Introduction to the Heavenly Stems & Earthly Branches

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Investigating the source code of Chinese medicine

In this introductory course we explore the reflections of heaven on earth. How cosmology meets physiology. And how the five phases are one part of the great movements and tides within which humanity lives.

Course Overview

This introduction to Stems and Branches (aka Five Movements and Six Energies, wuyun liuqi 五運六氣) contextualizes the foundations of practice. We will look at the world of space and time, in terms of Five and Six, so as to open a door onto an ordered universe and constant cosmos, which follows natural laws that can be determined. By understanding the cyclical nature of time and space we start to learn about Stems and Branches, which are the thread that weaves together many aspects of Chinese thought. We will look at the relationship between Stems and space, and their role as the foundation of wuxing 五行 Five Phases. This will extend our understanding of the interactions between zangfu 臟腑 organs and open the door to a discussion of practical applications. We also explore the relationship between the Branches and time, the resonances of the Chinese clock, and how it relates to the seasons and human lifespan. Additionally we look into earlier Heaven (xiantian 先天) to later Heaven (houtian 後天), how that relates to space and time, and discuss the role of the ‘organs with name but no form’ that are so key to the function of the Ministerial Fire. Additionally we explore how the channels not only circulate qi in the body, but act as the interface between our interior world and the environment. All this gives us a deeper understanding of the universal cycles of time and how these are mirrored in the channels in the body.

Course Objectives

  • Understand how the original cosmic relationships which tie humans into the universal cycles (Stems and Branches) underpins the practice of Chinese Medicine.

  • Explore the relationship of the heavenly Stems and Space, along with the earthly Branches and Time, and how these are expressed in the body.

  • Understand the Stems as the foundation of Five Phases (wuxing) and the ten zangfu organs, and how the Branches gives rise to the 12 channels along with Ministerial and Imperial Fire.

  • Learn to see new correspondences in the relationships between organs, seasons and time, the five phases and the great Yun movements of heaven.

  • Explore deeper questions on the Stems and Branches.

Provider: CPD Cert

Access: Unlimited

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