Meditation Mentoring and Forest Therapy
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
“The Wanderer” from The Wildwood Tarot
The Gundestrup Cauldron ("The Cauldron of the Gods").
The cauldron was found in a bog near Rold Forest, Denmark, in 1891, by my uncle´s grandfather, Jens Sørensen. In Meditation Mentoring and Forest Therapy the cauldron functions as an accompanying oracle.
NB! Below I will give a detailed introduction, so that people can get a full overview of what I´m doing. It will also serve as an introdcution to Meditation Mentoring and Vagabonding, where many of the same tools will be used.
However, if you want to order a retreat in Rold Forest (or a pilgrimage companion), it is not necessary to have studied it all in detail. You can settle with the practical information. Most of the below is something I will pass on to you during the mentoring. In fact, a great deal of the mentoring consists in storytelling.
Meditation Mentoring and Forest Therapy is based on the concept of Meditation as an Art of Life.
I consider myself as a wanderer, and I consider people who seek Meditation Mentoring and Forest Therapy, to be outskirters like myself; wanderers (or Holy Fools), who, for a while, want to escape the role-playing game, which we all are slaves of: The Godgame. This of course implies, that you feel in harmony with my cultural criticism.
The goal is to set the thoughts free, and to become a Philosophical Globetrotter, Life Artist, and Idler.
Before contacting me, I ask you to think about an issue which is important for you, and form a central question about this issue. I will then make a shamanic journey on this issue (more about that below).
Divination and meditation will in that way be connected. We will begin by using some card desks from Hallowquest, both as initial ways of answering your question, and as visual magic opening your mind towards forest therapy (or vagabonding/pilgrimage).
However, meditation is to go beyond all images and ideas. The Hallowquest cards are only frames of references, tools for poetry, shapeshifting, dance and journey. Meditation itself is a journey from base magic to higher magic.
Meditation Mentoring and Forest Therapy is happening in Rold Forest, Denmark. Wildwood Lore and Wild Magic are in that way a natural part of the mentoring.
Wildwood Lore and Wild Magic (and the similarities between Ancient Celtic Religion and Nordic Shamanism) will continually be a frame of reference.
Nordic shamanism, or Seiðr Shamanism, is specific for Rold Forest, but lacks the many text tools we find in Ancient Celtic Religion. Celtic text tools will therefore be used as doorways to Seiðr and local forest lore. This is made even more relevant, since the ancestors of the forest, the Cimbri, were closely connected to the Celts. Several of the archaelogical findings have Celtic ornamentations, as for example The Gundestrup Cauldron (which was found in a bog in 1891 by my uncle´s grandfather, Jens Sørensen - see further images of the cauldron in the end of this page).
And, since my family, on my mother´s side, from old times, is from the area of Rold Forest, I´m a descendent of the Cimbri. Furthermore, my father is a descendent of the Teutons - another Danish tribe from Northern Jutland, who supported the Cimbri in the so-called Cimbrian War. Some historians suggest that the Teutons have a Celtic origin, and certain ancient writers even classify the Teutons as Celts (read more about this in the end of this page).
The Gundestrup Cauldron, my ancestors, and the spirits of Rold Forest, are in that way a central part of the Wildwood lore you will be engaged in.
I will not hide that I have been surprised over discovering in what degree the Gundestrup Cauldron (which until then, to me, only was a good family story) is being used as artistic illustrations in Celtic Neopaganism (find out how below).
The Gundestrup Cauldron is also called, "The Cauldron of the Gods", and it will function as an oracle in the mentoring. In that way it is not only me you ask for counseling, but also my ancestors and the forest spirits.
Wild Magic (forest therapy) is central in the aspect of Meditation as an Art of Life, which is about going beyond The Godgame, to go beyond all ideas and images.
I offer a three-day retreat in the forest (you can also choose one-day sessions or two-day sessions - read more below, under prices).
