This comes from the Jian Shan pai (Gold mountain Taoist alchemy system) The 24 stems or Jieqi are 24 days in the year in which the universe takes a deep breath and sucks the life force out of everything. Something similar also occurs on new and full moons. What we are supposed to do is either practice qigong or neigong (dan tian, microcosmic orbit and meditation on wuji (void)) 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after the time of change. Example: if the change occurs at 4:48pm (like today’s Winter Solstice), start 20 minutes before. This helps to preserve and store the Qi/prana. There is another system I keep mindful of, but do not do the neigong. At that time, some people focus more on the vertebrae, so Dec. 21 it is L5 at base of spine, and will move up spine each jieqi.
The jieqi are 24 transitions through the constellations so it is a practice of the “stars” while moon we use full and new moon. For the sun, it is daily practice in the Zi, Wu, Mao Yu times. Zi is 11pm to 1am, Wu is 11am to 1pm, mao is 5-7am, and Yu, is 5-7pm (basically midnight, midday, sunrise, sunset). Very powerful meditation times in many cultures. If a full or new moon or jieqi time is within the zi, wu, mao yu time it is auspicious. Keep in mind the jieqi times can be dangerous- accidents can happen, terminally ill people may die. People tend to have a real bad day if they are unaware. High blood pressure and headaches are common. 12 of the jieqi times are based on the 12 zodiac changes through the year, while the other 12 are half-way between the zodiac change times. total 24.
Winter Solstice is December 21st. It is a time to activate the yang (warming, light, movement) to avoid illness. The solstice is the shortest day and longest night. It is the extreme of yin (dark, cold, still). However, it is the day of “Return”. Our world will be returning towards yang: light, heat, warmth as the days will start to get warmer as we move toward Spring.
Winter solstice lifestyle tips: go to bed early and sleep in late. 7 to 8 hours of rest is recommended. Be persistent in moving. Try walking, Tai Chi, Yoga, or Qigong daily. Stay at home, cultivate quiet and calm. Restrain from rich foods, alcohol, and too many parties. Meditate, rest, and reflect.
Nutrition and Diet: Nourish the Kidneys and Spleen with foods like rice congee, lamb and beef stew, Shan yao (Nagaimo), and winter squash. Take some small amounts of acrid foods like ginger, Scallion, and Black pepper. Avoid foods that are cold, greasy, raw and uncooked, and very spicy.
Acupressure: massage and keep these areas warm: Ren 4, Ren 6, Stomach 36, and Gall Bladder 31. Press and massage 30 times small circles to help maintain health through winter.
Qigong: Continue with “Dan Tian” breathing. Breathe with the lower belly area and feel a sensation 4 fingers below the belly button and 4 fingers inside the body from the Ren 4 point. We call this “Dan Tian” or “Field of Medicine” . It is actually an area very powerful in the body. It is below the diaphragm, above the perineum, behind the abdominal muscles, near uterus and ovaries, in the area of small intestines, and in front of the lower back and spine. Try to meditate there twice a day for 20 minutes. If the mind wanders off just go back to watching the breathing go in and out, feel the belly rise and fall. It is very transformative for mind, body, energy, and spirit.