Twelfth Night: a revelation, a farce, or a satire?

Why would Shakespeare name his great farce 12th Night – when it seems to have nothing to do with The (Christian doctrine of ) Epiphany? Hidden in symbols, in the poetry, in invisible ink, is a cutting satire of Christian dogma, the dangerously heretical thread linking the sub-text of all 37 plays and clarifying 2,000 years of misinformation. Dare you see it too? Prepare to have many of your beliefs and dis-beliefs confronted.

Here is (another) allegory of how the (true) Epiphany was the restoration of the the ‘music of the soul’ lost to mankind by the betrayal of Adam in the beginning. Viola represents the instrument by which the veil of darkness is lifted, and (the choice of) love, joy and forgiveness given to Olivia as the symbol of all mankind.

The Epiphany (12th Night)

Given the title, let’s assume this is the context for viewing the play. The Gospel says that after the birth of the Christ, the baby prophesied to be ‘king’, was laid in a manger and shown to the shepherds and the Magi: who symbolically represent the full spectrum of humankind from the lowliest to the most exalted. The Magi tricked Herod, the jealous, tyrant king, to prevent him murdering the baby ‘king’. He exacted his revenge through what is known as ‘the slaughter of the innocents’.

Before we trace the hidden story, let’s contemplate the following banquet of additional symbolism:

The shipwreck

‘In the beginning was the Word… And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.’ – John 1

The backstory implies the agency of ‘wind and rain’ (Tempest) to birth the twin souls, Viola and Sebastian, into the land of Illyria. Echoing the ‘curse’ of Adam and Eve in Genesis, they become lost to each other, both believing the other is dead. ‘Wind and rain’, celebrated in the finale, is actually ancient biblical symbolism for ‘the Word of God’.

‘If music be the food of love, play on’ – Orsino

So often, the opening line or scene has cryptic allusions to the sub-text. Here is no exception.

Orsino is an anagram of ‘orison’ meaning ‘prayer’. Mankind’s prayer for liberation from suffering?

In the context of the Epiphany, the ‘food of love’ suggests the Eucharist: the bread, the body of Christ, the Word made flesh, ‘eaten’ in remembrance of the Christ action. Now, significantly, the body is revealed for the first time to the world in a manger (French: to eat), a vessel for holding food. A ‘manger’ also symbolises the ‘Holy Grail’, the vessel containing the bread and wine, the body and blood, sound and light, reuniting for the holy communion.

‘I had rather hear you to solicit that [that you love me] than music from the spheres’ – Olivia

The music of the spheres is the music (mystical sounds e.g. as described in The Tempest) said to emanate from the soul and draw us home to the Godhead (See: Lorenzo – Merchant, Ferdinand – Tempest, et al).

Olivia seems to symbolise the archetype of the soul (native hue) of all mankind veiled, (sicklied o’er) and hidden behind the shroud of darkness, death, melancholy and sadness (Hamlet, Antonio). She is immediately drawn to hear the young ‘man’ called Cesario – i.e. Viola disguised as a man. Cesario means King.

‘We will hear this divinity” – Olivia


A Viola could well be the name of one of the ‘thousand twangling instruments’ heard by Caliban in The Tempest. A fitting instrument on which to play the soul’s music. Viola, herself, seems to represent the ‘Christ’ sent to reunite the three aspects of God, the trinity: the love, the sound and the light, having been lost in man since the beginnings of time. The awareness of the sound and light of the soul reawakens the love in the hearts of man as the tyrant ruling our inner world is vanquished.

As soon as Olivia sees and hears the divinity in ‘Cesario’ her lost ability to know love is reawakened.

Malvolio, meaning ill-wisher, or one of mal-intent. As notably as was Falstaff (False Self)Malvolio is lampooned mercilessly. Yet the actual language used indicts him clearly as the Satan.

‘The devil, a puritan that he is…’ – Maria

The names Viola and Olivia are close anagrams of each other and each taken from the same letters of ‘Malvolio’.

Feste, the ‘fool’, appropriately so, means both ‘feast’ and ‘celebrate’.

The hidden story

When Viola, the Christ (soul) is revealed to Olivia (mankind) the shroud of darkness and melancholy is lifted and her heart is reawakened with love.

As Olivia’s love is transforming her, her servant Maria engenders a plan to bring down the devil, Malvolio. She tricks him into bringing his false-self to the fore (obsequious smiling) plays to his ‘greatness’, and fools him into being cross-gartered. Cross-gartered, a double-entendre repeated several times, implies ‘tied to a cross’! Thus Maria and her three stoogies ‘crucify’ Malvolio and consign him to a comic representation of hell, ‘the bottomless pit’, as stated the Revelation.

