Death, Rebirth, Regeneration and Reflection

Winter Solstice 2023 is almost upon us, and Christmas celebrations are just around the corner.

Despite the crass commercialisation which perennially never fails to put me off the whole thing, nonetheless it is a time of remembering core values, such as “Peace and Goodwill unto all Men.” And women too, I suppose.

And we may celebrate our blessings and be grateful if we have basic life necessities such as companionship, love, food, shelter, clean water and of course, the joys of high-speed internet.

Indeed, as the longest day draws near, we find the time to withdraw and reflect.

Winter is a time of death.

We look around us and see in nature that the trees have lost their leaves, the flowers have lost their blooms, and the cold and wind and rain tends to encourage us to hunker down and cosy-in by the stove or the fireplace, if we are lucky enough to have a homemade Irish stew, even better.

With death naturally comes rebirth. The two are part of the same process. As divine will manifest in the form of human beings, we never really die. Everything is energy, and vibration. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, merely transformed, or transmuted.

Undoubtedly, we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and as such, our natural state is that of disembodied consciousness. We come into this life as immortal souls ready to experience the physical and the phenomenal, which is manifested from the metaphysical and noumenal, in spite of often being taught and reared by parents and teachers who think things might be the other way round.

Some arrive at such a conclusion before others. Famous great philosophers of the past have shared with us already the notion that we think of as death, is actually birth, and what we think of as birth, is a form of death.

As the Solstice passes, and the days start to stretch, the nights getting shorter, we witness in nature the phenomenon of regeneration. Buds start to shoot, temperatures increase, grass grows longer and the snowdrops and other first flowers appear, and before long, our hibernation time is over in favour of mating season, and the energy of Spring, new life, colour and growth, reminding us and symbolising renewed hope.

Until those days, we can reflect on the fruits of our harvest.

What have we achieved this year?

What fruits have been produced from the seeds we have sown, whether literally or metaphorically?

Did we set goals and achieve them?

Did we choose to create a reality for ourselves which we feel good about?

And did we choose actions and behaviours which led us to feel good about ourselves?


For me, personally speaking, it has been a good year. A very good year, one might say.

Other than working a day job, and working with clients in the evening, we thankfully found some time to work in the garden. A massive yield of red onions and carrots (as well as nettles!) was harvested in addition to the strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, sage, mint, chive, loveage, beetroot and lettuce. Plus there were leeks and even my sunflowers came up well, one with nine heads on it! We are still novices when it comes to growing our own fruit, vegetables and herbs, but the learning curve is a steep one and the labour is honest. It is a joy to be able to enjoy the food we have grown!

My day job, working for a Limerick-based IT solutions company, never fails to give me an opportunity to experience gratitude for the joys of working from home, as well as feel the brunt of public opinion, as I cold call businesses up and down the island of Ireland, to allow them to feel the warmth of my effusive personality, compulsive wit and ineffable Mancunian charm. All while interrogating them mercilessly until gleaning sufficient information from them in order to qualify them for Sage support services and Sage-integrated solutions from my colleagues! People can often be so rude and ignorant it beggars belief, but it is what it is!

As an umpire for Munster Cricket over the last ten years, this year I made the conscious decision to take a step back from officiating in favour of playing, and was kindly welcomed on board with Lismore Cricket Club as a player for the Second XI. While the standard in the third and fourth division matches is not as high as the premier league matches I would have umpired, there are more relaxed rules, and more opportunities to enjoy the game. Indeed, not only did I enjoy a healthy batting average by virtue of carrying my bat in three of the five games I played, my rusty bowling surprisingly yielded a couple of wickets when we met the team from Harlequins in Cork who remarkably had a mum, dad and two sons playing for their team!

Other than the curiosities and foibles which cricket brings, one of the weirdest and most enjoyable new experiences I had this year was also in an Irish field, only this time lying on a couch in a field in West Cork, in the wind, sunshine and rain, under a tree, to enjoy an energy treatment from a Reiki master with two amazing, beautiful horses!