A meditation mentoring session will typically follow the below three steps (the two first steps will happen in my apartment where each day´s session is started. The last step is forest therapy):
Forest Therapy. Shinrin-yoku. Forest Bathing. Many names for the medicine of being in the forest.
Forest Therapy, also known as “Shinrin-yoku,” refers to the practice of spending time in forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness. The practice follows the general principle that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the atmosphere of the forest. The Japanese words translate into English as “Forest Bathing.” Although I´m inspired by the Japanese practice my use of the terms Forest Therapy and Shinrin-yoku do not mean a specifically Japanese practice. I mean spending time in nature in a way that invites healing interactions. There is a long tradition of this in cultures throughout the world. It’s not just about healing people; it includes healing for the forest (or river, or desert, or whatever environment you are in).
There are an infinite number of healing activities that can be incorporated into a walk in a forest or any other natural area. An activity is likely to be healing when it makes room for listening, for quiet and accepting presence, and for inquiry through all eight of the sensory modes we possess. In short: Meditation as an Art of Life.
In Rold Forest in Denmark, I offer different guided walks/meditations in the forest, where I partly will tell stories about the forest area we walk through, partly offer meditation mentoring.
So, the mentoring happens in connection with forest therapy. There will also be opportunity for sitting around a campfire in the evening, or “vision quests”: sitting alone in the forest during the night (in the Nordic tradition a vision quest is called "Utiseta", Sitting Out).
Forest Therapy in combination with Primordial Meditation naturally involves Wild Magic and Wildwood Lore. Forests capture and hold echoes of everything that happens within them, keeping the knowledge stored for those with the ability to access their mystery, and for this reason perhaps people have worshipped in groves of trees from the earliest times.
Three main walks (note which walks will be used on each of the three days. The main walks are mainly for first timers. The specialized walks can be used by returners):
1. The Valley of Happiness (this walk will be used on day one in connectionn with the The Ancestral Oracle of the Celts). This walk includes The Mines of Thingbæk, where The Cimbrian Bull is dwelling (see images in the end of this page). We will talk about the Danish author, Johannes V. Jensen, who depicted the Cimbri in his novel, The Long Journey, which he won the Nobel Prize for. We will visit the Workshop of the Witch (Heksens Værksted - the witch of Rold Forest is Dannie Druehyld - she is not included though), and we will visit the holy springs: Skillingbro Spring, Egebæk Spring, Gravlev Spring, and the old church: Gravlev Kirke. The Valley of Happiness is an enormous power place.
2. A Walk to an Ancient Forest Lake (This walk will be used on day two in connection with the Wildwood Tarot). Includes Lake St. Økssø. The walk will include different forest types, bogs, meadows, ancient forest houses, grave mounds. Rold Forest has a lot of grave mounds from both Stone Age, Iron age and Bronze Age. None of them have been archaeological investigated. This means that whatever was buried there of treasures, still are lying there. There will be a possibility for lunch at "Mosskov Pavillonen". Lunch can also be brought. This is also the tour if you want to visit places for wildcamps, campfires, and vision quests (Utiseta, Sitting Out).
3. The Mound of Wonders (usually used on day three in connection with The Spirit of Nature Oracle). This walk includes the strange "Troll´s Wood", the "Primeval Forest", and finally, The Mound of Wonders, a grave mound in a sacred grove of ancient beech trees. The place is called Klodholmpladsen. It a small burial place, with 6-7 grave mounds, probably from the iron age. The Mound of Wonders is a mound on which there grow three ancient trees. This is a power place you won´t forget. Here we will sit for a while. It is also possible to wildcamp here, and have a campfire in the night, right next to the mound. In other words: it is also a perfect place for a vision quests (Utiseta, Sitting Out). Lunch can be brought, or arranged at the Inn: Hotel Rold Storkro.
