Part of the toolkit of the shaman healer is something called ‘shamanic counselling’. But it’s not to be confused with ordinary counselling in which the client tells their problems to a human counsellor. With shamanic counselling, the client tells their problems to their own spirit guides, and those guides answer them, personally.
You might wonder how on earth you could be put in touch with your own spirit guides, to pose your questions to them. And it’s been difficult, until the last ten years or so, to find a vocabulary to explain just how it works. Because of that, up until recently, I’ve always told my clients just to trust me and follow my instructions ~ a sort of ‘suck-it-and-see’ approach ~ and they soon have a practical experience of meeting with their spirit guides which bypasses all need for rational explanations.
But now, since the growing changes to our understanding of how the universe works which has been coming from within the scientific community, it is becoming more possible to put some rationale around the experience of shamanic counselling. Added to that, through studying ancient mythology and iconography, we can also discover how our ancestors knew about this method of ‘contacting the gods’ going back into prehistory.
So this post is for those who like their spiritual experiences to be backed up with scientific explanations, and I will try to put it as simply as possible with lots of pictures so that those passing notes and throwing gum in the back row won’t feel left out.
First of all, here’s a bit of simple biology:
Deep within the folds of your brain, you have a gland called the pineal gland.
The pineal gland and what’s known as the ‘parietal eye’ (because its anatomy resembles the inner workings of an eye) make up the epithalamus … and, before you start to panic, that’s as far as I’m going with the blood and guts bit.
The only thing I would say, at this stage, about the pineal gland, is that it resembles a pine cone, which is why it’s called the pineal gland, and I will come back to this point later.
Now on to a bit of String Theory and again, I promise, it will be String Theory Lite.
Here’s an hourglass-shaped model of what string theorists think reality may look like.
Quantum physicists have found that by passing a ‘Bucky Ball’ (a dodecahedron formed into a ball) through from one dimension into another, it turns inside out. This led to the following theory about Space Time turning inside out to make Time Space.
This painting by ©S Caruso at Deviant Art represents a simplified view of what string theorists mean by our perception of Space Time turning inside out to perceive a realm with different rules: Time Space.
We, in our 3D world, are trapped in the lower half of this hourglass, where we can move around in Space but not in the sands of Time, which remain fixed and constant and eventually ‘run out’.
But in the upper half of the hourglass, so the theory goes, it is Space which remains constant instead of Time and, in fact, here we can move around in Time and travel, like Dr Who, to visit different epochs in history.
My own experience of this upper bit, though, goes beyond time travel along a linear plane~ because even time travel, that way, is limited. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. I find that in these extradimensional spaces, Time does not exist and so to enter those Timeless realms takes one into what may be meant by ‘eternal life’.
However, taking the above model, our problem is: how do we get from the lower bit of the hourglass where Time runs out to the upper bit of the hourglass of eternal life or Timelessness?
The answer appears in similar quotes from Jesus Christ in three out of the four gospels which, I think, signals its importance:
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24
In other words, we have to shrink ourselves into a tiny ball so that we can pass through that narrow bit in the middle.
Alice in Wonderland drank a magic potion to make herself smaller so that she could get through a tiny door into a beautiful garden. In some cultures, similar potions ~ ‘magic mushrooms’, datura or ayuhuasca ~ are taken to activate the pineal gland, the third eye, which allows the person to travel through the ‘tunnel’ or narrowest bit of the funnel of the hourglass and into another, extra dimensional world, which contains entities that the ancients knew as ‘spirits’ or ‘gods’. However, it is also possible to journey through this portal without any psychotropic help. Personally, I find that the beat of a drum and the power of my intention is enough to get me through.
That our ancient ancestors knew about this route into other worlds to get extra dimensional guidance is evident from studying religious texts, mythology and iconography.
To quote Jesus Christ again on the third eye.
“When thine eye be single, thy whole body will be filled with light.”
The ancients used the pine cone as a symbol for this experience of another light-filled world which is accessed through the pineal gland, and here are some striking examples.
In Indian iconography, the function of the pineal gland is depicted as the third eye of Shiva or Krishna.
And if we’re thinking that this is just some weird symbolism of the pagans in ancient times, let’s check this huge sculpture out in what’s named Pine Cone Court in the Vatican.
Notice the ibises on either side and the empty sarcophagus before it, denoting resurrection into eternal life.
The Pope’s staff also contains a pine cone, thus:
Here’s a more recent one:
It’s difficult to tell whether the papal inner circle understands that the ‘eternal life’ represented by the pine cone is not just a symbol of a faith-held tenet, but a symbol of an actual practical experience. The Church in the 4th century CE subsumed much of the allegory and symbology of the ancient Mystery teachings into its religion, without possibly knowing what it all meant. Even if they do know, at some higher, rarified, more esoteric echelon within the Vatican, they are hardly going to want that knowledge to fall into the hands of their flocks because this would empower each of them to have their own experience of the gods/God (aka spirits) and, therefore, no longer need a religion to act as a middle man.
Shamanic healers today are helping to empower people again by teaching them how to journey into other dimensions to meet with these gods/God or spirit guides. And anyone can do it, with the right guidance ~ and even if you don’t understand how the science bit works. After all, everyone has a pineal gland. All you need is the guidance of the shaman in how to propel yourself through that portal and also a little bit of advice on the ground rules of how to conduct yourself once you’re in the other dimensions.
The shaman just acts a guide. The experience is yours, as is the knowledge you bring back. In a matter of just half-a-dozen sessions under the auspices of the shamanic practitioner, you’re good to go and practise it on your own, at home.
There is a small warning, though: don’t leave this until you’re old and grey. With age, calcium deposits build up on the pineal gland, making it harder and harder to open the third eye.