Tai chi to the four directions, after druidic work and Five Golden Coins. Not bad. I’m pleased with the results.
Pleased with the results, in this case, means being pleased to discover that something throws me off balance about doing tai chi four times, in four different directions. I’m used to doing tai chi facing east. I’m told there’s a tradition of doing tai chi while facing south, but I never learned that, so I tend to face east because that’s the important direction in the magical traditions I know.
But doing tai chi four times, in four different starting directions? I wind up visiting every corner of the room a couple of times, in a couple of different ways. When facing east, the northeast and southwest corners get a lot of attention. When facing south, the southeast and northwest corners get a lot of attention. When facing west, the southwest and northeast corners get a lot of attention. While facing north, the northwest and southeast corners get a lot of attention.
That’s a lot of corners.
But it’s become clear to me that tai chi is often a “most of the way around the room” practice. In the course of a tai chi movement, I generally visit a few corners again and again. The practice floats around the center of the box, and defends that central box against all comers, a little at a time.
Changing directions, though, changes the background against which one faces the imaginary opponent. When doing tai chi while facing east at the start, the Golden Pheasant movements are done facing east, too. But shift direction, and suddenly you’re facing south while kicking. And this is startling, and off-putting at first. Which means ‘learning to ignore’ the evidence that you’re facing the ‘wrong’ direction, and getting over one’s surprise, and continuing to do tai chi at whatever speed you’re doing it.
It’s a useful insight — continuing to do tai chi in only one direction in a place was causing me stress and confusion when I changed direction. So changing direction more frequently should help me get over my surprise and confusion when I’m facing the wrong direction, and help me focus on doing the practice regardless of where I start.