The Golden Elixir Taoist Alchemy Texts

Taoist Alchemical Texts

Cultivating the Tao

From Cultivating the Tao, by Liu Yiming (1734-1821)

   Chapter 4: True and False Body and Mind

People nowadays speak of the body and the mind, but they only know the illusory body and mind, and do not know the true body and mind. As they leave the true to follow the false, it is no wonder that even before their number of years is exhausted, their bodies and minds are worn out. . . 

   Chapter 6: Precelestial and Postcelestial Yin and Yang

The precelestial Yin and Yang are Being and Non-Being; the postcelestial Yin and Yang are the heart and the kidneys. The Yin and Yang of Being and Non-Being have no form; the Yin and Yang of the heart and the kidneys have images. . . 

   Chapter 16: The One Opening of the Mysterious Barrier

The main point is that this Opening is the utterly mysterious and utterly wondrous Barrier. Here life and death part from one another, and here the saintly and the ordinary separate from one another. This is the secret transmitted from one Patriarch to the next one since ancient times until the present day. . . 

   Chapter 19: Superior Virtue and Inferior Virtue

Essentially, in superior virtue one's body is intact and one's virtue is full, and the Yang of Qian ☰ has never been damaged. "Never been damaged" means that the precelestial Yang has never been damaged; it does not mean that the postcelestial body has not lost its integrity. . . 

   Poem 1: Qian and Kun, Kan and Li

Qian ☰ and Kun ☷ are the door and the gate of change, the father and the mother of all hexagrams. Kan ☵ and Li ☲ are the inner and the outer walls, they spin the hub and align the axle. . . .

   Poem 18: Nourishing Inner Nature

Innerly nourish yourself, serene and quiescent in Empty Non-Being. Going back to the fundament conceal your light, and innerly illuminate your body. "Shut the openings" and raise and strengthen the Numinous Trunk . . .

   Poem 22: The Principles of Alchemy

Know the white, keep to the black, and the Numinous Light will come of its own. White is the essence of Metal, Black the foundation of Water. Water is the axis of the Dao: its number is 1 . . .

   Poem 68: The Lovely Maid and the Yellow Sprout

The Lovely Maid of the River is numinous and supremely divine: when she finds Fire she flies away, leaving behind not a speck of dust. Like a demon she hides, like a dragon she conceals . . .

Awakening to Reality

From Awakening to Reality (Wuzhen pian)

   Poem 3

If you study immortality, you should study celestial immortality: only the Golden Elixir is the highest principle. When the two things meet, emotions and nature join one another; where the five agents are whole, Dragon and Tiger coil. . . 

   Poem 7

You should know that the source of the stream, the place where the Medicine is born, is just at the southwest -- that is its native village. When Lead meets the birth of gui, quickly you should collect it: if Metal goes past the full moon, it is not fit to be savored. . . 

   Poem 1: Precelestial and Postcelestial Breath

The precelestial Breath is the original and initial Ancestral Breath. This Ancestral Breath is in the real center of Heaven and Earth within the human body. . . 

   Poem 3: The Magpie Bridge

In the human body, the spinal column corresponds to the Milky Way in Heaven. The Milky Way separates [Heaven into two parts], but a divine magpie builds a bridge; this is why we speak of the Magpie Bridge. . . 

   Poem 8: "Steal Heaven and Earth"

Clenching Heaven and Earth, grasping Yin and Yang, gathering the five agents, and bringing the eight trigrams together: this is the learning of the divine immortals. . . 

Ruyao jing

From Texts on External Alchemy (Waidan)


Rules for the transmission. Throw a golden figurine of a man weighing nine ounces and a golden figurine of a fish weighing three ounces into an east-flowing stream, and utter an oath. Both should be provided by the one who receives this Way. . . 


Method of the Mysterious and Yellow. Take ten pounds of quicksilver and twenty pounds of lead. Place them in an iron vessel, making the fire underneath intense. The lead and the quicksilver will breathe out their Essence and Flower (jinghua), which will be purple or like gold in color. Gather and collect it with an iron spoon. . . 

   Benefits of the Elixirs

If you take one ounce each of Gold Water and Mercury Water, and drink them facing the sun, you immediately will become a Golden Man. Your body will be radiant and will grow feathers and wings. On high you will put in motion the Original Essence on behalf of [the God of] the Central Yellow (Zhonghuang) and of the Great One (Taiyi). . .