It was the 70’s in London and something unusual and profound was going on at the London School of Psychic Studies.
A man named Marshall Lever was regularly chatting to a small group of people. These unusual discourses would often go for more than hour. But Lever was not himself. At the start of each session he would slip into trance, his head would cock to one side; and as he was prone to dribbling in that position, a towel was placed between shoulder and chin. During the trance he channeled the spirit guide affectionately known as Old Chinese (as he called himself) but also had an assumed name — Chung Fu; being the 61st hexagram of the I Ching, meaning “Inner Peace”.
Old Chinese stated that his last reincarnation was a student of Chuang Tzu in China. When speaking through his medium his voice was of Chinese accent; his gestures showed oriental rhythm and charm and his dialogue was filled with Old Chinese sayings and analogies.
Chung Fu or Old Chinese gave a total of 688 full trance lectures and during some of the lectures a body of knowledge transpired called the Elements of Man.
Aside and Warning: Bizarrely, and disappointingly so, we have a phoney Chung Fu (Old Chinese) that has manifested in the earth plane. Not sure why this lady thinks she is channeling Old Chinese but if you have heard or read discourses from the 70’s, this latest manifestation, complete with cartoon caricature, is just all embarrassingly wrong. I am mentioning this because Old Chinese is no longer with us in this dimension and it is important to me that anyone delving into the teachings is actually reading or listening to the real McCoy and not some silly imitation. I will leave it at that.
At that time in the 70’s, Stuart Wilde, Glynn Braddy and other seekers were students at the London School of Psychic Studies and it is there that they were introduced to the remarkable metaphysical teachings of the Elements of Man.
In the 80’s and 90’s; Glynn, an Australian lecturer, created a brilliant study course called the Four Seasons Seminar based on the Elements information. Glynn, in his most reverent Taoist way, never created products and so his information is not available in printed or audio form.
In fact when doing Glynn’s course, the participants maintained a silence around the information for a year — so there was no speaking of the Elements for 12 months. That built a sacred energy and I believe a better understanding.
I studied the Elements of Man intensely. I was attracted to the teaching because, unlike much of the spiritual philosophies available — such as the waffling Swami Da Barmy or the like, one could take the Elements of Man home and use on a day to day basis — it made practical sense. One could bank it!
Also compelling were the profound beautiful Old Chinese stories, the insightful lessons and the enigmatic and paradoxical nature of the teachings. It was all at once inspirational, creative, thoughtful and grounding.
Man has four temperaments or four situations that he must work with, feel and be with, within a reincarnation cycle. Each man or woman has to deal with one particular aspect more than the others. The first is loving, the second is emotion, the third is mentality and the fourth is physicalness. Loving is the Fire of a sun, emotion is Water, mentality is the Air, and the physicalness is the Earth – Old Chinese.
Fire, Winter…..Water, Spring…..Air, Summer…..Earth, Autumn.
In explaining the Elements of Man teaching I must say that hardly a day has gone by in the last 35 years whereby I haven’t used the information in some way.
The Elements of Man provides both a detailed and panoramic understanding of this dimension and the challenges we face in our lives. There are four elements: Fire, Water, Air and Earth. A person’s primary element is determined using individual characteristics and lifestyle choices such as: physiognomy, relationships, occupation, geography, material choices, emotional leanings, pets, likes, dislikes etc. For most of us a secondary element can also be determined. For example, someone may be Air first and Water second so they would be, what Old Chinese called, Air over Water. They would therefore be primarily Air but also take on the characteristics of Water.
But the Elements of Man study is much more than divination practice, such as that found in astrology or other occult essences. Importantly it does not give an exact ‘reading’ as such but allows the student to form their own elemental appraisal. And in doing so, shows the destiny or the outline of energy patterns within an individual; revealing a pathway for that individual to come into a balance within their element, within their season, within their psychological, spiritual essence.
Nature is the key for the study of the Elements of Man. It grants an individual an understanding of self by making sense of the complexity within relationships between man and nature, and what man creates in this dimension. Using the cycle of the four seasons, a link is created to our natural world, and from this foundation one can step beyond the limitations of the elements and project one’s reality.
Essentially allowing one to embrace free will. To never again have to say that I am confused, I am not worthy, I am stuck and cannot move; for there are four temperaments and an element of the four seasons in every situation. From this assurance an individual finds an inner peace and an understanding of why they are here and an understanding of a path or area beyond where they are in this moment. Even if they do not align to the changing of the seasons one can find inner peace and beauty as it presents to them an individual, creative evolution.
It must be said (and hopefully not to be sounding too trite) an overarching feeling of what the Elements of Man taught me was to love the Living Spirit of people; not only to feel that deep within but with a thoughtful, philosophical quality. For me it clarifies the feelings that we all naturally have. By the study of the four seasons in relation to humanity, to our spirituality; one can relax in not knowing about a person and understand that they are not a soul or a personality but a livingness that is part of the greater cosmos.
Of course, as Old Chinese said, the Elements of Man is simply guidance and not the way but one of many ways. And that’s important.
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Hey James, nice article on the Elements, and similar to yourself, I have also used these teachings constantly over the past 35 years as it became a natural part of my life in the way I understand and interact with people.
I equate it to touch typing, where I forgot where each letter is because I never look at the keyboard, but my fingers just know and do the work by themselves.
I began my studies with Glynn on the first IFA program in Melbourne and then went on to do the first Elements course with him, and had my young mind blown. I also caught up with Stuart Wild when he did The Warriors Wisdom which was a blast.
Over the past 35 years, understanding the elements and the nature of people has helped me immensely in all aspects of my life. I feel like everyone should learn it, but, people need to find it for themselves… or not.
This essay was spot on! I have been a student of Stuart Wild’s philosophy since my late 20s when I stumbled across a couple of his books the the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, CO. I know you are also a student of his ideas. Have been working with the elementals for a long time though the Native American Medicine Wheel. That has been my gateway to personal growth for a long time. I really appreciate your writings.
I feel geographically and financially limited at this time. That is my karmic challenge. I long to explore other places and talk to people with other faiths and philosophies. Thank you for bringing some of that to me.