Acupuncture is an ancient and beautiful system of medicine. The earliest books about acupuncture were written 4,500 years ago in China. The ancient Chinese were keen observers of the most subtle movements of energy in nature. This orientation led them to a profound understanding of the complex and sophisticated nature of energy as the primary organizing principal for what later manifests as structure and function (anatomy and physiology, the basis of allopathic medicine). Acupuncture exquisitely addresses health from these fundamental, subtle perspectives.
The Five Elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, – represent phases in the cyclical flow of life in the universe. They describe the evolutionary stages of life: gestation, birth, growth, maturity, decay, and death present in both momentary and life-long experience, both individually and in our relationship to family and society. They are most readily apparent in the cycle of the seasons.
Each human being is a complex and knowable microcosm of these greater forces. The Five Element approach provides a way to understand how our physical being, mind, emotions, and spirit manifest and move through these interdependent cycles. Perhaps most fundamentally it describes how we, as human beings, are capable of recovering the full depth and breadth of our original, fully awake nature.
The acupuncture practitioner assesses the balance of the five elements in a person’s vital energy as it follows 12 main pathways of energy, or meridians, in the body. The chronic over or under activity of any of these pathways caused by trauma, confusion, ignorant or willful transgression, or stress of any kind creates imbalance in the elements, disturbance in this flow of energy, and distress in the body, mind, or spirit. This distress gives rise to our symptoms of illness, everything from headaches to cancer. Acupuncture brings these energies back into balance, lessening or relieving the distress altogether.
IN GOOD HANDS
I have practiced this medicine wholeheartedly for 30 years. In doing so, a depth of understanding and insight has unfolded that I could not have imagined was there.
In 2021and 2022, I taught six classes looking at the 12 main pathways and points of energy from the 5E viewpoint of being linked, 1 through 12, via the entry and exit points. We examined the 12 main pathways and points as they manifest one continuous, coherent, and profoundly insightful pathway of energy. We looked at not only the energetic nature of the points, but how they each contribute to the functioning of their pathway, their element, and the continuity of energy as it moves from pathway to pathway and from element to element. This is a core tenant of the 5E tradition, yet it’s one that has neither been fully articulated nor examined. There is a treasure trove of insight to be understood here. For more information on this series of classes, see the course description at the bottom of the page.
In November 2023, I will teach a class building on the seed wisdom of the twelve pathways of energy as envisioned within the Five Element paradigm.
The Palace Points:
Insight into the Heart/Kidney Axis
A Five Element Class via zoom
November 3 - 4, 2023
In this presentation of The Palace Points, I will focus on the Heart/Kidney axis, the central interwoven template of the fire and water elements which allows the entire dynamism of the five elements to flourish. We will examine the core energetic dynamics between the fire and water pathways and how they both empower and are empowered by the Conception and Governors vessels pathways and points. Secondarily, but no less important, we’ll look at how the fire/water dynamic is influenced by metal energy and how in turn it informs and is shaped by both wood and earth energies. We can do this by examining in detail the 7 main 'palace' points:
Heart 8 Lesser Palace
Small Intestines 19 Listening Palace
Heart Protector 8 Palace of Weariness
Lung 1 Middle Palace
Lung 3 Heavenly Palace
CV 19 Purple Palace
GV 16 Wind Palace
and 16 additional points that inform and influence the 7 main 'palace' points:
CV 3 Utmost Middle
CV 4 First Gate
CV 17 Central Alter
CV 18 Jade Court
GV 4 Gate of Life
Heart 1 Utmost Source
Heart 2 Blue-Green Spirit
Kidney 1 Bubbling Spring
Kidney 2 Blazing Valley
Kidney 22 Walking on the Veranda
Kidney 23 Spirit Seal
Kidney 24 Spirit Burial Ground
Gall Bladder 24 Sun and Moon
Liver 14 Gate of Hope
Lung 10 Fish Region
Spleen 21 Great Enveloping
Additionally, I will weave guided meditations on bodhicitta through this class providing a means of feeling the many qualities of compassion within the Palace points.
Day One, November 3, 2023, Friday: a condensed review of the 12 pathways and points as they both manifest one continuous and coherent pathway of energy and reveal the fundamental interplay of energies between the 5 elements.
Day Two, November 4, 2023, Saturday: an in-depth look at the 7 primary 'Palace' points and 16 secondary influential points as they reveal the inner workings of and interrelationships between the fire, water, metal, CV, and GV pathways.
Time, Each day, from 9am - 5pm EST, with a 30 minute break for lunch.
I will hold the class primarily via zoom, with local practitioners invited to join in person.
14 NCCAOM CEUs.
I hope you can join us.
The Five Elements: an Integration of Daoist and Buddhist Traditions
a nine-part series
May 2021 through April 2022
This series of classes will provide a deep dive into five element theory and practice bringing together the two ancient traditions of classical Daoist Five-Element acupuncture practice and Tibetan Buddhist five wisdom teachings.
The five-element paradigm - or cosmology - is thousands of years old and was widely known throughout Asia, from Korea to China, India, and southeast Asia. As a theory, it is foundational to Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine, and Tibetan Buddhism, to name a few traditions.
Of the medical systems within the discipline of Chinese medicine, the classical Five-Element Acupuncture tradition has preserved an unparalleled depth of understanding about the five elements. It tells us a great deal about physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health, diversity of experience, stages of development, and cycles of experience. The science of acupuncture translates these insights into a comprehensive medical discipline.
Tibetan Buddhism is an equally sophisticated cosmology. This is a five-wisdom tradition born of an exacting, scholarly examination of mind and reality derived from the centuries-old discipline of meditation. It provides essential knowledge about how we know and experience ourselves and reality with profound insight into body, heart, and the complexity of mind. The five-wisdom tradition articulates the journey of becoming fully conscious, or awake, human beings.
When we bring these traditions together, our understanding of body, mind, and life within the five-element perspective deepens. One might say, they each provide an essential context for understanding the nature of the five elements that is missing – or underdeveloped – in the other. When we look at both traditions, we discover new context and depth of understanding of many aspects of the Five Element theory we have been taught and are routinely employing in our work with patients.
Nine webinar sessions, each 5 hours:
The Foundation of Five Element Theory: Cycles and Mandalas
Mind: the Five Emotions and Five Wisdoms
Body: Pathways of Energy
Fire and Water Pathways and Points, part one
Fire and Water Pathways and Points, part two
Wood Pathways and Points
Metal Pathways and Points
Earth Pathways and Points
The Five Senses: an Integrative Look at the Five Elements and C,S,O,E