Wendy and Summer showed me the capacity that horses have for loving empathy, telepathy, and being able to attune to the emotional development and psychic development of humans. Highly recommended, and as they say, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it! (Or at least, they say you should try everything at least once, except for incest and folk-dancing) …

Other highlights of the year included seeing Dutch house DJ duo Tinlicker live at the Beyond the Pale festival in stunning Glendalough, County Wicklow at the end of the summer. Not quite as bodacious as the Pixies in Galway the previous summer, but pretty fricking awesome all the same, and much better than the disappointing Leftfield, who threw a few shapes but sadly didnt live up to our expectations.

Indeed, in addition to the reiki with horses, playing cricket for Lismore, and the festival vibes in Wicklow, there were other ‘firsts’ such as when Dee and I went to our first GAA match together, at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick where we witnessed an admittedly dour affair in a match which didn’t quite live up to its billing, in the All-Ireland quarter-finals during which the mighty Tipperary submitted quite tamely to the Tribesmen from Galway. Furthermore, we went over to Manchester to visit my family, and as well as her first Tipp hurling match, Dee went to her first home game at the Etihad, home of the fabulous Manchester City Football Club, who defeated Nottingham Forest in what was an entertaining match with a crowd of 68,000 to 69,000 people. She admitted she was more entertained by the antics of the crowd than the action on the pitch, which saw Rodri sent off after a brilliant Phil Foden goal!

It had only been our second time visiting England since the lockdown and it was good to see my brother Glenn who was in good form and joined us for some hustling in the pool hall after he had cooked some hot dogs for us in his local, the Wharf Tavern, in Stalybridge.

On the Winter Solstice of 2022 this time last year, I chose to end my relationship with alcohol. Thus I had my last glass of red wine, as planned, on New Years’ Day with a roast lamb dinner. So basically, a couple of weeks short of a year ago.

Somehow, since then, I’ve managed to summon the requisite willpower on occasion, to decline and release any temptations to indulge in the lessons of alcohol, preferring instead to enjoy the pleasures of sobriety, and present moment awareness, without the much-practiced need and casual comfort of inebriation.

I’ve been off the drink before, but never for much longer than a couple of years. Maybe its high time I let it go permanently?!

September saw my fiftieth birthday, and while it was shame none of my alienated children, nor in fact, anybody from the Ashley side of my family was available to attend and be there to share it with me, nonetheless it was an enjoyable experience with some beautiful people, great music, and heartwarming food and company.

Half a century, not a bad innings thus far! And celebrated with a fantastic Manchester City F.C. artisan cake as well as a hot mug of my favourite tipple these days – peppermint tea!

This year also saw me make my debut at a handful of the Psychic & Holistic Fairs run by Freddy and his team at the Mind, Body Experience shows. The first ocassion, at Nenagh, saw my maiden pullup banner collapse into itself and disintegrate, before I had even got my stand together! Thanks to the efforts of a couple of fellow exhibitors, Crystal Chris from Waterford and Eibhlin at Frank’s foot clinic, I managed to get up and running, and overcame my nervousness to do further shows in Mallow and in Portlaoise, which were hugely enjoyable.

Hopefully next year, we will get the opportunity to do more shows, and put the front foot forward in selling copies of my books, but more importantly, in marketing the Write Coach services to people who have an interest in writing their own book, but just dont know where to start.

Thankfully, the MenScape group continues to grow and thrive.

Well, that is to say more new members join than leave, which is good considering it functions by word-of-mouth since there is no active marketing. Sadly, we haven’t yet had any group meetings, since for the most part we are all busy men with the commitments you would normally expect, such as work, family and financial responsibilities.

But perhaps in the future there will be sufficient appetite for us to take our online men’s mental health group and monthly podcast to the next level and organise to meet up in person for teambuilding exercises or even just a meal.

Who knows?!

Having had the benefit of interviewing some amazing people for the monthly podcasts this year, highlights included a buddy from primary school who has transcended working-class Manchester roots to become a multi-millionaire, kudos to Mr. Scott Fletcher. As well as to local gent Mr. Kieran O’Brien, who helps disadvantaged teenagers with equine-assisted therapy and horticulture. Plus world-famous acid house music producer and DJ, the one and only Mr. Danny Rampling, who kindly joined us to share his thoughts to highlight what is currently happening in the world, from medical ‘advice’ and government mandates which have actually harmed people, through to unlawful and unconstitutional measures being implemented in England and Ireland which restrict the freedom of people to exercise their common law rights to travel and assemble peacefully.

