That made me realise that I, too, concentrate much more upon the elements as a whole, rather than trying to distinguish which of the yin or yang officials holds a dominant position. I have always thought that it was difficult enough homing in on the correct element, and that I would only confuse myself by trying too hard to see which of its two officials is the most important. JR Worsley would diagnose somebody as being a “Metal CF”, and then write next to this “IX” or “X” in brackets, meaning that either the Lung or the Colon was the dominant aspect of the Metal element for this particular patient. I have now rather cheekily coined the phrase “guardian official” to describe this official. In all the time that I observed patients with him, I never heard him explain what it was in the patient which made him select one or other official, except in the case of the Small Intestine (II). Here he would always specify, not that this patient’s CF was a I/II as we say in five element acupuncture, but simply a II CF. I remember very clearly him saying one day as he watched a video of himself asking a patient a question, “Only a II CF would answer like that”. This taught me a lot about the Small Intestine and the way it looks as it tries to find the correct answer to a question.
Thinking about this carefully in preparation for my
There has always been a slight niggle in my mind about this diagnosis, because I felt very strongly when I was with this person, that she was very like me, and that our two Small Intestines were engaged in a slight tussle for supremacy, as each tried to sort the other person out. Surely the Heart, such a yin official, would just be residing quietly rather than battling with me, as my own yang Small Intestine quite likes to do when it is under some sort of stress. The niggle was also strengthened by the fact that this person liked to feel that she was a rather rare person by reason of her guardian official being the most important official of the twelve. I did wonder whether she had herself spread this rumour, rather than that JR had actually diagnosed her as such, but I will never know, whatever my slight suspicions.
So I am now thinking carefully about the different qualities of the officials so as to help the 300 or so practitioners gathering next week to hear us in
. They, of course, are brought up on rote
learning of the Neijing Suwen, and I have told them to prepare for what we will
be talking about by re-reading Suwen Chapter 8, which is all about the
officials, and gives each of them their distinctive name. Now I have to ask myself, “Do I really
understand how the Liver differs from the Gall Bladder in a person with Wood as
their guardian element, or the Stomach from the Spleen for Earth?” These are all very important questions to
which I am ashamed not to have paid sufficient attention over the years. So, as usual, my visits to Beijing and all
the other seminars I have held over the years offer fresh stimulation to my