With the decline of the Way of wizardry, the true teaching is not flourishing, while false teachings are popular. Beginners don’t know how to orient their efforts, and true guides in this quest are hard to find; the blind are leading the blind into a pit of fire. If you withdraw and seek it in books, you find complicated ramifications, so your questions grow more and more; the true vehicle is easily obscured, while tangential methods are so abundant they block you ultimately leaving you with no basis for progress or detachment. At a loss, you simply stop, or you may slight faith and act arbitrarily, destroying your body and losing your essential nature. This is very lamentable.
Taoist Master known as the Preserver of the Truth, from Practical Taoism translated by Thomas Cleery.
Today, I was doing some research about elixirs of all kinds for my writing. Having grown up in the Western tradition, it was fascinating to read passages from Practical Taoism about elixirs, the process of extending longevity of life, and the idea of the loss of the ways of Taoist wizards.
It’s surprising to see that many of the ideas about Taoist alchemy were recorded about the same time that alchemists were also considering similar matters in Western Europe (between the 2nd century CE and 1200 CE). Perhaps Eastern and Western traditions were sharing ideas at the same time through trade routes such as the silk road or there was some natural arising of interest in alchemy that was simply sweeping the world.
For whatever reasons, there is a mythology and history of those who sought to be alchemists, wizards, and spiritual masters in both the east and west.
Western alchemy led to Isaac Newton, who was a certain kind of wizard, and later to chemistry and the modern age and Isaac Asimov.
Taoist wizardry led in different directions. For instance, Practical Taoism quotes Chen the Nirvanic as saying:
“Just sit quietly in stable concentration with no thoughts in thoughts. When this work is pure, you become unified, silent all day, like a hen sitting on her eggs. Then you naturally see the opening of the mysterious pass, so vast there is no outside, yet so minute there is no inside. From this you cull primal whole energy, which constitutes the matrix of the alchemical elixir. Practice diligently, and you will be able to ride with the wizards of old.”
Taoist wizards were taught that absolute nonresistance was the opening of something called opening the mysterious pass. To reach this pass, the goal of an adept was to become absolutely empty so that there was no more self and a mystic merging with the universe occurred based on the fermentation of spiritual energy.
Our idea of wizards in the West tend to be of old men with long white beards who create “magic” in other ways such as through spells, magic wands, and actual elixirs. We know through the global fascination with Harry Potter that there is still quite an interest in this kind of wizardry.
I am wondering though, if we are globally getting ready for the return of the Taoist way of wizardry which has more to do with compassion, acceptance, non-judgment and a different kind of spiritual alchemy.
- Alchemy (davidklow.wordpress.com)
- Taoist way of health maintenance (makchingyuen.wordpress.com)
- Five Elements – How Taoist cultivate for Longevity and Healthy Life (makchingyuen.wordpress.com)
- Taoism – Part 1/3 (ilookchina.net)
- Affection, reflection, peace, quiet and understanding (daisynook.wordpress.com)