1. The Forest Garden of Jutland (Den Jyske Skovhave). In preparation. This is a special area in Rold Forest, where a collection of the most known tree species of Northern Europe can be found. This walk will focus on The Spirit of Nature Oracle, which draws upon the wisdom of the trees and ogam lore. Each of the cards represents one of the ogam trees and is painted in such a way as to look alive and watching the diviner. There are certainly real tree spirits looking out of the cards! The accompanying book draws upon the lore of the trees and the wisdom of the Green Man. Since many assume that The Celtic Ogam alphabet and the Norse runes are one and the same thing, I will work with rune lore/magic in connection with trees (this is called Wild Runes). Both the Celtic and Norse cultures concern themselves with arcane knowledge and under the patronage of the gods of word-wisdom. Remember! England was actually Danish from 1016 to 1066! And the Orkney and Shetland Islands were Danish from 1380 to 1459. Again, I will mention the Cimbri, who perhaps was a matriarchal culture. Their religion consisted of female priestesses, who were seers. This could be discussed by drawing in Robert Graves´ book, The White Goddess, where the Celtic Ogham alphabet is quite central.
2. Nazi Ghosts, Primordial Woods, and Robber Castles (in preparation). This walk requires a bicycle or a car; a walk which will involve stories from my family and ancestry. We will start in my grandparent´s village Rold (from where the name of the forest comes). Here my mother grew up in the family´s merchant´s house. During the Second World war two Nazi officer´s were staying here, and Rold Forest was a place for the war between the resistance movement and the German occupying forces. We will go on an expedition into unmapped, private woods with untouched forest. We will visit a spring with a very rare species of mosquito, that only lives there in the whole world! (Not even in the other springs in Rold Forest). And we will see Nørlund castle, a castle with a past of robber chiefs, and the secret marriage between King Christian IV, and Kirsten Munk. During the Second World War, one of my uncles delivered goods to the castle, and I will tell some stories about that (no entry though).
3. Walking Among the Grave Mounds (this is a much larger burial place, than the one mentioned above. Here there also is an ancient stone row, probably used in some kind of sun worship. In preparation).
4. A Pilgrimage to a Sacred Oak Grove (in preparation).
Meditation mentoring and forest therapy can happen all year round. It follows The Wheel of the Year. However, it is recommended that you come in the summer half year. The Mines of Thingbæk, for eaxmple, is only open in the summer half year (except certain winter holidays, as for example Christmas). And, staying outdoors in the forest is not very pleasant if it is cold, and there are storms, snow and rain.
Dates for the summer half year? The witch of Rold Forest, Dannie Druehyld, says that on Walpurgis Night (April 30), the Elves are coming from the Inner side of the Earth, from the dark woods and the mounds, and are beginning their magical work in the forest. They return to the Inner Side on All Saints Night (October 31). In Norse mythology they are called The Vanir. In ancient Celtic religion they are called The Sidhe. They are the Divine Ancestors.
The Ancestral Oracle of the Celts is special because it is connected to The Wheel of the Year:
And so is The Wildwood Tarot:
Personally I see the above Wheels of the Year in connection with the below calendar (The Calendar of the Witch - Heksens Kalender), which is created by Dannie Druehyld:
It is special, because Dannie Druehyld is an example of what we in Denmark call a Wise Woman. She is completely untouched by New Age, and her lore of the calendar is based on a mix of ancient Danish folklore, paganism and Christianity. You can read her lore of the calendar here (only in Danish but it should be possible to translate it by the help of Google translate).
During the mentoring, I will try to follow Dannie Druehyld´s calendar lore, and try to present the foods, drinks and herbs she advices us to use for each time of year.
The important thing is that you should consider what time of year you want to come. The most attractive is of course in the summer time, and it is recommended. But there might be things connected to the Wheel of the Year that makes another time more valuable (or, you might only be able to come in the winter time).
Meditation Mentoring and Forest Therapy is a free service. You come as a guest and a friend.
