A Chinese Story


This story describes, in a mystical way, the character of the organs and their influences on the human psyche. It can help to understand the underlying energetic problems behind behaviour anomalies and to sharpen our diagnosis. However, one should read it with a flexible mind, because nothing in Chinese medicine is pure black and white. It is likely possible that patients show only a few aspects of the presented organ. Further more, when someone for instance  has a hypochondriac attitude, you can’t say, just from this allegory, that he has a Gallbladder problem. One should always check it in tandem with all the possible methods of diagnosis that Chinese medicine provides, such as  body- pulse- and tongue diagnosis. Then it will be a good guide in finding causes behind psychological problems and their possible treatments.


One Chinese New Year a long time ago Buddha invited all the animals to meet him. Nearly all of them ignored  his invitation, being preoccupied with important things like eating, drinking, sleeping and mating, but twelve animals did come to see him. In order of arrival came the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.

Buddha offered each animal a year, which would be named after him till the end of time and would express the symbolic character of the related animal. Such is the legend.

To you Rat, I give my seed and the honour of  sowing it.

Every seed will become a plant and multiply a million times,

But you will have no time to see it grow.

You are like a small child, determined, without a plan.

You are the starting point, renewing the Idea.

You are the governor of the Gallbladder.

Your life means action, providing people with good judgment, assertiveness, decisiveness and determination. For your good work, I give you the virtue of Self-Assertion. But beware. It is not your task to feed and develop or to doubt the Idea or to use your qualities for other reasons; Then you will be the cause of unreasonable anger. Furthermore you will show signs of poor judgment,  indecisiveness and a lack of self-assertion even becoming hypochondriac, or you may overcompensate, becoming a self-satisfied person complaining about all the mistakes other people make. You have a sensitive sense of justice; the world seems wrong to you.

So use your qualities well.


To you Ox, I give the power to create matter from the seed.

To support growth of  young plants.

You have a difficult task which needs patience.

You are like a young plant, with a plan to reach for the light,

determined to advance and to be flexible when needed.

You are the governor of the Liver.


Your life means growth, knowing how to plan effectively and being flexible to adjust to different circumstances. You are characterized by your personal drive and good understanding of the moral standard. For your good work I give you the virtue of Flexible Power. But beware. This power is flammable. When you use your flexibility for other reasons than reaching for the light, it will harm you. It will cause irritability, expressing anger. Your flexibility will cease, becoming stubborn, with a poor ability to cope with your world. You may experience signs of depression with the tendency to hyperventilate.

So use your qualities well.



To you Tiger, I give the opportunity to awaken life,

You are the shelter where heaven and earth meet respectfully.

You provide the first contact between the seed and its surrounding.

Your action is to receive and to give peacefully,

Without asking why or how.

You are the governor of the Lungs.

Your life means freedom based on a firm structure. You provide people with a good opportunity to have an easy social interaction, with a social self-confidence. For your good work, I give you the virtue of Peace. But beware. If you influence the process between heaven and earth to benefit yourself, it will harm you. Life will become constricted and condensed, to bring you guilt, grief, sadness and despair. You suffer from an inadequate social life, which can develop into emotional and physical claustrophobia or into overconfidence.

So use your qualities well. 


To you Rabbit, I give  the courage to strive forward,

To let go of the experiences of the past.

Your door is always open to new movements and excitements .

You mirror life’s foundations as feelings and emotions,

which assemble in the ‘brains’ of the belly.

You are the governor of the Colon.

Your life means growing fast into the future. You give people the great strength necessary to let go of the experiences of the past, and the fulfillment within by that which you experience from without. For your good work, I give you the virtue of Courage. But beware, if you become greedy, addicted to the fulfillment, your life will become full of anguish, desperation, grief and guilt. You will lose the insight that everything relates to everything else, and will think only of your future gain.

So use your qualities well.

To you Dragon, I give my compassion and the honour of showing it to the world.

You are like the moon, reflecting the light of the sun.

You are the axle of a spinning wheel.

All and everything turns, but you.

You are the center desiring energy from heaven and earth.

You are the governor of the Stomach.


Your life means concentration and meditation through centralization. You show compassion and sympathy, knowing how to nurture yourself and others well. You receive what is yours and take a resolute stand, resisting what does not belong to you. For your good work, I give you the virtue of Stability. But beware, your good work easily makes you boastful. Then life will become controlled by obsessions or greed and addiction. Furthermore, it brings you excessive pensiveness and insecurity.

So use your qualities well.


To you Snake, I give the power to spread my Idea.

You are the ambassador of heaven on earth,

To organize the inner world as the outer world.

You are devoted and in service to your world.

You are the flower of consciousness.

You are the governor of the Spleen.

