Taoist healing sound meditation for the burning temple of Jupiter

Photo by: Vincent M.A. Janssen

Photo by: Vincent M.A. Janssen

Happy Solstice, everyone! Though the Sun is scheduled to enter Capricorn in just a bit, marking the longest night here in the northern hemisphere and the official entrance into winter season, we should also note the exaggerated Mercury-Jupiter conjunction in Sagittarius occurring on fixed star Antares [happening now]. What an apppropriate way to close Sagittarius season! Whether you're a parent to a toddler or teenager, depend on emotional flow for magickal practice, or find yourself stressed out over the rush of holiday season, you might find it useful to engage in the lesser known meditative technique known as the Taoist healing sounds if you happen to be touched by today's planetary configuration. 

Jupiter is, among other things, a planet of expansion, abundance, fortune, blessings, spiritual learning, long journeys, foreign places/people/and experiences, sagacious teachers, and judicial matters (law).

Jupiter has been home in Sagittarius already for a little over a month, so you likely have a good idea of what themes Jupiter will be activating in your life for the next year, but today's energy can feel very over the top! 

Hot and Bothered

Our planet of language/communication, mental constitution, elementary (fundamental) education, short travel/daily transit, scheduling, and technology -- Mercury-- joins up with Jupiter today on the fixed star of Antares. Traditionally, Mercury has a challenged time in Sagittarius as focusing on the details becomes trickier when ideas are scattered over a breadth of information. Over generalized statements, lack of discernment, and premature plans easily fizzle out during Mercury's time in Sagittarius unless one makes effort to focus their energy with greater deliberation. Watch your rants and tangents if your bent on philosophical wanderings! Organization is a key to hitting targets and getting coherent messages across while Mercury is in Sagittarius. 

That's even more true as Mercury conjoins Jupiter and Antares today. Shouting angrily into a megaphone or dramatically crying out your message will definitely be audible. But will it be received? How well are you able to understand and process someone's words when their volume is several decibels too high, or they're drunkenly and simultaneously slurring, laughing, and sobbing, or perhaps too flustered to form an uninterrupted sentence because they’re chomping at the bit?

This configuration reminds us that it's more advantageous to direct your ideas with clear intention but also with a bit of restraint. Talking (or screaming) at people probably won't get you the response you hope for. So why this flare up of energy and how can we work with it? Let's consult the stars a bit more...

Recognized as one of the Persian royal stars, positioned in the heart of the Scorpion, the fixed star Antares is often described as possessing the fiery qualities of both Mars and Jupiter. By the Persians, Antares was known to coincide with eminence and success.

But its name, among with the Greeks and Romans, suggests it’s the rival or equivalent to Mars (Ant-ares). Generally speaking, the lower expression of its emphasis suggests frustration, anger, rage, violence, extremes, seeking revenge, and defeat. But a higher expression offers courage, fearlessness, determination, drive, resolve, appropriately channeled anger, successful strategics, and kicking ass!  

Conjoined by Mercury and Jupiter, we are due to see accusations, paranoia, rumors, righteous displays, and fighting for religious/spiritual beliefs. This could get ugly or high octane emotions can be transmuted into something empowering. 

Astrologer Bernadette Brady writes in her Book of Fixed Stars about Antares:

It also indicates that one can be the cause of their own undoing. The natural theme of this star is to generate success by going through a cleansing life-and-death experience. It can suggest one seeks intensity even when not required. By its mythological symbolism it indicates extremes, whether by choice or not.

This is exceptionally fitting of our turn of the season today. Astrologically speaking, we are moving from a Fire powered Sun (Sagittarius) to a solar energy that draws on the solidity of Earth (Capricorn). The Solstice is the shortest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere) trailed by the longest night. An extreme demonstration of darkness as we transition to the season of death and the underworld. The Sun's time in Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the leaden planet of maturity, stability, and frigidness. The stability that Saturn symbolizes is not the same steady nature of earthy Taurus (which is really a sign of homeostasis). The stability inherent to Saturn is the flat-line status of the dead...the absence of a pulse.

Saturn is the planet that gives voice to the most qualitatively negative creatures and experiences of our world. Lurking in the dark reaches of space, furthest from our Sun (the bringer of light, life, and therefore knowledge through sight), Saturn is a ringed sphere of exile, gravity, and knowledge through life-challenging (character-building, if you will) experiences and past the hedge of the Unseen world. Under Saturn's tutelage we learn tough love, discernment, and discipline. Saturn puts the "no" in knowing as is appropriate to toddlers who must accept some limitations in order to survive, navigate and understand the consensus reality of our human-made world.

Tree of life, rooted in death

Photograph by Beth Moon

Photograph by Beth Moon

If Jupiter is the planet of upward and outward growth, Saturn is that of downward and inward growth. Jupiter is the reaching branches and towering crown of a tree, while Saturn is the roots that plunge down into the ground seeking nutrients and sustenance from the unseen underworld. The tree can't survive unless it has access to both the sky above and earth below. 

But what happens when our desires are drastically curbed, our plans interrupted, and our expectations for growth, speed, and yes’s contradicted by no's, stops, and detours...all signs of adult life IRL and precursors to stress and headaches for others?

Taoist healing arts teach the same philosophy with different language. There is no yang without yin and vice versa. Yang is the fire of starlight and the breath of the land. Yin is the vessel of earth and fallen space minerals as well as the body of oceans that cover its surface. The transition from late fall to the beginning of winter sees us through to the season of death, literally and metaphysically.

