December 19, 2011

Narrative Medicine: From Sickness to Health

The Altar by Mikalujus Ciurlionis (1909)

This is the second of the monthly installments on the topic of writing and its healing qualities for Olte Confine (Outer Limits) magazine. Issue number two is now out and it continues to show how thoughtful, open-minded inquiry can lead to an informative, tasteful production, beautifully illustrated and presented in magazine format on quality paper.  

There is an article on Jiddu Krishnamurti who bravely denounced even his own status as a  guru, declining any fawning adulation, and clearly seeing through any organised religious institutions to their power-hungry core by saying "All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man.

There is also an article on Pranic Healing, founded by Choa Kok Sui- and I feel it is necessary to remind people how breathing is the best and easiest connection we have to the spirit. Breathe deeper and longer and we have an instant valium-like easing of stress in our nervous system. That breathing accumulates 'chi' or 'prana' ( life energy) should come as no surprise; likewise, that it can also heal.  

Then in the Literature section, an essay on Algernon Blackwood who definitely is worth rereading in this day and age for his subtlety and suggestion of his writing. Don't be deceived by the antiquated style. There is an alternate reality bursting through the veil in most of his stories.

Plus, the  front cover of numero due is intriguing, a painting called 'The Altar' by Lithuanian symbolist, Mikalojus Ciurlionis ( 1875-1911) who was also a composer. He, like many who are synaesthetes, perecieved colours and sounds as fused together, so not surprisingly many of his paintings are named after musical forms, sonatas and preludes. His works are marvels of colour and ambiguous shading.

Perhaps the whole magazine could be translated into English one day. I can't think of another quality magazine in English, not ridden with advertising, purely for the interest in the ideas. Each of my columns is translated into Italian each month showcasing the key ideas from the research I've done into how writing heals. This is exclusively shown here and on my blog and the plan is to put them all together into an e-book. 

This second installment covers Narrative Medicine or Pathographesis, the proliferation of narratives about how the soul was put on trial in the body through diseases and how that transforms people. The next one is about how keeping a daily diary or journal can keep you sane. So watch out for that in the new year 2012. This is part of a short series of explorations of how writing heals based on my research and experience as a writer of all things difficult, exploring, among other things, how writing can be time travel, yoga, meditation and take us to the core of our minds.

For a full pdf of this article click the Oltre Confine image on


© Kieron Devlin, all rights reserved, 2011 

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