As a rule, people are afraid of the wind and instinctively try to avoid it, and close their body off from it. When people do this, it’s not the wind that makes them feel cold, but the tightening of their own body, as if they can shrink so the wind can’t find them. Wind work uses the same principle as Shui Long practice’s approach to the water—since the wind cannot be stopped, to fight its influence is only to waste our energy. It is like playing with a puppy—the harder we play with the puppy, the more furious it becomes until it wears us out. Using all our energy to avoid the influence of the wind only wears us out, and this is what makes us vulnerable to what is called in Chinese medicine ‘pathogenic wind’. A statement of fact in Chinese medicine is, “If the body’s qi is righteous, the pathogen has no place to enter”. To preserve our energy is to support the body’s righteous qi.

The main task of the feng long practitioner seeking knowledge is to open him or herself to the wind, letting it pass through the body or flow around the body. When this happens, a person receives energy from the wind, rather than wasting their own energy to avoid it. An experienced practitioner of feng long exercises feels as if he or she wears armor that is so full of energy that the whole body feels like it has grown larger.


Each wind has its melody, and can teach it to the knowledge seeker. Each person also has a personal melody. So, a flute master playing another person’s melody can either heal that person or harm them. The same is true not only for people, but for countries. A flute master can start or stop a hurricane with a special melody. Treating illnesses requires playing a special melody on a flute specifically used for this purpose.

When taking up flute work, it’s all right if you’re not musically inclined, or have never played a flute before. The wind will teach you how to play it. First, however, you need to discover your personal wind, and then find your flute; the right wind for you, and the right flute, are essential to productive wind work. Then, ask (pray) with intention that the right flute for your beginning work comes to you. The best choice would be a gift of a flute from another practitioner of shui long and feng long; a gift from any friend who supports your meditation practice is a good source; or you could see a flute in your dreams or in a vision that shows you where to find it, or even make it yourself with found objects. In any case, simply buying the flute won’t do! You can only get the proper flute for such work either as a gift, as something found, or something self-made.

Once you have your flute, wear it on your body near the heart under your clothes whenever possible, so that the flute may feel the rhythm of your heart, the sound of your body. Treat the instrument with care and respect, as if it is a living being, or a precious jewel (even if it is only something you’ve crafted from a reed or bamboo). It’s best if no one but yourself touch it or play it, for it becomes a sacred object when it is devoted to meditation practice.


ocarinaEach wind has its own flute:

the northeast—a bamboo flute;

the east and southeast both—a wooden flute from a special tree;

the south (fire phase) —
eagle bone flutes, which have a high pitch like a whistle;

the southwest—special wooden flutes, or ocarinas;

the west (metal)—metal flutes (which can also be used for the northeast).

the north—water flutes or water whistles; horns can be used as well (horns can also be used for working with the south wind).


In ancient times, flutes made from the shinbone of a dead man were used to work with the north wind. One of our spirit guides told us the story of a young man who made a flute from his dead bride’s shinbone. The flute played such a sad melody that often young men suffering from unrequited love would take their own lives when hearing the music from his tragic instrument.

Just as you can only work with wind outdoors, so too working with the flute needs to be outdoors. For beginners, it’s best to stick with simple, gentle natural settings—fields or forests. Flute work is powerful and shouldn’t be underestimated; to practice it in very powerful spots such as on a river bank, in mountains, or on a lake in the beginning is best avoided, as the energies of the natural site may be too overwhelming and distracting, even confusing. It is best of you are alone or with friends who support your meditation practices: you’re not playing tunes for entertainment, but finding the flute’s voice (with the help of your personal wind). Avoid a situation that will make you feel self-conscious and inhibited about following your instincts. The flute isn’t there to provide music for recreation, or music to soothe your ears, but to play music for your heart. One day, a spiritual guide (or even Heavenly Master) will come to you to teach you flute work, and the most mysterious secrets of the universe will open to you….

feng long photo of Isabeau at Emigrant Lake courtesy of Elizabeth Ellingson

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