Dragons and Tigers

Daoist Inner Alchemy of Water and Fire
Realms of the Dragons


Research by 
Michael P. Garofalo

May 23, 2010


Valley Spirit Qigong, Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California, 2010
By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S., All Rights Reserved.







The Dragon and the Tiger
The Inner Alchemy of Water and Fire







Dragon Tiger
Li, Yang Encompassing Yin Kan, Yin Emcompassing Yang   [1]
Heaven, Furnace, Mercury, Sun, Left Earth, Cauldron, Lead, Moon, Right   [1]
Water, West, Autumn, Middle Yin Fire, East, Spring, Middle Yang   [2]
Water: Down, Left, Female, Moon, Night Fire: Up, Right, Male, Sun, Daylight   [2,3]
Rest, Stillness, Sitting, Coolness Movement, Action, Walking, Warmth
Negative Energy Field Emerging Positive Energy Field Emerging   [4]
Blue/Green Dragon (Male Sexual Adept) White Tiger (Female Sexual Adept)   [5]
Kidneys, Water, Kan, North, Tiger, Yin, Destiny  Heart, Fire, Li, South, Dragon, Yang, Inner Nature   [6]
Pure Yang Vapor, Li, True Fire, Dragon Pure Yin Vapor, Kan, True Water, Tiger   [7]
Li  Kan  



1.  "The number Two is first of all represented by the couple Yin and Yang which together constitute the entire work, as the alchemists repeat again and again.  All their discussions, all the various modifications of the numerous principles they describe, as well as all the different transformations, can ultimately be reduced to the Two, to Yin and Yang.  Here we find the fundamental binary system that encapsulates all other polarities.  Among those commonly used are: full/empty, movement/rest, variable/constant, appearance/disappearance, nature/passions, war/peace, hard/soft, white/black, increase/diminish, ascend/descend, time/eternity, sacred/profane, spirit/body, and so on.  Here it is important to note that within inner alchemical discipline every single one of these opposites is in any given moment the image of the entire universe.  In the symbolic language of alchemy, the two fundamental principles are represented by Heaven and Earth, Dragon and Tiger, and Water and Fire.  The number Two stands for the basic principle of binary opposition, the principle of difference without which there is no order or intelligibility (an idea which, also in Confucianism, stands at the beginning of social organization and culture).  This is why the first act of the alchemist consist of "drilling a hole into Chaos:" of cutting primary Unity into two.  Qian (Pure Yang) and Kun (Pure Yin) are, in cosmological terms, Heaven and Earth, above and below; in alchemical terms, the Furnace and the Cauldron; and in human terms, the body and the spirit.  Li and Kan are, on the level of cosmology, the Sun and the Moon, the left and the right; on the alchemical level, they stand for the basic ingredients Mercury and lead, Dragon and Tiger.  Qian and Kun are the constants of the system (the "attained things"), Li and Kan are the concrete manifestations of the principle of impulse and response and of cross and exchange."
"Original Contributions of Neidan to Taoism and Chinese Thought," by Isabelle Robinet, in Taoist Meditation and Longevity Techniques, p. 313, and pp.312-325. 


2.   Trigrams of the I Ching, Bagua Correspondences.  By Mike Garofalo.   


3.  I have not found consistency amongst different authors in Taoism and Qigong with respect to associations and correspondences of animals to cosmological, alchemical, spiritual, or bodily realms.  Tigers are often related to Yang associations, and Dragons and Tortoises to Yin associations; and, sometimes Dragons are linked with Fire, and Tigers to Water.  Dragons are often associated with water, lakes, rivers, swamps, waterfalls, rain, thunderstorms, typhoons, snow, and oceans as well as with related concepts such as wetness, dampness, cool, coolness, or ice.  Dragons are often associated with downward flowing energy movement, seeking the lower levels, settling and spreading.  Dragons are symbols of transformation, changing, becoming something new, unfolding, evolution, and related ideas. 


4.  I use our familiar electrical alternating current (AC) interpret as a metaphor for the transformations between Yin (Kun, Winter, North, Dragon) and Yang (Qian, Summer, South, Tiger) through Li and Kan.  The energy of the universe alternates, cycles, swings, pole switches, changes from positive-negative, back-and-forth, endlessly to generate the marvelous interplay and creative unfolding of the Ten Thousand Things.  Different writers often reverse or switch the roles and associations of Dragon and Tiger, Water and Fire.  The One, the two, the four, and Eight, the Many ... emerging views from many minds in many languages in many eras; Marvelous Complexity is closer to the truth. 


