the doctrine of the gold elixir
a number of individual teachings and traditions have been fused into a single system for the transformation of man that embraces the quintessence of the entire Taoist tradition. Taoist alchemy is an ancient science that teaches the stopping of the flow of the generative force inherent in every man, so that instead of being discharged to procreate offspring or to waste away, it is retained in the body for purification and transmutation into positive vitality. This restores the original spirit that existed before the world came into being, so that it can return to its Primal Immortal state. The diagram is a symbolical representation of a lengthwise section of the human head and torso, together with the spinal column. Nowhere is there any realistic anatomical portrayal, but various allegories are alluded to through symbols and human figures. The body section is surrounded by an almond shaped aureole, while the head is circled by a halo and within this halo is a small circle. The image depicts a strange poetic landscape embracing Heaven and Earth and the murky waters of Hades – a landscape representing man in many aspects including the spiritual, psychic and animal. All representations of human beings in the picture, with the exception of Laot Se – are shown as children or young people to indicate that they express Eternal Youth. The image of Laot Se as an old man refers to the Treasure of ancient Eternal Truth which was disclosed to him, the Perfect Ma.