Friday, 4 January 2019

Boethius and his chat with the Goddess Fortunata


For those of you that read my blog posts, you will know that I think Seneca’s Praemeditatio is quite possibly the best philosophical piece I have ever seen written. See my blog posted 28th Aug 2017 for the praemeditatio.



Today’s post is giving you a look at another philosophical masterpiece. The guy that wrote it was called Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, or Boethius for short. He wrote it whilst in jail where he was awaiting execution for supposedly conspiring against King Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, in the year 524 CE.



Before I give you the philosophy piece, I thought it relevant to give you a little back story to provide context to the piece. I often feel that unless you know someone a little bit, you don’t really get the full impact of their thinking. If you understand what was happening in their lives before, and during, the written thought, it provides a much better image of the person, and therefore the philosophical piece.



Boethius was a Roman that came to prominence with his political career (he became famous as a philosopher after he died), which was as a consul to King Theodoric, the Ostrogoth from 510 until his execution in 524 CE. King Theodoric was in charge of the ailing Western Roman empire, but he was essentially a puppet to Emperor Justin I, who ruled from Constantinople, as part of the Eastern Roman empire.



Theodoric became King of the Western Roman empire after defeating Odoacer in 493 CE. Theodoric was an Ostrogoth (an Eastern Germanic people), that had established an empire north of the Black Sea. After the death of Atilla the Hun in 450 CE they declared their independence and then expanded their territory all the way into the Western Roman empire by 493 CE.



Interestingly, in 484 CE there was a breach between the Eastern and Western Roman empires (known as the Acacian schism). Therefore, when Theodoric defeated Odoacer he became the ruler of the Western Roman empire; but this still resulted in him being inferior to the true Emperor of the Roman empire, who ruled from Constantinople. This meant that Theodoric was a King, not an Emperor, and was a Viceroy of Emperor Justin I. But he still had an extreme amount of power and the Western Roman people accepted him as their King and ruler. Well as much as you can accept a barbarian invader as your ruler, that is.



This is important because in 519 CE, the schism ended, and this threatened King Theodoric’s position. The Western Roman people once again considered Emperor Justin I as the one true ruler, and Theodoric was nothing more than a barbarian invader and a heretic. Boethius was one of those Romans, and even though there is nothing that I read suggesting Boethius was conspiring against Theodoric, he was in a very difficult position. This is because Boethius was a Roman and Theodoric was an Ostrogoth.



It was probably only a matter of time before Romans in power under King Theodoric were rounded up and killed, either by perceived legal avenues, or illegal means. Boethius was arrested, condemned and exiled to Pavia. Whilst he was in prison awaiting his execution, he had time to think, and he wrote “The Consolation of Philosophy”. It is a philosophical masterpiece, which is fascinating in itself, because Christianity was considered to be the official state doctrine, with the Pagan God’s all but banished. What makes this interesting is that Boethius chose philosophy over theology at his greatest time of need, even though Boethius was a Christian.



The other intriguing element to this is that Boethius rarely opposes Christian beliefs. This allowed his writing to survive Christian discrimination (and elimination) so that we have the opportunity, and pleasure, to read his masterpiece.



Boethius also targets the Goddess Fortunata (or Fortune) to vent his frustrations and this makes for compelling reading. The Goddess Fortunata was charged with providing people with fortune, but this could be either good or bad. She didn’t have favourites either so it didn’t matter how powerful you were, how famous, how special, she could hand out good fortune or bad. Plus, she was happy enough to provide a person with good fortune one day and then bad the next; or do the same for entire communities of people. Even praying to her didn’t guarantee good fortune indefinitely. Boethius essentially blames her for his imprisonment.



Whilst Boethius is in jail he is visited by a woman, who was not actually real. His book is, in part, a conversation between him and her. The following piece-de-resistance is one of those situations. The person starting the conversation is the woman but she quickly refers on to the Goddess Fortunata. I hope you enjoy:



‘I would like to continue our discussion a while by using [the Goddess] Fortune’s own arguments, and I would like you to consider whether her demands are just.