"Those who follow the clockwise path are governed by the changes of Yin and Yang.  Those that take the reverse path, however, will be able to walk in the void."
-  Tao-hsuan p'ien 


5.  White Tiger, Green Dragon: A Tale of Taoist Sexual Alchemy.  By Simone Mariner.  Authors Choice Press, 2000.  156 pages.  ISBN: 0595125751.  VSCL.  See also books by Hsi Lai.  Notice reversals of polarities of animal correspondences.  The male must be aroused and maintain an erection, but must be more passive and not have an orgasm in this style of Taoist/Tantric sexual spiritual practices

The green dragon is the liver. The white tiger is the lung. The east and west directions respectively. It is the yi in the center which brings them together. Kan and Li are north and south. The various aspects of mixing fire and water are relevant here.


6.  "The Daoshu (Pivot of the Tao), in its outline of the ideas of Chongzhenzi, describes the central idea of Taoist practice as consisting of actualizing the three and guarding the One.  The "three" are energy, essence, and spirit; they are also called the "Three Treasures."  Guarding the One means to preserve the origin of life, the pure energy of yang.  This is done by alchemically mutating the life forces as found in the body.   The two major centers of the body, according to inner alchemy theory, are the heart and the kidneys.  The are associated with fire and water, the trigrams Li and Kan, the South and the North, respectively.  Fire, or the dragon, is the symbol of Yang; in human beings it is represented as nature.  Water, or tiger, is the symbol of Yin; in human beings it is found as their destiny.  Both these opposing energies are necessary to activate the mutations leading over to every higher levels of refinement.  "Guarding the One," by Livia Kohn, found in Taoist Meditation and Longevity Techniques, p. 151.  The associations are reversed for Fire and Water, Tiger and Dragon, from other models.  Energy (Qi, Chi), Essence (Jing, Ching), and Spirit (Shen) are the essential triune powers or forces in Taoist thought.   


7.  "The dragon and tiger are respectively the yang and yin components of generative energy.  Other names for the dragon are: the yang dragon that hides with the fluid, the yin within the yang (symbolized by the broken line flanked by two solid lines in the trigram Li), the vapor within the fluid, the vapor of pure yang, and the true fire.  Other names for the tiger are: the yin tiger that hides within the vapor, the yang within the yin (symbolized by the solid line flanked by two broken lines in the trigram Kan), the fluid within the vapor, the fluid of pure yin (or the vapor of pure yin), and the true water.  The dragon and tiger are therefore the components or ingredients of mundane generative energy.  Do not confuse them with their carriers, fluid and vapor.  Central to the preservation and cultivation of generative energy is the process known as the copulation of the dragon and tiger.  The yin and yang components of generative energy meet and merge to become purified generative energy, with is also called the primordial vapor.  The process begins with the vapors of pure yang (dragon) and pure yin (tiger) rising from the base of the spine and traveling separately up the spine and through the shoulder blades.  When the vapors reach the head, they interact (copulate) and merge to become one unified vapor.  This unified vapor descents to the palate of the mouth and is manifested as nectar, a sweet, sticky fluid.  Swallowed down the throat, the nectar enters the middle tan-t'ian (in the area of the solar plexus) and eventually completes its circuit when it reaches the base of the spine again."
Nourishing the Essence of Life: The Outer, Inner and Secret Teachings of Taoism.  Translated with and Introduction by Eva Wong.   Boston, Shambhala, 2004.   Pages 9-10, 8-23,94.  Translation of three texts from the Daoist Canon, circa 1400 CE, called The Mysteries of the Tao (Tao-hsuan p'ien), Understanding the Mysteries (Wu-shuan p'ien), and the Sacred Treatise on the Great Mystery (T'ai-hsuan pao-tien) of the Complete Reality School of Daoism.   


8.  Dragon and Tiger Qigong: A Miracle Health System for Developing Chi.  Master Bruce Frantzis.  North Atlantic Books, 2010.  262 pages.  ISBN: 1556439210.  Energy Arts Curriculum



Opening Hands, Closing Hands
By Michael P. Garofalo

"Standing at the Mysterious Pass
Centered in the Eternal Now,
Balanced in Body and Open in Mind,
Rooted into the Sacred Space,
Motionless as the Golden Mountain,
Fingers around the Primeval Sphere.

Dragons and Tigers are still dreaming -
Ready for Rebirth. 

I breathe in, the World Breathes Out.
The Gate of Space opens;
Heaven moves and Yang is born.
The hands move out, embracing the One.
The mind settles and is clear.
The Dragon Howls,
Ravens fill the Vast Cauldron,
Mind forms melt like mercury,
Spirit rises in the Clouds of Eternity.
Yin appears like the moon at dusk.

