The Alchemy of the Organs - Course 2

The Green Dragon and the White Tiger (The Liver and the Lungs)

By Peter Firebrace

Peter Firebrace goes in depth with the history of Daoist, alchemical, and medical aspects of the Liver and Lung in TCM and their application in modern times.
Total CPDs: 10.5
Total CPDs: 10.5
NCCAOM (10.5), IVAS (10.5), Standard Certificate (10.5)
Access Period: Lifetime
Course Notes: Notes are provided with this course.

Course Overview

A detailed study of the liver and the lungs, the rising-falling, east-west axis of Chinese medicine. Linked with wood and metal, the power to burst out of the earth and to bury within the earth, this expressive-reflective dynamic is key to the fulfilment and attainment of our desires and dreams - or knowing when to stop at our limits. As sea of blood and master of qi, the liver and the lungs are linked to the hun and the po, the one ever searching to connect with the shen, the other ever vigilant to guard and maintain the body. We will study the Daoist, alchemical and medical aspects of the liver and the lungs from ancient texts and images and explore their application to clinical practice in modern times through studying key points on the liver, lung and other meridians such as Xuan Ji Jade Pivot (Ren 21), which restores fluidity of respiratory movement and Li Gou, Woodworm Canal (Liv 5) which restores normality to the sexual region.

Course Objectives

  • To restore the insights of the Neidan Inner Alchemy tradition to Chinese medicine.
  • To deepen our understanding of the liver and the lungs and their inter-relationship.
  • To apply this knowledge to help patients with a lifestyle that will nurture life, yang sheng, and improve their health.
  • To present the teachings in the Neijingtu, Inner Landscape Map and the Xiuzhentu, Cultivating Authenticity Map.
  • To give cases and acupuncture points for clinical application.

