Thursday, January 31, 2019

How watching a tennis match helped me observe something new about the Fire element

I am always fascinated to see how one small movement or gesture can make me see the elements from a slightly different angle.  The present example occurred during the award ceremony at the recent Australian Open Tennis Tournament. Anybody who has read what I have written over the years knows that I much enjoy watching sport.  This love of mine started when I developed scarlet fever as a young child, and, this being well before the age of antibiotics, I had to be quarantined for six weeks in a room away from my siblings.  I whiled away the long hours on my own listening to the daily cricket commentaries on the radio (no TV then!). This love of cricket moved on to my enjoying watching many other sports.

So it is no surprise to hear that I watched this tennis final on TV, and, apart from enjoying the tennis itself, was pleased that it confirmed something more for me about the Fire element.  I had already thought that the element of the winner, Naomi Osaka, was Fire, but then I noticed another quirk of the Fire element which I don’t think I had observed so clearly before.  Winners always take time to congratulate their opponents, and as she started to do this, she looked around uncertainly until she located her standing a little behind her.  She then turned right away from the camera in front of her to look straight at her opponent as she talked, and became so absorbed in talking to her that she seemed to have forgotten all about the camera that was on her.  It was almost as if the two of them were alone together, rather than in front of a huge stadium and TV audience.  The camera-man had to shuffle round rather awkwardly so that Naomi was still on camera.  To me this was an unexpected confirmation of Fire’s need to talk face-to-face to the person they are engaging with. 

Afterwards I went through how I thought the other elements would react in a similar situation.  I had seen Rafa Nadal, who I think is Wood, and Roger Federer, who I think is Water, accepting their winners’ trophies at different times, and both had continued talking to the interviewer, only glancing briefly over to include their opponents.  Neither, I felt, looked as if they wanted to turn their back on the cameras as Naomi had done.  I can’t recall any examples of Earth and Metal tennis champions, but I feel that it is probable that these two elements would be unlikely to have the same need to maintain the close eye-contact Naomi wanted.  I think Earth would accept its role at the centre of the vast watching audience, whilst Metal, which always likes to remain slightly apart from the people it talks to, would be likely simply to stand there quietly.  By contrast, Naomi’s movements were rather jerky and uneasy, and she never seemed to be still.

It was also interesting to read later that she had said that she was cross with herself for forgetting the speech she had prepared beforehand.  I think only Fire would be so unselfconscious as to laugh at itself so openly in this way, by “opening its heart” and therefore making itself slightly vulnerable.

It is by being surprised at some quirk of behaviour such as the example I am describing here that I continue to add to my understanding of the elements.  Observing the small differences between the way one person behaves compared with another is an excellent way of helping us refine our five element skills.


Friday, January 25, 2019

Announcing the publication of my new blog: A Five Element Companion

This can be viewed at

 Below I give my first entry for those who may be interested in starting to read my weekly entries:

 "1. I find that I have written down many more of my thoughts on my five element practice that have not yet seen the light of day than I thought I had.  My old Viennese astrologer friend, Dr Oskar Adler, whom I have mentioned before in my writings, always said that each of us has a duty to pass on whatever we have learnt to the outside world.  "We never know who will read what we have written and who will learn from it," he would say.  So in the belief that the more that is written about five element acupuncture the better, I will be using this new blog to pass on my thoughts to whoever wishes to read them.  I intend to add a new post about once a week, and these individual entries taken together will form my eighth book. 

I am drawing together some of the writings about my practice as five element acupuncturist which I feel will be helpful for any of my colleagues, particularly now those in China, who want to benefit from what I have gradually learnt over the years.  I am especially keen to pass on the lessons from my own acupuncture master, JR Worsley, with whom I studied closely for several years as part of my postgraduate training.  One of the many things I remember him telling us was that we would always learn more from what we didn’t get right to start with, especially our diagnosis of guardian element, than when we got things right.  I know that the mistakes I made in my early practice have always proved to be valuable lessons for me, and I therefore hope that what I write here will give five element practitioners a little more confidence and enjoyment in their five element practice." 

I will continue to add to my current blog when interesting thoughts strike me which may not fit the structure of this new book.