The concept is based on the philosophy of Gift Economy and Donations.
However, eventually costs for bike rents, taxi, lunch, entrances, etc., must be covered by you.
You can contact me on Facebook.
Give a short description of your issue. Prepare a question about your issue. Avoid questions to which the answer is "yes or "no". Rather than, "Shall I go to Paris?" (or generalized philosophical questions, such as "Is there a God?"), you might ask, "Give me guidance about my intended trip". Anyway, I will help you with formulating your question.
As mentioned in the start: it is not a requirement to have read the below text material. It is mainly for "nerds" or people engaged in a self-study. I include them, so that you have a full overview of my sources.
Texts by myself
Besides my books on Meditation as an Art of Life - click here - I have written some philosophical texts related to forest therapy, or wild magic):
1) Counseling in the Mythic Forest of Rold (article. Introduction).
2) Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien (free Ebook. This book is a course in philosophy. Tolkien worked both with Celtic and Nordic shamanism, as well as Christianity. Tolkien is a central frame of reference in the mentoring process. On my page on cultural criticism, you can see why I consider it immensely important to have a coherent metaphysics. In this book I present a such. It is a kind of wild magic philosophy, a map of the Inner Side of the forest)
3) The Nine Gates of Middle-earth (free booklet. Related to the above Ebook: Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien. Explains the chakra-system in relation to Meditation as an Art of Life. Chakras are the gates between the Outer Side and the Inner Side, a circle starting with Mother Earth and ending with Father Heaven).
4) The Art of Pilgrimage (free booklet. As mentioned, I consider meditation mentoring as a way for wanderers (holy fools) and outskirters to meet in Rold Forest. This booklet see the Art of Pilgrimage in relation to the journey motive in The Lord of the Rings).
5) Seiðr Shamanism and the Art of Song Healing
6) The Connection Between Shamanic Healing and Artistic Unfoldment (Essay. The ancient Celtic priesthood consisted of Druids and Poets (wandering bards, who also were magicians). This corresponds to the Nordic Seidr shaman and the Nordic wandering scalds. In this essay I try to depict an image of "The Artist as Shaman"; a concept which allows ordinary people to participate in a kind of shamanic work. Where the philosopical background allows you to "Think for Yourself", this concept allows you to "Awake Your Own Inner Power". In ancient Celtic Religion, magic was intrinsically connected to poetry. In Seidr shamanism magic is intrinsically connected to singing).
7) My Life as a Vagabond (philosophical reflections on bohemianism. Also looks at poetry as a shamanic technique).
8) What is a Life Artist? (article)
9) Links to Idlers
10) Storytelling as a Spiritual Exercise (article).
11) Primordial Meditation and The Philosophical Diary (article).
12) The Long Journey, by Johannes V. Jensen (free PDF version. This text is of course not by myself, but is related to my texts. As mentioned, the novel is quite central in the mentoring, both personally and cultural. I have mentioned it in the above-mentioned The Nine Gates of Middle-earth, and in my article, Seiðr Shamanism and the Art of Song Healing, where I describe my kundalini awakening. It happened in a dream, where the wandering scald, Norna-Gest appeared. Norna-Gest is a central character in The Long Journey.
13) The Peter Pan Project (my main term for the liberation project, which I consider my work to be. It is the project of becoming like a child again).
14) My Poems (Blog category. My poetry is exercises in "looking at things from above". This is inspired by the philosophical diary, as practiced by the Greco-Roman philosophers. According to Goethe, poetry is a technique for shamanic journey. This is also in harmony with the bards in Ancient Celtic Religion, who also were shamans. The same is the case with the Scandinavian scalds. The goal is to set the thoughts free, and escape the prison of the mind).
15) The Primordial Meditation Archive.
