December 18, 2009 at 10:27 pm #32829
note: this email has updated instructions for doing your own Winter Solstice ceremony. if you subscribe to “Tao News” on the homepage in the future you’ll get this email WITH PHOTOS. – Michael
Inside Chi Flows Naturally:
Photo: Milky Way Galaxy, best photo ever taken of it from Earth. A composite of thousands of photos taken over 2 years from earth’s darkest locations by Axel Mellinger.
Dear Lovers of the Mystery of Darkness,
1. Looking out my window, I admire how suddenly a snowstorm has blanketed the Blue Ridge mountains in stillness. I go outside to listen to the quiet whoosh of snowflakes bouncing off the trees. I tromp happily to gather some firewood, and then light a fire at sunset. Time now to surrender to the special feeling of dark mystery that permeates Solstice.
It’s that “dark” period of the year again….my favorite time to go into really deep meditation, sometimes all day. If you struggle against the dark, you may feel depressed. The most fundamental teaching of Taoism is to align with the flow of natural forces, and put them to work. In winter, that means following the chi as its flows “down” and “within”, i.e. into the darkness. We come from a fiery, “excess yang” culture of over-achievers, so that is not easy for most.
Solstice exudes a special kind of darkness. How is this night different from any other night of the year? This solstice darkness is pregnant. It’s about to give birth to a shift in the planetary cycle, manifested as increased light. For six months the energy field of the northern hemisphere has been contracting. Now it will begin to expand, one photon at a time. Some folks focus on the rebirth of light aspect. To me, it feels more true to focus on the dark cosmic womb that generates the light. It’s a play between the watery pre-natal underworld and the fiery post-natal physical world.
Winter Solstice itself is the turnaround time, and in that three day shift from Yin to Yang, there is a kind of pause, a neutral moment, as the planetary gears shift. That neutral force is called yuan chi (qi) by Taoists, the primordial clear light. That infuses a special feeling into the air. It feels like solid planet earth exudes starlight for a few days, as galactic energy is attracted to the Earth’s “dark star” core and bathes us on the surface.
If you know how to capture the neutral force, the alignment propels you spiritually into the heart of the relationship between Mother Earth and Father Sun. The best way I’ve found to do this is using Taoist inner alchemy, This is a Divine Yin moment; you’re closer to core Mother Earth than at any other time of the year.
The darkest night has already passed: the new moon BEFORE the Winter Solstice was a few days ago. I already did a ceremony at midnight Dec. 15. That was a night of “double darkness”, combining the “lunar darkness” with the Solstice “solar darkness” coming on Monday, Dec. 21. But I plan to do another on Dec. 21, to take advantage of the soli-lunar alignment.
Solstice is an energetically slow moving planetary event. There is plenty of leeway to do a powerful ceremony that will align you with this natural holy-day that is the inspiration for Christmas, Hanukah, and all the other religious festivities that are piggy-backing on its wonderful energy as the “rebirth of the light”.
2. Sat DEC. 19 MEDITATION MOVED TO Monday DEC. 21
Photo: My cozy cabin near Asheville, viewed from Crystal Stone Circle, 2006. Current snowstorm is twice as deep. The whole cabin vibrates as small avalanches of wet snow slide off the slippery copper roof. There are thick copper cables that ground the chi flow on opposite sides of the house, designed to create a “whole-house macro-cosmic orbit”.
With another foot of snow due tomorrow, I am forced to postpone the Dec. 19 Sat. night annual Solstice meditation until Dec. 21 Monday night, the actual Solstice. The steep mountain roads should be plowed by then.
Event is free, and will start at 7 pm on Monday and go until whenever we are maxed out on diving into the deep, still, darkness. Three separate sittings, you can leave early during the breaks. Email (hit reply) to ask for driving directions. Email if you are coming, so I can prepare.
Afterwards, to celebrate the arrival of the light, we’ll feast and party. I’ve got plenty of hot drinks, chips and dips, bring other goods if you want.
3. How to Create a Powerful Solstice Ceremony:
If you live far away, attend in spirit: chi flows beyond time/space limitations. Just having the intention to tune into others doing ceremony at the same time is very powerful. I enclose below a description of how I do my Winter Solstice ceremony, and suggest you adapt it (or any other) to suit your own need. The best time is midnight, outside if its warm enough, under the sparkle of stars emitting a sense of “primordial light” emerging from the inky blackness.
4. Reminder: China Dream Trip May 2010 is beginning to fill – a wonderful group of Tao lovers and adepts, beginner to advanced, all are welcome. This trip is especially alluring: three sacred Taoist mountains, including Mt. Wudang, plus Mantak Chia coming to celebrate Healing Tao’s 30th anniversary!
Photo: Flower Mountain, one of China’s most powerful Taoist sacred mountains. has 5 peaks or “petals”, aligned to the five directions. This is South Peak, the highest. A few days atop Mt.Hua charges your body with “yang earth”. Many Taoists achieved immortality here, including a high number of female alchemy adepts. The mountain is yang, but all the temples perched on its steep cliffs are dedicated to Taoist Goddesses.
