Why the Time has Come for a Taoist Woman’s Conference
(Click on the image to the left to download this article from the empty Vessel magazine publication as a pdf ).
Taoism is known for its balance of the yin and yang. The aspects of both female and male are interdependently woven together in its historical teachings. Even the earliest records of Taoism speak of the unique qualities women bring to the practice of Qi Gong. Both the Yellow Emperor, Huang Di, and the old sage, Lao-Tsu, are known to have had female teachers. Yet despite this history and understanding, Qi Gong has over time become overly influenced by the patriarchal way, losing much of the original yin methodology.
The written records of female practices that have survived through the ages are largely metaphorical. Their meanings can be obtuse. For example, the Immortal Sister Cui Shaoxuan wrote;
“If you want to gain productive energy
And congeal the jade broth,
First seek the wax and wane,
Grab the golden wave.”
What exactly does this mean and how can one apply this wisdom to the 21st century?
Modern commentaries can help. From the translations of Thomas Cleary 1, we can derive that “jade broth” means the refinement of essence; “waxing and waning” refers to the waxing of positive qualities and the waning of negative qualities; and “the golden wave” is the purified creative energy of life itself.
But how can we apply this wisdom to our physical and spiritual practices?
Years of sincere practice are required to translate these Yin teachings into tangible and effective tools for physical and spiritual development. It is only after being fully steeped in the more general practices of Qi Gong that one can begin to appreciate the more subtle energies of the Yin methodology/feminine alchemy.
The Immortal Sisters Conference has gathered together a group of accomplished female Qi Gong teachers who have devoted themselves to the exploration and understandings of these ancient Yin methodology practices. Each presenter at the conference has delved into the feminine aspects of Qigong in her own way to experience, digest and impart these refined teachings to her students.
The Earth and all its creatures are crying out for an inclusion of the feminine into all aspects of life – for the environment, for the political realm, for health and well-being, and for interpersonal relationships. The time has come for women to come together, clarify their “Yin” perspective and make these teachings available for the greater good.
The time has come at the first ever Immortal Sisters Conference.
We will be stronger together.
(footnote) 1 Thomas Cleary, Immortal Sisters: Secret Teachings of Taoist Women, (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books 1989), 63