“Five elements.” The phrase conjures different reactions depending on the audience.  For historians, it’s an ancient paradigm derived from Chinese astrology; for Chinese medicine students it’s an explanation of psychoemotional patterns; for the scientifically inclined it’s a bridge between ancient medicine and modern biophysics.

But for Jonathan Edwards it is first and foremost a visceral experience. The five elements are to be physically engaged: taste, movement, touch. His upcoming course at Brooklyn Acupuncture Project, Living Forces: Herbal Allies and the Five Elements is a chance join him in a sensory tour through the five elements. Jonathan will lead the class over nine weeks into a full five element immersion by employing the help of herbal emissaries: plants that represent the characteristics of each element.

We asked Jonathan to tell what we can expect from the upcoming course, and here’s what he had to say:

Why did you chose to do a course on this topic?

“Though often presented to Chinese Medicine students as a dry theory, the elements of nature are truly living presences; Fire, Water, Wind/Wood, Metal and Earth have a huge amount to teach us if we open ourselves up to them.”  

“Water brings receptivity, softness, flow, and access to the depths of inner space.

  • Wood brings flexibility, vigor, creativity, and vision.
  • Earth brings nourishment, grounding, and integrity.
  • Fire brings warmth, communion, passion, and vulnerability.
  • Metal brings subtle attunement, balance, and release.
  • (And back into Water, as the cycle continues.)”

What exactly can people expect to do over the 9 week series?

“Starting January 17th, we’ll engage the elements both directly and through their herbal ambassadors. We'll weave together meditation, discussion, ritual, movement and creative expression to get in touch with the elements, in nature and in ourselves. We'll devote 1-2 sessions and work with 2-4 herbs per element.”

Who can join the workshop?

“It’s open to everyone, no prior experience required.

“For students and practitioners of Chinese Medicine, this will be a chance to go beyond theory to direct relationship with the elements, and to get to know some local plants.”

“For people whose experience is mainly with local ‘western’ herbs, it'll be an opportunity to orient that knowledge around the elemental framework.”

“For anyone called to the elements, this will be an immersive and transformative passage around the wheel of life and deeper into our own nature.”

Class details:

Brooklyn Acupuncture Project - 530 3rd Ave, Gowanus

9 Sunday evenings, 6-9 PM, starting Sunday 1/17.

Register at  brooklynacupunctureproject.com, or call (718) 369-0123)

$400 for the 9 sessions.  Class size limited to 10 students.

Jonathan H Edwards, MSOM, LAc. is at BAP Sunday and Monday afternoons and is available for herbal and I Ching consultations as well as acupuncture.You can read more about hime at brooklynacupunctureproject.com and  axismundihealingarts.com