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

An Initiatory Programme for Men and Women

With William Ayot and Juliet Grayson 

“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 September 2021, Juliet Grayson and William Ayot explore ways to wholeness, healing and a soulful sense of belonging in a troubled world. Each three-hour 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.  

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.  We will assign people small groups, to reflect, share and explore.  There will be initial guidance, and then these self-facilitated study groups will make their own arrangements to meet between sessions.  

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 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 2 – 5pm (UK Time). 
Please log on from 1.50 so we can begin at 2.00. 
Please allow until 5.15 pm.
NB if you cannot make one of the meetings, the recordings of these will be available by Monday afternoon following the session.   

Where: Online using Zoom Meetings

Meeting Dates: Saturdays September 11th 2021 (BST), September 25th (BST), October 09th (BST), October 23 (BST), November 6 (GMT), November 20 (GMT), December 4 (GMT), December 18 (GMT)

Starting Time: It will always be 2pm UK time.  NB British Summer Time (BST) ends on 31st October and changes to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Different Time Zones: UK British Standard Time (BST) 2.00pm, Central European Time 3pm, India Standard Time 6pm, Hong Kong Time 9pm, Pacific Daylight Time 6 am. Click here to see the start time in your time zone

Frequency: Fortnightly for 8 sessions 

Cost for the whole programme:
£630 early bird discount if booked before August 12th.
£660 full price.
See below for registration and to pay a £200 deposit or pay in full. Places are limited.

Time to pay: If you would like to attend but need to set up a payment plan to pay over a longer period, please 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.  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.  

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 £660 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 (September 11th)  are subject to a 12.5% handling charge. Cancellations or alterations within 90 days of the first day of the workshop (Sept 11th)  are non refundable and non transferable.