachers – staying on the path.
  • First things first: the order of the work.


7. A Deeper Dive: Making and Breaking

The core of the work lies in meeting ourselves, making deals with our soul (or psyche) and addressing those parts of ourselves we’ve so often failed to challenge or change. Topics Include

  • If not now, when? Grasping the nettle.
  • Fears and resentments: the door to change.
  • Working with our grief, anger and shame.
  • Addictions, avoidances and self-sabotage.
  • In the belly of the beast – self-care and support.


8. Full Circle: Spirituality, Nature and Coming Home

Having looked at our past and our blocks to generativity, our final session brings us to a point where we can start to develop a richer inner life and spirituality. Topics include:  

  • The generative heart and the gift of compassion
  • Reconnecting with nature and the Anima Mundi.
  • Ritual, offering and addressing the Other.
  • Gratitude, devotion, and the arts of surrender
  • Letting go and self-acceptance: coming home

Building a self-development community

During this workshop we will encourage the group to create a community, and part of this will be self-facilitated study groups, which we will call ‘Home Groups’.  Initially, we will assign people into small groups, to reflect, share and explore.  NB We ask you to keep the following times free for the first 2 meetings: 2-5pm on 25th June and July 9th.  After this you’ll make their own arrangements to meet between sessions.  Some groups will choose to meet weekly, but most will meet once a fortnight.  We recommend that you meet in groups of 4-5 people, though a meeting between 2 of you is perfectly valid, as is a group of 8.  We call these groups ‘home groups.’  You can request to change your home group at any time.  

Online Forum

We will provide a closed, online forum for whole group discussion.  There will be a relevant resource section, where participants are invited to post information that is related to the course content. There could be online articles, essays, YouTube clips, and so forth.   

The Practicalities

The programme will consist of eight live meetings with William and Juliet.
Each meeting will last approximately 3 – 3 ½ hours.
There will be self-facilitated small discussion groups between the meetings, and an online group forum.

Tutors: William Ayot and Juliet Grayson. They will usually co-faciliate. There may be an occasional exception, where only one of them leads the group.  

Live Lecture/Workshops: Saturdays
Starting time will be 2pm (UK Time). Please log on at 1.50 so we can start promptly. 
Finishing time will be by 5.30 pm.   
NB if you cannot make one of the meetings, the recordings of these will be available by Tuesday afternoon following the session.   
Live Lectures Dates: Saturdays June 18th 2022 (BST), July 2nd (BST), July 16th (BST), July 30th (BST), September 3rd (BST), September 17th (BST), October 1st (BST), October 15th (BST)
First 2 ‘Home Group’ Meetings Dates: Saturday June 25th 2022 from 2-5pm and Saturday July 9th from 2-5pm.  After this the group will make their own arrangements for future group meetings.
Where: Online using Zoom Meetings

Different Time Zones: UK British Standard Time (BST) 2.00pm  Click here to see the start time in your time zone

Frequency: Fortnightly for 4 sessions, a complete break during August, and then fortnightly for 4 sessions.   

Dates for your first two ‘self development community group’ meetings: Please keep 2-5 pm on Saturday June 25th 2022 and Saturday July 9th available to start your first 2 ‘home group’ meetings.  Once the group is established, we encourage you to find a regular time that you the group can commit to on a fortnightly basis.  Group sizes can be anything from 2-8 people.  We recommend 3 or 4 people.

Cost for the whole programme:
£630 early bird price if booked before April 18th.
£690 full price.
PLEASE fill in this registration form (which has a few questions)

Time to pay: If you would like to attend but need to set up a payment plan to pay over a longer period, please fill in the registration document (above), and also contact juliet@therapyandcounselling.co.uk with the details of what you can realistically manage per month.  

Recordings: All talks will be recorded, in both audio and video form and posted on a private programme website by the Tuesday afternoon following the programme.  This allows participants who need to miss a talk to watch it later.  Those who attend may choose to reinforce their learning by watching or listening again. Participants should note that if they appear on screen they will be in the recording, which is used for this group. NB No recordings showing group members will be made public without prior agreement.

Homework: There may be some homework between modules.  This is strongly recommended but not required.

Certificate of Attendance : A certificate of attendance for continuous professional development (CPD) will be provided at the end of the entire programme.  Participants who attend the entire programme can claim 24 hours CPD for the course, and if you’ve attended the home groups too, then 36 hours CPD is given in total. 

Registration:  Requires two steps:
1) Fill in this registration form (which has a few questions)
2) TO PAY IN FULL .   Click here
3) If you need to make a payment plan because you cannot afford the full payment now, then please pay a deposit of £200 click here and let us know your suggested payment plan.  If you pay over time then the full payment of £690 will be due.  Email sambaker.pa@gmail.com with your proposal

NOT YET READY TO REGISTER, BUT STILL INTERESTED? If you are not yet ready to register, but would to discuss it, or just want to let us know that you are very interested but not ready to register quite yet, then please click here to keep in touch with the programme


Cancellations or alterations made more that 90 days of the first day of the workshop (June 18th)  are subject to a 12.5% handling charge. Cancellations or alterations within 90 days of the first day of the workshop (June 18th)  are non refundable and non transferable.

Organised through Sleeping Mountain Ltd