The Five Questions

5B54A7D8-70AA-4D39-B90A-2CBC5F56614AI have been privileged to have studied Chinese Medicine for over 20 years with the renowned Taoist Master Dr. Jeffrey Yuen. Dr. Yuen teaches from the Classical tradition, pre-communist China. (From a lineage of Taoist Priests that spans 88 generations. ) His bio can be viewed at www.jadepurityfoundation.org. Over the years, he has taught 1 or 2 year-long programs on a number of things: Chinese Herbal Medicine, Aromatherapy, the Stones and Chinese Medicine, the Psyche and Chinese Medicine, Advanced Acupuncture, and much more. What makes all of these courses so unique is the thread of Taoism running through all of them. From a Taoist perspective, all illness is an invitation to change. That all illness is a sign of a spiritual imbalance in some way,  that to truly heal, we need to look at what that invitation to change is. And to achieve that, we need to know ourselves.

One tool Dr. Yuen shared in a class, and I don’t really remember which program it was, was that to know ourselves we should be able to answer 5 questions,  one for each of the 5 Elements. In Chinese Medicine we have 5 Elements: Air/Metal, Fire, Water, Earth, and Wood. Each represents organs in the body, and each has emotional/spiritual characteristics. I can go into them more fully at a later time if anyone is interested. He teaches that to be self-aware, we could meditate on the 5 questions. I found this practice to be enormously helpful, and revisit the 5 questions every year or so, because as I evolve, the answers evolve also. The questions are listed below.

For the EARTH ELEMENT: What nourishes me, or nurtures me?

For the WATER ELEMENT: What do I have faith in, what do I trust?

For the WOOD ELEMENT: What motivates me? What moves me forward?

For the METAL/AIR ELEMENT: What is precious to me? What do I value?

For the FIRE ELEMENT: What inspires me and brings me joy?

As I have changed and grown over the years, the answers have changed with me. Once you know what is precious to you, you can take steps to protect that. Once you know what nurtures you, you can be mindful about doing that for yourself. For instance, I know that reading nourishes me, so I make time to do that. I know that my serenity is precious to me, so I make sure that I don’t give my power away to people or situations that thrive on drama or negativity. I am clear about what inspires me, so I commit to including those things in my life.

I love to share Dr. Yuen’s teachings, to make them available to others, so that we can all be blessed, even if we have not had the desire or opportunity to devote years to the study or practice of Classical Chinese Medicine. May these teachings bring you further insights into yourself, and with those insights, healing. Blessings, Judith Star-Medicine

Self Respect

Self respect can mean different things to different people. To me, it means being in touch with our feelings about everything. Are we honoring what our bodies need, in terms of rest, diet, quiet time? Life places a lot of demands on us. Family, friends, work. How we deal with those demands is very important. Many of us can feel guilty if we try and take time for ourselves. Time is a precious commodity that most of us wish we had more of. I try to be mindful of where and how I spend this infinitely valuable currency. There is a saying, that time is money. I don’t think so. I think our time is far more valuable than money. Because you can never get it back.

Respect yourself by being mindful of being in relationships where there is reciprocity. An exchange of energy. Over the years, I have had clients who needed me but couldn’t pay me. In those cases I observed the Native way of them making me a ” food offering.” A meal. Over those years, I have been paid in fresh eggs, chili, roasted chicken, sausage and peppers, you name it. A food offering is a way to work with someone who doesn’t have the means to pay in that moment, while allowing the person to give back, energetically speaking.

We should always expect to be treated with respect. Eleanor Roosevelt once said ” For a person to be treated as a doormat, first they have to lie down.” I love that. Sometimes people can have very strange entitlement issues. They can feel entitled to our time, our knowledge, our attention. Listen to that voice inside yourself about how someone is making you feel. If you feel as though you are being taken advantage of, or being used in some way, you probably are. Do boundary work. Set limits about what feels healthy for you. If saying no is hard for you at first, okay. Learn to say something like, ” I have to think about it”, or, “I’ll get back to you on that.” Or, “I can’t give you a yes on that right now.” All of those are a No.

Above all, be true to yourself. Be authentic. Be who you really are. In life, being true to ourselves very often is going to involve saying the word “No.” For whatever reason, some people refuse to take no for an answer, or get angry when they don’t get what they want. But self respect demands that we quietly, and firmly take care of ourselves. Because if you don’t take care of you, who is going to?

Blessings, Rev Judith Star-Medicine

The New Moon

The New Moon of January 2014 is unbelievable, in terms of power and possibilities. On January 1st, we have 7 Planets out of 10 involved in a Cardinal Grand Cross that can be one of the most liberating aspects in decades. A New Moon is when the Sun and Moon are conjunct, both connected in the same sign, and is exact when they are at the same degree within that sign, in this case Capricorn. They then strengthen and enhance each other. Added to that, Mercury, the Planet of communication is also in Capricorn, very close to the Sun and Moon, granting greater mental clarity and expression.The Sun, the Moon and Mercury are all at about 11 degrees of Capricorn. Now we add Pluto, the alchemical Planet, the Planet of death and rebirth, ALSO at 11 degrees of Capricorn. Wow. So the Planet that rules radical release, joins the other 3.

Joining the party is Uranus, the Great Awakener, the freedom Planet, squaring those four at almost 9 degrees of Aries. Squares are generally seen as both motivating and frictional. So a strong desire to be liberated ( Uranus) from whatever is holding us back, ( Pluto) at any cost. And speaking of a strong desire, here comes our 7th player, Mars. Mars is at 11 degrees of Libra, in opposition to Uranus and also squaring the big four in Capricorn. Holy smokes. And I do mean smokes. Mars rules fire, weapons of all kinds, passion, desire. What do I want? The Second Chakra, which creates life. The opportunity here is to break free from old patterns that bind us, limit us, with the courage that Mars brings to the table.

And finally, we have Jupiter, the Planet of Sacred Law, the Guardian of Truth, at 16 degrees of Cancer, in opposition to the big four in Capricorn, and squaring Mars in Libra and Uranus in Aries. The question for each of us, and for humanity as a whole, is do we have the courage ( Mars) to face the Truth, ( Jupiter), to liberate ourselves ( Uranus) from the chains of our subconscious beliefs ( Moon/Pluto). And to speak that Truth, ( Mercury), and move forward.

I based my January Teaching of the Month on this powerful aspect. It’s called ” Unbound”. I do some further teaching about how to work with this opportunity. Affirmations, which Stone, etc. You can see that on my Home Page at www.judithstar-medicine.com. May this teaching and the one on my website bless and help all who read them. Happy New Year. May this year bring you Joy, Love, Health, and the manifestation of your dreams. Blessings, Judith