Autumnal Greetings 2016

Autumn 2016

One leaf knows it is autumn

Dear Qi-friends,

Autumnal greetings from the peaceful and calm Norrtälje bay (in sunny Sweden)!

In China, we have a famous proverb: YiYeZhiQiu 一葉知龝 , which means ‘one leaf knows it is autumn.’ This red leaf caught my eyes as I was strolling with my daughter in the nature reserve last week … it reminded me that my one month summer vacation (Swedish style) was drawing to an end and that I would be writing this newsletter soon.

Autumn Begins 7 August … 

Although autumn begins on August 7, 2016 and the Cold Water cosmological energy might bring some welcomed cooling for a brief spell (especially in those areas that have been experiencing an unusual heat wave), ShuHuoZhiQi 暑火之氣, or Hot Fire Qi, will be in full force before completely retreating around August 25th.

Expect to have some extremely hot days until then! This will especially hold true for those of you who have experienced an uncommonly hot summer these last couple of months.

HanShuiZhoQi 寒水之氣 – Cold Water Extreme

However, HanShuiZhoQi 寒水之氣, or Cold Water energy, will dominate the remainder of the fall season, with some areas experiencing atypical rainstorms, hail storms and/or snowstorms.

Cold Water Caution! 

This extreme Cold Water influence may cause some difficulties for those of you who have potential weakness in gastrointestinal function, any kind of joint problem, an over heavy body, poor hearing, and/or lower back pain. This harming influence will be strong from September 22nd through November 22nd.

Cold Water Prevention

To avoid the deleterious influence of Cold Water energy and maintain balance in your life, please center your diet around healthy foods and place more emphasis on eating foods with pungent flavors. Also, please keep up with your daily Qigong practice.

Drinking plantain tea everyday will have special health benefits for most of us during this coming autumn season.

2016 Teaching Schedule Update

In order to support our Qi-friends cultivation, we will continue to expand my teachings in the states and throughout Europe.

Two upcoming retreats full

We are excited that many cultivation friends from around the world will be joining us in our next two upcoming retreats:

1. Our two year GanZhi Advanced Daoist Arts Program, in which I will systematically teach the relationships of the GanZhi to Chinese cosmology, astrology, the Yijing, classical chinese medicine, and internal alchemy, is full. We will be welcoming a international group of students to study here in Sweden every 6 months for the next two years.

2. To commemorate the 15th year of the passing of one my most influential teachers, Grandmaster Yang RonJi 楊榮籍 , I will be sharing (for the first time) the first 12 movements of the HuaShan 24 form. For this training, we will be meeting in a retreat style setting in upstate, New York. Although registration for this event is full, you are welcome to join us for part 2, in October 2017.

Still time to join a weekend course!

There are still a few spaces left in several of my upcoming weekend events this fall (in New York city; in Stockholm, Sweden; in Strasbourg, France; and in Aberdeen, Scotland). If you would like to participate, please check out the teaching schedule on my website for details.

Looking Ahead to 2017

During our extended spring 2017 teaching trip to the Pacific Northwest area of the United States, I will offer several events to support our local Qi-friends in Portland, Oregon…

Fire Dragon Shamanic Martial Arts Form Retreat

For years, students have been asking me to teach them the Fire Dragon Shamanic Martial Arts Form. I have finally decided to offer training of this special form from the EMei Shamanic Lineage. In a five day retreat, we will learn and practice this powerful form, which is based on the Yijing Eight Trigrams Arrangement.

Dai XinYi Chopstick form

I will be continuing teaching the Dai XinYi Teacher Certification series. In the next session, held in February 2017, I will be teaching the XinYi Chopstick Form. Each workshop in this series is open to the general public, to students of all levels, and is offered independently, meaning you are welcome to join us for as many of these trainings as you like, in any order that fits your schedule.

2016/2017 Winter/Spring Highlights


Best wishes for a healthy and happy harvest season from Karin and I,

Master Wu

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Happy Longevity Peach Day! … and happy summer :)

Santorini - October 13, 2014

 

9 April 2016

Dear Qi friends,

Happy Longevity Peach Day! Happy birthday to the Spirit of North! Happy birthday to Grandmaster Zhao!

Traditionally, Longevity Peach Day is the day when the Queen Mother of the West would invite all the immortals to KunLun Mountain in celebration. During the festivities, she offered Longevity Peaches … eating one Longevity Peach was known to bring 3,000 years of life!

Spirit of the North is XuanWu 玄武 – and is also the spirit of Water Element.  In Daoism, we believe XuanWu brings new life energy into the world and protects all beings.

Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong carries the lineage of the Dai Family style of XinYi (Heart Mind) internal alchemy and martial arts system. He was born on this special auspicious day, the third day of the third month in lunar calender.

Karin, Zenna, and I hope the spiritual energies of these two immortals (and Grandmaster Zhao) will bring happiness, health, and prosperity into your lives.

Good News!

I would like to share a couple of pieces of good news with you before I share more about the cosmological influences that will be influencing us all this summer.

  • The registration for our newly launched GanZhi Advanced Daoist Arts program is full! This two year course will be held in Sweden. If you would like to be added to the waitlist, please send us an email.

  • Session three of the Lifelong Training Program is also full! This session will meet at a beautiful lodge nestled in the base of Mt. Adams in southern Washington state (USA).  It will be great to spend a week cultivating with old Qi friends.

  • Our publisher, Singing Dragon, is offering a free online Qigong festivalon April 21-22, 2016. Please check out the link – there will be a lot of interesting information available! For this event, I have donated one of my most popular previously published articles, The Pure Yang Mudra part I.

  • My wife Karin is busy writing the GanZhi BaZi Workbook! This book will provide essential and practical information on Chinese astrology … including the secret method (never before published) of how to calculate the astrology chart without a Chinese calendar book or a questionably accurate GanZhi app. Our goal is for the book to be available during the 2016 winter holiday season.

Summer Greetings

You may be wondering why I am sending you all this summer seasonal newsletter almost one month ahead of schedule. The answer is twofold:

Teaching trip in the Pacific Northwest

First, we will be leaving Sweden on Monday for a long teaching trip in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. We will have an entire month of back to back teachings scheduled, which will prevent me from doing any writing!

