In Chinese medicine, each of the Five Elements corresponds to one of the five spirits. In a way, the spirit is more fundamental; the qualities and attributes of an Element arise out of the nature of its spirit.
The spirit of Wood is hun which occupies the realm of the clouds, lighter than earth but containing enough density to keep it near the earth and not fly away to heaven.
Of all the five spirits, the hun is closest to the western concept of the soul. In fact the character hun is usually translated as Ethereal Soul. The hun enters the body after birth and at death it leaves through the top of the head. It then ascends to the stars whereupon it reports to the spirits that preside over destiny on the degree to which each of us has cultivated virtue during our life.
During our lifetime, it is the hun which bestows the gifts of Wood upon us. A healthy hun allows us to be clear about our purpose in life, find our path, know where we’re going and orient ourselves in that direction. It is what helps us to navigate the rapids of life. The hun is like the map and compass of our soul.
It is said that during the day the hun resides in the eyes to help us to see how we can act in ways that best serve our life purpose. At night when we sleep, the hun descends to the liver where it organises our dreams. Thus the hun acts as an intermediary between our waking and sleeping states.
If the hun is imbalanced, then our sleeping and dreaming may be disrupted. We might suffer from sleep disturbances, sleepwalking, intense dreaming or no dreams at all. In extreme cases we may find it difficult to distinguish between dreams and reality. Out of body experiences, near death experiences, seeing ghosts and spirits, are all associations of the hun.
The classics say that the liver houses the hun, therefore anything that damages the liver also injures the hun. Anger that does not flow freely and gets stuck in the body will damage the liver. It is also easily upset by alcohol and drugs. Marijuana is particularly harmful to the hun. While it might seem to endow us with cleverness, creativity and vision when we are intoxicated, over time these very qualities are eroded and we lose both purpose and vitality.
The hun can also be injured by psychological scarring. In childhood the hun needs psychological support. If a child is severely constrained in his freedom, constantly criticised for his actions or emotionally deprived, the hun cannot develop freely. If there is alcoholism or abuse in the home, the development of the hun is harmed. In later life too, overwhelming emotional experiences can disturb the hun.
The hun spirit needs a healthy liver to be invited to stay in our body. Hun’s nature is to wander like a cloud. When its home in our body is unhealthy and uninviting, it will tend to fly away, leaving us bereft of its capacities of clarity, vision and purpose.
The hun spirit is what allows us to bring our heavenly nature into earthly form and manifestation. When in balance it is the source of our dreams and visions, aims and projects, our creativity and ideas, all of which can find expression in physical form in life on earth. A healthy hun is what we need to live a conscious and effective life as a being of spirit in a physical body.
Supporting Hun with Bladder 47 – Hunmen
This point on the Bladder meridian is called Gate of the Ethereal Soul. It lies at the same level as the Liver Shu point (BL 18) and lateral to it.
Hunmen is a great point for cleansing the liver organ, treating addictions, and for supporting the healthy functioning of the spirit of Wood. By clearing away this stagnation in the Liver Qi, Hunmen can resurrect the spirit and activate the core of a person’s being.
This point also treats sleep disturbances and insomnia by settling the hun spirit during the time of sleep and allowing us to access the wisdom of dreams as they pertain to our life purpose.
When anger and resentment have solidified and been turned inward upon oneself, Hunmen can be used to release and mobilise this energy into the service of taking action. Wood that has become rigid and inert can become supple and active, providing the means to express the uniqueness of our individual self in the world.
Location of Bladder 47
Located on the back, about two fingers width below the bottom of the shoulder blade and four fingers width (3 cun) out from the spine. It is level with the space between the 9th and 10th thoracic vertebrae.