The Dolorous Blow~~Revisioning Trauma

The Dolorous Blow in Arthurian legend is the wound that maims The Fisher King, leaving him and the land impotent. In the terms of Law Of Attraction metaphors, the King’s vibrational frequency plummets to an energetic low and the land follows. His kingdom becomes The Wasteland.

In myth, the king or queen can be symbolic of a governing principle in our selves; and the land a reflection of the psychic wholeness of the king or queen. In Arthurian legend, the entire kingdom depends on the King’s health, on his life force energy. In life, it’s really the same~~our world hangs on our health, on our internal vitality, on our energetic balance.

Our inner life out-pictures, to use Neville Goddard’s phrase, into our lives, shaping the world of our personal and collective reality. We are energetic beings. Our prevailing feeling state affects our energetic resonance. Our resonance governs the kinds of events attracted into our lives.

Can you see yourself as the king or queen of your inner realm? Are you hale and happy in abundant blessedness? Or are you sad, angry, sick? Is the inner marriage of your kingly spirit and your queenly soul balanced and bright? Or are you invisible to your egoic view entirely, duped by the duplicitous cheats and wormtongues of power that you are nothing?

The wounding of The Fisher King is a wounding in us all. Traumatic experiences have become epidemic. Traumatic stress wrecks the energetic balance and wracks the mind. Traumatic stress disorder becomes a crutch for some and a banner for others, a label that constricts vision and obstructs healing. The clinical pathologizing sets in, we lose the dignity in the experience, and little heals.

Trauma loops explode all around us, in tv shows, film, avatar games, on the streets, in homes. Generational repetitions compound over and over, violence consolidates violence, and the out-picturings of profound lack of vision make a wasteland of this good green luscious living Earth.

An experience so global and obvious is crying out for revisioning. Trauma is a blow to our very life force. For such a critical experience, the language of myth restores dignity to the spirit, devotion to the soul, vitality to the body, and vibrancy to the imagination. The irresisitibly attractive energy of mythic language restores our magic to us.  transforms how we see ourselves .


A dolorous blow in our lives can really rock our trust, hope, curiosity, playfulness, joy~~those sparkling energetic exhilarators of abundant living~~thereby clouding our perspective and damping our vibrational lustre.

Nearly drowning or being involved in a near or tragic drowning, losing a limb, developing a life threatening disease can be the incidents that Arthurian legend calls The Dolorous Blow.

Consistent sarcastic assaults to our sense of self over time or direct hits to the soft animal of the body, as Mary Oliver describes our sweet ally of carriage through this life, are dolorous blows. These blows of experience can be paralyzing, to the mind or to the body. Fear, anger, despair, physical pain take over. Fertility of resilience fails. The inner wasteland sets in.

If you have ever been depressed, cast down, despondent, in agony, you have shared in the human experience of the dolorous blow, of soul loss. These blows lay waste our inner land of psychic wholeness and become reflected in the crippling outer circumstances of our lives.

Any event that conditions our subconscious toward a fear, grief, despair, anger bias can be a dolorous blow to our wellbeing. And the word trauma can consolidate the blow. I find the liberating language of myth to be a respectful and wonderful way to revision the blows of life so that we sense a path forward, through the dark wood, out of the wasteland, and into growth potential.


Clinical psychology calls the dolorous blow a trauma event and its repercussions post trauma symptoms.

I have found in 60 years of my own gorgeous perilous missions, and in 20 years of clinical counselling practice, that diagnostic labels, like trauma or post traumatic stress, are helpful guiding descriptions, but can severely limit a person’s recovery. Labelling a person with post traumatic stress disorder (or bi-polar or cancer or such) is like putting a sign on the path: Fisher King’s Castle This Way. The sign may lead the heroic quester to the castle, but says nothing about next steps in healing.

People get really attached to labels. Phrases like: mental illness, terminal illness, inoperable condition, toxic people, toxic situations can become a  life sentence to a mind hung up on strict definitions. These labels can suck the life energy out of a person hunkering under the dolorous blows of life.

I much prefer the lingua mythica of the heroic journey. Lingua mythica translates roughly as the language of story or story language. A mythopoetic language liberates soul into the healing process. The Grail Cycle of stories is one such healing language.