Third month of Spring – the Dragon month

Secondly, the third month of spring this season has unusual energetic pattern – one that differs from the general spring pattern I wrote about in my last newsletter. As such, I would like to give you a specific guidance about the upcoming Dragon month:

RenChen 壬辰 (Yang Water Dragon)

Even though many friends who are living in the northern hemisphere have enjoyed some nice warm spring energy, this month, RenChen 壬辰 (Yang Water Dragon), will carry in some Cold Water energy. Some friends may have already experienced snow storms during the last couple of days.

Please still follow my previous recommendations for the spring Qigong practice during this Dragon month.  However, please do not continue eating the cooling foods I mentioned in my Spring 2016 newsletter. Until 5 May make sure to consume food and drink with warming energy, such as ginger tea and adding cinnamon spice to your warming foods (like lamb stew).

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot!

From the Daoist cosmological perspective, the starting point of the summer season falls on May 5th this year. The energy of Mars will definitely dominate the summer – the power of Fire will be in full effect! I predict that many of us will experience an extremely hot summer, especially during the period of May 20 – July 20. This heat wave could last all the way through to the first month of autumn (until September 7th) in some areas.

Supporting patients through the heat

Clinically, practitioners will see that many of their clients will present with problems relating to heat disease, such as poor hearing, nose bleeds, cough, abscess, skin sores, red eyes, thyroid hyperplasia, sore throat, and even sudden death.

Starting on May 5th, please guide your patients to consume foods and drinks that are cooling in nature.

As I mentioned in my last letter, drinking high quality green tea will be a good choice to help disperse the heat this summer. I recently got some fabulous green tea shipped to me from my friends in China – the first harvest of the year! 🙂

Those of you who are tea aficionados may be able to notice the high quality nature of this tea and even its powerful Qi in the photo down below.

Cultivating with the heat

As always, the best way to maintain your balance throughout all the changes life brings is to continue your daily Qigong practice.

The Monkey Internal Alchemy Meditation practice I have shared before (from my book, XinYi WuDao) is still a powerful choice to help you balance your energy.

Regardless of your specific cultivation practice, please remember this advice:

君子向明而治
JunZiXiangMingErZhi
The enlightened being cultivates while facing brightness

Wishing Peaceful Qi to you and your families from the three of us,

Master Wu

Cultivation yields transformation – come join us!

In order to support our Qi-friends inner transformation process, I am expanding my 2016 teachings. Below please find an overview of upcoming training opportunities. Please click the event name for details.

Warm Winter Greetings 2015!

Dear Qi friends,

Happy winter from the misty and mystical Norrtälje bay! Karin, Zenna, and I hope you and your family will enjoy this upcoming white holiday season!

Although winter 2016 officially starts today, I experienced some early snowy moments during my teaching at Northern Dipper Temple in upstate New York in October – a preview of what is ahead…

Get Ready for the Cold!

According to Chinese cosmology, this winter season will be extremely cold in the most areas of northern hemisphere, as compared with the last few winters. I expect this to be especially true in those areas that missed cold weather last winter, for instance, in the Stockholm area, where we currently live.

The Cold Water Qi (manifested as heavy mist, rainstorms and snowstorms) will officially kick in about two weeks from now.

Protect your Kidneys from Cold Water Qi

For many of us, this Cold Water season may be accompanied by joint pain, lower back pain, or/and pain along the spine. This will be especially true for those who have weaker kidney Qi.

In order to preserve and cultivate your kidney Qi, please keep yourself warm over the next few months. It is also a good idea to eat root vegetable stews for dinner and to drink ginger tea in the morning throughout the winter season.

Cultivation for Strengthening the Kidneys

Practicing HunYuanZhuang 混元樁 (the primordial stance) from the Dai family XinYi tradition everyday will be a powerful way to strengthen your kidney Qi. If you are interested, you will find more details of this special cultivation method below.

Preserving your Energy

Winter is the greatest season to preserve your energy by holding it deep within. I typically reduce my teaching activities during this season in order to focus on my personal cultivation and enjoy cozy time with my family during the winter season.  I will do the same this winter!

Finishing up weekly classes in Stockholm for 2015

I will continue teaching my weekly Taiji class on Tuesdays in Stockholm this month. The Stockholm group has been enjoying our Hidden Immortal Lineage Taiji Mother Form practice over the last few months.

International Congress of Chinese Metaphysics in Bratislava

In early December, I will offer several teachings at the International Congress of Chinese Metaphysics. This will mark my first visit to Slovakia!

Looking ahead to 2016

Baltimore, Maryland:
I am looking forward to returning to Baltimore, Maryland from March 4-6.  I will be offering a Dao of Tea event on Friday evening, followed by a weekend workshop featuring Mt. EMei’s practice of Opening the Spiritual Fortress and a review of the XinYi Dragon Body form.

Portland, Oregon:
From April 15-May 11, I will turn for another extended teaching trip to Portland, Oregon: Shamanic HealingFire Dragon Meridian Qigong, and the BaGua XinJing.

Palmer and Anchorage, Alaska:
I will be making a short trip to Palmer (XinYi WuXing) and Anchorage, Alaska (ChaDaoDragon BodyOpening the Spiritual Fortress) during the weekend of April 29-May 1.

Lifelong Training Program level one in 2016

In order to support the growing demands of our Lifelong Traning program, we will open new entry level trainings both in the US and Europe in 2016.

  • The US level one training will be held in Glenwood, Washington from April 19-25
  • The European level one training will be held on Flatön, Sweden from August 17-22

XinYi Certification Series Continues in 2016

After a successful Dai XinYi BaGua teacher certification course last year, we will offer another XinYi certification course in 2016. The foundation for all Dai family XinYi forms is the WuXing QuanMu form. We will hold XinYi WuXing QuanMu training in Portland, Oregon from May 2-4.

GanZhi Program!

At last, after many years of preparation, we will launch our GanZhi program in Europe! It will take place on Flatön, Sweden in September 2-7.

Please check our website for updates!

