Tuesday, January 30, 2024

5 Element Elixirs - Ancient Herbal Support for Personal Transformation Part 1

At Shen Martial Arts, we offer a variety of Herbal Elixirs. When reading the descriptions, you may find some overlap, with more than one elixir having some similar observed benefits and it may appear that they are offered with no order or structure, and there is not synergy or relationship between them.  However, while each elixir is stand alone and can be used to great benefit independently, there is an important. overarching relationship between them corresponding to the ancient concept of the 5 elements. 

This first post is not meant to be an exhaustive dissertation on the 5 elements but rather an introduction  or primer into the 5 element model, correspondence, and its relevance to self cultivation, personal transformation and physical, mental and spiritual advancement. The purpose for the use of herbal elixirs will then be presented. 

The 5 elements/phases are simply a model created by the ancients to describe and understand the Universe. It is a simple and elegant model that relies on some basic ideas. Unfortunately, many of those who quote the 5 elements do not have a strong grasp of its workings because they gravitate to the complex, while ignoring the basics that make up the foundation of the model.. Basics such as:

  • The 5 Elements are actually 5 Phases. Each phase creates the next in a continuous, never-ending cycle.
  • No one phase is more important or "stronger" than the others.
  • No one phase is first. The cycle starts from any phase. 
  • Each phase corresponds to different aspects of existence (sound, color, taste, smell, emotion, etc.). 
  •  Everything in the Universe exhibits a relative predominance or affinity for a particular phase, however all things are a combination of all elements. 
  • All things are composed of  different proportions of the 5 elements in relation to one another
  • Imbalance manifests when one element is unnaturally, disproportionately less or more predominant.

As a bit of a historical side track, It is very interesting to note that the concept or theory of the 5 elements was shared by many early human civilizations with minor variances.. Modern mis-interpretations assigned great differences to the elemental theories but upon extensive research and study, it can be surmised that this was knowledge that was shared widely across the ancient world. The advent of the world's large organized religions brought with it brutal censorship wiping out nonconforming ways of thought, forcing  what were viewed as "heretical" teachings and wisdom into obscurity. 

Precious knowledge such as the teachings of the 5 elements survived the passage of time in secret, curated, guarded and passed down to a chosen cadre within various occult traditions, schools of thought, secret societies and spiritual lineages.

Two of the disciplines that I have devoted my life to, Chinese Martial Arts, and Traditional Chinese medicine were primary guardians of much of this knowledge and both are infused and inseparable from the 5 element model. It is through years of study in these two fields that I began to unveil the beauty, simplicity and validity that 5 phase theory conveys.

It is from this deep and focused study that I began to hear the ancients as they conveyed the following principles:. 
  • Everything in the Universe is in constant, cyclical transformation. This is a natural law.
  • The universe seeks a state of dynamic balance  or balance while in constant transformation. "All is awash over the long run"
  • Imbalance is caused by external forces but nature rebalances by transforming and adapting.
  • Humans have the ability to observe nature and understand the universe and its intrinsic patterns. Humans can thus learn to adapt, transform an promote balance.
  • By managing adaptation and transformation, Human beings can reach and advanced state of being and pursue ultimate balance.
There is one more important principle that is readily apparent in current times and that we must always very wary of:
  • Humans often disrupt balance. Ignorance leads to actions promote imbalance. Ignorance leads humans to disrupt nature and create great (ultimate) imbalance.
So, we as human beings have the ability to  interfere with balance, both within and outside of ourselves and have been doing this for thousands of years to our own detriment. 

The key point the ancient masters focused on was in learning how to reach advanced states of being. To understand and utilize the patterns of nature and of the universe in order to improve. They observed and learned how to use the 5 element model for human self-development. The postulated theories, formed a body of knowledge and thus created a science. They also developed methods, practices and techniques, thus creating a technology. The science and technology of the 5 elements of universal transformation. 

End of Part 1

Next segment, Part 2 will  examine the role played by the 5 element elixirs and continue to expand on 5 element and correspondences.

This is all original content written by Mario Figueroa  is the sole property of M. Figueroa and Shen Enterprises dba Shen Martial Arts. It is solely for the purposes of informing and education of our clients and interested parties.. No part of this content may be copied, republished, printed, imaged, reproduced, streamed or in any form. All Rights Reserved.


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