Full China itinerary May 8 – 24 (Cave & Meditation optional week goes until May 30) and photo links to previous trips, see: http://www.healingdao.com/chinatrip2010.html
Photo: Jasmine, one of the China Dream Trip guides, rests on the way up Mt. Hua. Thousands of lockets inscribed by lovers are chained to the guard rail, in the hope of immortalizing their love. I left a locket 2 years ago inscribed with the vow “I marry a Dark Goddess”….I’m still working on it, welcome any help. Conscious Conception is a tough task-mistress.
You only need $600. to reserve your place on the May 2010 trip. Extended payment plans are available to those whose dreams are bigger than their pocketbook. I encourage dreamers to allow me to financially co-dream the trip with you – we can make it happen! Armchair Taoists, arise and travel!
Photo: A “dragon tortoise” at Celestial Cave Monastery, where we’ll stay for several nights on May 2010 China Dream Trip. The turtle is the Chinese animal symbol for yin, fertility, winter, darkness, and north. This dragon-turtle hybrid has a bit more yang energy, and a carved stele on its back commemorating the temple.
» Summer Retreats Schedule 2010: Time to Plan is NOW!
» How to Create a Powerful Winter Solstice Ceremony
» Contact Info
Summer Retreats Schedule 2010: Time to Plan is NOW!
Photo: Taoist inner alchemy retreats create a “cauldron” around an Earth Altar. Heavenly Mountain itself functions as a giant sacred earth altar, with a powerfully supportive chi field.
To view the 2010 summer Tao Retreats schedule at Heavenly Mountain, please go to:
Mantak Chia is going on the China Dream Trip instead of teaching a retreat, so if you want to hang out with him please join us in China.
We have the same fantastically talented faculty, top masters of the Taoists meditation, healing, and movement arts. With a wonderful synergy between the different teachers and their students at mealtimes.
Photo: Tina Zhang, tai chi champion in many touraments, leads a Northern Wu Style class at Heavenly Mountain.
How to Create a Powerful Winter Solstice Ceremony
From a previous newsletter, practical suggestions for a Winter Solstice Ceremony you can do at home:
A Winter Solstice ceremony is designed to get us to surrender into the yielding, mysterious arms of the Dark Goddess, who alchemically impregnates herself and rebirths the Light God of the Sun. The six month Great Cycle of Yin magically turns into the six month Great Cycle of Yang.
This solstice event has been recognized by many major religions as expressing
some divine power, and they have aligned their major holy-day celebrations
around it. Its interesting that they chose winter solstice over summer solstice
– perhaps the need of patriarchal religions to honor their yin side and the process
of maternal birthing. The Romans had to declare that Jesus was born around
Solstice, as part of a campaign to get believers to switch from similar Old Religion holidays (Mithraism’s holy child of a Sun God) to the new state religion of Christianity.
The Taoists simply stuck to the natural facts, since that suited their natural
cosmology – no need to dress it up with a humanized divinity. Why not just have
each human being BE that divinity? Well, if you are like the typical excess-yang
Westerner, who is stuck in a dominant head mode, it may seem safer to experience
that divinity-in-the-sky than it does to feel into the dark depths of your own body.
I found that it took me quite a while to get out of my head being the exclusive controller of my psyche. It was only after doing a lot of qigong and other body-centered meditation like Tao inner alchemy was I able to get deeply in touch with my own inner Dark Goddess. Woman don’t own the yin side, they are just closer to it.
I suggest doing a Winter Solstice ceremony at the darkest moment – midnight – on Dec. 20, 21, or 22. The timing is so we can plant our seed-intention deep into the womb of darkness, at a moment when Mother Earth is most fertile and fecund. Farmers know well that if you plant by the new moon, the earth chi is stronger and your crops grow much bigger. (It’s not a superstition, but a fact supported by numerous studies).
Similarly, if like the farmer we plant a seed using ceremonial movement, a focused thought, a strong feeling, a color seen within and our breath released without – the Life Force will more
powerfully respond to our request. The Life Force will hear us more clearly,
because our intention has penetrated so deeply into the womb of Nature.
The Power of Physical Movement in Ritual
I feel the most powerful ceremony includes a ritual qigong (chi kung)
form. The movement of the physical body invokes your deepest soul essence
(jing) if you are deeply centered while moving. When you combine a
movement ritual with specific intention, it becomes nei kung
(neigong), or “internal skill in cultivating the life force”.
My favorite ceremonial form is one developed by the Taoist sage Chang
San Feng, the creator of the original tai chi form. This is tai chi’s esoteric
sister, wuji gong. Wuji gong I translate as Primordial Qigong or Tai
Chi for Enlightenment. (For more about its origins and efficacy, see
http;//www.taichi-enlightenment.com. Its available in dvd, and has
an optional audio training as well).