For updates and details of my teaching schedule, please visit my website (www.masterwu.net)

Warm Qi from Karin and I,

Master Wu

HunYuanZhuang

HunYuan Zhuang 混元樁 

Posture:

  • Bend your knees slightly, tuck your tailbone in and tighten your bottom muscles.
  • Curve your back and close your shoulders by bringing them close together in front of your body and sucking in your chest.
  • Bring your forearms and hands together in front of your body (the pinky edge of your hands are together) with your palms facing forward.  The back of your hands rest on your thighs as you hold your arms as close to your body as your can.
  • Keep your head upright with eyesight in horizontal.

Breath:

  • With each breath, breathe with your lungs, your skin, and your navel.
  • With each inhalation, imagine all the pores of your skin are open and allow the universal Qi, like sunlight, to enter into your body and gather at your navel.
  • With each exhalation, imagine the Qi descends from your navel to your DanTian 丹田 (the elixir field in your lower belly).

Three New Years Greetings from Master Wu

spring 2015 copy

YiWei 乙未

Three New Years Greetings

 

Dear Qi-friends,

Greetings from sunny Stockholm! Unlike the record warm winter we had last year, we are finally experiencing some snow and freezing temperatures this winter. My wife Karin and I are enjoying this winter-Qi – the greatest source for rejuvenating all new life energy. We will continue to take advantage of the winter feeling and maintain our focus on our annual winter personal retreat. I am sending this seasonal greeting a little early this year because I would like to share some special cultivation ideas for the coming new energetic year with you all.

 

Utilize the rhythm of Nature

According to ZhouYiCanTongQi 周易參同契, one of the most important Daoist internal alchemy classics, the rhythm of nature has great influence on human beings, and it is therefore important to understand the rhythm of nature and know how to cultivate with the changing rhythms.

By doing so, you will optimize your potential for inner transformation and for deep healing to occur.

Three New Years!

There will be three important shifts in the rhythm of Qi as we move from the current JiaWu 甲午 Year to the coming YiWei 乙未 Year:

  • Cosmological New Year – Alchemical Qi
  • Animal New Year – Yang (Solar) Qi
  • Chinese New Year – Yin (Lunar) Qi

 

Cosmological New Year – Alchemical Qi

This YiWei 乙未 Cosmological Year will start January 20, 2015

The Heavenly Stem Yi 乙 represents Yin Wood and the Earthly Branch Wei 未 represents the Earth and carries the Goat as its spiritual animal.  According to Chinese cosmology, I expect that the coming year’s climatic pattern to be influenced by Revenge Fire, Damp Earth, and Cold Water energies.

This means that I predict more rainstorms than average this year, with hail in the summer and snow storms in the winter.

I also expect that there will be strong windstorms in the coming months, especially on west coast area of your region.

 

Animal New Year – Yang (Solar) Qi

 Spring season will begin on February 4, 2015

The next animal sign begins on LiChun 立春, which marks the beginning of spring. LiChun is one of the 24 15-day segments in the annual solar cycle.  According to WanNianLi 萬年曆, the Chinese Ten-Thousand Year Calender, spring season will begin on February 4, 2015.

In my tradition, the coming of spring correlates with the start of a new annual animal sign – and this year it will be YiWei, the Year of Yin Wood Goat. In Chinese astrology, one of the four pillars that make up the basic chart is the animal which correlates to the Solar year of birth.

For example, all babies who are born between February 4, 2015-February 4, 2016 will have the Yin Wood Goat as their yearly animal sign.

Whether you have a goat in your chart or not, we will all be affected by the Goat energy this year.

Here is a brief synopsis of the symbolism of the Goat, as extracted from my book The 12 Chinese Animals:

“Goats give you gentle and peaceful feelings when they chew grass with a slow, grinding motion. Yet they move with great speed and agility when navigating their way through rough, rocky, mountainous areas. They have strong horns and are always ready to defeat their enemies.

Goat is the eighth animal symbol in the 12 Chinese Animals System.

We use Wei 未 to represent the Goat symbol in the 12 Earthly Branches.

Wei is a symbol for the 13:00–14:59 time of day, and for the sixth month in the Chinese Lunar-Solar calendar (which is approximately July 7 to August 8 in the Gregorian solar calendar).

Wei represents the napping time of day and the third summer month when nature is in its ripest season. It is a time or a place where Yang energy (life energy) continues its decline and when the life cycle becomes more mellow. We use the tidal hexagram Dun  ䷠ to symbolize the Goat.”

Chinese (Lunar) New Year – Yin (Lunar) Qi

This year we will celebrate the New Year on February 19, 2015

The Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after the Winter solstice each year. This year we will celebrate the New Year on February 19, 2015. In China, we also call the New Year ChunJie 春節, or Spring Festival.

The Spring Festival is the most important and longest holiday of the year in China, the one in which we all prioritize spending time with family and friends. Traditionally, the celebration begins new year’s eve and lasts for almost an entire month.

 

YiWei and your Health

While the combination of YiWei energies will be good for those of you who need support from the Wood elements, it will also possibly cause added difficulties for those of you who have weak lung Qi, poor digestive function, and/or a lower sexual drive.

Some people will suffer more pain in their joints and tendons over the next couple of months.

I will go into more detail about how the seasonal cosmological influences will effect us in my coming seasonal greetings.

 

YiWei New Years Qigong – Goat Internal Alchemy

As I always emphasis, Qigong practice is a great medicine that will help you maintain balance and a sense of well being in your life.

The special Goat internal alchemy qigong form will be a powerful addition to your daily Qigong practice during this YiWei year.

This year, I will teach the entire 12 Chinese Animals Internal Alchemy form in Anchorage, Alaska on Sunday April 19th. In the workshop, I will explain the form in relation to the twelve Tidal Hexagrams – the spirit of Yijing (I Ching), and cover healing and spiritual transformation applications of the form.

For those of you who will be unable to join us in Anchorage, here is one of the Goat internal alchemy practices for you:

Tidal Hexagram Dun ䷠ Meditation

With a lit candle in front of you, start the meditation by straightening your back and feeling that your body is as stable as a mountain.