Course Outline

0 hrs - 1 hrs
Introduction. The old is the new new, interest in classics. Need to access Chinese mind, thinking, perception. Pictures speak direct to the hun. Dragon and tiger, blending of opposites in cauldron, rising and falling power. Sun Simiao, Tang dynasty King of Medicine, sits on tiger, holds dragon above. Daoist interest in inexhaustible power of nature and how to use it for healing. External alchemy, wai dan, everything from outside that affects inside, herbalism, diet, food, exterior movements. Nei dan, inner alchemy, we are mini-worlds, have everything we need within ourselves. Li Shizhen, great writer and doctor of Ming dynasty knew both, wrote herbal encyclopedia and work on eight extraordinary meridians. Neidan associated with quietness, meditation, how to preserve jing, maintain qi, keep connected to shen. Aims: longevity, health and happiness. Baiyun Guan monastery, Temple of the White Clouds, in Beijing. Guan, bird’s eye view, to see, observe, observatory. Si guan, 4 observations in diagnosis. Neijingtu, Map of Internal Streams or Inner Landscape. Overview. Oval containing the material, circle above, connection with formless, wu ji, no limits. Embryo in form of quiet mountains above and wild sea below. 7 people, boy and girl, young man and woman, star boy, teacher and disciple. Fire of dan tian, fire of ming men.
1 hrs - 2 hrs
Tai ji, singularity beyond yin yang, pole star, image of heart. Hun rising, po falling, shen connection to the transcendent. Xiuzhentu, Map of Cultivating Perfection, guide to working on your true, authentic, real nature. Body in oval with moon phases, circle at top, 9 realms of heaven, connected to Du 20, Bai Hui, 100 Meetings. Hun leaves from vertex after death. Moon phases and days of month. 24 vertebrae correlated to 24 jie qi, solar periods. Importance of timing for treatment and health. 6 organs (Ht, Lu, Sp, Liv, Gb, Kid) and associated animals. Birthing the inner being. 3 dan tian, cinnabar fields and associated points. 3 guan, passes on spine at sacrum, behind heart and occiput with associated points. 9 openings on microcosmic circuit, 3 dan tian, 3 passes, vertex, mouth and perineum area. Sex, regenerative or dangerous to health.
2 hrs - 4 hrs
Alchemical stove in middle. 5 elements with wood and metal positions reversed. Reversal, return to the inexhaustible source, an important Daoist concept. All the power of the liver comes from the kidneys. Metal is knowing when to stop and being able to stop, the yin power to contain and restrain to stimulate the cycle of return. Huang Ting Jing, 4th century alchemical text by Weihua Cun, a woman. History of these two maps, origin in 19th century, but ideas from long before. Recommended The Alchemy of the Organs with Peter Firebrace The Green Dragon and the White Tiger: the Liver and the Lungs Toronto, September 2012 literature: Catherine Despeux, Taoisme et Connaissance de Soi on Xiuzhentu map. Nei guan, meditative observation. Li, ceremony, ritual, conscious activity, atunement to time and space. Importance of calm, serenity. Yang sheng, lifestyle to nurture life. ‘Yang Sheng Way’ song. Wood, mu, roots in earth, stem coming up above the ground. Liver meridian pathway includes genitals, breasts, lips. Liver, sea of blood, also uterus and chong mai. Hun helps to find the shen. Jin, metal, 2 nuggets of gold hidden deep in the earth. Luopan, fengshui compass to assess nature of the qi. N - S axis, where needle is still, E - W axis needle always moves. East, dong, sun rising up through trees. West, xi, image of bird coming back to nest, roosting, resting, nesting. Lungs, metal, are a conscious or unconscious controller, can calm or stimulate with different rates of breathing. Green dragon, qing long. Qing, is not a colour, but the green of growing life. Cf Green Man pubs in England, spirit of nature. Famous poet, Li po’s ‘green’ hair, not green but full of vitality. Dragon, elegant, sinuous, flexible, full of coiled vitality. ‘Three Treasures Waltz’ song, a journey to find the three treasures of jing, qi and shen. Dragons searching for the pearl, the mystery of life. Dragon symbol of fertility, male power in sexual texts, white tiger female. Expansive power from silkworm to the whole sky, bringing rain. Potency, fertility, life-renewing, life-recharging. Erection problems, realm of liver and kidneys. Long mai, dragon lines in landscape. White tiger, bai hu, bai for white, pure, clear, or death. Tiger awe-inspiring, frightening, defends, protects against the twilight world. Metal controls and regulates. LI 4 He Gu Valley Reunion (of metal, Lu and LI), alternate name Hu Kou, Tiger’s Mouth, for this area’s strong grip, metal, uncompromising. Metal, disciplined and directed, in order to achieve wood’s freedom, application and inspiration. These 4 animals are 4 quadrants in the sky, with 7 xiu, constellations each.
4 hrs - 6 hrs
