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Excerpt from “Seasons and Weather: Integrating 5 & 8”
“Okay, so now that we know about Eight and Five, we can talk a little bit more about how they interrelate, and the relationship of Eight Principles to Five Elements. The herbs, as we mentioned before, precede diagnostic language. They do what they do. You can talk about them from any number, from the consciousness of any number. You can apply any map to the territory—the herbs are still going to do what it is that they do. They are a pre-intellectual reality, and then we make up theories in order to be able to talk and to teach about them. I mentioned for instance, Sun Si Miao, from his Buddhist perspective, came up with a formula that helps with the pain of attachment to transient reality. In Communist China, the different frame of reference, the different map says arthritis that comes and goes when the weather changes. The formula didn’t change. It still did exactly what it always did, and we came up with a different language. The language of Five, the language of Eight, the language of hoo-hah—whatever it is that we come up with. So ultimately, an herb does what it does, and there are ways of speaking about it in Five Element terms, and ways of speaking about it in Eight Principle terms, so why not speak about it in all terms?
How this is useful is that—I like to say everybody’s got a Five Element destiny and an Eight Principle excuse. Basically, everybody has a health, and everybody has an illness, that I’ve met anyhow. Everybody has a destiny, a shining potential, a who-you-were-born-to-be, and everybody has some excuse or reason why it is that they’re not fulfilling that potential. There’s who you are, and there’s how you are. Who you are, your CF, your essential nature, doesn’t change, at least theoretically. You’re a Water CF? You’re a Water CF. You’ve always been one, you always will be one. You’re a Wood CF? You’re a Wood CF. You always have been, you always will be one. You actualize the potential of it over the years. You evolve to the fullness of it, but that’s not the same as changing it. You still are who you were in your essential nature, who you were when you were three—that’s who you are now. When you’re 70, that’s the same as now and as when you’re three. That’s the CF.
The Eight Principle diagnosis is what changes, all the time. You’re damp for years, then you move to the Sahara and soon you become dry. You go back to Florida again, and after another however-many years or months, you’re damp. So the Eight Principle is what changes—the Five Element is what stays the same. Or you could say the CF is the bullseye, the potential of what you could be if you are being totally perfectly healthily yourself, and the Eight Principle is how you’re off from the bullseye, how you’re missing the mark, and every good practitioner is implicitly treating both, they really are. Once you get off of source points, and you’re choosing what you’re going to do, you’re no longer treating just who the person is, you’re treating how they are today. Why are you doing this rather than that? It’s because of some way in which they’re off that you’re trying to nudge them back on.”