“I say this house is as dark as ignorance though ignorance were as dark as hell” – Malvolio

“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit.”- Rev. 20:2-3

The heresy (freedom of choice) Shakespeare teaches us (e.g., Macbeth, Merchant, Hamlet, Henry V, et al) is the irony that when Jesus the man died on the cross it fulfilled the Mosaic law and terminated the rule of Satan. The crucifixion was a futile attempt to kill the Christ, but the resurrection of the soul empowered the consciousness of all mankind – regardless of belief. The fate of Shylock further clarifies this theological gem – showing us how we now have the choice between grace (mercy, and forgiveness) or revenge (the law).

“Alas poor fool, how they have baffled thee!” – Olivia to Malvolio

As the vanquishing of the prince of darkness and mal-intent is complete, Viola and her twin are ‘resurrected’. They are also re-united; symbolising the reuniting of the bread and the wine, the body and the blood, the Sound and the Light with the love. The Trinity (Love, Sound, Light) is again complete. Forgiveness to all is given for the mistakes and confusions made as we stumble in the darkness looking for the light and sound of the soul. Love, joy and happiness abounds.

Malvolio fails to see the humour and vows revenge on all mankind. Finally, a song is sung by Feste celebrating ‘the wind and the rain’, the primal sounds of The Creation, The Tempest, the Word, the music, the wind from heaven, the sounds of the ‘waters’ that created everyone and everything in the beginning (Genesis, John), and reigns once more upon the earth breathing new life and love into the soul of all mankind.

“A great while ago the world began, with hey-ho, the wind and the rain;” – Feste


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Putting Happiness First – Not Food: A Soul-Centric Approach To Waving Fat Goodbye

‘Seek first to become thin within, thence to become thin without.’ – Anon

I wanted to write a blog about my recent weight-loss success. Overweight and eating issues are such a major source of misery and hopelessness, I hope my personal experience may inspire some people to transcend the dogma of magazine ‘pseudoscience’ and take charge of their own personal destiny.

As I said, this is a personal blog, not a research paper. Although weight/eating issues can be life-threatening, this is written in a casual, light-hearted style for reasons of brevity and readability. Each little paragraph probably deserves its own book – even library. If you want to know more, get in touch and it will be my pleasure to direct you to some of my source material.



My decision to relaunch my coaching brand as ‘happiness first consulting’ coincided with the shock of being described by a client as ‘a burly Englishman’ and seeing a picture of myself confirming the description.

Several years of avoiding some difficult feelings at the cost of my health, wealth and happiness was officially over.

One of my core values is to go beyond the integrity call of ‘walk the talk’ to the greater challenge of ‘canter the banter’. I never offer any programme to a client that I do not personally validate.

Could I canter my own banter and validate the mantra ‘put happiness first’ in one of my toughest problem areas? If I did, then it would not only reward me with losing a ton of unwanted, harmful, adiposity, not only transform me into living proof that my new positioning really does work, but also give me the unshakeable experience and self-confidence to back up my new level of work with my clients.

First step – assemble the key ingredients of a successful, life-changing project. I treated myself as if I were my own client. These techniques apply to all goal manifestation strategies that take you out of the comfort zone into the destiny galaxy:

  1. Spiritual attunement, guidance and protection
  2. Understanding your ‘payoff’
  3. Homoeopathic support for the hypothalamus
  4. Tracking systems
  5. Inner child work and reprogramming
  6. Behaviour modification and rewards
  7. Exercise
  8. Self-forgiveness
  9. Acceptance
  10. Affirmations
  11. Visualisations
  12. Support network
  13. Acting as if…
  14. Journal work
  15. Law of return
  16. Next steps

Spiritual attunement, guidance and protection

This is too easy, really. Anyone can do it. Very few do. All you do is ask inside ‘for the ‘Light’ for highest good to take place’ and as you let go and let Spirit do its thing, it’s time to awaken to the intuition, coincidences, and serendipity that come into your life. The Light is universal spiritual energy that, way below conscious awareness, regardless of belief, sustains all life, and is freely available to all who ask. Check it out for yourself!