Spring and Autumn, chun qiu. Jing zhe, Awakening of Insects, chun fen, spring equinox, qing ming, Clear and Bright, 3 solar periods at the heart of spring. Bai lu, White Dew, qiu fen, Autumn Equinox, and han lu, Cold Dew, 3 solar periods at the heart of autumn. Ten Heavenly Stems. Wood stems I and 2, jia yi, hard scaly bud and sprout, Gb and Liv. Metal stems, 7 and 8, geng xin, hard work and punishment, LI and Lu. Twelve Earthly Branches, 4 earths. Wood branches 3 and 4, yin mao, for Lu and LI, moving vitality. Metal branches 9 and 10, shen you, for Bl and Kid. Kid needs regulating, firm control of fluids, eg loss in old age. Liver relates to earth branch 2, chou, giving stability and resilience. Trigrams. Yi jing, Book of Change, si xiang, 4 images. Anterior heaven sequence for opposites, posterior heaven sequence for 5 element correlations. Wood. ‘Gan Qi Moving’ song, a story of stuck qi in a man and a woman. Alchemical texts on the liver from Xiuzhentu map. Names Dragon Vapours, Containing the Light. Liver and heart strong links. Liver and Pericardium jue yin, heart and kidney shao yin. Points combine well eg Kid 4 and Ht 6 or Ht 7, P 6 and Liv 3. Gb physically close to liver. Trigrams, zhen, thunder - powerful, sudden, shaking, unexpected. and xun, wind, gentle breeze. Metal trigrams dui, lake, marsh, contains, and qian, heaven, for its purity. Fire and water remain as opposites in both sequences, central axis for health. Right part of both hun and po is gui. Originally earth spirits as shen are heavenly spirits. Gui in medicine become a negative entity. waiting on an empty home, squatters. Concept of possession, dian kuang, bi-polar disorder. Dian completely withdrawn, doubling of yin, kuang wild fury, possibility of violence, doubling of yang. Not as they were, so possession. Gui points to release gui. Hun and po not visible, link with invisible world. Hun, cloud spirit, link to shen. Hun smartly dressed, or in meditation, contemplative.
6 hrs - 8 hrs
Right part of both hun and po is gui. Originally earth spirits as shen are heavenly spirits. Gui in medicine become a negative entity. waiting on an empty home, squatters. Concept of possession, dian kuang, bi-polar disorder. Dian completely withdrawn, doubling of yin, kuang wild fury, possibility of violence, doubling of yang. Not as they were, so possession. Gui points to release gui. Hun and po not visible, link with invisible world. Hun, cloud spirit, link to shen. Hun smartly dressed, or in meditation, contemplative. Hun communicate in images. Hun not subject to gravity. Blood grounds the hun. Good diet for good blood. If blood deficient, spaced out, hun float off. Discussion of the three hun. Dark essence, Embryo light, Serene spirit. Daoists try to make the hun more conscious. -3 hun review. Toronto CN tower like ling tai, spiritual tower with 360 degree view, see how everything connects together. Only way to understand hun is through meditation, not reacting to life. Remote viewing, spying application of the hun. Hun is dream body, out of body body, aware in near death experience, or in coma. Prince Wuying (No Flower) visualisation to help hun. Mountains above, yang, reaching to heaven, caves below, equanimity, stability, deeply yin. Trickle of fluid comes into mouth in equanimity and irrigates the three dan tian. Liver in the trees of Inner Landscape picture. Sex. Art of the Bedchamber. Mawangdui text, he yin yang, Harmonising Yin and Yang. Liver helped by fulfilled sexual union. Mawangdui tomb, opened 1972, like a time capsule, Han dynasty 168 BC, medical manuscripts. sexual and philosophical texts and a funeral banner. Su Nu Jing, another sexual text, Classic of the Essential Woman. Bridge of Birds. Love story of parted lovers, Ox-boy and Weaving Maiden. Lower Magpie Bridge, perineum Ren 1 area, sexual union, union of Ren and Du mai. Upper Magpie Bridge, mouth area, also meeting of Ren and Du mai, place of the fountain of the upper valley, secretion and fluid exchange. Zong jin, ancestral muscle, gathering of muscular power, perineum area, erectile tissue for sex and for woman in childbirth. Also zong qi in chest and zong mai between ears and eyes. Liver important for erection, gathering blood here and yang ming stomach to supply rich blood.
8 hrs - 9 hrs
Liver rooted in yin, rises to yang, freed by sexual union. Sex ‘opens closures and removes obstructions’. Potency and fertility from kidneys, sexual act muscular power of liver. Vagina: Yin Door, Cave of Yin, Tiger’s Tail. Penis: Dragon’s Head, Golden Spear. Different natures of man and woman. Man ‘easily moved, easily stilled’, woman ‘slow to heat, slow to cool’. Woman like water, man like fire. Non-ejaculation helps man, preventing depletion, helps woman by maintaining love-making. Dangers of ejaculation. Same sex sex. man and man, ‘dragon yang’, danger to health from excess yang stimulation and over-ejaculation, therefore depletion. Woman and woman, not a danger to health, ‘polishing mirrors’, prone to stagnation, no yang stimulation. Woman based in blood and heart, middle dan tian, man in jing and lower dan tian. Before making love, 3 reactions for man: erection (qi to liver), penis hot (qi to heart), penis rigid and strong (qi to kidney). 