Waldorf-methods approach to learning acupuncture meridians

(Hint – use polarities and patterns)

A Waldorf-methods approach to learning meridians.  

Excerpted from a larger work, to be incorporated into the book, Meridian Metaphors

A whole-brained, grasp of meridians, in a humanistic-holistic Western framework, includes BOTH Memorization of names and placement; AND, Encouraging direct experience of flow in meridians

The present author has taken no TCM nor acupuncture training or certification. I don’t have access to TCM staff and faculty at any TCM college or training institute. My research is limited to fairly wide exposure to TCM literature, a few acupuncture practitioners and the internet.

2017 research with Mr. Google suggests by the standards of Holistic-Humanistic Psychology, student training methods for learning acupuncture meridians remain rudimentary everywhere I can see online. Hopefully live courses for students have additional humanity and promote Intuitive Feeling equally with Intuitive Thinking. No Meridian Coloring Book seems to exist, might be a good idea too.

“Rudimentary by the standards of Holistic-Humanistic Psychology” points to existing teaching methods limited almost exclusively to learning names and physical placement. Online I can find no encouragement for students to feel their own meridians and the meridian flows in clients–outside of Donna Eden’s Meridian Tracing courses at Innersource.net. Donna Eden and her teachers use Holistic-Humanistic Psychology and humanistic psychotherapy as their idealogical foundation.

If readers know of TCM and meridian training schools explicitly using Humanistic Psychology-psychotherapy as an idealogical foundation, I would love to know of them and list them here.

What Mr. Google tells us is, existing student training methods for learning acupuncture meridians are out of balance towards left brain intelligences. The orientation of meridian learning is strongly titled towards only the Outer Game of Life.

What about Asian acupuncture literature? Asian acupuncture literature is even more strongly titled towards outer-orientation of meridian learning than Western literature and methods.

Asian TCM student training methods for learning acupuncture, accessible online, suggest brute force memorization (making clear inner mental pictures) backed up by hands-on clinical practice may be the only accepted training methods.

I’m in favor of both memorization and clinical experience. These are needed aspects of learning meridians.

Let’s also consider what’s missing, the Inner Game side of meridians.

Western meridian training, since 1974, starting with Touch for Health; and then, Donna Eden’s Meridian Tracing (InnerSource.net) encourages students to attend to, and expand, the feeling experience of meridians.

In living meridians, the feeling quality of flow is colored by:

– If energy is flowing–or not,

– Is energy flowing in healthy direction of flow–or not?

– Perceiving another quality when energy flows backwards, against its healthy direction of flow,

– Perceiving stuck energy, uncertain, undecided which direction to flow,

– Perceiving different qualities in each bilateral meridians of a pair,

For those wishing a whole-brained, left~right brain grasp of meridians, in a humanistic-holistic Western framework, the endgame is BOTH:

– Memorization of names and placement,

– Encouraging direct Feeling perception of flow in meridians.

To be clear, the first appeals to left brain (us from neck-up), objective observation is encouraged. The second appeals to right brain (us from neck-down), individual, subjective (inner) percepts of flow, color, taste, smell, soun

    1. Whole-brained approach to learning meridians

As a trained Waldorf teacher and an Energy Medicine practitioner, I’m aware a Waldorf-methods approach can be applied to learning meridians. A Waldorf approach appears to be simpler, clearer and more conducive to whole-brain practice.

In Grade One, the whole of mathematics and number is reduced to polarities, patterns and characters. One example, the abstract idea of odd and even numbers is presented as Boy and Girl numbers, using kids in the class to alternate and demonstrate this.

The whole of drawing is reduced to a polarity of straight and curved in Nature and architecture.

In Grade Five and later, history and biography are made more vivid and impressive by emphasizing polar opposite expressions, even in the same person.

Waldorf teaching methods for any new topic suggest starting with the most obvious, largest polarity; progress to smaller nuances as students can grasp additional finer details.

Many readers will recognize this as “whole-to-part” thinking. Indeed, this is part of the method. The rest is “not to define but to characterize” (Steiner paraphrase). “Naming” and “Definition” are left brain exercises proclaiming and affirming placement and proximity to other ideas.

“Characterization” is a right brain exercise, related to first impressions, caricature, representation (including parody) and gut instincts. Do both. For audiences younger than puberty, Characterization will be preferred over Definition. For audiences after puberty, the reverse. If you want whole-brain thinkers, after puberty–DO BOTH.

Q: What about Characterizing meridians by their elemental quality?

A: All well and good. However please notice left brain’s tendency to use elemental association as a tool for mere PLACEMENT in a TCM scheme of elements. What’s missing we can now add is encouraging students to FEEL FLOWS, in whichever sensory channel is most-open for them now. I believe feeling-sensing the elemental quality directly is a much advanced skill, which few ever master, short of those already highly clairvoyant.

    1. A Waldorf-methods approach to learning meridians

What polarities and patterns are perceptible in acupuncture meridians? Many.

Leaving aside the necessary grouping meridians by elements for the moment, here’s how I would sequence instruction. First:

    1. Origin of the term “meridian” in acupuncture

The term “meridian” was introduced by Soulie de Morant as the translation for the Chinese word “luo.” Yet a more accurate description would be “vessels,” “pathways” or “channels,” and these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. “Meridian” is typically used to describe the invisible longitudinal lines of the earth, while “vessels” are pathways through which vital substances flow throughout the body.


Second, leave aside Governing Vessel and Conception Vessel. These are much deeper than the 12 more superficial meridians. The two are easy to treat as a pair. Use these to go deeper after students have a feel for the realm of the 12.

    1. Overall front~back pattern of flow

Third: If you had to make a wet-on-wet watercolor painting of the meridians (hint-hint), using red for upflow and blue for downflow, how would you paint?

Please do honor student guesses about representing the polarity of red-upflow and blue-downflow in their paintings. No wrong way to approximate this. The only way to wrongly approximate this is to paint nothing at all.

Afterwards, after class review of student work, lead them to consider these possibilities:

– On the front of the trunk, minus the arms, the main direction is upwards (Stomach meridian in only major meridian going down on front of trunk. Conception also flows up).

– On the sides, Gall Bladder is altogether a downward flow on entire side of the body, both sides (no contradicting meridians whatsoever among the 12).

– On the back, the major direction is down (Back of the body below shoulders “belongs” to Bladder Meridian. Upward flow is represented by the Governing Vessel. Leaving it aside for the moment).

– Our head altogether resists such simple ideas. My suggestion is the cowl shape, like in the Assassin’s Creed game and movie. Up to you if it’s red or blue. I dunno.

Then have them do a second painting.

To Learn More

For those interested, behind the four elements, is the pattern of etheric formative forces, discussed most clearly in Man or Batter, 3rd Ed. (1985).

BIO ~ Author and Health Intuitive Bruce Dickson is a wounded healer who completed his Heroes Journey this lifetime. He likes to share the Elixirs of Life he found, with those interested. “Service to myself and others is why I get out of bed each morning.” Find him at http://www.Amazon.com/Bruce-Dickson-MSS/e/B007SNVG46
– Green Spirituality 2.0 ~ http://GreenSpirituality20.cmslauncher.cloud

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