I breathe out, the World Breathes In.
The Doors of Emptiness close;
Earth quiets and Yin is born.
The hands move in, entering the One.
The body settles and becomes whole.
The Tiger Roars,
The Great Ox is nourished by the Valley Spirit, 
Substances spark from flaming furnaces,
Essence roots in the Watery Flesh.
Yang appears like the sun at dawn.

Dragons and Tigers
Transformed within the Mysterious Pass -
Chanting and Purring.

-   Michael P. Garofalo, Opening at the Mysterious Pass, 2003
    Opening Hands and Closing Hands in Sun Taijiquan



"These titles relate to the polarities we also call Yin and Yang. At the doorway to every Taoist temple, whether seen or unseen, there are at least two sets of eyes watching whoever enters and leaves. On one side (usually the right as you enter) you have the Dragon spirit. On the other you have the Tiger. Yang and Yin is one of the governing principles behind Taoist philosophy.  Working together as a pair the Dragon and Tiger have jurisdiction over the spiritual spectrum. Between them they are guardians protecting the temple from any unwanted guests or influences.  As long as the temple rituals are performed accordingly and the other spirits are kept happy, the dragon and tiger will dutifully remain at their posts continuing to keep the temple safe. Sometimes (as in the case of the 5 Dragon Temple at Wu Dang mountain) they will remain even if there is very little physical temple left to guard."
-   Black Dragon and White Tiger



"Internal alchemy, also called spiritual alchemy, (內丹術 - ni dān sh Traditional Chinese, 內丹术 - Simplified Chinese) is a term used for different esoteric disciplines focused on balancing internal and spiritual energies for enlightenment. In China, it is an important form of practice for most schools of Taoism.  Historically, it has borrowed the symbolism and terminology of classical alchemy, employing them in process and metaphor to spiritual development.  Internal alchemy, like the more general alchemy from which it derived, focuses on transmuting energies and substances. The practices focus on restoring balance and elevating spiritual vitality. The goals of internal alchemy are improved health, longevity, peacefulness, the free of hindrance  with all principle and phenomena. Some people claim it is aimed to seek immortality. That is nearsighted and to be partly true.  To achieve reunion with nature eventually is what all practitioners want to "pursue".  The energies and substances of the body are described in metaphor. Elements, metals and humours have all been used to classify and define characteristics of the human system. Internal alchemists map the body, noting which routes energy move through and which areas are associated with particular "elements". There are so many metaphor used in every books in this field that to understand them is almost impossible. Here, through the efforts made by master Hu, we like to publish the mainstream contents popular in Taoism alchemy practice---most from Long Men, Quan Zhen and Western school of Taoist internal alchemy--for people to understand its outline."  
-   Hu Huezhi, DaMo Qigong and Taoist Inner Alchemy 


"The Yang within the Yin is the the supreme essence of Yang,
    the splendor of the moon. 
The Yin within the Yang is the supreme spirit of Yin, 
    the essence of the sun. 
The supreme Yang of the north gives birth to the water of the kidneys,
    within this water is Yang Fire. 
The supreme Yin of the south gives birth the the fire of the heart,
    within this fire is the Yin Water. 
When Fire and Water interact, their vapors will Copulate,
    giving birth to intelligent life forms. 
The true Fire gives birth to lead,
    the true Water gives birth to mercury.
When lead and mercury Copulate, you will attain longevity. 
Direct the vapor up to the Radiant Pool. 
Let it bubble up from the earth meridian,
    then descend to the island in the center of the heart. 
When the vapor rises in the spleen, the two primordial vapors will Copulate,
    and you will feel as if you are intoxicated. 
The vapor will now circulate freely,
    and the hundred channels within will be harmonious. 
A thousand guardian spirits will visit you as you enter into a trance. 
The bones will be strong and supple,
    your body will become like an infant's. 
With continued circulation of the vapor, the true body will emerge. 
Emanating as multiple forms,
    it can travel anywhere in the realms of heaven and earth. 
Every realm in your internal universe will be numinous.  
This is the most subtle wonder."
-   The Sacred Treatise on the Great Mystery, T'ai-hsuan Pao-tien, circa 1200 CE
     Translated by Eva Wong,
Nourishing the Essence of Life, p. 94








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Valley Spirit Qigong, Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California, 2010-
By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S., All Rights Reserved.

This webpage was first posted on the Internet on May 18, 2010 at:   http://www.egreenway.com/dragonsrealms/DT4.htm


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