Neidan Dictionary


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wu tu 烏兔

crow and hare

These two images derive from an early Chinese myth, according to which a crow (Yin) lives in the Sun (Yang), and a hare (Yang) lives in the Moon (Yin).


① The ingredients of the Elixir. The Crow represents Mercury (True Yin) and the Hare represents Lead (True Yang).

First take Qian and Kun as the tripod and the furnace, then catch the Crow and the Hare and boil the Medicine. 先把乾坤為鼎器,次搏烏兔藥來烹。 (Awakening to Reality, "Cut-off Lines", poem 1, trans. in Taoist Internal Alchemy: An Anthology of Neidan Texts, p. 77)

The Yang Breath pertains to Li ☲, and the Yin Essence pertains to Kan ☵. Therefore we speak of the Crow and the Hare as the ingredients. (Four Hundred Words on the Golden Elixir, Preface)

Take Qian ☰ and Kun ☷ as the Tripod and the Furnace; the Sun and the Moon as Water and Fire; Yin and Yang as the mechanism of transformation; and the Crow and the Hare as the ingredients. 以乾坤為鼎器,日月為水火,陰陽為化機,烏兔為藥物。 (Li Daochun, The Harmony of the Center: An Anthology, chap. 3)