In Taoism, there are various traditions and schools of thought that have come along through history. Taoist schools are rare and hard to find because there are so few of them out there and most of the secrets of Taoist Alchemy are guarded and kept secret. Why? Because in the old days, knowledge of these arts led to incredible power so warlords and Emperors would make sure these secrets didn’t get into their enemy’s hands. In the West, the Knight’s Templars came back from Jerusalem with a mighty secret (Alchemy) and rose to power almost overnight. No wonder why the Church and ruling establishment went after them and killed them? Those in power like to keep it that way
The study of Taoist Alchemy is a tricky one. One must understand basic precepts of Taoism, Taoist tantric sex, Taoist yoga, and Qigong philosophy to have a foot in the door. Modern Taoist schools seldom teach all of this because most are either focused on scripture or on Qigong (Qi Gong) energy work alone. Qigong philosophy is important as is the practice but it is not everything. To understand Taoist Alchemy, we need to understand the underlying philosophy. We need to understand Who we really are in relation to this Universe and how things work here.
The Taoist way to attain the light body is a tried and true path which involves Taoist Yoga (Qi Gong), Taoist philosophy classes, Qigong philosophy, studies in esoteric Taoism, and, in some traditions, Taoist tantric sex practices. Different Taoist schools teach the path in various ways as there are many ways to climb the same mountain. What is important to remember is that the process is very scientific. We learn to use our body as the workshop and we test and analyze things within our consciousness. We take beliefs and prove them out- either dismissing them or turning them into “knowns”.
Qigong philosophy sits at the core of Taoism in that it teaches us how to move the energy within our bodies and to harmonize yin and yang with the Five Elements. Qi Gong is the core practice of Taoist Yoga and is taught in most Taoist schools. Taoist philosophy classes are rare and harder to find because very few people understand this stuff, let alone can teach it. I’m personally not a big scholar- I’ve read the scriptures but am more interested in the practice of Taoist Yoga and the understanding of Reality as experienced through my own consciousness. Does that mean scriptures are not important? Of course not. Some people gravitate towards the ancient texts and gain immensely from them. It is important to test these principles in one’s own life and to find and validate their truth in one’s practice.
Taoist alchemy and Taoist yoga are broad subjects that also involve healing, the martial arts, Feng Shui (geomancy), and the culinary arts. There are Taoist schools which teach various aspects of these and it is important to learn wherever you can. The Taoist way to attain the light body is a powerful one and there are many rewards along the way. The best way to get in is to start some aspect of the practice today. Most people start with Taoist Yoga (and the accompanying Qigong philosophy). There are Taoist schools which teach Taoist philosophy classes and I’m going to set up a page for resources and links shortly. There’s only so much you can get from a book- then you must find a master. There are good people out there- you just have to know where to look and what to look for.