Make the Dun mudra by placing each thumb on the tip of the ring finger. The tip of the ring finger is related to the hexagram Dun.

With open and relaxed fingers, place your right mudra on your right knee, palm facing up and raise your left mudra to the level of your left shoulder, palm facing forward.

Adjust your breathing to be slow, smooth, deep, and even.

Feel each breath connect with your spleen, heart, and liver.

Meditate in this position for as long as you can.

At the close of your meditation, please cite this little prayer:

May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unwavering mind

May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unbroken breath

May the Spiritual Lights shine on my unpolluted body

Spring Courses in the US!

Below please find a brief summary of my upcoming courses in the US.

Events with a special early registration price are noted.

 

QiDao ChaDao: Qigong and the Dao of Tea

Qigong is an ancient technique for healing and inner cultivation. For thousands of years, sages have used the tea ceremony as a gateway to understand the Dao. Please join us for a sampling of special Chinese tea and demonstration of traditional Qigong.

Offerings:

March 13 2015 in Baltimore, MD (click for further details)

April 17 2015 in Anchorage, AK (click for further details)

 

Dragon Body: The Secret of Daoist Internal Alchemy

In Chinese culture, the dragon represents shifting, changing, invisible, mystery, flexibility, transformation, high spirituality, supernatural, and power.

The Dragon Body practice is a way to express all the characteristics of the dragon in your cultivation practice.

This practice strengthens the vital link between the governing meridian and conception meridian and is one of the most important ZhouTian 周天 (Cosmic Orbit) methods to transform your Qi and nourish your spirit.

Offering:

March 14-15, 2015 in Baltimore, MD (click for further details)

*Please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 6!

 

Daoist Internal Alchemy – BaGuaXinJing 八卦心鏡

In this BaGua XinJing (Eight Trigrams Heart-Mirror) training, we will review HunYuanZhuang 混元樁, the fundamental Heart-Mind standing posture, and the XinJing – the eight gentle movements designed to increase physical strength, nourish the joints and balance the mind. This practice represents the very foundation of YiJing (I Ching) philosophy.

Offerings:

March 15, 2015 in Baltimore, MD (click for further details)

April 18, 2015 in Anchorage, AK (click for further details)

*Alaskans, please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 17!

 

Daoist Internal Alchemy – ShengXiaoGong 生肖功

The twelve rhythms of nature are represented by ShengXiaoGong (Twelve Animals Qigong), from China’s esoteric Mt. EMei shamanic Qigong lineage, and give us access to the deepest spirit of the Yijing (I Ching).

April 19, 2015 in Anchorage, AK (click for further details)

*Alaskans, please take advantage of the discounted early registration price and register before February 17!

 

Karin and I are wishing you and your families a healthy and happy year of the Goat!

 

Master Zhongxian Wu

Summer Begins – Happy Summer 2014!

Sunshine Daydreams
from Master Wu
and Karin

 

Dear Qi-friends,Happy summer to you and your family! Karin and I have been enjoying our time in the magic Stockholm archipelago since returning from our one-month teaching trip in China last week.

Fun YouTube Clip from our China Trip!

We had a great time in TaiGu with my Dai Family XinYi teacher, Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong.  If you’d like to get a taste of what it was like to train all day at a 1000+ year old Daoist Temple in a remote area of China, you can watch this short little YouTube clip.We have been working hard on our newest project, the companion DVDs for our newest book, XinYi WuDao.  The DVDs, XinYi WuXing and XinYi BaGua, are expected to be released June 30.  70% of the footage for the DVDs was filmed on site at the same Daoist Temple, and much of it was filmed under the guardianship of a great 2,000 year old locust tree – cool!

Valborgsmässoafton Fire!

We made a large bonfire on April 30st, which is a time honored tradition for Valborgsmässoafton, the last day of April. It is the fourth biggest holiday celebrated here in Sweden – we officially clear out the all debris from the winter and welcome in the summer!

Summer begins

According to Chinese cosmology, today, May 5, 2014 is the starting point of summer. However, don’t expect the hot weather to arrive immediately. We will continue experience some chilly energy for the next two weeks.

For most of northern hemisphere, the dramatically warm temperatures will set in starting May 20th.  June and July will be dominated by excess Fire, and this strong Yang energy will cause Qi and blood circulation issues for many people.  I think it will prove to be a difficult season for those of you who have weak heart and lung function.

Protection from Excess Heat

Adding sea salt and apple cider vinegar into your daily food seasonings will nourish your health during the summer season. Bitter flavored foods and organic raw vegetables will be a nice addition to your daily diet this summer. Of course, your daily Qigong practice is one of the best ways to maintain your balance.

Keeping with our promise to supporting our Qi-friends’ inner cultivation practice, we have many teachings scheduled in the Pacific region of the United States and in Europe over the next several months.

Join us in the Pacific Northwest!

Karin and I will return to the Pacific Northwest soon for another extended teaching trip. In addition to Lifelong Training Program sessions one (May 21-27) and two (May 30-June 5) at Trout Lake Abbey in Trout Lake, Washington, we will have several offerings at Sun Gate Studio in NE Portland, Oregon:

We will also be offering a one day workshop in Cosmic Orbit Qigong in Seattle on June 15.

We hope to see you at at least in one of our west coast events!

European Lifelong Training Program – course full!

It is very exciting that our first offering of the Lifelong Training Program in Europe is now full. If you are interested in adding your name to the waiting list for the 2015 European level one training, please send us an email.

GanZhi Certification Program

We have also been busy preparing for our GanZhi (Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches) teacher’s certification program. We  and we expect to launch separate programs in both in the US and in Europe in 2015.   If you are interested in learning more, please email.

Looking Ahead

For those of you who like to make plans in advance, we will be offering many teachings during the fall and early winter. If you are interested in more details, you can always check my website’s teaching schedule.

Karin and I hope you will have a very pleasant and relaxing summer season. We will be in touch again in early August!