A not so free and easy wanderer

From the perspective of Chinese medicine, Jupiter governs the Liver within the cosmic elemental system known as Wu xing (aka The 5 Elements, which correspond to Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood). That is, within the human (metaphorically the rooted tree that reaches above towards the heavens) the Liver is the microcosm of Jupiter. Energetically, the Liver's function is to circulate our emotions and vital life force energy, qi ("chee"). When our expectations and plans are met with disappointment (and more notably frustration), the flustering of our emotions stagnates our spirit...particularly the Hun spirit of the Liver.

Spirit of the pliant elemental Wood, the Hun spirit manifests with the expression, or stagnation, of our emotional state. An overexcited or manic sort of state points to an overheated or stagnated Hun spirit. Sufficiently nourished by the elemental Fire of the Blood (associated with Mars in the West), the Hun may wander freely and make ambitious, but flexible plans. But often, blood and/or qi imbalances (from lifestyle habits, like chronic stress, poor diet, other health complications, and insufficient rest) lead to a dry undernourished Hun. And too much heat or dry Wood (Hun) can cause wild Fire (Liver Fire/ Liver Yang Rising) manifesting as muscle stiffness, cramps, anger, irritability, and rushing headaches, stiff necks, jaws, and burning eyes. The key to successfully utilizing the elements is balance. 

This Mercury-Jupiter-Antares conjunction occurring in the cusp of an emotionally sensitive Full Moon in Cancer (tomorrow night) is a potential source of gasoline to an agitated Hun spirit burnt from both ends of the holiday candle stick. Under this Moon we’ll find intense, scary, and even monstrous qualities hiding within the shadows of the darkest nights of the year. Fortunately, this planetary alignment suggests just as much potential for bravery and righteousness as it does for facing (and perhaps embracing) the wicked.

Vibrational medicine for the subtle body

The Taoist sages of the past knew how to recognize patterns of imbalance and alchemically transform emotions and energy. Meditation and vibrational tuning is a significant aspect of Chinese medicine for this reason. 

For brevity sake, I won't go too deeply into the history and background of the six Taoist healing sounds (that is for another day), but the healing sound that follows is intended for the exasperated parents, magickal practitioners, students, and everyone else stressed out and touchy around today and tomorrow's volatile skies, is the Shoo sound intended to soothe the Hun Liver and calm the Spirit. Keep in mind that this is a very beneficial daily practice and not simply a one time band-aid.

Entering the temple and tending the fire

The Healing Sound Meditation:  Shooo (with puckered lips as if blowing a kiss)

Prior to the meditation you’ll want to warm up with an energetic exercise. Variations of a qi gong, yoga, or other martial type practice are appropriate activities to engage in beforehand. Otherwise: Allow your eyes to gaze softly so that your vision becomes a bit blurred (eyes remain partially open), keep your chin level, back straight, and feet firmly planted on the floor. Your intention is to center yourself, so mindfulness of bodily sensations is important but don’t let your thoughts linger for too long. If mental distractions arise, notice them, and then let them quietly float away.

An optional addition to the meditation, before diving deeper into the organ, is to circulate the energy through the superficial channel of the Liver.

Starting at the lateral corner of the big toes, visualize a tingling sensation. You’ll be guiding this energetic sensation with your breath and imagination. On your exhale, silently make the sound before leading the tingling sensation from the big toes up the side of the inner (medial) leg and thighs, into the abdomen, along the lateral sides of the ribcage, up the neck and throat area, through the eyes, forehead, and to the crown of the head. This is done rather quickly as you’re aligning this entire sensation between the space of your exhale and inhale. Once here, send the energy back down into the lungs, along the sides of the inner arm, before ending at the outer tips of the thumbs. Inhale. Repeat six more times.

Once you’re ready to dive deeper: Try visualizing the organ as you direct the sound Shooo into the Liver. Keep in mind that these sounds should actually physically vibrate the targeted organ [area]. Think of it as an internal organ massage. If you have difficulty experiencing this, lie on your right side and say the sound into the Liver. After familiarizing yourself with the practice and getting comfortable with it, you'll want to evolve into a silent practice. Visualizing the vibrations and cultivating the imagination will generate more power.

The next step is to center and smooth your qi by cupping the hands (like you’re holding a bowl of soup) with your fingertips pointed towards each other, and inhale as you raise the hands up (you don’t have to raise them too high—start with hands near the waist level); as you exhale, flip the hands so your palms face downward, and lower the hands back to the waist level. Repeat this five times (or more).

When you’ve finished smoothing and soothing, complete the ritual by rubbing your palms in revolutions over your lower abdomen. Women (or predominantly biologically yin persons) should place the right hand under the left so that the right (yang) energy is in contact with the abdomen; men (or predominantly biologically yang persons) should place your left hand under the right so that the yin energy is in contact with the center. Do this 36 times clockwise and 36 times counter-clockwise.

Once complete, resume with your day and continue kicking ass as the higher expression of the sky’s current spicy cosmic soup bowl would nourish you to do!

If you decide to try this out, please share it with your friends and family and let me know how you feel about it! You can share it by clicking the Facebook button below or tag me on your Instagram feed/stories! Merry solstice <3


Ashley OteroComment