16) My YouTube playlist on Meditation Mentoring and Forest Therapy (I could of course easily have posted some Celtic New Age music, which admittedly is quite good. But the music on this playlist is in my view much more genuinely pointing towards techniques of inducing special states of consciousness - inspired by Northern European traditions such as Seidr Shamanism, Sami Shamanism and Celtic Shamanism - the link opens in another window so that you can continue studying this site, while listening to the music).
17) New Sûnyatâ Sutras (Blog category. My Sûnyatâ Sutras are so-called mirror-texts, or pointing-out instructions. They aim at going beyond all images and ideas).
Hallowquest Products (An aspect of Meditation as an Art of Life is about going beyond all ideas and images. This aspect is represented by my Sûnyatâ Sutras. But this must not be confused with nihilism, which is an unacceptable philosophical theory, and not a spiritual state of mind. It is therefore necessary with frames of references in a spiritual practice (see my article: The Value of Having a Religion in a Spiritual Practice). I have chosen the Hallowquest products, partly because of their peculiar relationship with both the Gundestrup Cauldron, and The Wildwood - (Rold Forest) - partly because of the eminent scholarship/artwork, lying behind. Besides the three main tools: The Ancestral Oracle of the Celts, The Wildwood Tarot and The Spirit of Nature Oracle, I also work with the following tools from Hallowquest):
The Celtic Shaman´s Pack (also here you´ll find references to The Gundestrup Cauldron)
Celtic Totem Animals (totem animals are shamanic guides, teachers and mediators, and are relevant on any kind of journey, whether physical, imaginal (shapeshifting of the thoughts), or in astral form. This card desk is especially related to my booklet: The Peter Pan Project).
The Byzantine Tarot (this tool fulfills the circle of Mother Earth and Father Heaven).
Books on Base Magic (by author and artist Jan Fries. Fries is brilliant in that he thinks for himself. But Meditation as an Art of Life is about higher magic, and is opposed to practicing base magic. I have had so many people in counseling who have ended up in spiritual crises due to base magic. Note how Jan Fries spells magic: magick. Fries´s books are about occult magick and chaos magick – see my page: The Godgame Files. However, I find it necessary to have knowledge about "The Nightside", hereunder more dark spirits than we see in Celtic shamanism (for example Giants, Trolls, etc.). These spirits are found in Nordic mythology and Seidr. Furthermore: Am I not myself using base magic when talking about making a shamanic journey, which normally is associated with base magic tools such a trance and astral travel? Am I not a shaman myself? Yes, in a way. But there are differences. I have explained these in the updates to my article: Paranormal Phenomena Seen in Relation to Mystical Experiences. Besides this: I don´t perform as a shaman when meeting my guests. I perform as a meditation teacher, forest therapist, or pilgrimage companion. In the Celtic Shaman´s pack (see above), the different aspects of a shaman is depicted as a Walker Between Worlds, a Vision Singer and a Wildman. But instead of these designations, I would prefer to use the designations: Philosophical Globetrotter, Life Artist and Idler. Below are four main books by Fries, which I use for teaching in what base magic is):
Seidways: Shaking, Swaying and Serpent Mysteries, by Jan Fries
Helrunar: A Manual of Rune Magick, by Jan Fries (as mentioned, I´m planning to offer healing and rune magic myself; partly based on my own kundalini power, partly based on the lore of the Golden Horns of Gallehus - see the images below. But I´m still waiting for the practice to "invite" me).
Visual Magick: A Manual of Freestyle Shamanism, by Jan Fries
Cauldron of the Gods: A Manual of Celtic Magick, by Jan Fries (interesting enough, in this book there also are references to The Gundestrup Cauldron).
A more "scholary" book on Seidr shamanism:
Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic - Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in North European Paganism, by Jenny Blain
General information about Rold Forest:
Rold Forest (information about Rold Forest)
Rebildporten (Tourist information. Rebild is the name of the National Park of Rold Forest, Denmark). Watch this video:
A bull is depicted on the bottom plate of the Gundestrup Caludron.