Harmonious Qi from Karin and I,

Master Wu

Happy Year of the Yin Water Snake!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yin Water Snake Greetings from Master Wu

Greetings from bright and sunny Stockholm! Since my winter solstice greeting, the daylight is returning quickly here in Sweden. Karin and I have been enjoying our new home, continuing our inner cultivation practices, writing, hiking in the impressive Royal National City Park, and watching the cycle of freezing and thawing of the waterways in Stockholm (the city itself is made up of 14 islands).   We are still appreciating the strong life energy of the North. After our time in northern Europe last winter, I no longer feel shocked to see green grass patiently waiting under the icy fields. Green belongs to the Wood Element – it is the color of new life energy and the spring season, and it reminded me today to write this seasonal update.

Spring 2013 begins tomorrow! February 4, 2013 marks the beginning of GuiSi 癸巳 the Year of the Yin Water Snake

The Chinese New Year falls on February 10 this year. However, according to WanNianLi 萬年曆, the Chinese Ten-Thousand Year Calender, spring season will begin tomorrow, February 4 at 00:13, which is the same moment that the Year of Yin Water Snake begins.

In China, the Snake is also known as XiaoLong 小龍 (Minor Dragon) and is generally regarded as an auspicious animal symbol.  We commonly say that children born in the year of the snake are likely to be very smart!

Contrary to popular belief, the new yearly animal sign and Chinese New Year do NOT typically fall on the same day

Many people think that the Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar. In fact, it is a lunisolar calendar, called WanNianLi or YinYangLi 陰陽歷. In Chinese, YinYangLi means moon and sun calendar, with Yin representing the moon, Yang signifying the sun, and Li meaning calendar. The fundamental building blocks of the Chinese calendrical system are GanZhi 干支, the 10 Heavenly Stem and 12 Earthly Branches.  This year, year of the Yin Water Snake, is denoted by the combination of the Heavenly Stem Gui 癸 and the Earthly Branch Si 巳.  The calendar tells us information about the lunar phase as well as the position of the sun.

The Chinese New Year falls on the second new moon after Winter solstice each year.  This is why the actual date of the Chinese New Year changes from year to year – it does not follow the Western Gregorian calendar. The Chinese New Year is recorded based on the Yin aspect of the calendar.

The LiChun 立春, or beginning of spring, indicates the beginning of the next yearly animal sign. LiChun is one of the 24 15-day segments in the yearly cycle.  As I discussed in my book, The 12 Chinese Animals, the 24 segments are known as JieQi 節氣, and they symbolize the 24 positions of the sun’s movement across the sky and detail the 24 energetic patterns of each annual cycle – the Yang aspect of the calendar.

The message of GuiSi 癸巳

Each Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch contain many layers of symbolic meaning. As the situation or context changes, we may interpret the same Stem or Branch in a totally different way. I will briefly decode a Chinese cosmological perspective of GuiSi for you here.

The Heavenly Stem Gui represents Yin Water and the Earthly Branch Si represents Fire and carries the Snake as its spiritual animal.  This is why this coming year, GuiSi, is known as the Yin Water Snake Year. According to Chinese cosmology, Gui Water will transform to a deficient Fire energy.  In general,  I expect that the climate will be drier than it was during the Yang Water Dragon year. Si Fire will transform to JueYin 厥陰 Wind Wood, which provides a clue that the first half year will be windy and the second half of the year will be warm, including an unseasonably warm winter (in the Northern hemisphere). Together, GuiSi shows us that these cosmological energies will weaken the immune system of many people and suggests that the flu season will continue through March 22th.  Of course, each season will have its own impact, and I will go into detail about the next season in a few months.

Daily Cultivation Practice

Although we can not completely avoid the influence of the cosmological energy on our health, keeping a daily Qigong practice is always a great way to strengthen your immune system and maintain balance. I often say that Qigong is easy to learn but difficult practice on a daily basis.  One of my students, an acupuncturist, recently shared her blog with me. She has decided to commit to practicing Qigong continuously for 365 days. With her permission, I am attaching the link to her blog for you here, and hope that it will bring some of you inspiration to dedicate yourselves to a daily cultivation practice (365qigong.wordpress.com).

Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches – study card set!

Karin and I finished our newest project – a Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches study card set.  It will be published by Singing Dragon in April 2013. We are still working with the companion book and hope it will be ready this summer.

Opportunities to study XinYi internal martial arts

We are excited about our Yijing, FengShui and internal cultivation trip to China next month.  For those who are interested in joining us for just the one week XinYi 心意 internal martial arts trip (March 14 – March 21), we still have a few spaces available.  We will be training with my master, Grandmaster Zhao ShouRong 趙守榮.  You are welcomed to email me for details.

I will also offer a Dai family style XinYi workshop in Brooklyn, NYC in May during our upcoming visit to the states.

Updated 2013 teaching schedule

The April life long training program level 1 is now full!  If you would like to be added to the wait list, please let me know. During our trip to the US, I will be teaching weekend workshops in Oregon (Portland) in April and in New York (Manhattan and Brooklyn) in May.  When we return to Sweden, we will offer a Daoist Internal Alchemy and Qi Healing certification program during the week of the summer solstice. Our summer and fall schedule thus far include workshops in Germany, England, and Scotland, with preliminary plans to teach in Spain and Greece – please check www.masterwu.net for details!

Best regards from Karin and I,

Master Wu

Year of the Metal Rabbit

Dear Qi-Friends,

Happy Spring, Chinese New Year, and Year of the Rabbit from sunny Ivy, VA! The buds of the crocus flowers pushed their way through the frozen field of our back yard lately, reminding me of the power of spring new life energy in breaking this last stage of cold winter.

According to Chinese cosmology, this Chinese New Year’s day will be February 3, 2011 and  the Rabbit Year of 2011  will start on  LiChun 立春, February 4 at 12:32.  The Chinese New Years’ day is the first new moon’s day of the first lunar month every year in Chinese calendar.  The New Year is dependent on the pattern of the moon (Yin energy of Nature), while the animal sign of the year starts on LiChun, which is the beginning of spring season.  The LiChun is dependent on the position of the sun (Yang energy of the nature). In general, the Chinese New Year’s day and the marker of the new yearly animal sign, LiChun, are on different dates every year, sometimes, even a few weeks apart. It is very special to have these two dates so close this year, which indicates that the Yin and Yang energies of the nature will work together well and we can expect this Rabbit Year will be an easier, bountiful and prosperous year for many of us.

