Inner Alchemy and the Wim Hof Method

The planets are alive and well in your body.  They move up the spine starting with Saturn and ending with the Moon.

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This is further discussed in the previous post but here again is our our friendly chakra map

Today we are going to go a little further with this, starting with the role of the endocrine system.

The endocrine system is made up of glands that produce and secrete hormones which go on to regulate the activity of our cells and organs.  These hormones are chemical substances that travel through our blood.

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The fish are the hormones that swim through the the blood (the sea) once released by their particular gland.

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Imagine these fish as the adrenaline (Mars) released from the adrenal glands that are going to supply us with the energy we need to confront that rude person on the street.

The major take home point is that feelings such as anger, relaxation, thrill, bonding and whatever else have a very real CHEMICAL component.

We can all feel our Mars when we tap into our adrenaline.  We can all feel our mysterious Moon when we dream  (the pineal gland).

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Here are the major endocrine glands of the body

Certain glands have a clear affinity with the planets as they go up the body while others may have to be seriously pondered.  I encourage you if your interested to find these associations by studying the functions of the glands matched the with functions of the planets.  In the future as I study this further I’ll probably write another post on it.

But for today I need to move on to talking about the single most inspiring person I have ever come across on the world wide web!

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This is Wim Hof!  Aka the “Iceman” who is famous for breaking 26 world records in extreme sports, namely the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and altitudes.

Wim claims his abilities have to do with learning how to CONTROL his autonomic nervous system, which taps into the endocrine system and influences the immune system.  He does this mainly from breath work and cold water exposure.  But what’s even more amazing is that he says ANYONE CAN LEARN HOW TO DO IT..

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Hof calls the cold his “warm friend” because exposure to it actually trains the body to adapt and secure inner warmth by creating brown adipose tissue which is a natural insulator.  Many other health benefits are involved including balancing hormones, reducing inflammation and creating endorphins.

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In a controlled study, Hof was injected with an e-coli endotoxin that causes fever, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms in the vast majority of people.  He demonstrated control over his immune system and was not affected.  When the researchers were ready to deem him an anomaly he promised he would be back in a couple weeks with 12 of his students that he trained.  All of theses students were unaffected by the toxin compared to the other 12 non-trained participants who came down with fever, chills, the works.

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Wim claims that his teacher is “hard nature” and that the cold is “merciless but righteous”.

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He explains that our addiction to being warm keeps us separated from this merciless but righteous teacher, and therefore we are vulnerable to these elements instead of adaptive.

The main method he uses is breath work.  Essentially a controlled way of deep breathing for deep-tissue oxygenation which raises the pH level of the body.

What’s interesting about the breath is that it is the only function we have that is BOTH automatic and voluntary.  That is, it operates under the autonomic nervous system as well as the somatic nervous system (voluntary movement).  What Wim Hof has learned to do is use this breath to influence the autonomic nervous system (ANS) via the hypothalamus.

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The hypothalamus gland is located where Mercury lives in the body.  It links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland.  The hypothalamus also controls TEMPERATURE REGULATION.

The alchemists viewed Mercury as the most essential component in turning base metals into gold.  Hof himself says “we have to learn how to become our own alchemists” thereby taking CONTROL over our own systems which give us true security and lasting “health, strength and happiness”.

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The lion (our inner power) is controlled by the subconscious (the woman adorned with the wild flowers).  The symbol above her head stands for “dominion”.   If we can influence the autonomic nervous system, can we not influence the subconscious mind to better control our vitality?

Think about your new subconscious relationship to the cold if you learned to not be as afraid of it, by CONTROLLING your reaction to it.

The concept of CONTROL brings us astrologically to Saturn, found in the base of our bodies.  At the top of our bodies we find the Moon, aka “mother”, “matter”, “nature”, “mother nature”.

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Again the tarot gives us a good look at how the mother can be menacing.  We growl and seek to protect ourselves from her (as the lobster’s exoskeleton shows).

And we are always trying to control mother nature by using our thermostats or air conditioning, or making our lives too COMFORTABLE all the time.

Hof teaches us that we have come a far way from balance by CONTROLLING NATURE too much.  Sure we all need shelter but we have become too good at protecting ourselves from nature and thus have become SEPARATED.

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kicked out of Eden!

The Saturn (control) must be turned inward in order to become steadily reacquainted with nature.  Through the breath and cold exposure, we can CONTROL our physiology to better live in nature instead of the opposite which leave us VULNERABLE (another Moon word) to nature.

We are uniting the opposites here.  The “below” of Saturn seeks to reestablish balance with the “above” of the Moon.

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The other opposites to be united in the body would then be..

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Jupiter (EXPANDING) and Mercury (BREATH).  Jupiter is located in the gut and supplies us with intuitive understanding.  Mercury is located in the brain where we can focus.

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Mars (ADRENALINE) and Venus (BALANCE).   Healthy stress brings us back into balance.  And remember- this is Wim’s extreme sport- we can all go about this at our own rates.  For example I like to end my hot shower with one minute of cold- not even ice cold, and I will build from there.  I feel great after!

After we unite Mars and Venus (solar plexus and throat chakra) we have the alchemical GOLD in the middle, our heart, which is associated with the Sun, and our true vitality.

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Ahhhhh… welcome home.

Until next time- happy breathing!

The Planets in your Body

Today we learn where the planets live inside of us.  The seven heavenly bodies as perceived by the ancients in the night sky (before the discovery of the outer planets i.e Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) correspond to seven centers in the human body commonly known as chakras.

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Ok so before you go getting suspicious about the decided order of these planets in the body-

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-consider just a few very interesting facts.

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Each of these planets corresponds to a specific metal in the practice of alchemy.  Notice that the above list is the exact reverse order of the planets as pictured in the body.

The first metal, lead (corresponding to Saturn) is the LEAST conductive of electricity.

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relax Larry I’m getting to the point!

The next metal tin (for Jupiter) is a little MORE conductive, followed by iron (Mars) even a little MORE…

In fact the metals are in the exact order of how electrically conductive they are ending with silver (the Moon) which is the MOST conductive of them all.

We are talking about electricity, we are talking about energy, and how it moves through the body.

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It’s the same thing that the caduceus is talking about

And here is another fact to make us feel comfortable with the placement of the planets in the body:  common phrases we use every day.

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In Casablanca when Bogart’s character says “I stick my neck out for nobody” he is referring to never letting himself be vulnerable (Venus) and not being willing to help anyone else (Venus), a character trait that goes a full 180 by the time we arrive at the dramatic end.  Venus’s energy center is in the neck, a very vulnerable part of the body.  It is where are voice is, which can do so much for others.

Opposite of this is Mars, which lives in our solar plexus.

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we talk about “core strength”, something Bruce Lee believed in.  Mars is located in our solar plexus.

How about Jupiter, the planet of faith, located in our gut?

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and often we do have to “go with our gut”

How about the Sun in the place of the heart?

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does this image “warm your heart?”

How about Mercury, the trickster, in the space of the brain and the visual cortex?

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“optical illusions” make us perceive things not as they are (this image is not really moving)

The Moon is at the top of the head corresponding to “mind”.  The latin word for mind is “mentis” hence our word “mental” but also the less often considered connection to “menses” which ties us straight to the Moon with her 28 day cycle.

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that gives us something “to reflect on”…

And then we have Saturn, at our base.

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Saturn with it’s heaviness reminds us how good it is to be “grounded” and “anchored”

In the next post we will get further into this by examining the value in uniting these centers from top to bottom, as well as discussing how the endocrine system is involved.

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don’t need no credit card to ride this train!