This article is from the Magick Tantra FAQ, by Tyagi Nagasiva email@example.com, Catherine Yronwode firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Taoism is a Chinese philosophy and religion which
has been influenced by Chinese animism and Buddhism.
It integrates a polar and complementary symbolism and
ambiguous scripture to mystical and semi-scientific
ends (life-extension, enhancement of consciousness,
the transmutation of matter). Its anarchistic and
revolutionary elements are balanced by an arguably
quietist approach to nature-worship.
The alchemy of Taoism focusses largely upon extension
of human life (especially in concocting the Pill of
Immortality), and the methods which are used to create
it sometimes include specifically sexual activities in
order to prepare the one who will be ingesting the Pill
or to inspire the creation of some internal condition for
which the Pill is merely a metaphor.
There are complex systems of physical and/or psychic
developments described within Taoist alchemical texts,
often purely through implication (called "shadow
language"), but sometimes in terms that are unequivocally
sexual. Such texts at times seem to make explicit references
to copulation, though interpreters differ in their instruction
as to how much the reader ought take literally and how
much to understand as solely symbolical. Features such as
inner furnaces and crucibles, mythical animals such as
dragons and phoenixes, and living species like tigers and
tortoises become references to internal and external mystical
and sexual elements only decoded by those who have the proper