The Five Elements: an Integration of Daoist and Buddhist Traditions
a nine-part series
taught by Megan Godfrey

Class 1

The Foundation of Five Element Theory: Cycles and Mandalas

Live Webinar

Friday, May 21, 2021

11am - 4:30 pm EST

Drawing on first the Daoist five element tradition, we will look at how the five elements describe the totality of experience. Beginning with our old friend, the Generative cycle, we will develop an understanding of the elements from the ground up, from the generative thesis of cycles and balance, the nature of growth, constitution, the development of healthy ego, and how we establish and maintain a healthy and meaningful life.

 

Building on this work, we will step back and open the door to looking at the elements as a mandala, or map. Our focus shifts from cycles of experience to maps of reality. Much of the theory from which we already practice acupuncture arises from the Origin Mandala, or how the five elements arise (1 through 5) from the Dao (0), although few of us have looked closely at this material.  

 

The Origin mandala provides a penetrating look at yin and yang, the twelve pathways, the central channel, and most importantly the five separate and distinct energies from which reality arises. From the Origin mandala, we are offered a means of more deeply understanding much of the theory from which we practice.

 

The Buddhist view of the five elements is also understood as a living mandala. The Mandala of the Five Wisdom Energies allows us to examine the nature of mind, embodied reality, and the inherent relationships between energy, body, mind, emotion, and wisdom.

 

Together, these three signature views of the five elements, the Generative Cycle, the Origin Mandala, and the Mandala of the Five Wisdom Energies, become the foundation for a thorough understanding of five element theory and practice. The remainder of this series will refer to and further develop our understanding of each of them.

 

While theoretical, this material will be presented in fresh ways that bring it immediately to life, with charts and handouts.  

This is a class for all practitioners of Chinese medicine, regardless of methodology. My focus on emotion will be presented in a manner for you to deepen your understanding of emotional balance and imbalance as you work with these issues with your patients. This class is a foundation for the remaining classes offered here.

5 NCCAOM ceus 

Class 2

Mind: the Five Emotions and Five Wisdoms

 

Live Webinar

Friday, June 25, 2021

11am - 4:30 pm EST

Emotion serves as a bridge between confusion and wisdom. Yet we must understand the context within which emotion arises, the function it serves, and its inherent wisdom to develop emotional intelligence. The five elements provide this insight.

The fusion of Daoist and Buddhist five element traditions describes all life experience. The Daoist tradition, from which Eastern Medicine arises, brings sophistication to our understanding of our self. It outlines how to build healthy ego and live a balanced life.

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition points out the inherent relationships between emotion and wisdom within mind. It also reveals how we create confusion and how we wake up from confusion altogether by engaging the natural interplay between emotion and rational thought.

 

In this class we will discuss the five emotions and their balanced and neurotic expressions. We will develop a language and a method for which to explore emotional experience. We will chart a direct path between each of the five emotional experiences and the wisdom aspect of its elemental energy. From this knowledge, we gain agency in our life. We begin to understand with greater information and clarity the inherently human experiences of struggle, conflict, and discomfort. We become empowered to change our relationship with suffering caused by repetitive and unexamined emotional experience. We discover who we are with greater clarity and insight. We discover how life really is as opposed to how we think life is. And we learn how to teach our patients to do the same.

 

My focus on emotion will be presented in a manner for practitioners to deepen their understanding of emotional balance and imbalance as they work with these issues with their patients.

5 NCCAOM ceus

Class 3

Body: Pathways of Energy

The twelve pathways,

skillful means (mind) and wisdom (heart),

the central channel,

CV and GV pathways and points, and

an introduction to the Fire and Water pathways.

Live Webinar

Friday, September 10, 2021

11am - 4:30 pm EST

Introduction to this and the next 5 classes:

 

When we look at pathways and points, we move from a theoretical understanding of the five elements to a practical and embodied one. The main acupuncture pathways and points reveal a sacred geometry of who and how we are: sentient beings with conscious awareness capable of manifesting our potential. And they do so in an astonishingly sophisticated and complex manner. 

In addition to the rather theoretical and functional way acupuncture practitioners are taught about pathways and points – a means to correct energetic imbalance and affect health outcomes – the 12 main acupuncture pathways and points reveal the nature and function of the elements themselves – as we embody them - and the inherent relationships between the elements as we experience them in our body. One might say our physical body is an exquisite form that manifests and expresses the breadth and depth of the elements themselves. 