There are debate about where the Gundestrup Cauldron came from, and whether the Cimbri were worhsipping Ancient Celtic Religion. Some suggest the Cauldron came from Gallia, others Thrace. According to an article in the French magazine L´histoire, number 329, March 2008: D'où vient le chaudron de Gundestrup? by Jean-Louis Brunaux, it is proposed that the Cauldron was made by the Cimbri. Also read this fascinating account of the relationship between the Cimbrians and the Britons: click here. Note that the home of the Teutones is said to be Thy in Northern Jutland. Also think about the concepts of Cumberland in England, and Himmerland in Jutland. The ancient Britons were called Cymri or Cumbri. It is therefore a question whether the Cimbri and the Cimmerians, are one and the same people, and that there in this way could be a racial mix between The Cimbri and the Celts. I believe we can talk about a Celto-Germanic family.
Anyway, no matter where the Cauldron came from, I believe that the Cimbri used the Cauldron for worship. There is documentation for this (see Strabo). As you can see on the above image, a bull is depicted on the bottom plate, and the Cimbri worshipped the bull, and there are many sources that tells about the Cimbrian use of cauldron´s for rituals.
But I also believe that it was a mix between Seidr Shamanism, Celtic Shamanism, and, perhaps, other traditions, such as Siberian (Sami) Shamanism, Tibetan Dream Yoga, and Greek philosophy. In my article, Philosophy as a Rite of Rebirth (a Shamanic Ritual), I have already suggested such connections. We should therefore not believe the historicist fantasies of evolutionism. I believe our ancestors were much wiser than we are today, and that this has been systematically distorted and suppressed.
The Golden Horns of Gallehus
Another great archaeological finding in Denmark, but from a later period than The Gundestrup Cauldron. Here we see a combination of Celtic, Scandinavian and Byzantine art. These horns could symbolize the closing to the ring, the marriage between Mother Earth and Father Heaven, as described above. On these horns we find a combination of lore, art, rune magic, Galdr, or Seidr.
The shaman depicted on the inner plate of the Gundestrup Cauldron (Cernussos - The Celtic God of the Forest - which also are featured on the Golden Horns of Gallehus). It is unquestionable that the figure is sitting in a meditation position. This indicates an inspiration from Eastern philosophy. The serpent in the left hand indicates kundalini, and the ring in the right hand indicates a full-filled kundalini cycle, which means enlightenment (my guess). That the figure is sitting with the two symbols in his raised hands indicates mastery. The antlers indicates that we are talking about a master shaman, and that shamanism was tied together with meditation. All in all: the image indicates the time before "the decadence of shamans", which Mircea Eliade talks about in his work: Shamanism - Techniques of Ecstasy.
Eliade talks about a time where shamanism was characterized by higher magic (shamanism was a path of enlightenment - perhaps in another time age - Yuga) and not as today: base magic; the use of trance techniques, possesion by gods, intoxication, drunkenness, psychedelics (see pages: 67, 68, 112, 130, 237, 249, 250, 252, 254, 256, 258, 290, 364, 376, 401, 500). For example, Eliade points out that the use of psychedelics is a vulgar substitute for "pure" trance, an imitation of a state that the shaman is no longer capable of attaining otherwise. He compares the decadence of shamanism with the same vulgarization of Eastern spiritual practices:
Decadence or (must we add?) vulgarization of a mystical technique - in ancient and modern India, and indeed all through the East, we constantly find this strange mixture of "difficult ways" and "easy ways" of realizing mystical ecstasy or some other decisive experience (page 401)
Also read my booklet: Plastic Shamanism Versus the Traditional Shamanic Awakening.
Second last card from the The Wildwood Tarot. As you can see, this card is inspired by the shaman depicted on the above Gundestrup Cauldron.
In the same way with "The Eight Divine Ancestors" from The Ancestral Oracle of the Celts:
Copyright © by Morten Tolboll.
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