Opening the Vermillion Spirit

by John Anderson

304 pages / 4 March 2021 / 9781947544307

An openness to being is the crucial reckoning of the human experience. Following on the heels of The Way of the Living GhostOpening the Vermillion Spirit implores the reader to take a different path, to see with fresh eyes the world surrounding us. In doing this we are asked to push into and through those spaces within us most in need of attendance.

The Vermillion Spirit is that spirit within us that allows for awareness-as-now and which works toward a fractal coherence of now. This spirit, known in the Chinese culture as the Shen of the Heart, is part of an inborn cosmology that is native to each of us, and which, if we are moving and function in dynamic harmony with the movements of the Dao, must remain open to change and chance.

The Shen spirit and the Heart which seats it must be open, so that it may both receive simultaneously emanate the qi which exists as the substrate to being-in-itself and experience-as-it-is, and which is always subject to change.

Scaffolded on the dialogue between two sages, the old friends “Brittle Bones” and “Baby’s Breath,” each passage provides ample space for personal exploration and reflection as the reader is guided into meditations on the nature of the elements and the Five Shen, the aliveness of space, the importance of nourishment as a precursor to being, and repeated, living practice as an act of reification of the Spirit and of the spirits which dwell within each of us. Within the text the reader is provided with some practical components which are meant to serve as cues toward opening oneself, emptying out into the world, and capturing that which is given in return.

It is the return of the person away from the path of the ghost onto a path of human-ness, and humaneness, a path of ease and pliability, of curiosity and playfulness, all of which serve to strengthen relationship to oneself, the spirits, and to the world.

Featuring a foreword by Brandt Stickley, and art by Bryan Paul Patterson and Joseph Uccello.

In stock (can be backordered)


About the Author

John Anderson is a practitioner and teacher of several styles of Asian medicine having received his Master’s degree in Oriental Medicine at the Florida College of Integrative Medicine (FCIM) and his Doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM). Dr. Anderson’s formal training extends to the use of herbal medicine from the perspective of Chinese medicine, both classical (ShangHan method) and contemporary (through the Ding/Shen/Hammer lineage).

¶ In addition to his formal education in Chinese Medicine, he has had training in Lakota practices and in Eastern esoteric herbal medicine and Chinese folk medicines. As part of his broader learning process, he has worked with plants, stones, and other natural ingredients for the better part of twenty years, beginning with many aspects of contemporary European paganism. This interest evolved and grew to encompass Eastern philosophies and practices. His ongoing research interests include: Gu syndromes, virtue medicine in tradition of Wang Fengyi, Daoist and Buddhist exorcistic practices, and Disability Studies at large. His work on Gu has appeared in Verdant Gnosis, volume 4. Opening the Vermillion Spirit is the second of three books, following on his 2019 Way of the Living Ghost.

¶ Dr. Anderson currently teaches at South Baylo University (SBU) in Virginia where he teaches all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to graduate students including diagnosis, acupuncture, and herbal medicine. In past years, he has also taught in Florida at the Florida College of Integrative Medicine (FCIM).


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