At a deeper level, the axiom of ‘happiness first’ is that you are already happy. Who you really are is a soul. The nature of the soul is joy, fulfilment, and happiness beyond measure. This means it’s not that you need something or someone to ‘make’ you happy, you need to identify and eliminate those things that rob you of the happiness that’s already present. Asking for ‘the light’ automatically initiates a soul-attunement and allows space for the action of grace to participate.

Understanding your ‘payoff’

If you ask, ‘why do I keep doing something (e.g. overeating) when I know it makes things worse?’ the answer is usually because at a deep, unconscious level you are making a choice in the belief it will give you something you need (e.g. comfort, security, approval, etc.). You are always making the best choice available to you in the moment, so it follows, like the night the day, that to make a more effective, empowering choice what you really need is an effective choice to satisfy that need.  A good coach should be able to help you discover this for yourself.

Homeopathic support for the hypothalamus

In cahoots with a startlingly low calorie regimen, I used homeopathic HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) that tells the hypothalamus to access deep layers of stored fat to burn to replace the missing energy. Instead of feeling hungry and ratty, you just feel normal energy levels and a surprising loss of cravings for food.

If you drop down to a strict ‘no fat, no carb’ regime of 500 calories a-day, you can lose around 1lb each day. This makes the transition to the maintenance phase quite a jolt. I just cut down very significantly without becoming obsessive and was well happy to lose around 4-5 lbs-a-week. I eliminated 90% of the alcohol, carbs and saturated fats I used to indulge in. This helped build in a new preference and habit for a diet that, with slight modifications, I can enjoy as a long-term lifestyle change. True success is all in the sustainability. Now, if I have a big bowl of pasta and a few glasses of Beaujolais and stray up into a few extra pounds over my new baseline weight, it’s no biggee to downsize for a day or so to rebalance.

Inner child work and reprogramming

My inner child – me at 6 yrs

Call it the inner child, lower self, subconscious mind, basic self or whatever you like, but this is the ‘lower’ level of sub-consciousness that is a kind of ‘inner 5-year-old me’ who is programmed from birth to hold onto beliefs, habits, and compulsions. To lose weight permanently, and/or release compulsive patterns and change lifetime habits, you have to understand what ‘payoff’ (symbol, compensation, hoped-for reward) you get from the self-destructive behaviours, and enrol the basic self into the game. This habitual drive is the auto-pilot that holds you on course, if you don’t change this deep level, you’re just going on holiday – soon enough you’ll be back home in Glutton-on-Avon, South Pigshire – overeating for England.

I was an only child and had to spend a lot of time on my own. I also learned to love food and cooking at a very early age. Cooking and eating delicious food became my ‘best friend’. To this day, whenever I feel alone or abandoned I look in the fridge or the pasta jar for my old pal.

Thus, armed with this conscious awareness I could make more effective choices when that urge came up. Of course it’s not easy. But, every day I listened to a wonderful, deep, guided meditation called ‘Body Balance’. This ‘talks’ direct to the basic self in a caring, loving way and gives it positive new direction and beliefs with which to replace the old strategy. You ain’t going to change unless you have something of greater value with which to replace the old pattern, is you?

Tracking systems

One essential way to keep the basic self in the game is to track progress regularly. Like achieving any goal, you have to know where you really are now, and where you want to be. It’s then easy to just take one small step in the direction of the goal. And feel good about it. If you slip up, it’s no big deal, because you’re living so much more in the present.

I used two tracking systems. One was a simple graph of weight loss per day versus my target line.

The other was more creative. I filled a suitcase with books weighing the amount of weight I wanted to lose. As I lost the weight, I’d take out the books and pile them up on the dresser. It’s horrifying how heavy 2 stone feels. It’s wonderful to feel it on the outside and know I’m not schlepping this around with me any more. Notice the well-deserved smug expression on the right here. That pile of books had been under my shirt for 3 years!

Behaviour modification and rewards

The major behaviour change I made was ‘putting happiness first – not food’. Whenever the urge to go off-piste came up, I’d stop, feel the feeling, see if it had useful information for me, and consciously and deliberately choose ‘happiness first’. in this case, a sense of control, and the deep desire to be wearing my ‘skinny clothes’ gathering dust in my wardrobe. Each time I achieved a short term weight loss I’d give myself something special:

A nice riding lesson, new riding gloves, a movie, long hot bubbly baths, watching TV in the morning, all kinds of ‘basic self stuff’ to keep my energy positive and up. And to celebrate my 2-stone lossage, a Greek Island holiday for two!


