The Po is the yin, materialized aspect of the soul. The Po are the animating agents of vital life processes that take place beyond our conscious awareness and control. They are closely related to the autonomic nervous system, the sensory receptors—especially the primitive touch responses of the skin—and the interior sense receptors of the visceral organs. (Just as the Shen and the Hun can be correlated with the frontal lobe of the brain and the conscious mind and imagination, the Po and the Zhi can be correlated with more primitive aspects of the brain such as the limbic system and cerebellum.)

The Po are the buried light of spirit. They are the complexes, psychosomatic symptoms, emotional blocks and intuitive knowing that lock in psychic energy that can be later unraveled and used for our psychological development. The treasures of our embodied soul hide in the crystallized structures, the tangled psychic knots of consciousness.

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.

The Po and the Essences

The Po spirit is closely related to the Jing, the essences, the yin, ungraspable, quintessential life substance of the earth that supports the vitality of all living organisms. Po are created from the essences of the parents at conception, and from conception to birth the Po direct the creation of the physical structures of the body, which are constructed from the essences of the mother. After birth, the Po helps animate the body and enlivens the post-natal essences as they are incorporated into that person’s physical being. Although the Po is yin, it is yang in relation to the essence.

Without the Corporeal Soul, the Essence would be an inert, albeit precious Vital Substance

The Po and the Emotions

In Chinese tradition, it is said that there are seven Po. There are seven sense orifices through which a person relates to the outer world (the two eyes, the two ears, the two nostrils and the mouth). And there are seven emotions: fear, fright, anger, joy, worry/pensiveness, grief/sadness and anxiety. The expression of emotion is related to the Po since emotions are intrinsically related to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Emotions elicit involuntary instinctual responses at the level of the breath, the hormones, fascia and muscles and these involuntary responses are all related to the movement of the Po soul.

The Po and the Hun

While both the Hun and the Po are considered spirits and are yang, entropic and breathy relative to the essences and physical structures of the body, the Hun are yang relative the to Po. The Hun regulate the coming and going of the mind, while the Po regulate the coming and going of the Jing Qi, or Essence.

The Hun oscillate between the eyes and the Liver. Residing in the eyes during the day, and the Liver at night, they envision and plan in the light and dream in the darkness. The Po journey from the Lungs to the Intestines, lifting upward with the first breath of life and dropping downward with the last. In life, the Po resides in the Lungs and is responsible for vital, involuntary physical functions such as breathing, peristalsis, and evacuation as well as sensation, balance, and muscular coordination. At death, the Po descends with the decaying bones of the body to the underworld where it is reincorporated into the inert structures of the earth.

The two souls function together as pneumatic regulators of the breath body. Any abstract thought, ideal, fantasy or vision we have produces a physical response in the body. Any movement of the Hun, any inspiring or initialing thought or image that comes and goes through the mind—has a complementary response at the level of the Po, some neurological, biochemical or muscular shift. In other words, when the Hun moves, the Po responds, even if we are not consciously aware of it. Led by the light of the Shen an supported by the potency of essences, the dance of the Hun and the Po carries us forward along the path of the Tao.

Ordinarily, the Hun leads and the Po follows, but when there is dysfunction, the easy reciprocal play between the two souls is disrupted and the Po is unable to manifest the Hun’s plans and visions. The Hun, disconnected fro the grounding, entropic influences of the Po, fly up out of the body, into a whirl of useless ideas and grandiose fantasies. NO longer supported by the buoyant, negentropic influences of the Hun, the Po succumb to their natural tendency to fall. Psychological issues at this level are very difficult to see because they are hidden in the darkness of matter. These issues may manifest as psychosomatic pain, eczema, asthma, incontinence, obesity, depression, lumps, tumors and bowel disturbances.

The Po and the element Metal

The Po are related to the element metal, as metal is a stillness and slowness found nowhere else in nature. Metal is associated with the color white, the emotion grief, the season of autumn. It is associated with death, the endings of cycles, the coming and going of life, the rhythms of breath and the excretory functions.

Signs and Symptoms of Po Disturbance

Obsessions, Depression, Anxiety, Chronic Tension and Pain, Eating Disorders, Undiagnosable Lumps and Benign Tumors, Impaired Balance/ Movement/ Coordination, Stress-Related Skin Problems, Asthma, Bowel Disturbances, Restlessness During the Day, Clouded Mind

Next on the Generating cycle of the 5 element theory is Water. Click the link to learn about Zhi: The Spirit of Water—Instinctual Power, Aligned Will, Courage & Wisdom

Each elemental spirit is explained by author Lorie Eve Dechar from her book “Five Spirits: Alchemical Acupuncture for Psychological and Spiritual Healing.” You can find her book online for purchase at www.anewpossibility.com.