The Five Spirits – Eastern Psychology

Click on each Spirit to learn more...

SHEN – Related to the Fire Element, Shen is the name given to the most yang of the Five Spirits. This spirit personifies the fiery spark of conscious awareness.  During our life, the Shen is said to reside in the empty center of the heart from where it guides us along our path through life. Although it is invisible, the Shen’s presence is reflected in the light that shines from the eyes of a healthy human being. In the presence of healthy Shen, there is a luster and brightness to the disposition, a feeling of connection and awareness. Most of all, the presence of healthy Shen results in a life that is uniquely suited to the individual and a person whose actions make sense within the context of the surrounding environment.


SHEN Out Of Balance – Lack of coherence to life; the person’s personality does not fit the life they are living, lack of inspiration and insight; deadness; no heart and soul to life, no sense of unique person with a unique path; ambivalence, much activity but no center, so activity  turns to anxiety, restlessness, and eventually fatigue, no ability to discern what is truly right for me, no self-reflection, inability to distinguish true from false, real from unreal.


Fire Meridian Movements help balance the Shen.


Learn more about the Five Spirits from my friend and teacher Lorie Dechar

HUN – Related to the Wood Element, the Hun represent the psychological faculty of vision, imagination, clear direction, and the capacity for justice. They endow us with the ability to discern our path, stay clear in our direction, imagine possibilities, move forward toward our goals, and take a stand for what we believe is right. While the activity of the imagination, especially day or nighttime dreams, is energized by the coming and going of the Shen, it is also influenced by the Hun who follow the Shen as they fly between the “earth and heaven”.


HUN Out Of Balance – Depression,  insomnia/excess dreaming/absence of dreams, erratic emotions, disorientation/disorganization, repressed emotions, excess sleeping, vague anxieties, especially at night, digestive disturbances related to emotional upset, lack of clear vision on physical or psychological level, outbursts of anger.


 Wood Meridian movements help balance the Hun.


Learn more about the Five Spirits from my friend and teacher Lorie Dechar

YI – Related to the Earth Element, the Yi Spirits represent the powers of the earth in us. They are the spirits that give us the capacity for sustained intention, purpose, clarity of thought, altruism, and integrity. They are related to the emotions of sympathy and the organ of the spleen. They support our capacity for thought, intention, reflection, and the act of applying ourselves to our heart’s purpose. They give us the ability to concentrate, study, and memorize data for one’s work, and they endow us with the capacity for clear thought. In other words, they allow us to apply our spirit to the world of forms.


YI Out Of Balance – Obsessive thoughts and thought patterns that go around and around, worry, obsessions, and a continual focus and brooding on one’s own problems, excess thought and cogitation and insufficient movement or action, eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binges, muddled thinking; an inability to make logical connections between ideas or to order thoughts in logical patterns, over-nurturing of others to avoid one’s own responsibilities and growth.


Earth Meridian movements help balance the Yi.


Learn more about the Five Spirits from my friend and teacher Lorie Dechar

PO – Related to the Metal Element, the Po are our embodied knowing, our animal wit, our street smarts, the part of us that can sniff out what’s right or wrong, good or bad, safe or unsafe. Deep below the level of our conscious ability to articulate in words what we think about a person, place, or situation, the Po Spirits already know, and whether or not we realize it, our body has begun to respond by contracting or expanding, hardening or softening.


PO Out Of Balance – A vague feeling that “something isn’t right” but no clear sense of why, physical pain that takes over entire life yet seems to have no identifiable cause, extreme sensitivity to outer influences on a psychic level; for example, other people’s negativity “gets in” without awareness and creates somatic disturbances such as digestive upsets, headache, etc. Unexpressed somatized emotional issues and “stuck destiny”; the person doesn’t ever seem to move on in life.


Metal Meridian movements help balance the Po.


Learn more about the Five Spirits from my friend and teacher Lorie Dechar

ZHI – Related to the Water Element, the Zhi Spirit lives in the kidneys and presides over the most inaccessible parts of the psyche, the instinctual responses of the sex organs, the biochemical intelligence of the endocrine system, and the knowing of our bones. The Zhi connect us to the collective unconscious, the part of our psyche that draws us out of, and back into, the infinite.


ZHI Out Of Balance –When the Zhi is disturbed, people continually push themselves to the point of total exhaustion or have no initiative at all. They use chemical stimulants, emotional excitement, ambition, and desire to whip themselves forward. Results include rebound exhaustion, insomnia, hormonal conditions such as hyper — and hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, anxiety, chronic fatigue, and back pain.


Water Meridian movements help balance the Zhi.


Learn more about the Five Spirits from my friend and teacher Lorie Dechar