LEI FA THE ALCHEMY OF THUNDER
An important skill in the alchemy of Maoshan is Lei Fa or the Thunder Dharma/Method.
Lei Fa is not , despite what you may have seen in the movies a means of controlling weather or manipulating thunder and lightning, though in some cases that can happen.
Thunder represents the powers of Heaven especially as they pertain to their interaction with the Earth.
Lei Fa is therefore a kind of alchemy an inner process linking man with the active and dynamic forces represented by the idea of Heaven in Chinese metaphysics.
Lei fa alchemy leads to the building and storing of a specific kind of yang , Celestial Qi that has multiple applications in areas as diverse as healing, self-defence, exorcism, blessing and even punishing the wicked.
THE ORIGINS OF THE FIVE THUNDER LAW.
Maoshan and other schools have a system of Thunder Magic and Alchemy but where did it come from?
Read any magical textbook from either revised orthodoxy (Quanzhen, Zhengyi, Wudang, Qingwei etc) or 'folk' magical schools as Nan Maoshan (the one made famous by Ninth Uncle in the Mr Vampire movies), Luban, Meishan, Lushan, Liuren and so on you will find Five Thunder spells, though the folk schools perhaps preserve their method and practice more fully.
Where did they come from? They all share a similar body of spells after all.
The answer is a school of magic developed in the Song Dynasty by Wang Wen Qing called Shenxiao Pai.
Shenxiao, 神霄派, translates as Divine Sky or Spiritual Sky, and named after the highest strata of the Nine Heavens.
The name of this Heaven is found in the primary ritual textbook used by most factions of Daoist Magic called 灵宝无量度人上品妙经.
This important book for example is the source of the Eight Great Spells and other ritual processes of basic Daoism. If you haven't studied it you probably cannot make any serious claim to knowing Daoist practice as it is the primary source of many practices, theoretical metaphysics and cultivation.
To return to our topic, Wang Wenqing was born in 1087 in Jiangxi Province. Disillusioned by conventional Daoism and Confucianism, he meditated in the famous Qingzhen Cave, and met a lady who explained the Five Thunder Technique. She as it turned out was the Thunder Mother herself, Lei Mu, the wife of Lei Gong.
The basic theory is that Man and Heaven are one. However we are of alignment with the cosmos and with ourselves. Five Thunder Alchemy rids of inborn human obstacles (corpses), gathers five elemental Essences and reconciles the opposites of fire and water and wood and metal, refines it by Sun and Moon as Father and Mother, and a new immortality is born from the 'womb' of inner cultivation, gathering Thunder and mixing them, the exponent develops a new power that is used for healing, exorcising spirits, protection from calamities and self development.
It's thunder palm methods are so powerful that ordinary martial arts are abandoned in favour of wu Wei spontaneity.
The Five thunder method and its inner training methods passed to various schools as it was generously shared by Shenxiao missionaries. (lucky China, I only get Mormons) However most are only familiar with vague idea of Five thunder talismans and few undergo the alchemical neigong necessary to work them.
Liuren is especially guilty of this, but Lushan. Meishan and Maoshan have extensive teaching on the topic.
Thunder magic itself has as you can see an extensive training that involves meditation, internal alchemy, meditational visualisation, the drawing and empowering of talismans and gathering thunder.