Alchimia femminile. Brani dall’opera di Liu Yiming 刘一明 (1734-1821)
This essay features translations from the works of Daoist patriarch Liu Yiming 劉一明 (1734-1821) on the specific topic of female alchemy, or nüdan, the process of Daoist self-cultivation for women. This process differs from male self-cultivation in many important ways. It starts by focusing on the breasts, not the abdomen, where male cultivation begins. It continues by transforming Blood (xue 血), understood to be the most important element of female physiology. Refining blood into an essential source of energy is at the root of female self-cultivation which, aided by internal visualisations, breast massage, and guided breathing, aims at creating a pure Yang body, able to transcend this world.
Keywords: Female alchemy • Liu Yiming • Daoism • Nüdan • Self-cultivation