I am blessed to naturally enjoy exercise. This protocol does not require or advise upping the work the sweat glands have to do. I carried on with my 3 fundamental exercise things: a short daily yoga/ calisthenics and press-up/sit-up routine I’ve been doing for decades; riding 2-3 horses a day (as you do) and swimming 1/2hr+ every week.

If you don’t do any exercise at all – now is a great time to build something enjoyable into your life. It is so important for moving energy, releasing toxins, relaxing, and clearing stuck emotions and depression. Magic!


When we have self-judgments, regrets, painful repressed memories, or resentments, etc. surface they can make us feel very uncomfortable. The easiest way to get rid of those feelings can be found in the fridge, or in a bottle, cigarette pack, or a needle! In choosing to put ‘happiness first’ I committed to sit with those feelings and forgive them as they came up. If it doesn’t work the first time, I just keep saying ‘I forgive myself for judging myself for…’ until it stops plaguing me. This can be a lifetime’s work! But the less emotional weight we carry around, the more agile we become in dealing with the slings and arrows of life.


As I said before, when I first saw my ‘burly’ picture, I hated how I looked. I realised I was hating my image every time I saw it in the mirror. This is not helpful. It drives you down the plughole of hell. The worse you make yourself feel, the more you need to eat to feel better!

The challenge is to love yourself just as you are now – unconditionally. If you say ‘I’ll love myself when I stop this behaviour and lose weight’ then you’ll never get to love yourself. Accepting ‘what is’ and self-loving are the greatest healers and change-agents on the planet.

Affirmations – energy follows thought

Part of the re-programming and goal-achievement is the use of affirmations. (Affirm-actions). Like mind-muscles, they get firmer and more effective the more you exercise them. They must be positive, present-active, and empowering. Getting them spot on is an art. I had a dozen or so I would read through and say every day. But the one that really made me tingle is ‘I am wearing my skinny clothes’. It just popped up. And I think it was given to me by my basic self because that was the thing it really wanted. It’s no good ‘moralising’ or filling it with scientific reasons why you should eat healthily – the basic self doesn’t necessarily give a shit about that. Those reasons are also important – but more for the adult self. You have to build a fun, loving relationship with the basic self as well – or you are doomed.


Visualisations are the other side of the coin to affirmations. If you’re a visual person you must be able to ‘see’ the new body image you want to have. For me I need to feel it, see it, and hear the admiration and acknowledgment from my support team, in my own mind.

Support network

I am often much more effective when I have a group to support me. But this time I chose to enlist the support of my wife and my own steely resolve. I must confess, since moving to the countryside with my horses, I can easily slip into feelings of isolation and loneliness. I love hanging out with my horses, and they challenge my comfort zone beyond all measure, but the conversation is a tad one-sided. Nevertheless, I had so much of my own inner support with this DIY programme, it was rather fun to suddenly show up and shock people with the new me.

Acting as if…

Acting as if…is a powerful supplement to any manifestation process. As soon as I could, I would squeeze myself into my skinny clothes and ‘pretend’ they fitted. Sure enough, before I knew it, they did. Again, this supports the affirmations and goal-setting and keeps the basic self feeling involved in the game.

Journal work

Writing stuff down is a great way to get clarity and clear out unconscious crap. I love to write down my wins, and things I’m grateful for. I am fascinated by dreams and adore contemplating them at my leisure. I relish the interpretation of symbols though in-tuition. Journal work is brilliant – especially for looking back on progress and finding more and more reasons to be grateful – just for being alive.

The law of return

From a soul-centred perspective, all our habits, patterns, fixations, compulsions, etc. are perfectly designed for our individual soulic learning and evolution: balancing past-life actions and having new experiences. An aspect of this idea (that is empirically verifiable) is that whenever we overcome a negative pattern, the urge to return to the old familiarity will cycle back on us. Therefore in around 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and a year, we can expect to be strongly lured back into the old pattern. If we can overcome this temptation for a long-enough period we can eventually step free.

Remember, the cell-level memory will still store the neural and sub-atomic pathways for 7-11 years. As the masters say, ‘perfect freedom is perfect discipline’. And ‘the price of freedom is eternal vigilance’.

Next steps

The confidence I gained with this life-changing project has inspired me to apply the same levels of intent and commitment to my brand relaunch. To rebuild a client base and ‘following’ from scratch at age 70 is going to take even more determination and support. I am investing in myself, and building renewed levels of health, wealth, and happiness (yes, that’s an affirmation, btw). You’re welcome to join me on my journey.

Get in touch – let’s talk