Philosophy is most powerful when it resolves into story. But story is amplified in power by the presence of philosophy.
"Sophia", from The Byzantine Tarot
"The Wisest Troll", by Brian Froud
Philosophical counseling is the advanced part of "shamanic counseling", which is offered on my practical shamanic website:
Nordic Shamanism and Forest Therapy
Said in another way: shamanic counseling is about the lower chakras, or Mother Earth, while philosophical counseling in about the higher chakras, or Father Heaven. This is described in my free booklet:
The Nine Gates of Middle-earth
In other words: Before you can proceed to philosophical counseling, it is necessary that you start with shamanic counseling, or one of the three other counseling forms offered on my practical shamanic website.
So, I offer four shamanic counseling forms:
3) Guidance Through Spiritual Crises
4) Shamanic Counseling
Click here for a description of the four shamanic counseling forms.
Introduction to Philosophical Counseling
In my first book, Meditation as an Art of Life – a Basic Reader, I wrote in the Introduction:
Today I travel around in the world as a philosophical globetrotter on low budget. I take simple jobs here and there (mostly as a care worker), and offer philosophical counseling to people, who stumble over me, sometimes in the streets (page 3).
This is in fact how it still happens. However, as I write in my article, Meditation as an Art of Life:
I have later further developed the concept of Meditation as an Art of Life. I consider it to be discovered and not constructed. However, in order to make the whole thing comprehensible, I use a lot of frames of references. Below I will supply the text with a series of links, so that people who want to engage in deeper studies can be helped out. If you are not engaged in self-study, just ignore the links.
I will emphasize, that if your´re planning to visit me for philosophical counseling, it is not necessary to be an expert in all of the texts mentioned below (after all: I´m the counselor and guide). The below introduction is namely also meant as a support for people who are doing self-studies, and want to go deeper into my teaching.
So, the counseling is not complex courses in all this! Philosophical counseling is not a one-way talk, but a dialogue followed by walks in the forest. In reality it is rather simple. So, the texts just function as background frames of references.
However, in order not to confuse philosophical counseling with just another New Age invention, I suggest you read the Introduction to this website, as well as my article: My Cultural Criticism. There is namely a radical difference, and I want, from the very beginning, to avoid the unpleasent situations of having to correct misunderstandings. I will just insert one quote from my cultural criticism article:
[...] my philosophical counseling practice (and all the counseling forms, hereunder Healing and Divination), functions as a deprogramming of, not the Matrix (because it doesn´t exist), but the Matrix Conspiracy, or: The Godgame.
You could say that my website functions as a "text back-up" to my philosophical counseling practice. The below introduction is in that way a back-up with extra information and links, so that you can prepare yourself, or begin a self-study.
As mentioned: this article is a theoretical back-up to my practical shamanic website: Nordic Shamanism and Forest Therapy. On this site you can find a counseling form called “Shamanic Counseling”.
Shamanic counseling is guidance in how, you yourself, can become a shamanic practitioner, or, perhaps, a life artist with focus on my concept of “The Artist as Shaman”.
In addition to the traditional ways of working as a shaman, today we also have shamanic counseling. This is a modern counseling method that is based on classic shamanism, but in this case it is yourself that become the shaman and your spirit teachers become the counselors. By the help of my guided imagery meditations you shift to shamanic consciousness and journeys to the spirit world with your own mission. The purpose may be, for example, to get in touch with your own spiritual power, or to find your way through a personal life crisis (here it is related to “Guidance Through Spiritual Crises”), or receive advice on some practical issue.
In shamanic counseling we focus on exercises such as “Learning to Live” and “Learning to Die”. The goal is to live a life of freedom, joy and adventure.
However, living a free life also means understanding the structures that hinders this. In this way shamanic counseling is a preparation for more advanced studies. It is these studies I offer in form of Philosophical Counseling, or, it will naturally develop into this.
You can read about the relation between shamanic counseling and philosophical counseling in my article: Counseling in the Mythic Forest of Rold. It has to do with the relation between storytelling and philosophy.
Philosophy and storytelling belong together. They can work like the two lenses of a pair of binoculars. Philosophy argues abstractly. Storytelling argues too – it persuades, it changes the listener – but concretely. Philosophy says truth, storytelling shows truth.
I refer to shamanic counseling as “base magic”. I refer to philosophical counseling as “higher magic”.
For base magic I use oracles and tarots from Hallowquest, the official website of the British shamans, Caitlín and John Matthews. I mainly use these tools as means for storytelling. I combine this with my own teaching: Meditation as an Art of Life. I refer to this as "Higher Magic". Meditation as an Art of Life is an actual spiritual practice, and philosophical counseling is counseling in this.