We use Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch XinMao辛卯 to represent this energetic Rabbit Year. The rabbit has a quiet and gentle character, and it looks cute.  Rabbits give you soft, lazy, slow, and stable feeling when they are quiet. But they are fast and agile once they start running. They are good at staying hidden and they have multiple dens. Rabbit do not have sharp teeth and they are not interested in fighting with others. Rabbit is a symbol for wisdom, skill, ambition, humanity, and secrets in Chinese tradition. Babies born this Rabbit Year will likely have an easy and steady life.

Although XinMao辛卯 indicates that this energetic Rabbit Year will have peaceful and harmonious energy impact our lives, the dampness energy which I mentioned in my previous seasonal greeting email will continue to affect many places until late March. This dampness will bring some health problems to human beings with weak digestive function. Besides the GI flu, kidney and heart diseases, and immune system problems will also affect some people in this Rabbit Year. Please continue your daily Qigong practice to keep your Qi flowing well.

I will reduce my traveling and teaching activities this year to take the advantage of balancing Rabbit Qi to further uplift my personal cultivation from the BiGu ShiQi (Avoiding Food and Eating Qi) practice and to support the small group of Qi friends on this same path. Aside from my weekly classes here in Charlottesville and some local events, I only have plans to offer a one day workshop this spring, which will be on 12 Animals and Inner Cultivation on March 13th in Portland, OR. Also, there are only two spaces left for the April XinYi (Heart Mind) Internal Martial Arts and Internal Alchemy China trip. Some other exciting news:  I will offer a new Lifelong Qigong Training Program in June on the East Coast.  We have already started taking registrations.

By the way, to celebrate my 10th year teaching in the West, I have had a small amount of organic cotton Qigong t-shirts made.  They have with my Qi-calligraphy “Dragon” talisman on left front chest pocket area and “Nourish Your Heavenly Truth” talisman on the back.  The t-shirt is available in men’s and women’s sizes S-XL, in black with white calligraphy and in white with black calligraphy. Sorry, it is not available online because it is a limited offer.  Please email me at qimasterwu@gmail.com if you are interested in purchasing a t-shirt.

I’ll have a Summer Seasonal Greeting for you in May. Until then, please check my website http://www.masterwu.net for frequent updates.

All my best with harmonious Qi,

Master Wu

Master Wu’s Award Winning Book!

Congratulations, Master Wu!

Seeking the Spirit of the Book of Change – 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing Prediction System by Master Zhongxian Wu was not only a finalist in the 2009 Foreword Book of the Year Awards, but also won Bronze medal in the independent publisher awards (mind body and spirit category) at the largest publishing event in North America—BookExpo America (BEA)!

Review

Clear and insightful…You hold in your hands one of the finest interpretations of the I Ching on the planet.
–Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D., author of Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water

Publisher’s Product Description

“The Yijing” (“I Ching”) or “Book of Change” is one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts and has held a key place in the Daoist tradition for thousands of years. Explaining the ancient Yijing system of prediction based on the Xiang (symbolism) and Shu (numerology) knowledge of Bagua (the eight basic trigrams), which have not previously been written about outside China, this book makes the “Yijing” accessible to the Western world in a new and fuller way. In the space of just eight days, Master Zhongxian Wu leads the reader towards a deep understanding of the Eight Trigrams of the “Yijing” and how to apply this knowledge in practical ways in daily life. Master Wu explores the numerology and symbolism of “Yijing” and clearly explains how the reader can use the “Yijing” divination system for themselves. This remarkable book provides a user-friendly eight day program that will be a fascinating read for anyone with an interest in learning more about the “Yijing” or Chinese philosophy and culture as a whole, as well as those who wish to learn how to use the “Yijing” for practical purposes.

The Wisdom of Twelve

This is an excerpt from the introduction of my new book, “The 12 Chinese Animals – Create Harmony in Your Daily Life Through Ancient Chinese Medicine”, published by Singing Dragon and ready for purchase in Fall 2010.  It was also recently published in The Empty Vessel, a Eugene, OR based journal on contemporary Daoism.  I hope you enjoy reading about the wisdom of twelve.

The Wisdom of Twelve[1]

Living in harmony within family, among society, and with nature is the ancient Chinese way of life. People in China have been enjoying living in a very harmonious society for thousands of years, since at least the time period of the  Western Zhou Dynasty (1122 BCE – 771 BCE). In Chinese, we have an expression to illustrate this style of life, ye bu bi hu, lu bu shi yi (夜不閉戶, 路不拾遺), which means there is no need to close your door at night when you go to sleep, and you will be able to get your belongings back easily if you lose them because no one will take them away. In ancient China, there were no religions, no police, no taxes, and no lawyers. There was only a special kind of wisdom to guide Chinese people to cultivate their true humanity.  This true humanity contains the spirit of love, compassion, faith, courtesy, justice, and humbleness. With this true humanity, people are able to respect each other, support each other, and create a harmonious community together.

You might wonder what this wisdom is.  This wisdom is still being held in some ancient Chinese classics; Yijing (I Ching), is one of them. Yijing wisdom has guided countless Chinese to live in harmony in their daily life for thousands of years. One of the most important concepts in the Chinese wisdom traditions is trinity; three in one, is one. Yijing contains three secret and sacred layers of wisdom: symbology, numerology, and philosophy. This book will give you a little taste of this ancient Chinese wisdom.  By understanding the twelve animal symbols and twelve tidal hexagrams from Yijing wisdom, you will be able to learn a way to find your inner peace and live in harmony with your family, your community, and with nature

The wisdom of Yijing is vast; it looks like a tree of the universe. The roots of the tree embrace the entire earth and the tips of the tree hold the whole heavenly realm. There is a very tiny branch on this tree, called the twelve animal symbols system, which is related to your birth, your energetic life cycle or destiny, twelve tidal hexagrams of Yijing, and the cycle of nature. It is also a small sub-branch of the Yijing prediction system. As I emphasized in the Afterword of my book Seeking the Spirit of The Book of Change: 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing (I Ching) Prediction SystemYijing prediction is magic, but it is also an art, a way of life, a way of nature, and it is a way of the universe. It is a way to express the great universal compassion, which gives birth to all beings and protects them.[2] The spirit of Yijing prediction or Change is to help people find a way to Change their lives and experience living in a consistently peaceful state, especially during difficult situations.  This prediction system provides a way for people to live in harmony.