The Yang family tai chi qigong 8 movements/5 directions form taught
by Mantak Chia is also a lovely ceremonial form, and very grounded. It
circles left and right and interacts with the chi of all five directions. But it doesn’t evoke as much heaven chi as wuji gong does.
The Deep Healing Qigong form (available on dvd) is also very
ceremonial in nature. It faces all the directions and harmonizes the
center of the Sun with the deep center of the Earth Being. Doing just
one of its six movements – the three part mandala of Sun-Earth exchange
– transports me into an altered state. It’s called medical qigong
simply because it was developed with that intention. But it could be
directed to any other goal, or used to add power to a solstice
For more information on Deep Healing Qigong ceremony:
You don’t have to know a qigong form. You can just face each direction, and make up your own movement. But I’ve found that doing the same qigong form
every solstice/equinox is more powerful. Using the same form
“programs” and empowers your energy body to contact the yuan chi at
those times. It helps to capture/embody the elusive yuan chi, which
our polarized egos don’t want to notice because it threatens our
illusory belief that our “self” is a separate island. Original Chi is boundary-less,
so it challenges our belief that the energy we feel is uniquely
‘mine”, under “my” control.
The key is to have a clear intention of what seed you want to plant deeo within the Energy Body of Mother Earth for the upcoming year. Your request must be FOR YOURSELF ONLY, or your role within some larger or collective/group process. You cannot ask for someone else – that violates their free will. So ask for whatever it is YOU sincerely NEED (no superficial “wants”). You can ask for something very material and very specific (new car, house, job, partner). You can also ask to birth some energetic or a spiritual quality that will then grow throughout the entire year, supported by additional ceremonies at the other equinoxes and summer solstice.
Get clear on your intention BEFORE you practice your qigong ceremony, which is most powerful just before midnight on the night BEFORE the actual Solstice time. It’s a big event, so the ceremony will still be powerful the a day before or after, don’t sweat it. State your intention either out loud or mentally, send it to the four horizontal directions and to Heaven above and Earth below, and to the heart of Humanity within.
Phrase your intent in the “present tense”: say “My heart opens wide to love my partner more deeply”. If you say “My heart will open wide…”, you are postponing your intent into the indefinite future. Change always happens in the present moment. Important: Be Prepared to Accept the Consequences of Your Request! it may entail unexpected and unwelcome changes in your old psycic structure….which is often in the way of what you are asking for!
Then perform your qigong ceremony, holding the intention that the Life Force will help you birth that seed intention over the next year. For winter ceremony using improvised movements, I suggest you start facing East and rotate clockwise until you get the North, where you finish. If you are doing Primordial Tai Chi, start facing North as it will then end facing North. North is where you want to finally release your intention – the Dark Goddess of Birthing.
At the end of the movement ceremony, you can step into the center of your ceremonial space, still facing North, and call forth the Golden Dragon of the Center Direction of Earth (its dark core). Again release your intention, ask the Life Force or its agent, the Dragon, to ascend from Earth to Heaven with your request.
If you want to make the ceremony even more powerful, prick your finger with a sewing needle to get a drop of blood at the end of your qigong ceremony. Blood carries the vibration of your deepest essence and that of all your ancestors. Dissolve the blood into a small bowl of spring water, re-state your intention while holding the bowl in front of your heart, and then pour the water onto the earth or into the sea or a stream, again mentally repeating your intention and releasing it to the larger chi field.
It’s very important that you RELEASE your intention to the larger field. You are surrendering to its power to make the change you’ve requested. You still have to do anything and everything possible “on the ground” to also make it happen; but now you will be supported by the Life Force in overcoming your resistance to it happening. Pouring your blood infused water signals to the Life Force that you are very serious about birthing your intent.
The truth is no one owns the chi field, and it is not controlled by
any one deity or external agent/God. It just IS. It is self-generating
and self-regulating. Everyone can use its abundance if we have the
skill to do it. We use it unconsciously all the time. But if we ask our genuineneeds to be met, and
consciously use it to promote harmony and balance in our life, the Tao
will give us more chi to play with. If we abuse it or over-control for
selfish ends or focus on superficial “wants”, a natural contraction occurs. We will face increased
resistance in our life and chi flow, resulting possibly in suffering, disease, or death.
For more good reading about Winter Solstice:
Information about the energetics and history of Winter Solstice (from 2005 Tao News):
(to get onto articles page, your computer needs a cookie, so you may have to sign in)
Wishing you a powerful Solstice ceremony and the successful birthing of your intent,
“Who takes Heaven as his ancestor, Virtue as his home,
the Tao as his door, and who becomes change — is a
Sage.” — Chuang Tzu, Inner Chapters
“The Tao is very close, but everyone looks far away.
Life is very simple, but everyone seeks difficulty.”
— Taoist Sage, 200 B.C
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To unsubscribe, please visit this link.December 19, 2009 at 12:37 am #32830
Thanks for the post and email. Merry yinness.
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