Thursday, October 3, 2013

Human internal organs connected to solar system planets?

In the system of Chinese medicine, which has ancient origins stretching back thousands of years, each of the internal organs of the human body has connections to either yin or yang, to specific periods during the daily rotation of the earth, to the energy typical of one of the five elements (discussed below), to different emotional states, and -- interestingly enough -- to one of the different planets of our solar system.

This website, for example, lists the organ correspondences of each of the five visible planets, proceeding through each of the five traditional Taoist elements, or "Five Elemental Energies":

Planet: Jupiter
Element: Wood
Yin Organ: Liver
Yang Organ: Gall Bladder

Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Yin Organ: Heart
Yang Organ: Small Intestine

There is actually a second set of organs also associated with Fire and Mars -- the pericardium (the sac around the heart -- a yin organ), and the "triple burner," which is not a physical organ but an energetic system associated with three channels in the thoracic and pelvic cavities, along which energy flows as water flows in an old water-wheel that turns a millstone (the triple burner is a yang organ).

Planet: Saturn
Element: Earth
Yin Organ: Spleen
Yang Organ: Stomach

Planet: Venus
Element: Metal
Yin Organ: Lungs
Yang Organ: Large Intestine

Planet: Mercury
Element: Water
Yin Organ: Kidneys
Yang Organ: Bladder

In his book, A Handbook of Chinese Healing Herbs, Daniel Reid provides some excellent introductory discussions of the concepts of yin and yang, the Five Elemental Energies, and the Traditional Chinese Medicine understanding of the organs.  He writes:
The Great Principle of Yin and Yang is the first and foremost law of the manifest universe.  It delineates and defines the opposite yet complementary poles that lie at the heart of all dynamic forces, initiate all growth and transformation, and maintain the balance and harmony of the vital energies on which human health and longevity depend.  Yin and yang are not different types of energy but, rather, complementary poles of the same basic energies of the universe, such as the hot and cold of heat energy, the bright and dark of light energy, and the positive and negative of electromagnetic energy.  The vital organ-energies of the human body also function as complementary couples of yin and yang: the yin heart is functionally linked with the yang small intestine; yin liver is paired with yang gallbladder; yin kidneys are coupled with yang bladder; and so forth. 13-14.
Of the Five Elemental Energies, he says, beginning with a quotation from the ancient text whose principles still infuse much of Chinese medicine:
"The Five Elemental Energies of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water encompass all the myriad phenomena of nature.  It is a paradigm that applies equally to humans," states The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine.  As functional manifestations of yin and yang, the Five Elemental Energies are the fundamental forces of nature whose constant transformations and interactions "make the world go 'round."  As another ancient Chinese text puts it, "The Five Elemental Energies combine and recombine in innumerable ways to produce manifest existence.  All things contain all Five Elemental Energies in various proportions."

The Five Elemental Energies transform, manifest, and maintain their own natural equilibrium through an automatic system of checks and balances based on the creative and control cycles, or mother-son and victor vanquished relationships. [. . .]
The creative cycle [see black arrows in the diagram below] is one of generation and stimulation: Wood generates Fire; Fire generates Earth; Earth generates Metal; Metal generates Water; Water generates Wood.  The control cycle [see white arrows in the diagram below] dominates and sedates: Metal sedates Wood; Wood sedates Earth; Earth sedates Water; Water sedates Fire; Fire sedates Metal. 14-15.
The diagram below is similar to one shown in Daniel Reid's book, and illustrates the creative cycle and the control cycle:

Much more could be written about these elemental correspondences, and the fact that the organs which power our bodies and sustain life in each one of us have characteristics which correspond to these Five Elemental Energies, but it seems that one of the most intriguing and significant aspects of this ancient wisdom is the connection of our vital organs with a corresponding planet in the celestial realm as well.  

How can it be that the organs in our body have connections to the mighty orbs which whirl silently through space, the closest of which (Venus) is around 25 million miles away and the furthest of which (Saturn) averages around 890 million miles away, and sometimes reaches distances of over a billion miles from us?!

The materialist philosophy currently in vogue admits of no possible connection between the aspects of the planets and the functioning of the vital organs inside the bodies of the billions of people on our planet, and dismisses much of the teachings of Chinese medicine as well.  However, such wisdom does not survive for thousands of years, in constant practical application among the people, without some level of validity.  

Further, there is evidence that the ancients around the world, including in "the West," once acknowledged the connection between the celestial heavenly objects and the vital organs of the human body.  For example, this previous post touches on the fact that the ancients believed that each of the zodiacal signs was most closely associated with different parts of the human body.  It was taught that Libra, for instance, rules the kidneys, and Gemini the lungs. 

This concept is clearly related to the teaching of the microcosm / macrocosm (discussed in that previous blog post just referenced, as well as this one and this one) which is the teaching that each individual is a reflection of the cosmos, that each person is in fact a microcosm, simultaneously containing an entire cosmos within the individual, while at the same time reflecting and responding to the motions of the macrocosm: the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the planets, and the wide universe.

This concept has been largely forgotten in "the West," but it has survived in other parts of the world.  The understanding of the connections between the planets and our vital organs is one manifestation of that ancient wisdom.

For other discussions which mention the very worthwhile works of Daniel P. Reid, see also: