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Oxrider Academy



Stories, thoughts and fantasies about Chinese medicine, systems thinking and Taoist philosophy regularly appear here.

Obituary for Sybill Huessen

Sybill with the gentleness and power of water… whether you were just starting out in Chinese medicine and pulse diagnosis or had been in the profession for years… whether you were a student or had been teaching the profession for years… Sybill made you feel that you could learn it, that you had it in you and at the same time she could make you feel that you were just at the beginning and there was still so much to learn…

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Sybill Huessen


A fortnight ago we celebrated Midsummer. We did this at Oxrider with a wonderful lecture by Jan van der Greef. His experience of “being one” with nature, which he is able to represent so brilliantly in his photos and calligraphy, touched me and reminded me of my lessons in WuDan Shan on the concept of WuJi.

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Oxrider Academy - Blog WuJi

Bai Lu - White Dew

As you read this, the autumn equinox is a fact. I am writing this in the period of the “White Dew”, in the week of 7 September.

The Chinese calendar has 24 solar periods, so-called solar terms, which divide the year into equal parts. They are named after the natural phenomena that are characteristic of the respective weeks. For example, the period at the end of summer, just before the astronomical autumn begins, is called “Bai Lu”. Freely translated, “Bai Lu” means “White Dew”. And that is exactly what we observe when we walk through nature in the early morning. Everywhere between and over the grass stalks hang cobwebs, glistening with dew drops. Water drops that sparkle like pearls hang from the leaves, the twigs and the grass. A morning mist hangs over the field, filtering and diffusing the light of the rising sun. The name “White Dew – Bai Lu” fits perfectly.

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A little bit the feeling of being in China

As I write this and prepare for the start of the summer holiday courses, I realise that some of you are still enjoying a well-deserved holiday. Some of you have braved the perils of the corona measures. Vaccination passport, PRC tests, border checks and discussions with friends, family and holiday destinations survived. But it is worth it… enjoying the foreign sun, far away from the misery at home.

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Qi, pure experience

In his inspiring blog of December, Yan Schroën reflected on the indescribability of ‘Qi’. And that indescribability also makes it so challenging, because we actually want so much to ‘grasp’ everything, to have a sense of control over the things around us. Taoism, however, teaches us through non-duality the importance of letting go, of accepting who we are and what is and above all to trust in life itself.

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Jan van der Greef - Qi


The theme of this newsletter is connecting. The character Qi has three basic characteristics: exchanging information, moving and… connecting. Everything around us is connected. There are no separate parts. And I too cannot see myself outside and apart from the people, animals, plants and things around me. Even though sometimes I think I am alone, not connected. But that is only a thought.

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Oxrider Academy Blog verbondenheid

Zhuang Zi and the butterfly

In his book “The Order of Time”, Carlo Rovelli describes that a universal time does not exist and also explains why this is so according to Einstein’s special theory of relativity. He shows that each of us creates his or her own time. Time runs faster for someone 3500 metres up in the mountains than for someone in the polder, below sea level. Each height between these 3500 metres and sea level has its own specific time.

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Oxrider Academy Zhuang Zi en de vlinder

Kristofer Schipper

When, in the early eighties, I read the book “Tao, the living religion of China”, a new world opened up for me. Until then, I had read and heard all kinds of things about Tao, Yin and Yang and the like. But I had never before seen or heard these concepts in the context of the original Chinese texts or the living tradition of these religious rituals. Qi and Yin and Yang were terms from alternative medicine or spiritual philosophies.

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Oxrider Academy - Kristofer Schipper


Last weeks, I was finalising the teaching material for the course “Systems thinking and Taoist philosophy” and I was struggling with the explanation of the duality of our reality, which actually is not a duality. Only to our perception. But as we have grown up with and in this duality, it is often difficult to see and experience the Oneness of the whole.

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Oxrider Academy - Blog - Gingko


In the past few weeks, I have been preparing the Midwinter Lecture. In the process, I reread Ken Rose’s wonderful book, “A Brief History of Qi”. Impressive, profound and yet so clear, how he follows the development of the Chinese character Qi over 3500 years. I became very aware again of how the original meaning of words, especially from another culture and time, can be lost in a translation. How a word can be transformed from one cultural framework into another and lose its essence in the process. Without intention of the translator, who often does not realise that he is reading and understanding the other language through his own cultural glasses.

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A conversation...

Last week I spoke to a colleague. Well, speaking…

At first there was a conversation, but it quickly turned into a heated discussion.

It started with him asking me what I thought of the whole corona approach. Whether I could agree with the measures imposed on us by the Cabinet and the RIVM. And whether I would be vaccinated if the corona vaccine was released.

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In the ShiJi (literally “Historical Survey”) from 85 B.C. the Chinese historian and scientist Sima Qian describes the life of Lao Zi, the first philosopher of Chinese Taoism and the probable author of the Dao De Jing. There is a lot of discussion as to whether Lao Zi really existed or whether he is a fictional person who is used to shape the ideas of Taoism. Fact is that ShiJi is the primary source where the story of the founder of Taoism is told.

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Dans of the paradigms

When we talk about science, most of us think of the methodology described by Newton and Descartes. Few are aware that there are different directions and methods within science to approach reality.

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A new beginning

Happy New Year and all the best, happiness and health for 2020! Maybe a little late at the end of January, but not according to Asian tradition. And since we are a little bit between the two cultures with Chinese medicine in Europe, a prosperous New Year from both the solar and the lunar calendars.

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Will it be wintertime?

Will it be winter time or will Europe opt for summer time? Or will it be the typical Dutch polder solution of shifting half an hour and moving exactly between winter and summer time, as a group of Dutch meteorologists suggested? Everything can be made in our world. Also our time and our relationship with day and night and the seasons.

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