Life is magic! Twelve animal symbols of Yijing wisdom is a way to help you to understand this magic, to help you live a harmonious life. In this book, I will share with you how these twelve animal symbols can help you understand your destiny.  By using the wisdom of the animal symbols as guides, you will be able to better understand your personality, and make choices that influence your health, relationships, career, finances, the colors you wear, and the food you eat, so that you live up to your greatest potential. It will be easier for you to apply the wisdom of the twelve animal symbols in your life if I provide you with  some fundamentals about the number 12, Chinese astrology and animal symbols, and the 8 trigrams and 12 tidal hexagrams of Yijing.

I. Numerological Meanings of 12

In ancient times, people lived closer to the cycles of nature and followed the way of nature. This harmonious lifestyle is patterned in a Chinese phrase, ri chu er zuo, ri luo er xi 日出而作,日落而息, which means ‘Sunrise, go to work; sunset, go to rest.’ Through their observation of nature, ancient Chinese understood 12 as an important number in their daily life.

In Chinese, the number 12 is Shier十二. It is a symbol for the universal clock, i.e. Shier Chen十二辰, representing both time and space. In Chinese cosmology, we certainly recognize the number twelve as contained in the twelve Chen辰 in a day (1 Chen is equal to two hour segments), the twelve months of a year, the twelve spiritual animals related to the Chinese zodiac, and the 12 years of a life cycle. The number 12 is described as the twelve Earthly Branches in Chinese tradition. The branches are representative of the waxing and waning of the two primal energies of Yin and Yang throughout daily or yearly cycles. As I explained in my book, Vital Breath of the Dao, the chaotic primordial Qi gave birth to two types of Qi:  heavy Qi and light Qi.  These two types moved in opposite directions.  The heavy Qi, Yin Qi descended to form the Earth, while the light Qi, Yang, rose to form Heaven.  These terms, Yin and Yang, allow people to understand any phenomena as the expression of opposites.[3] For example, in the cycles of nature, you have to understand the concept of night which is considered Yin, in order to understand the concept of day, which is considered Yang.  It is said that the knowledge of twelve Earthly Branches comes from ancient Chinese through thousands of years of observing astronomical phenomena.

The number twelve represents the energetic changes our bodies experience in a twelve Chen day, the twelve months of a year, and 12 years of a life cycle. In Chinese medicine, the number 12 also corresponds to the 12 organ meridian systems in the human body.  The human body itself is seen as a microcosmic representation of the macrocosm of the Universe. The number twelve stands for the 12 different energy patterns found in nature. Ancient Chinese shamans used the 12 tidal hexagrams of Yijing to describe the 12 energetic patterns of the microcosm (the human body) and the macrocosm (nature, and the Universe at large).

II. Chinese Astrology and 12 Animal Symbols

Are you familiar with Chinese astrology? You may think of the twelve animals of the zodiac commonly printed on restaurant menus. In actuality, Chinese astrology is vastly more complicated than this.

In the West, most information available to the public on how to find your Chinese animal symbol is incomplete and misleading. Many Chinese animal sign or horoscope books and popular websites will tell you that each animal symbol starts from the Chinese New Year in the Chinese Lunar calendar. This is, in fact, an incorrect method to find your animal symbol.

Generally speaking when most people talk about Chinese animal symbols, they are referring to the yearly animal symbol. For instance, if you were born in 1951, most readily available resources will tell you that your animal symbol is Rabbit, based on the assumption that 1951 is the Year of Rabbit in the Chinese zodiac system. Actually, being born in 1951 does not always mean you will have Rabbit as your animal symbol. Furthermore, according to Chinese astrology, you have at least 4 animal symbols in your birth chart! The yearly animal symbol is related to the energetic year in which you were born, the monthly animal symbol is related to the energetic month in which you were born, the daily animal symbol is related to the energetic day in which you were born, and the hourly animal symbol is related to the energetic hour in which you were born. I emphasize the energetic year, month, day, and hour because they are different concepts than those of the regular solar calendar.

Chinese Astrology is based on ancient Chinese cosmology and the Five Elements theory. Each individualized chart is a life reading that gives insight into a person’s past, present, and future. Through the chart, one can obtain guidance about health, career, relationships, and more.

An individual Chinese astrology chart is constructed with a Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch for each year, month, date, and time of birth. The combination of a Heavenly Stem and Earthly Branch for each parameter is called One Pillar; all together they are called the SiZhu or Four Pillars. Each Pillar is composed of a Heavenly Stem and an Earthly Branch.  Thus, there are two characters per Pillar. With a total of Four Pillars, the entire chart is composed of eight characters. As such, the name for Chinese astrology is BaZi (eight characters).

It is said that Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches existed even before the invention of the Chinese characters, which the oldest recorded evidence dates back to 8000 years ago.[4] Numerous examples of the symbols for the Stems and Branches are seen in the unearthed ancient Chinese oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty (1766 to 1111 BCE).

As you can see, for any particular individual, there will be eight characters (BaZi) that reflect his or her personal energies. These are derived from all the Heavenly Stems and Earthly Branches, within the Four Pillars, that support the body. In other words, by understanding the energy of the macrocosmic Universe at a particular time, we can understand the microcosm of the individual.

In Chinese tradition, we commonly use the 12 animal symbols to represent the 12 Earthly Branches in the astrological chart, because it is easier for people to understand their destiny through the symbolic meaning of the animals. These 12 animal symbols are Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. In The Beginning of this book, I will introduce the way to find your fundamental power animal symbols. You will then be able to learn the wisdom of your personal animals in subsequent chapters, which will support you living in harmony with your family and friends, your community, and with nature.