“Why do you burden me each day, mortal man,” she [Goddess Fortunata] asks, “with your querulous accusations? What harm have I done you?  What possessions of yours have I stolen?



“Choose any judge you like and sue me for possession of wealth and rank, and if you can show that any part of these belongs by right to any mortal man, I will willingly concede that what you are seeking to regain really did belong to you.



“When nature brought you forth from your mother’s womb I received you naked and devoid of everything and fed you from my own resources. I was inclined to favour you, and I brought you up – and this is what makes you lose patience with me – with a measure of indulgence, surrounding you with all the splendour and affluence at my command.



Now I have decided to withdraw my hand. You have been receiving a favour as one who has had the use of another’s possessions, and you have no right to complain as if what you have lost was fully your own. You have no cause to begin groaning at me: I have done you no violence.



Wealth, honours and the like are all under my jurisdiction. They are my servants and know their mistress. When I come, they come with me, and when I go, they leave as well. I can say with confidence that if the things whose loss you are bemoaning were really yours, you could never have lost them.



Surely I am not the only one to be denied the exercise of my rights? The heavens are allowed to bring forth the bright daylight and lay it to rest in the darkness of night: the year is allowed alternatively to deck the face of the earth with fruit and flowers and to disfigure it with cloud and cold. The sea is allowed either to be calm and inviting or to rage with storm-driven breakers.



Shall man’s insatiable greed bind me to a constancy which is alien to my ways? Inconstancy is my very essence; it is the game I never cease to play as I turn my wheel in its ever changing circle, filled with joy as I bring the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top. Yes, rise up on my wheel if you like, but don’t count it an injury when by the same token you begin to fall, as the rules of the game will require.”





I am keen to hear your thoughts.



Love and light to you all



David Hartmann

Friday, 30 November 2018

My Vanuatu Experience

About ten years ago I started going across to Port Vila, Vanuatu (a group of islands east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean) to work as an acupuncturist. I would go over for two weeks at a time and treat patients every day. I did this a total of six times over an 18-month period. Port Vila didn’t have an acupuncturist and I was therefore very popular when I went over.



I treated the same patients every day, every second day, or whenever they could afford to come. Some patients even came for each of the ten days that I worked. It was an incredible experience and one I will never forget.



It was on my second last visit that I had something quite extraordinary occur which I thought you might find interesting.



About 4am one morning I was awakened by a deep rumbling under my bed. I initially thought it was an underground train, which was silly of me considering Vanuatu doesn’t have a train-line. I was still half asleep so give me a break okay?



The rumbling intensified followed by a series of jolts and bumps and knocks. Having never been in an earthquake before I was finding it quite surreal until my motel door cracked inside its frame (which was quite impressive seeing as the door was solid wood nearly two inches thick). It was so loud and scared me half to death. The whole event lasted no more than two minutes but it left me shaken (not stirred); and there was no more sleep for me that night.



I got up and went for a walk along Vila Bay (the sun was rising) and felt I had recovered adequately for my day of work. I changed motel rooms (the door couldn’t lock anymore) and then walked to work. But all morning I was hurting my patients with every single needle insertion. I tend to average 1-2 nasty inserts from every ten needles so I was way off my game.



At the time it didn’t occur to me that it could have been the earthquake. But here’s the thing. Was it my energy or was it Port Vila’s energy? By lunchtime I had treated ten patients and hurt all ten. I told myself that I had to get out of the clinic. Normally I would walk down the road to a cafĂ© for lunch but on this day, I walked down to Erakor Lagoon and sat under a giant tree.



I meditated for an hour (it felt like ten minutes) and then walked back to work. Even without lunch I powered through the afternoon and didn’t hurt another patient.



To this day I have never had a similar experience (I have also never been in another earthquake) and I still haven’t been able to answer my question. Was it my energy or Port Vila’s energy that resulted in my high rate of patient discomfort? Best I can guess is that it was both. I wonder whether any of you have had a similar experience?

Keen to hear your thoughts.

Love and light to you all.