The language of the heroic journey gives us magical allies, the animal friend, words of power, opuscules of opportunity, hope swings across impossible odds, timely meetings, divine encounters, the chance to recover a fearless awesome courage, the jewel of wisdom in the Underworld, redemption of self and community and land.


Healing trauma, healing false limits to our soul’s purpose, healing The Dolorous Blow may be one of our gorgeous perilous missions in life.

Warrior training teaches that we must take our fear, breathe it intensely into a ball of fire in the belly, govern our attention, direct our intention, and use these like an archer uses a bow: to aim the gorgeous perilous mission of the moment and propel our fearless awesome courage towards the bull’s eye of necessary action.

Spiritual Warrior training teaches that with breath regulation and meditation, we learn to embrace the body, govern thoughts, inspire the heart, hone vision, and trust action. The best springs forward of its own accord. When you do the work, the work supports you. When you do the work, the work heals you. You learn to unhook from habituated reactivity. In Arthurian terms, you cut and ride the psychological wave through danger to safe harbour. It’s a deep practice of focus and non-attachment.


Long ago, in another place and time, my beloved painted paddlemaking teacher, who gave me such loony latinate phrases as lingua mythica, taught me much about facing my fears. He taught me that The Sacred Psychologies (his term for the perennial wisdom traditions) don’t see fear as the problem. Attachment to fear is the problem.

Our instinctual emotion is ok. Instinctual fear is ok. It serves a purpose. It tells us danger is afoot. It sends powerful chemical warriors and scintillating electromagnetic allies through our bodies, collaborators of immense energetic oomph unleashed for our instant strength.

Attachment to fear and attachment to fear based reactivity—such as panic—is the culprit. Habituated fear, habituated stress, or a habituated trauma loop, for example, is the problem. Habituation rather than instinct is the more damaging culprit. Getting unhooked from fear’s grappling irons is part of the gorgeous perilous mission.


Our times call for each of us to unhook from learned patterns of fear-based attachment: attachment to me, mine, more, an eye for an eye, fossil fuel use, toxic manufacturing practices, compulsive consumption, torture of any kind of all soft bodies everywhere.

Our sweet oasis in space, our Earth, is showing symptoms of The Wasteland of myth. The faulty belief system of egoic self-interest is the dolorous blow to our collective energetic good vibrations.

Our life habits live up to~~or down to~~our most consistent conditioning. Our emotional patterns and thought addictions shape our choices, actions, and vibrational frequencies. Our biosphere suffers or thrives accordingly.

This egoic self-interest that sets our species as more important than Nature’s exquisite life harmonies and our wants as more valuable than the liberty of our animal, plant, mineral, water ,and gas allies out-pictures in tragic proportions as the toxic wasteland of our times.

In The Grail Cycle of stories, finding The Holy Grail brings healing to The Dolorous Blow, The Fisher King, and the land.

The Holy Grail can be seen as a symbol for the energetic frequency of healing, harmony, and happiness. The Grail lives in the heart of The Fisher’s King’s castle.


Our collective mission calls upon each of us to see our own dolorous blow~~our trauma wound~~as the opportunity to seek the grail of the heart, drink the elixir of a new vision, and tell the liberating tale of a new guiding story in our lives.

The old trauma story can become the epic tale of the gorgeous perilous mission. The old trauma wound can become The Radiant Wound of radical redemption.

When we change the way we tell our story, the story we tell changes our world. As each of us unhooks our story from our cramp of conditioning, from our trauma wound, we transcend habituated fear. Every personal liberation from habituated fear raises the collective vibe.

Globally we need a new guiding story. Is this the New Dark Ages or is this the Age Of Vision? The version we choose out-pictures and becomes our world.

The fresh story begins inside each of us. And as tales like The Grail Cycle remind us, the liberating story we need must be centred in the heart.

Awakening heart energy gets us unhooked from fear and unleashes our fearless awesome courage into vibrant vibrational change practices.

Only heart medicine heals The Dolorous Blow. A change of heart changes everything. The time is now. The time is only ever NOW.