Perhaps the most poignant edition of the MenScape Podcast, was with Parental Alienation guru Charlie McCready, from London, who has cultivated a massive following online with several thousands of followers on instagram and facebook, helping both alienated parents and alienated children, in recovery from emotional abuse and psychological abuse. The heartbreaking consequences for families affected by this are much more common than people might think, and Charlie’s insights were indeed most valuable and useful.

I truly hope to have the time to do more interviews with more incredible characters going into 2024 and beyond!

The Write Coach business and the Truth Clinic / PAS Coach business continues to grow, and I am privileged to help a lot of people via mentoring services for book writing, writing services and helping those who are navigating a path through overcoming narcissistic abuse. I am often considered to be a counsellor, a life coach and a psychotherapist but I do not dare put such labels upon myself. Write Coach will do just fine. Overcoming parental alienation, lack of self-love, co-dependency, bereavement, addictions, depression and so on, whilst unpleasant to deal with, has provided me with the necessary training at the University of Life for being able to help others who might be dealing with similar consequences.

If you have a story to share, a story to tell, and feel it’s important for the story of your journey to be heard, please get in touch and avail of a free session with me and a free guide. I would be curious to know more about your story and your journey. The parental alienation is a particularly cruel business, and overcoming the consequences of that, together with emotional abuse, will be the theme of my fourth published book, entitled “Are We There Yet?”

Writing helps, and the theme of my upcoming workshops and online masterclasses will be to harness the Power of the Written Word.

The ethos behind the Write Coach is that healing happens when we write, and writing happens as we are healing.

Letting go of that which no longer serves us. Literally expressing it.

My own writing has been inspired and fuelled by a recent trip of a lifetime me and my partner Dee experienced when we went to Egypt, in November of this year.

We are back upon Irish soil about five weeks and it already feels like a lifetime ago.

A spiritual journey to ancient sacred sites, such as those at Aswan, Edfu, Karnak, Luxor, and Cairo including the Temples of Hathor, Osiris, Isis, Horus and Seti. And of course, the pyramids at Giza, where we enjoyed a private entrance to do a guided meditation in the heat on our final evening.

The highlight, aside from the Pyramid visit, was a cruise on the Nile for a few days, in a beautiful boat called a Dalibayah, where we enjoyed unbelievable sunsets and mindblowing excursions such as the hot-air ballooning!

The low point getting a dose of gastro enteritis on top of diarrhoea, which had me so violently sick the doctor had to be called to our hotel room!

Aside from the memories of visiting the ancient sites and sacred places, I will always enjoy the treasures of connecting with like-minded souls, most of whom were Americans, and all of whom, were amazing human beings it was an honour and privilege to share the experience with. Somewhat bitten by the travel bug, plans are now afoot to embark upon future escapades in Peru, Japan, India, Nepal and Tibet, as well as the United States, to visit in person some of the new friends we made. Certainly more grandiose desinations, one might say, but no less delightful, than those we arrived at before Egypt. But at least we did enjoy visiting County Mayo, in particular Achill Island, as well as County Kerry, to enjoy Dingle, Listowel, Tralee, Ballyheigue, Ballybunnion and Kilmore Strand, Saoirse’s favourite beach near Ballyduff, scene of some happy memories before the scheduled visits dried up, for reasons I won’t go into here!

Finally, December saw the creation of a local writers’ group, and one which I am passionate about for holding the space for aspiring as well as experienced writers. We will meet every month at Ballyglass House in the Glen of Aherlow, outside Tipperary town, to share stories and inspiration, poetry and verse. The Tipperary Writers’ Circle welcomes all, the vibe is inclusive, if you are interested to come and join us, please do!

Feel free to connect with me on social media when you have a minute, and if you haven’t done so already! :

Thanks for taking the time to read and share this humble offering, and huge thanks to all of my clients, without whom the world would be less fulfilling and inspiring. Each and every single one of them, and they know who they are, knows it is my privilege and honour to serve them to the best of my ability!

All the best for the festive season!



Carl J Ashley

December 2023