• Embracing the one: arms are circled with shoulders relaxed
• Horse stance: feet are beyond shoulder width apart
• Embracing the one in horse stance
The above 12 Hexagrams are the Taoist Alchemical road map into the esoteric meditation system of the macro orbital process. It traces the movement of the inner Qi, energy, or fire, up the central channel and gradually down again through the Receptive channel in the front of the body.
Notice how the yang line,__, rises up through the yin lines - - . Knowing the 12 fire phases makes it possible for the Taoist master to guide the novice. Sometimes, in their haste beginners build up the fire too quickly, which can result in excessive manifestations of Qi in the form of hallucinations and spontaneous movement. Such phenomenon are mere manifestations of Qi transition from one stage of its movement into the next, but if the novice gets stuck in the phenomenon, the buildup of Qi can become very dangerous and may even exhaust the organic system of the body. A proper remedy must be sought out to heal the novice, allowing the Qi to flow properly.
The diagram comes from the Yiwai biezhuan (The separate transmission of the Book of Changes), written by Yu Yan in 1284. This work contains several cosmological diagrams, followed by passages drawn from the Book of Changes and commented on through quotations from the Zhouyi cantong qi.
Diagrams like this have a long history in China. They are used to show the correspondence between different ways of marking space and time, e.g., the directions, the twelve primary hexagrams (each associated with one month), the days of the moon cycle, the lunar mansions, and so on. In addition, each discipline is based on the laws of cosmology and uses these diagrams in different ways, e.g., for astronomical calculation or divination. In Chinese alchemy, the correspondences shown by these devices are used to establish the "fire phases" (huohou), i.e., the cycles of firing in external alchemy (waidan) and the cycles of the circulation of the primary components of the person in internal alchemy (neidan).
qian, i.e., Pure Yang [a hexagram] kun, i.e., Pure Yin [a hexagram]
kan, i.e., Yang within Yin [both a trigram and a hexagram] li, i.e., Yin within Yang [both a trigram and a hexagram]
Qian and kun represent the male and female principles that generate the cosmos, respectively. Kan and li contain those principles hidden within themselves once the cosmos is generated. These four trigrams and hexagrams are at the center of time and space and do not enter the cycles of time; therefore they are not shown in this or similar diagrams.
The twelve "sovereign hexagrams" in the fifth ring represent the rise and ascent of Yin and Yang. This movement, sometimes referred to as "ebb and flow" (xiaoxi), is apparent if the hexagrams are shown in the following way:
Daoist Breathing: This breathing involves you to pull in your stomach when you inhale and let in go out when you exhale. This will get Qi to flow out of the Tan Tien.
Belly Breathing: This exercise will allow you to bring Qi into your Tan Tien. When you inhale your stomach should expand out using the lower part of your lungs. When you exhale let the stomach return to its normal position. Condensing Breathing: This exercise turns Qi into Jing (if you don't know what Jing is see the "What is Qi" part of my web site) Visualize that you are only a skeleton. Center you attention to your arm bones. When you inhale visualize your Qi moving inward into the bone toward the marrow, like your bones are shrinking each time you inhale. When you exhale hold this visualization. Repeat this as much as you want. After a while you should feel a slight heat, tingling, cold, or vibrations in your arms, this is Jing.
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