David Hartmann


Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Acupuncture Point Combinations from the Classics


Hello to you all,

David Hartmann here and as most of you know I am writing an Acupuncture Point Combination textbook (due for release in May 2019). Whilst researching the classics I have come across heaps of different point combinations. Today I wanted to briefly discuss three of them with you. They are called:

* The Three Powers – Heaven, Earth, Human (Tian Di Ren).

* Bright Foyer, Watch Tower, Court, Fence and Shield.

* The Great Five.


      1)      The Three Powers – Heaven, Earth, Human (Tian Di Ren)

This is a point combination from a book written by Yang Ji Zhou in 1601CE/AD titled ‘The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion/Zhen Jiu Da Cheng’ and the quote goes:


“One Hundred Meetings [GV 20] is a point on the head, it echoes the sky [Heaven/Tian] above. Jade Pearl [CV 21] is a point on the breast, it echoes man [Human/Ren] himself. The Bubbling Spring [KI 1] comes through two points on the sole of the foot, echoing the earth [Di]. These are the Three Powers” (Bertschinger, trans. 2013, p.102).


What are your thoughts on The Three Powers combination? Personally I like it because it activates what I call the Chinese medicine triumvirate of Heaven, Earth and Human, or Tian Di Ren.

By gaining access to the Heaven’s (Tian) we have the ability to dream big, dream our grandest dream; be inspirational, artistic, poetic, spiritual and philosophical. Up here we believe that anything is possible.

By gaining access to Earth (Di) we have the ability to do big, be big (Wu Wei), walk our talk. On earth (Di) we take our dreams and make them reality. Earth (Di) gives us our driving momentum to achieve great things.

As you can see it’s also very important for Heaven (Tian) and Earth (Di) to be connected because it provides for a link between our dreams and our actions. Without that link we would either dream up ideas every day but then never do anything; or the opposite would apply and we would live a structured life that was never open to new exciting possibilities because we have lost the ability to dream.

But we also need the third part too, which is our Human (Ren) part. This is the part of us that provides us with our self-esteem. It makes us who we are as a person. Are you extroverted or introverted? A sensate or an intuitive? A thinker or a feeler? And so on.

Our Human (Ren) part is also needed to take a dream from Heaven (Tian) and plant it into the Earth (Di) for action. Our Human (Ren) part is the part that decides if the dream is worth becoming reality.

This combination allows us to hug Heaven (Tian), hug Earth (Di) and hug ourselves (Ren). In my upcoming book I will be providing the reader with at least seven different point combinations for The Three Powers.


QUESTION 1:

For those of you that take the time to answer my questions, ten of you will receive a discount off my book and workshop series. All you have to do is be one of the ten closest to my point combinations (from the upcoming book) and the prize is yours!

What point combination would you use for The Three Powers (Tian Di Ren)?

The rules are that you need one point for Heaven (Tian), one point for Earth (Di) and one point for Human (Ren). You cannot, however, use any of the three points mentioned in the quote above. You must choose three different ones.

As I have already said, I have at least seven different point combinations in my book so it will be interesting to compare our combinations.

Use the two tables (1 and 2) below to construct two different treatments using only three points in each. Obviously this would mean you won’t have a point in each of the rows below. Also provide a brief explanation for why you chose the points you chose.


Table 1 – The Three Powers Point Combination – 1st Altered Treatment
Location of Point
Points
Head/Face

Trunk (Front)

Trunk (Back)

Arms/Hands

Legs/Feet

Total points needled (bilateral or unilateral?)

Explanation






Table 2 – The Three Powers Point Combination – 2nd Altered Treatment
Location of Point
Points
Head/Face

Trunk (Front)

Trunk (Back)

Arms/Hands

Legs/Feet

Total points needled (bilateral or unilateral?)

Explanation






      2)      Bright Foyer, Watch Tower, Court, Fence and Shield

This is a point combination from ‘The Spiritual Pivot/Ling Shu (part of the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic) which was written somewhere around 200BCE/BC and the quote goes:


“Huang Di said, ‘The Bright Foyer is the nose. The Watch Tower is between the eyebrows. The Court is the forehead. The Fence is the cheek. The Shield refers to the area around the Ear Door [TE 21]. For these places and in between one would desire that they be correct and large’” (Wu trans. 1993, p.172 – 49th Essay).