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Acupuncture points along each pathway of energy describe and access the particular nature and function of that pathway. Therefore, to know the pathways and points, we possess an embodied knowledge of the elements that brings our understanding of our medicine to a greater depth.

In the next six classes, we will build an understanding of the 14 main pathways from the ground up. We will look at where they are on our body as an expression of the nature and function of the element itself. We will examine the inherent relationships between heart and mind and yin and yang, as the pathways reveal these dynamics. We will also look at the relationships between pathways as they occur within our body, and therefore reveal an understanding of the complex relationships between the elements as we embody them. 

We look at major points along each pathway and how they reveal each pathway’s unique nature and function and the inherent relationships between points on various significant body regions.

I will teach somatic meditation practice as a means of deepening our experience of pathways of energy.

5 NCCAOM ceus

Class 4

Fire and Water Pathways and Points, part one

 

Live Webinar

Friday, October 15, 2021

11am - 4:30 pm EST

Please see the Introduction to Pathways and Points in the Class 3 section.

 

We will look at the singular interrelationships between fire and water energy and pathways. Included:

   

The Heart, Small Intestines, Bladder, Kidney, Heart Protector, and Triple Heater pathways, where they are on the body, and how they manifest Fire and Water energy.

5 NCCAOM ceus

                                       

 

Class 5

Fire and Water Pathways and Points, part two

 

Live Webinar

Friday, November 12, 2021

11am - 4:30 pm EST

Please see the Introduction to Pathways and Points in the Class 3 section.

 

We will look at the point energetic ‘story’ of each of the Fire and Water pathways: Heart, Small Intestines, Bladder, Kidney, Heart Protector, and Triple Heater. Included:

 

Significant points along each of these six pathways.

The relationships between fire, water and CV pathways and points.

5 NCCAOM ceus

 

Class 6

Wood Pathways and Points

 

Live Webinar

Friday, January 14, 2022

11am - 4:30 pm EST

Please see the Introduction to Pathways and Points in the Class 3 section.

 

We will look at the singular interrelationships between the Gall Bladder and Liver pathways and how together they manifest wood energy. Included:

 

Point energetic ‘story’ of both the Gall Bladder and Liver pathways.

Significant points along each pathway. 

The relationships between wood pathways and points and fire, water, CV pathways and points.

5 NCCAOM ceus

 

 

Class 7

Metal Pathways and Points

 

Live Webinar

Friday, February 11, 2022

11am - 4:30 pm EST

Please see the Introduction to Pathways and Points in the Class 3 section.

 

We will look at the singular interrelationships between the Lung and Large Intestines pathways and how together they manifest metal energy. Included:

 

Point energetic ‘story’ of both the Lung and Large Intestines pathways.

Significant points along each pathway.

The relationships between metal pathways and points and fire, water, wood, and CV pathways and points.

5 NCCAOM ceus

 

Class 8

Earth Pathways and Points

 

Live Webinar

Friday, March 11, 2022

11am - 4:30 pm EST

Please see the Introduction to Pathways and Points in the Class 3 section.

 

We will look at the singular interrelationships between the Stomach and Spleen pathways and how together they manifest earth energy. Included:

                      

Point energetic ‘story’ of both the Stomach and Spleen pathways.

Significant points along each pathway.

The relationships between earth pathways and points and fire, water, wood, metal, and CV pathways and points.

5 NCCAOM ceus

 

 

Class 9

The Five Senses: an Integrative Look at the Five Elements and C,S,O,E

 

Live Webinar

Friday, April 15, 2022

11am - 4:30 pm EST

 

As five element acupuncture practitioners, our five senses, to hear, see, taste, feel, and smell, are diagnostic tools. Sensory awareness is foundational to understanding the nature and function of the elements. They are an extraordinarily insightful backdoor into understanding the relationship between body and mind. They define the intersection between our experience of things (body) and what we think about things (mind). They facilitate communication between body, heart, and mind as we move through stages of developmental growth. This class will be devoted to a deep dive into sensory experience and the relationship between experience and thought within the five-element paradigm.  

This course begins with a review of the energetic architecture of our body, yin and yang, and heart and mind. From this viewpoint we begin to understand the inherent relationships between our heart, mind, and sensory experience within the function of our body. We will look at the nature and function of each of the five sensory experiences, as well as what each of the five sensory experiences accomplishes in ordinary life. We come to see that our senses are emissaries of the elements. Each sense and sensory experience is essential to manifesting the function and wisdom of its corresponding element.

