Rich Macgurn

Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist


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The Sun and the Moon, Yin and Yang

Old [Celtic] writers had an admirable symbolism that attributed certain energies to the influence of the sun, and certain others to the lunar influence. To lunar influence belongs all thoughts and emotions that were created by the community, by the common people, by nobody knows who, and to the sun all that came from the high disciplined or individual kingly mind.

… All that is under the moon thirsts to escape out of bounds, to lose itself in some unbound tidal stream….But in supreme art or in supreme life there is the influence of the sun too, and the sun brings with it, as old writers tell us, not merely discipline but joy; for its discipline is not the kind the multitudes impose upon us by their weight and pressure, but the expression of the individual soul turning itself into a pure fire and imposing its own pattern, its own music, upon the heaviness and dumbness that is in others and in itself.

… When we have drunk the cold cup of the moon’s intoxication, we thirst for something beyond ourselves, and the mind flows outward to a natural immensity; but if we have drunk from the hot cup of the sun, our own fullness wakens, we desire little, for wherever one goes one’s heart goes too…

-W.B. Yeats from the preface to Lady Gregoy’s Complete Irish Mythology

 

I like this passage because it grapples with a lot of fundamental Celtic ideas about the world. It demonstrates one particular type of mythological dualism that is not entirely different than the Chinese conception of Yin and Yang. Yeats is talking about art, rather than medicine, but the thing that I really like is that it grounds the human experience within metaphors of the natural world. And life is a kind of art, is it not.

There are many ways of understanding health and physiology, but one of the reasons I find the explanatory model of Chinese Medicine so compelling is that health is considered integral and related to every other aspect of life. In this high-pitched, stressed out society, we could certainly benefit from tuning into the natural cycles around us and re-inventing our relationship to those phenomenon.

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