Neidan Dictionary


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huangpo 黃婆

yellow dame

This term traditionally refers to a woman, often of advanced age, who facilitates the first encounter between a young man and a young woman for the purpose of marriage.


① True Intention (zhenyi, the active faculty of Spirit). The symbolic agent that enables the conjunction of Yin and Yang. Also used as a synonym of Soil (tu), the central agent that incorporates a Yin and Yang aspect and therefore performs the same function in the alchemical process.

Count on the Yellow Dame as match-maker for the Lovely Maid. 托黃婆,媒姹女。 Comm. Wang Jie: The Yellow Dame is the Kun ☷ Soil, that is, the Soil of wu and ji; it is also called the Intention. 黃婆者,坤土也,即戊己土也,又言意也。 (Mirror for Compounding the Medicine, poem 14)

On the top of Mount Hua, the male Tiger roars; near the Fusang tree, at the bottom of the sea, the female Dragon howls. The Yellow Dame knows by herself how to match them with one another, so that they become husband and wife and share a single Heart. 華嶽山頭雄虎嘯,扶桑海底牝龍吟,黃婆自解相媒合,遣作夫妻共一心。 (Awakening to Reality, "Cut-off Lines", poem 19)

You must rely on the Yellow Dame as a match-maker. 須仗黃婆媒合。 (Wang Jie, comm. to Mirror for Compounding the Medicine, poem 2)

The Intention (yi) is also called “go-between” and Intention-Soil (yitu). The meaning of “go-between” is that it introduces Yin and Yang to one another for their conjunction. Therefore the alchemical texts also call it Yellow Dame: “yellow” shows that it pertains to the central agent Soil, and “dame” means that it is the “match-maker” (meipo), a metaphor for the intermediary that allows the joining of Yin and Yang. (Wang Mu, Foundations of Internal Alchemy, p. 40)

② An image of the Center.

The Yellow Dame is the Central Palace. 〔中宮:〕黃婆。 (Weng Baoguang, "Model Images of the Golden Elixir", trans. in Taoist Internal Alchemy: An Anthology of Neidan Texts, p. 134)

What is the Yellow Dame? Yellow is the color of Soil, and its position pertains to Kun ☷. The name derives from this. (Xiao Tingzhi, Questions and Answers on the Golden Elixir, trans. in Taoist Internal Alchemy: An Anthology of Neidan Texts, p. 144)