Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Dark Coil in contact with Gestalt Therapy

Steel yourself, traveller, for the road you’ve chosen won’t be easy. You’ll find no joy and precious little glory along the way, let alone the hope of a better tomorrow at journey’s end. And if you crave immaculate answers you’d best turn back now, for such salves are for the innocent, the ignorant and the wilfully obtuse [...] (Requiem Infernal, 2019)

Ever since I read Fire Caste, the first novel by author Peter Fehervari, I have been fascinated with his literary work set in the grim darkness of the far future of Warhammer 40,000. The Dark Coil, as his stories are collectively called, is to Peter Fehervari what the Sabbat Worlds are to Dan Abnett: a corner of the 41st millennium that’s predominantly defined by a single author, build upon the established foundations of the setting, but forming an interconnected web of stories that’s recognisably distinct in its voice, characters, factions and themes.

In the following series of articles I examine various aspects of the Dark Coil through the lens of Gestalt therapy, the psychological school of thought that I have been trained in. Through a series of lucky circumstances, I got the opportunity to talk to Fehervari in (virtual) person in preparation for working on this series. This interview as well as my own experiences with and thoughts on the Dark Coil and Gestalt therapy form the basis of what you can read here. You will not find a whole transcript of my talk with the author here, but instead chosen quotes and pertinent snippets to what’s being discussed.

So far, I have written five article entries. The articles themselves are each more or less stand-alone, distinct pieces of writing, although I recommend reading them from the start in chronological sequence, especially if you’re unfamiliar with either Fehervari’s stories or Gestalt therapy.

Start reading here:

  • First entry: In which I introduce what this series will be about, how I met its author and how he and I came to be enthralled by the 41st millenium
  • Second entry: In which I provide a short history of how this article came to be and attempt an incomplete summary of the psychological school of thought known as Gestalt therapy
  • Third entry: In which I look at the various points at which I see Gestalt therapy and the Dark Coil being in resonance with each other
  • Fourth entry: In which I examine the protagonist of the novel ‘Requiem Infernal’ through the lens of Fritz Perls’ ‘Five-Layer Model of Neurosis’ and vice versa
  • Fifth entry: In which talk about the dreams and dreamers of the Dark Coil and the dream work of Fritz Perls
  • References: In which I collect my cited sources and point to other places where you can read or listen about the Dark Coil and its author

So far I’m content with the five articles that I have written. I might add more in the future, though, so watch this space for news on that.

I hope you enjoy the tour through this particular perspective on a particular author of 40k fiction. It was certainly fun to write. If you have feedback or questions, you can contact me through the contact mail address of this website or on Twitter @freeukulele.


If you want to learn more about the world of the Dark Coil and get an overview of the relevant stories, a suggested reading order as well as a quick intro to the most important places and factions, there’s a helpful article about just that on the blog Track of Words: A Traveller’s Guide to Peter Fehervari’s Dark Coil. I supported Michael, the man behind ToW who wrote the extensive article, with the research on the 'Traveller's Guide', and he was in turn the one who brought me into contact with Peter for my own interview with him. Thanks, mate!

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