The Alchemy of the Organs - Course 1

The Red Bird and the Dark Stag (The Heart and the Kidneys)

Peter Firebrace goes into detail about the inter-relationship between the Heart and Kidney in Chinese Medicine, and how applying this knowledge can improve a patient's health.

Peter Firebrace
Peter Firebrace

Course Overview

A detailed study of the heart and the kidneys, the north-south, jing-shen axis of Chinese medicine. Linked with fire and water, li and kan, the exchange between these two organs has always been considered of prime importance for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, from fertility to longevity in tranquility and serenity. We will study the Daoist, alchemical and medical aspects of the heart and the kidneys from ancient texts and images and crystalize this knowledge into useful clinical practice by studying key points on the heart, kidney and other meridians from Shen Feng, Spirit Seal (Kid 23) to Shen Men, Spirit Gate (Ht 7), from Ming Men, Gate of Destiny (Du 4) to Zi Hu Door of the Child (Kid 13). Restoring the Shao Yin interweaving of heart and kidneys, the cooling and warming of midnight and noon, the retreat and resurgence of December and June, restores brightness to the mind, peace to the heart, strength to the body and resilience to the spirit.


  • To restore the insights of the Neidan Inner Alchemy tradition to Chinese medicine.

  • To deepen our understanding of the heart and kidneys and their inter-relationship.

  • To apply this knowledge to help patients with a lifestyle that will nurture life, yang sheng, and improve their health.

  • To present the teachings in the Neijingtu, Inner Landscape Map and the Xiuzhentu, Cultivating Authenticity Map.

  • To give cases and acupuncture points for clinical application.


  • 0 hrs - 1 hrs

    Overview: Inner alchemy tradition uses images such as the red bird and dark deer for the heart and kidneys. Alchemcial traditional texts, Waidan, Neidan is covered, and Sun Simiao is also covered. The concept of Guan is explored, with an overview of Neijingtu, Xiuzhentu, and authenticity, and realizing true nature as human being is explored.

  • 1 hrs - 2 hrs

    The organs and guardian spirits for heart, lung, spleen, liver, gallbladder, and kidneys are discussed. Five elements and how the Kidney is crucial to this process is explored, along with the concepts of Neiguan, Yang Sheng, and recommended literature by Catherin Despeux and Isabelle Robinet discussed. Space, luopan, fengshui compass, Xuan, dark, undifferentiated mystery of the origin, and Xuanpin, and Snake and Tortoise concepts discussed.

  • 2 hrs - 4 hrs

    Fluids related to the kidneys, and the idea it is essential for regeneration and generative power to give birth. Fire stems including Di zhi, 12 earthly branches covered. Trigrams and hexagrams, Li fire, Kan, water, and ideas of opposites covered. Exchange between li and kan is central to the alchemical process and reconciliation of opposite. Neijingtu, Inner Landscape Map, show embryo within a sac or container, and the idea of waterwheel treaders is explored. Concept of a quiet mind, and how regenerative water collects in the mouth is looked at. The use of moxa in exhaustion and for longevity also discussed. Xiuzhentu, Cultivating Perfection map discussed.

  • 4 hrs - 6 hrs

    Xiuzhentu text on the kidneys. Discussion of Daoist concept of the immortal embryo and aims of health, longevity and immortality loooked at. Two kidneys and Zhi-wisdom concepts looked at. Xuanpin, the mysterious female linked to the kidneys - procreation for immortality. Jade Spring revitalizes fluids. External kidneys are the testicles - stillness preserves jing. Poem on Zhi yi, will and intent. Points to help with Zhi. Discussion of kidney link to the gallbladder. Zhi includes memory of what happened in the past. Fear and Kong and Jing discussed. Kid 4 Da Zhong - Luo point to Heart protector.

  • 6 hrs - 8 hrs

    Panic attacks, Kidney couples, He Yin Yang, sexual texts in Mawangdui tomb. Sex for mutual regeneration, not depletion and frustration. Retaining essence to nourish the brain. Ejaculation control. Fertility, kidney link to uterus, Points for infertility, Shou Xing, God of Longevity, Xi Wang Mu, Queen Mother of West. Xin, heart medicine, Shen etymology connected with light, heart sometimes represented as a young girl, bao mail link to uterus. Joy as the natural quality of heart, Xi excitement, stimulation, Le - contentment, Phlegm block, Dian kuang - manic depression, Gui ghosts - haunted by events from the past - gui points. Xiuzhentu - Map of Cultivating Perfection - Buddhist and Daoist influences, emptiness is important - Seven openings if blocked, low, or if open, high intelligence.