This point combination is one that can treat the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat, face and head. Sounds great doesn’t it?

I’m a massive fan of this point combination apart from one rather crucial component: The Spiritual Pivot (Ling Shu) doesn’t actually provide any points for the Bright Foyer, Watch Tower, Court, Fence and Shield point combination.

So in effect we have to come up with our own combination, which I have done several times in my upcoming book. In order to do that however we need to look at what each of the names represent on the face and head. According to the 49th Essay of the Spiritual Pivot (Ling Shu) each name represents the following:

* Bright Foyer – nose.

* The Watch Tower – eyes and throat.

* The Court – forehead, head and face.

* The Fence – cheek and mouth.

* The Shield – ears.

Similar to The Great Five below, I’m not a fan of stacking all my points in the one area – in this case on the head/face region. Therefore I would personally look to do local and distal points.


QUESTION 2:

In the two tables (3 and 4) below provide two different treatments for the Bright Foyer, Watch Tower, Court, Fence and Shield point combination.

As you can see from the table headings, you also need to provide one local point and one distal point for each of the five combination names. That will be a combined total of ten points listed.

Now that might seem like a lot of points to needle in a patient, and to be honest, I would be unlikely to needle that many. But this is still an excellent activity to make you think about the points you want in your combination. In reality you might find that in a clinical situation that you did this combination across one, two or even three separate treatments, and that would be perfectly okay. All of us have differing ideas on how many needles to use on our patients.

Regardless, for this activity you need to provide ten different points in the rows provided. This is to be done across tables 3 and 4, with you providing two different treatments in both tables. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Also provide a brief explanation for your choice of points in the space provided.


Table 3 – The Bright Foyer, Watch Tower, Court, Fence and Shield 1st Point Combination
Combination Name
Location of Point
Point Name
The Bright Foyer – nose
Local

Distal

The Watch Tower – eyes and throat
Local

Distal

The Court – forehead, head and face
Local

Distal

The Fence – cheek and mouth
Local

Distal

The Shield – ears
Local

Distal

Total points needled (bilateral or unilateral?)


Explanation








Table 4 – The Bright Foyer, Watch Tower, Court, Fence and Shield 2nd Point Combination
Combination Name
Location of Point
Point Name
The Bright Foyer – nose
Local

Distal

The Watch Tower – eyes and throat
Local

Distal

The Court – forehead, head and face
Local

Distal

The Fence – cheek and mouth
Local

Distal

The Shield – ears
Local

Distal

Total points needled (bilateral or unilateral?)


Explanation








      3)      The Great Five

This is a point combination from a book written by Yang Ji Zhou in 1601CE/AD titled ‘The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion/Zhen Jiu Da Cheng’ and the quote goes:


“The two Mounds, two Qiao points and two Crossings connect and tie up the Great Five [arms, legs and head]. The two Mounds are the Yin Mound Spring [SP 9] and the Yang Mound Spring [GB 34]. The two Qiao points are the Yin-Qiao (meaning the Illuminated Sea) [KI 6] and Yang-Qiao (meaning the Extended Meridian) [BL 62]. The two Crossings are Yin Crossing [SP 6] and Yang Crossing [GB 35]. They connect, meaning they join and connect onto. The Great Five are the five ‘limbs’ of the body. These six points present a connection to both arms, both legs and the head” (Bertschinger, trans. 2013, pp.103-104).


The Great Five is an interesting point combination because it is activating our five extremities (arms, legs and head). This is extremely beneficial in situations where the vital substances have left the extremities to move back into the organs.

In this instance, however, there is the possibility that your patient is quite deficient and so the question is, “Should we use The Great Five point combination to move the vital substances back into the extremities?”

Personally I would not use The Great Five in a patient that was deficient because this would put more strain on the vital substances because when you force them to leave the organs it will start to burn up the patients valuable (and limited) vital substances stock or supply. I would instead focus on building the deficiency for a number of treatments. When they have built up a good healthy supply of vital substances I would then consider using The Great Five point combination.

