Stepping Toward Emptiness: Daoist Inner Alchemy and the Path to Enlightenment

October 19 - October 23, 2020

Ian Duncan

Inner Alchemy, or NeiDan (“nay-dawn”), is one of the treasures of the Daoist tradition. It is a method of meditative practice including mudras, mantras, movements and visualization that work together to remove the obstacles in our bodies and minds, opening us to see things as they truly are. At the same time, Inner Alchemy is an articulation of the View, a model for understanding ultimate reality. Weaving together the metaphors of agricultural cultivation (seed, sprout, flower, fruit) and chemical transmutation (lead, mercury, gold), Inner Alchemy challenges us to overcome the limits of our current understanding. It aligns our minds like the needle of a compass, guiding us home.
Join Daoist priest and master alchemist Ian Duncan for this immersive week of transformative practice and Daoist teachings. Experience the warmth and strength of practicing with the community of committed practitioners associated with Ian’s Northern Dipper Temple.
Whether you are newly inspired or a seasoned practitioner and meditator, you will find the support you need to deepen your relationship to the ineffable Mystery and clarify the method, meaning and purpose of stepping toward emptiness - the Daoist path to Enlightenment.
The retreat will include movement and stillness meditations, and teachings from the Scripture of the Yin Talisman, and the Scripture on Clarity and Stillness, and the Heart Seal Scripture. Participants will practice silence outside of class discussion. Meals will be vegetarian.

Monday, April 27th
  • 3 - 6pm Arrival & Check-in
  • 6 - 7pm Dinner
  • 7:30 - 8:30pm Welcome Ceremony and Evening Practice
Tuesday, April 28th - Thursday, April 30th
  • 6:30 - 8am Morning Practice: Prayers, Alchemy, Meditation
  • 8 - 9:30am Breakfast
  • 9:30 - 11am Tea and Discussion
  • 11am - 12pm DaoYin and Meditation
  • 12 - 1pm Lunch
  • 1 - 3pm Free time for Relaxation or Spa
  • 3 - 4pm Practice details and instruction
  • 4 - 5pm Alchemy and Meditation
  • 5 - 6:30pm Dinner and break
  • 6:30 - 7:30pm Evening Practice: Alchemy and Meditation
Friday, May 1st
  • 6:30 - 8am Morning Practice: Prayers, Alchemy, Meditation
  • 8 - 9am Breakfast
  • 9 - 10am Check out
  • 10am - 12pm Tea and Closing Ceremony
  • 12 - 1pm Lunch & Departure
*Please note that schedule is subject to change.


Ian Duncan

Ian is a Daoist priest and teacher known for his clear articulation of traditional wisdom. With a background in poetry, painting, and philosophy, he brings precision and sensitivity to the language of the subtle and profound. He is the Abbot and Founder of the Northern Dipper Tem...



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