  • 8 hrs - 10 hrs

    Points around heart area - DU 10, Ling Tai, Spiritual Tower, clears heat from blood. Penglai Island and Taiji pole discussed - stillness in motion. Heart place of tranquility, Stars of bei dou, Northern Ladle; meditation, Three monkeys, Lotus Flower. Monkey King and the Journey to the West - Horse Taming is training the Yi - focusing the mind; discipline and freedom and dangers of overstimulation.

  • 10 hrs - 11 hrs

    Classical quotations related to the heart. Danger of uncontrolled emotions. Zhuang Zi's wild stories - no limits writer. Emptying the heart nourishes it - idea. Wu wei - not reacting to life, coming back on track - zi. Heart points - speech problems, stroke, silence of denial.

  • 11 hrs - 12 hrs

    Ht 6, Yin Xi deficient yin, night sweats, menopause. Shen Men and all Ht syndromes. Pericardium or Heart Protector Points. Jian Shi - messenger to the heart. The point for phlegm. Nei Guan, Gate to the Inner. Da Ling, Big Mound.


  • Kindra S. (United States of America)

    Excellent and important course for anyone interested in the deeper roots of this medicine.

  • Theodore M. (United States)

    This was a great course on the fundamentals of Chinese thought leading to Chinese medicine. It gave a perspective on how the Chinese saw themselves in the cosmos and on earth.

  • Carole P. (Canada)

    I think Peter is brilliant! This course felt like it offered sacred teachings that are not typically given in the teachings of TCM nowadays. I highly recommend this course to any and all practitioners of TCM.

See All Reviews


Excellent and important course for anyone interested in the deeper roots of this medicine.

Kindra S. (United States of America)

This was a great course on the fundamentals of Chinese thought leading to Chinese medicine. It gave a perspective on how the Chinese saw themselves in the cosmos and on earth.

Theodore M. (United States)

I think Peter is brilliant! This course felt like it offered sacred teachings that are not typically given in the teachings of TCM nowadays. I highly recommend this course to any and all practitioners of TCM.

Carole P. (Canada)

This course completely rejuvenated my love for and deep understanding of Chinese Medicine. How things are connected, names of points etc.. knowledge that I took for granted but hadn't really deeply looked into. It was like listening to Eckart Tolle in Chinese Medicine terms. Very transformative, not just INformative

Sage A. (Australia)

I really enjoyed the way Peter teaches this subject. It really made me appreciate and understand Oriental medicine with different eyes. I highly recommend Peter lectures.

Javier P. (Australia)

I loved this course. Peter presented a vivid picture of the alchemical background of the heart and kidney axis. For anyone interested in this subject matter as it related to Chinese Medicine, this course is wonderful.

Geha G. (Canada)

Amazing course, if you are feeling a little disconnected to the origins of our great paradigm, this is for you.

Nathan B. (Australia)

I would highly recommend this course to all students and practitioners. Returning to the source of the medicine through even a basic understanding of certain character etymologies and Daoist philosophies is often a missing piece or weak point in practice, especially in the west. Peter begins to bridge this disconnect through potent information and imagery, helping to bring new life and a sense of purpose to the practice of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

Gavin L. (Canada)

Great Course! Material every acupuncturist should want to know that probably wasn't covered in TCM education that is endemic to our medicine.

Kevin B. (United States of America)

I found Peter Firebrace able to address the course information in a successful and sometime dramatic fashion which helped the attendee to grasp the knowledge with ease. I also really enjoyed how he explained the chinese characters. I found this very helpful in able to see the relations between certain points.

Lynda S. (Canada)

Instructor is very knowledgable and presents material in an enthusiastic and dynamic manner.

Carol R. (United States)


Peter Firebrace

A graduate of the International College of Oriental Medicine, Peter Firebrace, FBAcC, has extensively studied TCM and Chinese language and philosophy. He was a co-founder of Monkey Press, teaches internationally, and also produces songs and poems on topics pertaining to TCM. Peter is in the process of setting up Guan Academy of Chinese Medicine for online teaching.


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More Details
  • CEUs:

    Approved By: NCCAOM (12), California [Until 2025/02/24]* (12), IVAS (12), Standard Certificate (12)

  • Language: English

  • Course Type: Recorded Seminar

  • Course Length: 12 h

  • Course Notes: Notes are provided with this course.

  • Access Period: Lifetime


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