The Wounded Healer: the Greek Myth of Human Evolution

By Esme Ellis

Multi-faceted visionary craftsman Esme Ellis has been a supporter and contributor to the Visionary Fiction Alliance almost from its inception.  It is our privilege to present some of her musings about the writing life as well as samples of her visionary art in this post.


Journey of a Wounded Healer

Pathway into Sunrise by Esme Ellis

Cover Art by Esme Ellis

My first book Pathway into Sunrise, written in 1998, is subtitled “Journey of a Wounded Healer.” The Wounded Healer is Chiron; half horse/half man and the legend comes from the Greek Myth which I address at the end of the book. The legend tells the story of Chiron and how he came to be wounded. In these far-off times when the race of human beings was coming into existence, great and powerful cosmic forces were at work shaping our destiny. The Hierarchy in the form of Gods and Goddesses, Titans or Kings, Centaurs, Satyrs and a multitude of other life-forms including the minerals, plants and animal kingdoms were interbreeding and interacting with one another. The power of animals was both respected and feared.

It seems that Cronus the Sky God, turning his attention to the goings-on on Earth, one day spotted the beautiful Phylira hiding in a grove of trees. He chased after her and tried to rape her. In panic she fled from him, but the Gods seeing her plight changed her into a mare to escape from him. Whereupon he changed himself into a stallion and mated with her. She then gave birth to a male child with four hairy legs and the upper body of a man. She was horrified and disgusted and left the child to die. Abandoned by both his father and his mother, the baby Chiron was found and taken to Apollo the Sun God, who fostered him and brought him up as his own. Apollo was the god of beauty, music, harmony, reason and logic. Under his tutorage Chiron was highly educated and his creativity was developed.

In his turn Chiron became a wise and devoted teacher. Many were the students who were drawn to him both from the world of men and from the Immortals. These included Hercules and Apollo’s favorite son, Asclepius, who was to be known as the father of medicine. During one of the battles which were constantly taking place between the civilized men and the savage and licentious Centaurs, Hercules let fly a poisoned arrow which accidentally pierced Chiron’s leg. It would have been fatal but for the fact that Chiron was immortal. Doubly wounded now, the greatest of all healers, unable to be healed and unable to die, was fated to live in agony until the Titan Prometheus heard of his plight.

It was Prometheus who created man in the likeness of the gods, fashioning them from clay and water. Devoted to his creation he stole Divine Fire from the fiery chariot of the Sun, and bestowed this gift on mankind. The race of men, however, was not yet ready to handle this immensely powerful gift. Sometimes they were inspired to use it wisely and rose to the heights of human creation, but often down the ages they have created chaos and destruction with Divine Fire. The Divinities, outraged by Prometheus’s theft, sentenced him to be chained to a rock for the rest of his life, while a vulture tore out his liver, which grew again each day.

It was at this point that the two tormented souls, Chiron and Prometheus, came together and evolved a creative solution. Chiron was so moved by the Titan’s plight that he exchanged his immortality for the mortality of Prometheus, and so died. Because of his sacrifice, the Gods transformed him into a star in the heavens. Thus the immortal experience of death is the condition that all humans must pass through until they have developed the spiritual gifts of compassion and unconditional love while also mastering the Promethean gift of divine creativity. Chiron still shines and is now a minor planet in our solar system

Sculpture by Esme Ellis

“The Swimmer,” Sculpture by Esme Ellis

Discovering the Visionary Fiction Alliance

I first wrote about this on a website called Books by Women. I wasn’t altogether happy to be called a ‘women’s writer,’ but after reading work of some of the writers there, I began to soften my stance. One of the writers I read and admired was by Jodine Turner, and it was through her that I discovered the Visionary Fiction Alliance. I was delighted to find it and felt at home there immediately.

Jodine was one of the founder members, (along with Eleni Papanou, Margaret Duarte and Saleena Karim.) To quote from their stated aims:

  • Growth in consciousness is the central theme of the story and drives the protagonist, and/or other important characters.
  • Oftentimes VF uses reincarnation, dreams, visions, paranormal, psychic abilities, and other metaphysical plot devices.
  • VF is universal in its worldview and scope.

Reincarnation and Beyond

I was drawn to Vic Smith’s account of his belief in Reincarnation. In Pathway into Sunrise, I had written an account of my own experience many years ago when I clinically died soon after giving birth to my first child. The thing about travelling down a long corridor that gets darker and darker is true, however dramatic it sounds. (This phenomenon is often termed; Near Death Experience.) It felt scary as it got darker — but all of a sudden I was out into bright sunlight and found myself in a field of flowers. Not on the ground, but trailing my feet in the tips of the leaves. I heard, but didn’t see, voices calling me and welcoming me. I suddenly remembered that I had just given birth, and that the little baby needed me to look after her and that I must rush back to life in the real world. Then I heard the midwife, who was holding my wrist, calling out ‘Good heavens! her pulse has stopped now.’ I murmured to myself ‘It’s Ok I’ve decided to come back.’