To take this journey inward we´re going to engage the three prajnas, or “wisdom tools,” of hearing, contemplating, and meditating. Hearing, or reading, about something leads to contemplating upon it, which leads to meditating on it. By reading and thinking about this material, you will be engaging the first two wisdom tools. In our voyage this is like filling the gas tank, getting a good map, and stocking up on all the necessities for a big trip. But the journey truly begins when you start to meditate, when you actually turn the ignition on and engage the teaching that takes you within. This is when you´ll replace the map with the territory, savor the uniqueness of this trip, and make your own discoveries as you travel into the core of your being.
All texts on this website are intended to function as such a map. Below I will mention seven central texts:
1) The Nine Gates of Middle-earth (booklet on my interpretation of the chakra system, and in connection with that: the relation between the lower chakras - Mother Earth, shamanism and storytelling - and the higher chakras - Father Heaven and philosophy).
2) Counseling in the Mythic Forest of Rold (this article also focuses on the relation between storytelling/shamanism, and philosophy, but in this article there is a focus on storytelling).
3) Meditation as an Art of Life (my teaching as it has developed through the years. In the end of this article you can, for free, download my book, Meditation as an Art of Life - a Basic Reader. In the end of this book you´ll find some "Supporting Exercises". In the beginning of these, I describe when, and how long time, you should practice. In order to begin a meditative practice, I suggest that you start with the "Harameditation" - morning - and the "Relaxationmeditation" - evening. I also suggest that you start practising some simple Hatha yoga exercises. Note the updates. Here you can download "The Yoga Cycle", which is a guidance in the yoga positions I myself practice. The last yoga position, Savasana - or Corpse - is one and the same as my Relaxationmeditation. Also be aware of "The Compass - The Forgotten Secret of Hara Healing", which is an update to the Harameditation. Here there is included an important "Supplying Hara Exercise", which I suggest you start with).
4) Nordic Shamanism and Forest Therapy (A deeper going theoretical and historical article, which functions as a back-up to my practical shamanic website)
5) The Peter Pan Project (the whole thing is about becoming as a child again)
6) The Art of Pilgrimage (In this booklet I seek to create a "Map of the Spiritual Journey". I use the Quest theme in The Lord of the Rings, and Joseph Campbell´s theory of "The Hero´s Journey", which also can be used as an illustration of the shaman´s journey. Furthermore: the tarot cards are in my view wonderful depictions of life seen as a journey, and all the archetypes you might meet on this journey. It is about seeing yourself as a "Grail Seeker" as described inThe Grail Tarot - or a "Forest Wanderer" as described inThe Wildwood Tarot. And, traveling to Rold Forest could in itself be seen as a pilgrimage. In the end of the booklet you can find links to relevant travel literature).
7) Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien (free ebook. This is direct course in philosophy)
Before you can engage in philosophical counseling it is is necessary that you begin with shamanic counseling, or one of the other counseling forms offered on my practical site: Nordic Shamanism and Forest Therapy.
In that connection it is important that you understand that I don´t use base magic (The Hallowquest Cards and runes: healing, divination, shamanic journeys) in a traditional way, but as entrances to higher magic: Meditation as an Art of Life.
Let´s look at the two traditional examples of base magic: healing and divination.
When it comes to healing, I follow the words of Peace Pilgrim:
"One must be very careful when praying for others to pray for the removal of the cause and not the removal of the symptom.
"Eager beaver psychic healers are those who work on the removal of symptoms and not the removal of cause. When you desire phenomena, you possess phenomena; you do not get God. Let´s say I am a psychic healer living next door to you, and you have chosen to come into this life to face some kind of physical symptom until you have removed the cause. Well, when the symptom manifests, I remove it. And so the symptom manifests again, and I then remove it again, and I manage to keep that symptom removed.
"When you step over to the disembodied side of life, for another reason altogether, insted of blessing me for having removed the symptom you´ll say, 'That meddler! I came to solve this problem but she kept removing the symptom and therefore I never solved it!'
"That´s what I mean when I speak about some who are content to deal with the removal of symptoms. When one meddles in the life of another it will just cause the symptoms not only to re-manifest, but carry over into another lifetime. Most healers do not know this and they go on merrily removing symptoms.
"I admit that a long time ago, befoe I really knew what I was doing, when working with people who had problems I comforted them by putting my hands on the back of their neck and the forehead. I certainly wouldn´t do that now. I did not realize I was doing anything but to comfort. Now I place any problem into my prayer´s consciousness. I place it into the best possible hands - God´s hands, and turn my attention to other things." (Peace Pilgrim - Her Life and Work in Her Own Words, page 79-80).
I have myself, in several texts, referred to the removal of the cause as "Healing from the Ground". Read, for example, my article: Suffering as an Entrance to the Source.