If however the patient isn’t deficient then using The Great Five could be very beneficial to flush the extremities.

The next thing I need to decide is would I use all of the points listed in the quote. They are:

* SP 9 (Yin Ling Quan).

* GB 34 (Yang Ling Quan).

* KI 6 (Zhao Hai).

* BL 62 (Shen Mai).

* SP 6 (San Yin Jiao).

* GB 35 (Yang Jiao).

They are all wonderful points but I’m not a big fan of having all my points in the one spot (legs). Therefore I would seriously consider swapping out 2-4 of the six points and include points in the arms and head.

I would ensure, however, that I keep SP 9 (Yin Ling Quan) and GB 34 (Yang Ling Quan) as one partnership; KI 6 (Zhao Hai) and BL 62 (Shen Mai) as another partnership; plus SP 6 (San Yin Jiao) and GB 35 (Yang Jiao) as another partnership.

These partnerships (within the larger partnership of The Great Five) are important because they are on leg channels that move in opposite directions. We want to ensure that this component of the overall point combination isn’t compromised when we take/swap out 2-4 of the six points.


QUESTION 3:

How will you alter The Great Five point combination to ensure that you have points in the legs, arms and head?

There are three groupings (in tables 5-7) to create your own Great Five point combination. Please add in two points for the head/face region and two points for the arms/hands region. Along with the two points already provided in the legs/feet this will give you a combined total of six points in each of the three treatments.

Please also offer a brief explanation for why you chose the points you chose.


Table 5 – The Great Five Point Combination – 1st Altered Treatment
Location of Point
Points
Head/Face


Arms/Hands


Legs/Feet
SP 9 (Yin Ling Quan)
GB 34 (Yang Ling Quan)
Total points needled (bilateral or unilateral?)

Explanation






Table 6 – The Great Five Point Combination – 2nd Altered Treatment
Location of Point
Points
Head/Face


Arms/Hands


Legs/Feet
KI 6 (Zhao Hai)
BL 62 (Shen Mai)
Total points needled (bilateral or unilateral?)

Explanation






Table 7 – The Great Five Point Combination – 3rd Altered Treatment
Location of Point
Points
Head/Face


Arms/Hands


Legs/Feet
SP 6 (San Yin Jiao)
GB 35 (Yang Jiao)
Total points needled (bilateral or unilateral?)

Explanation






FINAL THOUGHTS:

As I mentioned earlier, for those that answer my questions ten of you will receive a discount off my book and workshop series. All you have to do is be one of the ten closest to my point combinations (from the upcoming book) and the prize is yours!

The deadline for submitting your answers is the 18th September 2018 and I will announce the ten winners on the 24th September 2018. This gives you all a month to come up with your answers.

The next workshop I am doing on acupuncture point combinations is at International Lectures in Amersfoort, The Netherlands from 28-30 September 2018. Please click on the link below if you are interested in attending.



I will also be doing one in Brisbane, Australia in the middle of February 2019, along with a series of workshops around Australia throughout the rest of 2019. I am also organising other workshops around the world in 2019. When I have concrete dates I will be sure to let you all know. If any of you have locations in mind and can assist me in any way please get in contact with me via the email address below. Thank you in advance for that!

If this activity proves to be successful I will do another one in November 2018 and perhaps again in Feb 2019 with brand new point combinations.

When you have completed your answers please send them through to my email address which is:


I look forward to reading your responses. Good luck and happy point combining!

Love and light to you all

David Hartmann


REFERENCES:

Bertschinger, R. (2013) The Great Intent: Acupuncture Odes, Songs and Rhymes. London: Singing Dragon. The book is a translation of Ji Zhou Yang’s ‘The Great Compendium of Acupuncture and Moxibustion/Zhen Jiu Da Cheng’ Volume II and III. Originally published in 1601 CE.

Wu, J.N., trans. (1993) Ling Shu or The Spiritual Pivot. Washington D.C.: University of Hawaii Press. Originally written somewhere between 200-0 BCE.