This class will end with a diagnostic lab where we will explore and deepen our capacity to hear, taste, see, smell, and feel, and their natures, functions, and experiences. With these tools, we can identify with greater confidence the color, sound, odor, and emotion of patients, and therefore constitutional natures.

 

Sensory lab:   

 

The three chous, a somatic (felt) introduction to 'body',

Practitioner-patient interaction: developing sensory acuity,

The nature of the 5 Element diagnosis, and

Identifying color, odor, sound, emotion in others.

5 NCCAOM ceus

"Thank you so much for your Emotional Mapping course! The wheels have been turning for me since your class, so much help and connections made."

- Sarah K., Acupuncturist

"Megan…is a highly experienced and gifted five element acupuncturist and natural teacher. Megan brings her clarity of mind and energy to upgrade mine every time we meet."

- Jean G.

Course participants

This series of classes is for all practitioners of Chinese medicine, regardless of methodology. The five elements are the theoretical foundation of all branches of Chinese medicine, of Daoist understanding itself. Whether we engage them in our diagnostic and treatment protocols or not, we are each working from the energetics of the elements. The material presented will orient practitioners to a clear and profound understanding of the five elements, the twelve officials, the nature and complexity of mind and emotion, and the pathways and points from a five-element perspective. Should you have any questions, please call me.

 

That said, the material in these classes will be presented in a fast-paced manner, with much ground to cover. I will not dwell on basics, so previous knowledge of five element theory will be very helpful.

 

It is also intended for practitioners at every level of practice, from beginner to advanced. Some of this may be review. I am a student of beginner’s mind and teach from this perspective, endeavoring to hold and communicate all levels of understanding.  As we know, we hear the content that resonates with our minds exactly where we are in life.

 

Webinar Format

I’m generally not a fan of online classes. What happens when we gather in person is magical and potent.  We have discovered this truth throughout our collective year of isolation and pandemic. However, we learned this year how to show up and discuss things online with greater presence and authenticity. We need this connection, especially as solitary practitioners. And, we discovered the benefits of the online platform: talking to a friend or colleague or fellow practitioner downstate or in Austin or Chile or Denmark can happen – and how wonderful. Online classes afford those from afar to attend with no extra cost or effort. Lastly, I believe teaching in five-hour segments (as opposed to full day or weekend classes) strikes a balance between immersing ourselves in content without creating exhaustion or overwhelm. For these reasons – even as we begin to gather in person– I have decided to teach these classes in short segments online. 

You will not be eligible to receive NCCAOM ceus should you miss the live class.

Additional Information

Each class will include a brief session of guided meditation instruction apropos to the subjects being discussed and useful to both your work with patients.

 

Class Location

These 5-hour classes will be available via live in-person webinars. A link will be sent to your email address a few days before the event with a reminder, pertinent information, and handouts that will be used in the class. 

Dates and Times

The dates for each of the classes are:

May 21, June 25, September 10, October 15, November 12, 2021

January 14, February 11, March 11, April 15, 2022.

All classes will take place on Fridays, from 11am – 4:30pm, EST, and an hour earlier for Central, Mountain, and Pacific time zones (10am, 9am, and 8am).

The class recording will be available to you to review for one month after the class is over. 

Series and Individual Class Fees

These classes are intended to be taken as a series. The information I present in each class will become foundational for all ensuing classes. To strongly encourage everyone to take the entire series, I have priced it at a very affordable rate.

Series of nine classes, 45 NCCAOM ceus:  $ 550.00 

Individual classes: 5 NCCAOM ceus: $75.00 

NCCAOM ceus

NCCAOM ceus for each class will be available to you, with an NCCAOM certificate, upon completion of each class, whether you have registered for the series or for an individual class. Class one will award 3 AOM-OM ceus and 2 PE-CW ceus. The remainder of the classes will award ceus in the AOM-OM category.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel your registration a month before the class begins, your registration fee will be returned minus a $25. processing fee. If you cancel less than a month before the class begins, your registration fee will be returned minus $30. for a single class and $50. for the series. If you cancel within a week of the class, your registration fee will not be refunded. 

Resources

If you are not familiar with five element acupuncture theory, and are committed to learning more, I suggest you purchase and read Nourishing Destiny, by Lonny Jarrett.