And, when it comes to divination, I see it as a means of receiving guidance from a pool of wisdom. I don´t give fated answers, but instead I provide a snapshot of the possibilities and actions you might take surronding your issue at the current time. Tomorrow, things might change as you change and interact with life.
Our forebears approached oracles with respect and preparation, often going on pilgrimage to remote spots to seek clarification first, so remember to use your oracle in times and at places when you can consider it quitly. By respecting the oracle you also respect yourself, the nature of your issue and the spirits who answer you.
The ancient world consulted oracles sparingly and only when necessity demanded. Because we, in our own time, don´t share the same cultural respect for what the gods, spirits or ancestors say in response to our questions (the real meaning of the word "divination"), we sometimes disrespect oracles, using them for trivial concerns and sometimes in a frivolous frame of mind. At the other extreme, we sometimes harbour superstitious ideas about oracles, feeling that their answers are fated to come about or that we are somehow doomed to fulfill the oracle. Both diviners and questioners of an oracle have to stand in good balance. How we run with the answers is a matter of personal responsibility. Avoid using the oracle as a form of "fortune-telling", which just treats the answer as a crutch, rather than helping you find out how you can participate more wisely in your unfolding life path. It is your own interaction with the oracle that changes things and paves the way for tomorrow.
Within the Gundestrup Cauldron, which inspires the whole of my work, is the image of the antlered divinity (or shaman yogi), the Master of the Animals, who clutches his torc, or neck ring, in his right hand while grasping the oracular serpent in his left:
Read more about the Gundestrup Cauldron in my theoretical article: Nordic Shamanism and Forest Therapy
The shaman yogi is the spirit who embodies the wisdom of animals and men, mediating between the worlds of spirit and humankind, between the worlds of everyday consciousness and night-time dream and vision.
As a diviner, I also seek to make a bridge between your need, issue or question and what lies beyond the unknown threshold.
In order to ensure all this, I therefore combine base magic with higher magic.
There are three important aspects of the movement from base magic to higher magic:
1) The counseling forms will be related to the Socratic enquire technique described in the supporting exercise: The Philosophical Diary (in the book: Meditation as an Art of Life - a Basic Reader). This will again lead to the art of asking philosophical questions in a meditative-existential way.
2) The art of asking philosophical questions in a meditative-existential way will be related to the "Four Philosophical Openings and Hindrances", as described in the introduction to the book.
3) The Four Philosophical Hindrances and Openings will again be related to what I write in chapter 9, Dreams: Freyja´s Moon Runes, in my booklet, The Runes of Rold Forest:
Only your own realization (rise of consciousness) opens. Whether another person even was able to read the whole of the karmic course (a person´s life-history, destiny) and tell the seeker about it, it would not help. On the contrary it would harm. Only your own inner experience and realization can open the spiritual dimension. Karma in other ways is nonsense. And by the way, that´s the same with all spiritual.
These three aspects are finally leading to the concept of "spiritual anarchism". Again, there are three aspects of spiritual practice:
1) Critical thinking (spotting thought distortions created by dualistic unbalance, both in oneself and in others). I also call this aspect The Navigator, or the philosopher - see my book A Dictionary of Thought Distortions
2) Investigating the shadow (ignorance, the unconscious, the painbody, the cause of suffering, your own dark side, the ego). This aspect I call Learning to see with the Heart, or Heartmeditation (Tonglen) – see my articles The emotional painbody and why psychotherapy can´t heal it, and Suffering as an entrance to the source).
3) The spiritual practice (going beyond all ideas and images, or: going beyond the Godgame). This aspect I call The Compass, or Hara Awareness. This is the actual meditation practice. And it is this aspect I refer to as “spiritual anarchism" (see my article: The Compass – The Forgotten Secret of Hara Healing).
But why use base magic when critical towards it? That´s precisely the paradoxical, because it also contains elements of truth.
First of all: I use base magic (runes, Hallowquest cards) for the sake of game (the Godgame) and mystery play. Remember that I characterize my whole work as a satirical online storytelling game. Secondly: there is an element of aesthetical meditation in it, which lead to the third level of critical thinking: flexible thinking - (creative thinking, storytelling, mythic imagination, etc.) - as described in the Meditation as an Art of Life article. This is the ability of looking at your issue from all kinds of alternative viewpoints, to open up your stagnated reality tunnels, to make your thoughts flower - shortly: to become a life artist! I have already mentioned the healing art of storytelling in my article, Counseling in the Mythic Forest of Rold. You could also read my essay: The Connection Between Shamanic Healing and Creative Unfoldment.
When that is said, then it should also be mentioned that the Hallowquest tools, which I use, are themselves brilliant in avoiding the pitfalls of divination.
Rold Forest (information about Rold Forest)
Rebildporten (Tourist information. Rebild is the name of the National Park of Rold Forest, Denmark). Watch this video:
5) Photography from Rold Forest
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