Fr. Jim Cogley was born in Wexford in 1954. He trained for the priesthood in St. Patrick’s College Maynooth, where he took degrees in English, Philosophy and Theology. Ordained in 1980 for the Diocese of Ferns in Ireland, he has a deep love of the sea which is reflected in his involvement with the Apostolate of the Sea and his work with symbols. Formerly based in Kilmore Quay for most of his pastoral life and now in Oylegate, he has many years teaching experience and is a counselling supervisor. As a psychotherapist he trained in the Jungian tradition. His particular area of interest is that of Intergenerational Healing and how the past that is unacknowledged can still influence the present.
His innovative, self-taught, woodworking skills, developed in recent years, provide a unique opportunity to present the age-old truths of life and spirituality in the form of symbols that speak to the soul. Many of the seminars he conducts throughout the country on topics such as those covered in, ‘Wood you Believe’ Volume One, Two and Three involve the use of such symbols. His concept of a Memorial Trail and Garden to people lost at sea, located in Kilmore Quay, is now a major visitor attraction. It incorporates the universal experience of loss and expresses the journey to recovery using nautical symbols and the natural landscape of the area.
This is a unique creation, written with enormous insight into the human condition, inner landscapes and the journey of life. It is a must read for those interested in becoming all they can be while at the same time accepting their human limitations. The reader is reminded in the introduction, through word and symbol, that our lives may be Perfectly imperfect, yet we have the capacity to be perfectly whole. This concept permeates both volumes and encourages the reader to reflect and learn, to question and embrace a new understanding of what may hold one back from becoming fully human and fully alive.
This book is a joy to read. It is visually stunning with colour plates of the artists own work throughout. Photos of the artwork are followed by explanation of their symbolism and their application to the creation or re-creation of the human person. These in turn are linked with Scripture passages and life stories from the authors own experience of twenty-five years as a priest and psychotherapist. It is a book filled with insights into healing and is a masterpiece in its unique presentation.
Wood You Believe is both an apt and accurate title for a work that makes a fine contribution towards examining the intrinsic relationship between the two disciplines of psychology and spirituality using the medium of wood. Written in a manner that appeals to a wide readership, the potential for this work is enormous. Many pastors and counsellors find themselves at a loss to recommend a concise and enlightened piece of writing for clients who are often too distressed to read a lengthy treatise on their problem.
Whether it be difficulties with self-esteem, coping with loss, anger management, depression, or a host of other issues, there is a chapter packed with wisdom in a very readable style and in a manner that invites the reader to journey deeper. For preaching, faith formation groups and teachers of catechetics it is an invaluable resource and provides a lot of inspiration on the use of symbol. It can be a how to book where the reader can take her/himself on a journey inward and discover that eternal fountain of love peace and laughter which emanates from the deepest self.
Intercom, October 2006