Winter Greetings from Master Wu

Dear Qi friends,

“Greetings from Ivy, VA!  Although most leaves are still radiating their illuminations here, the light snow this morning told me that winter season arrived earlier than expected.  According to Chinese cosmology, the official start date of the winter season will be November 8th.”

… I began this seasonal greeting letter to you on the 29th of October, during a break time from packing up our house and moving everything into a storage unit.  However, I had to let go of my idea to get a letter to you early and instead focus on the big job of moving.

The early snow signaled that this winter will be extremely cold in most areas of the northern hemisphere. It will bring more challenges to many people in both the physical and mental levels. By reducing your social activities, bringing your Qi within, and turning your focus on your inner cultivation practice, you will be better equipped to transform the obstacles ahead.

The Metal Rabbit has been a big year for my wife Karin and I.  We have experienced the Seven Emotions (Joy, Anger, Worry, Longing, Grief, Fear and Shock) of the Five Elements stages (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water) at a very profound level.  I am afraid that I am unable to share the details of our story with you in this letter, as it is much too tender still.  Our destiny has put us in the situation of being ‘homeless’ – or, from a spiritual perspective – becoming “Daoist wanderers.”  We steered ourselves to Sweden just yesterday and hope the wintery Baltic Sea will nourish us and help us gain wisdom and insight regarding our next destination.

From one perspective of the Five Elements principle, winter is the season of death and rebirth.  It is the season that allows the Old to decease and the New to grow. Death is always an awkward topic to talk about, and most everyone avoids referencing it. Yet, no one can leave death alone as it is a part of the universal Five Elements natural cycle. In the Chinese Immortal’s tradition, we have an expression – XinSi ShenHuo, which translates into English as “allowing your heart to die will let your spirit live.”  In my interpretation, this means that in order to achieve true enlightenment, we have to respect death and bring it gracefully into our hearts. The founder master of the Complete Reality School, Wang ChongYang, achieved his enlightenment after he dug his own grave and spent three years in it, cultivating his internal alchemy practices (Daoist meditation techniques).

To continue moving through our grief energy after the recent death of our son TaiLiao, Karin and I chose to spend next few months cultivating in the true winter energy of Northern Europe, rather than escaping to a warm, southern summer Qi area. As LaoZi tells us in Chapter 1 of his DaoDeJing, within the darkness inside the darkness lies the doorway to all wonders.  We know that the mystical northern lights appear brightest in the Water Direction (the North) during the darkest hours of the night, and we trust that our time hibernating in the dark, cold, and silent winter will brighten our future path.

Although you are always welcomed to write back, I ask you to please understand if I do not respond to all the emails I receive during this winter season. For those who are interested in my teachings, I have scheduled a couple of workshops in the early spring of 2012 (you can check the details at  In honor of the coming year of great transformation, a few of my long term American students will join us here in Sweden for an Advanced Chinese Astrology retreat, which will be held during the Chinese Spring Festival in January. When the Yang Water Dragon raises his head in February 2012,  I will give a lecture on Qigong as the root of Chinese Medicine at the Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine, London South Bank University. I will also hold Fire Dragon and Five Elements Qigong workshops in London and in Oxford during our trip to the UK. You may look for my next greeting letter when the Year of Water Dragon arrives on February 4, 2012.

With warm regards and wishes for a peaceful winter to you and yours,

Master Wu