This Strange and Precious Thing by Esme EllisThis episode and the one below may not count exactly as Reincarnation, yet I think they manage to throw some light on it.

Several years later, David, an old friend, committed suicide. The way that I heard about it caused me a great shock, and led, I believe, to my long on-going illness. Previously David had been in prison for causing a fatal accident, which happened this way. He had just split up from his wife, also a friend of mine. David had gone to a party when she suddenly appeared in the same room. Not wanting her to see him, he ran out into the street, jumped into his car and drove off at speed. Unfortunately a young girl, (about the same age as one of his daughters,) wandered across the street just at that moment, and he ran her over her and killed her.

He served a sentence for manslaughter, but out of prison later, he decided to apply himself to helping released prisoners. He was a well-educated person, and before being incarcerated he had held an important position where he met foreigners coming to Britain and escorted them around London showing them the sights. He helped them to choose clothing suitable for our colder climate and took them to high-class restaurants. Then came that fatal accident and prison. After his release the prison governor offered him a job in a ‘half-way house’ where newly released prisoners could be re-educated and reinstated into society again.

One of the ‘old lags’ (released prisoners,) played a nasty trick on him. He’d climbed in at a skylight in the roof and let himself into David’s room where his equipment was stored, record players and cameras, etc. These the prisoner stole. David felt completely betrayed by this, and during the night he killed himself. I found out about this when a neighbor, walking towards me up the street, stopped me and said,’ Did you hear that your friend David has killed himself?’ At first I thought I’d misheard. She looked at me maliciously and said it again. I thought ‘You bitch. How could you say such a thing?!’ Then it really began to sink in.

Moving on: I went to his funeral. His wife and children were there. I sat at the back of the church along with dozens of ‘old lags’ who’d come to pay their respects to a man who had done so much for them. After the service, when the coffin approached from the front of the church with his wife and children following on, they noticed me sitting there and ran up to hug me. We all cried with our arms around each other.

A few days later I happened to go into my sculpture studio where David had been staying with me after his release. I heard his voice, loud and clear, saying, ‘Esme. Please don’t worry about me. All is well. I’m in a good place now.’ I also heard lots of children’s voices circling around him, looking happy in the sunshine. David had always loved children and often took my daughter along with his own children to the local swimming pool.

A few days later, in my garden this time, I heard the same voice, slightly less clear, but unmistakable. Having this message from a friend who had just died was both reassuring and unnerving.

My understanding of reincarnation has evolved, broadened, and deepened over time. I now believe that we are born over and again, learning lessons every time. Some of those lessons have taken us to some very dark places indeed, but there has always been a chance for us to learn from that until we eventually stop repeating our failures. Finally, I believe we attain the state of Ascended Masters who don’t return back to Earth, but even before that time we are able to serve as teachers to those who still remain on Earth.



Esme Ellis gained scholarships to the junior art department of the Sheffield College of Art at the age of 11 and then to the senior art college at 14, finally choosing sculpture and ceramics as her favored studies at 17. Five years later, she received another scholarship to The Royal College of Art in London. After the RCA, she spent a year in Rome, working on her studies and visiting many museums and galleries.

 She then returned to London where she unfortunately managed to contract M.E. (or Myalgic Encephala Myelitis) and had to give up sculpture. After moving to Bath in 1975, where she has lived ever since, she turned to painting; and due to fortunate meetings with several people, she finally began writing. She has written four books; Pathway Into Sunrise, Clea and the Fifth DimensionThis Strange and Precious Thing, and Dreaming Worlds Awake.

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18 Responses to The Wounded Healer: the Greek Myth of Human Evolution

  1. Esme, these are all fascinating pieces, including your beautiful sculpture, 'The Swimmer'. You have used your wounds well to advance your own awareness, as well as those of others. I look forward to reading your books!


  2. Esme, I enjoyed reading about how your life's experiences shaped your Visionary Fiction writing. As always, you are a woman, and a writer, of depth and compassion.


  3. Esme Ellis says:

    rea nolan martin, Thank you so much for your response. It means so much to me, especially at this time in my life as I get older. In some ways I'm still struggling with bad health, which means I've had to let go, not only of my sculpture, but of painting and writing too, at least for the moment!


  4. Esme Ellis says:

    Dear Jodine, The comment above also includes you too. So, many 'thank yous' to you also. I'm not very good when it comes to handling computer comments, when they come up with messages telling me, "I've already said that before.!" I'd just like to add that I recently had an exhibition of my work here in Bath where I gave a talk. Unfortunately, I've felt unwell ever since.