III. Eight Trigrams, 12 Tidal Hexagrams, and the Cycle of Nature

There are 12 very important hexagrams in Yijing system, known as the 12 tidal hexagrams. Each hexagram represents the energetic pattern of its related animal symbol in Chinese astrology. We often use the wisdom of these tidal hexagrams to give people guidance during a consultation.  Bagua, or Eight Trigrams, form the basis of Yijing. The entire Yijing text book is made of 64 hexagrams, and each hexagram is made up of two trigrams. Let me share some information about the trigrams before we further discuss the 12 tidal hexagrams.  I hope it will help you better understand each hexagram in this book.

Bagua is the model of the universe. Everything in existence, including every part of the body, can be classified by one of the trigrams. Ancient shamans understood this connection and they brought this connection into their interpretations of their divinations.[5] Trigrams are symbols made up of three lines, representing Heaven, Earth, and the Human Being, and reflect the universal energy. The Eight Trigrams are: Qian 乾 (Heaven), Dui 兌 (Marsh or Lake), Li 離 (Fire), Zhen 震 (Thunder), Xun 巽 (Wind), Kan 坎 (Water), Gen 艮 (Mountain), and Kun 坤 (Earth). Each line in a trigram will be either a solid line (–) or a broken line (–). The solid line is called the Yang 陽 line and the broken line is called the Yin 陰 line.

Now, let us let take a look some information about the 12 tidal hexagrams. The 12 tidal hexagrams are used to depict the energetic cycle of nature.  In Chinese, we call these hexagrams Shier Xiaoxi Gua 十二消息卦. Shier means twelve, while Xiao means decrease, reduce, waning, and xi means increase, gain, waxing; together, Xiaoxi means information, waxing and waning of the tides, or the changing faces of the moon. Gua means trigram or hexagram. In general, we translate Shier Xiaoxi Gua 12 tidal hexagrams.

These 12 tidal hexagrams stand for different energetic stages of the cycles of nature or life patterns. These 12 hexagrams help us to understand the 12 month yearly cycle of nature, to learn the 12 meridian systems of the body, and to make sense of the different stages of the life. The 12 tidal hexagrams are: Fu 復 (Rebirth), Lin 臨 (Deliver), Tai 泰 (Balance), DaZhuang 大壯 (Prosper), Guai 叏 (Transform), Qian 乾 (Strengthen), Gou 媾 (Copulate), Dun 遁 (Retreat), Pi 否 (Break), Guan 觀 (Observe), Bo 剝 (Peel), and Kun 坤 (Flow). These 12 also reflect the continuous cycle of energy change, for example, the rhythm of day turning into night, or the change of seasons.

You can look at the energetic pattern of the 12 hexagrams together and see that they depict a pattern of steadily increasing, then decreasing intensity.  This is the natural wave pattern of life.

Hexagram Fu 復 (Recover) Lin 臨 (Deliver), Tai 泰 (Balance), DaZhuang 大壯 (Prosper), Guai 叏 (Transform) Qian 乾 (Strengthen), represent the six waxing stages of the rising Yang energy pattern, until Yang reaches its peak.

Hexagram Gou 媾 (Copulate) Dun 遁 (Retreat) Pi 否 (Break) Guan 觀 (Observe Bo 剝 (Peel) Kun 坤 (Flow) illustrate the Yang energy dropping to its nadir and Yin energy rising to its zenith in the six stages of the declining Yang energy pattern.

Together, these 12 tidal hexagrams symbolize a perfect wave of life. I am sure that all of us have experienced times of great joy and times of sorrow. No one could live in their climax of life all the time. The Yijing wisdom of these 12 tidal hexagrams gives us great guidance to live harmoniously through different life stages. We will discuss some details of the hexagrams as they relate to their associated animal symbol later in this book. Traditionally, these 12 hexagrams are also used to describe your energy state during specific internal cultivation practices like meditation, Qigong and Taiji. I will share different internal cultivation methods connected with the 12 tidal hexagrams at the end of each chapter in the book. I hope you will be able to use the practices to better understand the wisdom the 12 animal symbols and the 12 tidal hexagrams, and to strengthen your life force and find your inner peace.

The chart below illustrates the aforementioned correspondences.

NumberOrder Earthly Branch Animal Hexagram Chen/Time Meridian
1 Zi Rat Fu 復 (Rebirth) 23:00 – 00:59 Gall bladder
2 Chou Ox Lin 臨 (Deliver) 01:00 – 02:59 Liver
3 Yin Tiger Tai 泰 (Balance) 03:00 – 04:59 Lung
4 Mao Rabbit DaZhuang 大壯 (Prosper) 05:00 – 06:59 Large intestine
5 Chen Dragon Guai 叏 (Transform) 07:00 – 08:59 Stomach
6 Si Snake Qian 乾 (Strengthen) 09:00 – 10:59 Spleen
7 Wu Horse Gou 媾 (Copulate) 11:00 – 12:59 Heart
8 Wei Goat Dun 遁 (Retreat) 13:00 – 14:59 Small intestine
9 Shen Monkey Pi 否 (Break) 15:00 – 16:59 Bladder
10 You Rooster Guan 觀 (Observe) 17:00 – 18:59 Kidney
11 Xu Dog Bo 剝 (Peel) 19:00 – 20:59 Pericardium
12 Hai Pig Kun 坤 (Flow) 21:00 – 22:59 Triple burner

Acknowledgements

Karin Elizabeth Taylor Wu provided editorial assistance for this article.

© 2010-2013 Zhongxian Wu


[1] This article is part of the Introduction of Master Wu’s new book, Twelve Chinese Animal Symbols.

[2] Wu, Zhongxian. Seeking the Spirit of The Book of Change: 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing (I Ching) Prediction System. London: Singing Dragon. 2009: 213

[3] Wu, Zhongxian. Vital Breath of the Dao – Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong. St. Paul: Dragon Door Publication. 2006: 56

[4] Wu, Zhongxian. Vital Breath of the Dao – Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong. St. Paul: Dragon Door Publication. 2006: 10

[5] Wu, Zhongxian. Seeking the Spirit of The Book of Change: 8 Days to Mastering a Shamanic Yijing (I Ching) Prediction System. London: Singing Dragon. 2009: 67