Your life means creation through transformation of the heavenly energy based on ordination. You show discipline and order; by these you will know how to organize your internal reality. Your strength comes from concentration and meditation through self contemplation. For your good work, I give you the virtue of Positiveness. But beware, if you forget the love through which you work, your discipline and order will change into fixation and blockage, showing as excessive pensiveness and obsessions, intractable habits and dogmatism. Then you are especially focused on negative experiences, which can develop into melancholy.

So use your qualities well.


To you Horse, I give the opportunity and power to serve.

You meet Man; to love and to work in harmony.

You are the origin of love and joy, struggle and opposition.

You show both sides of every action.

You are essential to the  understanding of the Self.

You are the governor of the Heart.


Your life means attunement with your world, characterized by joy and happiness based on high self-esteem, -awareness and -confidence. For your good work, I give you the virtue of Love. But beware, if you become selfish, you will experience a joyless life. You will try to overcome your low sense of self-esteem with an hysteric or euphoric attitude based on a hidden loneliness.

So use your qualities well.


To you Goat, I give the power of understanding.

You penetrate the deepest depths,

To transform and reorganize what is yours.

Outside you show beauty and joy like a tree full of  bloom.

Inside you support your essence for renewing life.

You are the governor of the Small Intestine.

Your life means understanding of the process of renewal providing people with a sense of freedom and creativity. They can express joy thanks to your care and endless support. Your sharp sense of discrimination is expressed by a disciplined use of your mental facilities together with a fluent powerful use of language. For your good work, I give you the virtue of Perseverance. But beware, if you become too dominant or arrogant, your joy will change into worries, you will live a life lacking in spontaneity. You will try to overcome this by showing the tendency to intellectualize your emotions and experiences and by compulsive talking. You will lose your sharp sense of discrimination: Your care will become suffocating.

So use your qualities well.



To you Monkey, I give vision and the power of discrimination.

You save what is good and needful.

You let go of the unsuitable.

You give hope in times of standstill.

You are the hidden power behind new ideals.

You are the governor of the Bladder.

Your life means survival, especially in times of misfortune. You are successful because of your intuition and your good sense of humour. You show freedom of emotional and creative expression and you have the power of letting go of the inappropriate feelings. Furthermore you show no sexual repression. This is the way to overcome times of misfortune. For your good work, I give the virtue of Humour But beware, if you become dogmatic and unreceptive, forgetting your sense of humour, your actions will end in failure. You become conservative, hanging on outmoded feelings and being unreceptive to new ones. You become repressed in your emotions, creativity and sexual expressions and unaware of your blocked situation.

So use your qualities well.



To you Rooster, I give the power of self-preservation.

You seek lonely places, surveying the situation.

You work in a state of ferment creating new potential,

Based on a well organized structure.

You have a mission to fulfill  .

You are the governor of the Kidneys.


Your life means contemplation. You hold natural reverence for life’s  forces and show a natural self-preserving fear. You provide people with a positive sexual identity and the capacity for affection with the ability to engage in emotional exchange. For you good work, I give you the virtue of Responsibility. But beware, if you think that people hold reverence for you instead of the life forces, your pride causes excessive and inappropriate fear. You could even become paranoid, being fearful of losing your position.

So use your qualities well.

To you Dog, I give the power to unite with Love.

You prepare the earth for the next sowing season.

You are the hinge between potency and reality.

This Love first causes decline yet is based on loyalty.

You are fully committed to the future race.

You are the governor of the Heart Constrictor.


Your life means serving, with minor, personal involvement. You show the capacity for commitment. You listen to the rhythm of life, giving love where needed. Sometimes you destroy, giving the freedom to follow a new direction. For your good work ,I give you the virtue of Freedom. But beware, if you involve yourself too personally, trying to personify yourself with the Love, you will fail to hear anymore the rhythm of life. Then you will show self-preoccupation with excessive self-containment You will lose your freedom, fearing over-exposure.

So use your qualities well.


To you Pig, I give you understanding of my Idea.

You are conscious of the Plan, though not capable of sharing it.

You generate change as concealed energy,

Building and caring, receptive and involved.

It is through humility that you serve.

You are the governor of the Three Heater.


Your life means involvement. You give people an emotional and physical harmony with their environment. By good regulation you show the capacity to generate and accept change. For your good work, I give you the virtue of Humility. But beware, if  your humility is misplaced, it will show as excessive caution and an over regulated lifestyle. Your efforts to evangelize my Idea will fail every time, without understanding why. This will frustrate you and make you lonely.

So use your qualities well.

Then the Buddha said: Every one of you carries part of my Idea. Every one of you is perfect, but that you will only know, when all of you become One. Only then the Plan will be revealed.

Joan Duveen M.Ac.