    I'm putting my website address below but I'n not sure it's working properly We're still working on it, changing some of the images to replace with more recent ones. But it's still a 'work in progress'.


  5. Thank you for this beautiful article, Esme. You have had a very interesting journey, and your insights are powerful. I love Chiron's story. It reminds me that even during the hardest times in my life– the loneliest–there has always been someone here to "foster" me … of how the great Spirit always provides for us, and continues to scoot us along in our flowering. I'm sorry to hear of your health challenges, and that they are keeping you from sculpting. I join you in the Heart-of-Hearts for the healing of this matter.


    • Esme Ellis says:

      Many thanks for your comment Robin, and for your Heart-felt healing wishes. I always feel that in these sort of matters there's more behind it than appears on the surface. The problem is to understand and allow it to emerge from the shadows and out into the daylight.

      I'm so glad that you feel this way about the Chiron story. I'm sure I shall soon feel inspired to start working again.


  6. It was nice to get to know you better, Esme, through this interesting and revealing post. I am glad you are part of our family here at the Visionary Fiction Alliance. Thanks for sharing.


  7. Esme Ellis says:

    Thank you for your welcome comment, Margaret.


  8. Michelle Yd Frost says:

    Lovely post, Esme 🙂


    • Esme Ellis says:

      Thank you Michelle. Also I have you to thank for the design of the cover for This Strange and Precious Thing. Though in some ways we did it together; I painted some colours on Finn's face and the blue hair, as well as supplying The Swimmer, but it was your idea to use it against the background of the sea which you supplied.


  9. Thank you, Esme, for sharing visionary tales of such pain and depth. I love Chiron's birth story, for all its moral complexity. Being an adoptive parent, it's very meaningful to think of a child left by one parent and given new chances and education by another. This is a special kind of sacred wound that becomes a blessing for numerous souls. Given the new chances in Chiron's story, in your encounters with souls from beyond the grave, and your own 'rebirths' during your lifetime, I hope you find a new chance in your current situation.


    • Esme Ellis says:

      Yes, Chiron's story does seem to have touched you. I was told some time ago that only those who have first been wounded themselves can truly help others.

      It seems that we are all programmed to act in a certain way — or most of us are. But it's artists who like to throw out challenges to themselves and others, whether we paint in colours, sculpt, make music, or write words on a page. One way they do this is to go into the unknown, but it can be frightening, yet this is the challenge of creatorship.


  10. Esme Ellis says:

    The link below was drawn to my attention yesterday. It is a version of The Wounded Healer, by a Jungian annalist. I found it really interesting, except for its length! It's 1 hour 30 minutes. Far too long in my opinion. Would have been better split into 2 sessions. But if anyone is interested, here it is.


  11. Robert W Palmer says:

    Esmé's account of the life, death and transformation of Chiron helps me sort out the pedigrees of several major and minor deities. Chiron himself, if sired by Chronus, is a junior (in rank, because his mother was a mortal), relative of Zeus and Hera, who castrated Chronus, whereupon Aphrodite was born from his scattered sperm on the surface of the sea. These four were accordingly in the same generation in the same extended family of the children of Chronus (many of whom got eaten by their father).

    Chiron's confused anatomy is but one example of the confused way the divine energy was sometimes distributed. Another is the story of how Ganesha ended up with the head of an elephant, because he wasn't born that way … They are both much more exalted beings than their appearance would suggest.


    • Esme Ellis says:

      As to Aphrodite, there is a famous painting in the Uffitzi in Florence (Firenze) by Sandro Botticelli of Venus sailing across the sea in a cockle shell. Her story is very similar to the one you have posted above.


      • Esme Ellis says:

        After I wrote the above re Aphrodite, A message came up saying "You've already said that, double message and you can't repeat it" So I wrote it out again, and much to my surprise it appeared on this page twice. Has anyone else had the same problem?


  12. Esme Ellis says:

    Ganesha the Elephant God is a Hindu deity who has a story of its own. Not sure where you have found that he wasn't born that way. All my researches say he 'was born that way' given that like all part human/part animal deities they are mythical and have a story their own, just as do the Egyptian Gods who also carry this mixed lineage.

    Ganesha is the Remover of Obstacles, but he/she also uses obstacles to trip up those who need to be stopped on their journey —if they need stopping. But all of this is another kind of story.


    • Esme Ellis says:

      As to Aphrodite, there is a famous painting by Sandro Botticelli in the Uffitzt gallery in Florence (Firenze) of Venus sailing across the sea in a cockle shell which is very similar to the story you posted above.


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