5 reactions for a woman: face reddens (Ht), looks all around (Liv), becomes silent, nostrils moist (Lu), rubs partner’s neck (Sp, flesh), vagina opens, and is lubricated (Kid). Dangers of making love without these clear signs of readiness. ‘Crap’ song, a modern version of Yang Sheng, take care of the food and the medication you take and what goes into your brain from the media. Huan jing bu nao, returning the essence to nourish the brain. Shou Xing, god of longevity with giant peach and other symbols. Xi Wang Mu, Queen Mother of the West, youthful although thousands of years old, grows the peaches in her garden. Liv 3 Tai Chong, Great Rushing, yuan source point, for all patterns, excess and deficient, promotes liver blood, insufficient sperm quality. Liv 5 Li Gou, Woodworm Canal, reunion of Sp, Liv and Kid, interconnecting networks in this area, all sexual problems, esp priapism, with heat, genital area itching. Du 20, reunion with liver. Violence a possibility with liver qi stagnation.The lung covers the heart, protects. Lung regulating, directing, evening, balancing. Lu vulnerable, adaptive to 24 jie qi, climates. Breathing, usually unconscious, can be made conscious, eg in meditation. calms heart. Po, automatic, unconscious habits like software of the body. Sea of qi in chest. Lung cleaning, descending, diffusing and spreading.
9 hrs - 10 hrs
Lung upper source of water, regulates water pathways. Lung affected in loss, death, divorce. Lungs help you deal with hard times. Metal is hard, final, non negotiable. Effects of sorrow, grief, oppression. Yi, correctness, clear-cut boundaries of the law, lung virtue. Ren, benevolence of liver, treat others as you want to be treated. Metal power to contain, the cauldron. 3 cauldrons of 3 dan tian. Medicine jin ye fluids, alchemy jin yu, gold and jade. Lung afÞnity with emptiness, xu. Qigong good for lungs, also for liver. Dance for liver. ‘Blossom Falling’ song, transition from winter to spring. Importance of the brain in inner alchemy. White tiger, you don’t mess with it, clear boundaries, limits, creating clarity, no fuzziness. Metal strong, hard, unbending, knows when to stop, when to cut off. Liver and lung mirror each other, rising and falling.
10 hrs - 10.5 hrs
Alchemical text on the lung under the white tiger. Tigress in Kung Fu Panda shows Tiger nature, hard, precise, calculating, highly skilled, no fear. Lung at top, related to heaven, da qi. Ren 20, Hua gai, Flowery Canopy, cool, shady place, and also attracting the qi from heaven. Excellent for endless dry cough, insufficient fluid in lungs. Cooling, clearing point, Dry asthma, difficulty breathing. Lung divinity names: Hao Hua, White/Pure Flower and Xu Cheng, Accomplishment of the Void. Xu uncluttered, clear, empty, not filled with phlegm. Ren 21 Xuan Ji, Jade Pivot, astronomical instrument to measure the stars, also 2 stars in Great Bear constellation to find the pole. Helps movements of ribs and clavicle against sternum, restores fluidity of respiratory movement, frees qi in chest. Asthma case.
It was a great class, and Peter was very knowledgable and entertaining.
Theodore M. - United States
Very knowledgable and insightful
Carol R. - United States
Knowing the origins of ideas behind a way of thought which leads to the development of a practice is not essential for doing a good job. However, being aware of the evolution of the concepts enhances the understanding of the dynamics on a level that allows for such expansion of your treatments.... RECIPES that work for 60 of your clients can keep you in business but being able to alter that recipe and help the other 40 - well that makes it very exciting.
Pamela M. - Canada
Peter's love and passion for the subject, made me understand the concepts covered in a new and refreshed way. I really recommend his lectures.
Javier P. - Australia
I did a course from Peter Firebrace on the Red Bird and the Dark Stag. I found in both courses, Peter to be quite entertaining but found this course in particular more entertaining because of Peter's way of communicating with the audience. The songs he made and sang were fantastic to listen to. Again, as in the prior course, Peter is talented on explaining the Chinese characters and meanings of point names, which allows a student to really take in what the true strength of each word and point is.
Lynda S. - Canada
This is a highly engaging and passionately delivered course. A must for any practitioner of TCM, interested in working deeply with the mind-body-spirit connection.
Geha G. - Canada


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Taught by Peter Firebrace

A graduate of the International College of Oriental Medicine, Peter Firebrace, FBAcC, has extensively studied TCM and Chinese language and philosophy. He was a co-founder of Monkey Press, teaches internationally, and also produces songs and poems on topics pertaining to TCM. Peter is in the process of setting up Guan Academy of Chinese Medicine for online teaching.
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