The Gall Bladder is the Official of Decision Making and Judgement. The Gall Bladder is the only official that deals directly with pure substance, bile. The Gall Bladder functions best with this kind of clarity and purity. Purity and clarity within decisions yield good judgement. The Gall Bladder also has the quality of being morally upright which contributes to good, sound decision making. The Gall Bladder’s purity makes it the official that makes the decisions for all of the systems of the body. Neil Gumenick states, “The Gall Bladder Official was created by Nature precisely to make decisions, evaluate, and provide wise judgment for all in the Kingdom. If failing, the entire being – all twelve Officials - body, mind, and spirit, will begin to fail. No Official will have the ability to well-organize its own functioning or make decisions for its own operation.”
The Gall Bladder cannot function without the Liver, as the Liver is in charge of planning. The Gall Bladder executes the plans. The two work in harmony to bring growth, purpose and hope to the body, mind and spirit. The Gall Bladder can be likened to the contractor and the Liver is the architect. The energy of the Liver and Gall Bladder is that of having plans and bringing them into fruition. JR states, “Gall Bladder is the member of the team whose work fulfill the planner’s hopes and dreams, and at the same time feeds back decisions to the planner as the basis for future blueprints.” The Gall Bladder makes the decisions about how the plans are carried out and in what order. A contractor chooses to put in the foundation before installing the walls of a house; these are decisions the Gall Bladder makes regularly. Timing is also associated with the decisions of the Gall Bladder, when to do what and how to prioritize, in the moment and in advance.
When we think about making decisions, it is difficult to conceive the number of decisions we make in a day. Decisions are happening all day, unconsciously as well as consciously. The Gall Bladder is always active fulfilling its role. Thousands of decisions all day long are being made by the Gall Bladder internally. Resting during the horary times of the Gall Bladder (11pm-1am) and Liver (1am-3am) allows the subconscious decision making and planning to occur, without our minds getting in the way. Very often we say, “I need to sleep on it” before making a decision, this is a reflection of the energy of the Gall Bladder. Bad decisions can turn things sour, which is the taste associated with the Wood Element. Series of bad decisions lead to frustration and anger, not just from the Gall Bladder Official, but from the other Officials as well.
The Nei Ching reminds us that the Gall Bladder is responsible for what is just and exact. Determination and decision stem from the Gall Bladder, it assists us in getting around obstacles no matter what they might look like. The Gall Bladder occupies the position of an important and upright official who excels through his decisions and judgements. There is dignity in the uprightness of the Gall Bladder. The Gall Bladder is responsible for the systems working well, efficiently, and achieving completion. The Gall Bladder leaves nothing undone, even if there are challenges along the way. The Gall Bladder excels at making decisions in the present moment. The decision most overlooked is the decision to do nothing at all. The Gall Bladder gives us this power. A Gall Bladder out of balance may be looking too far into the future. There can be great regret when the Gall Bladder is out of balance and the decision one makes don’t work out well.
The Wood Element is the mother of the Fire Element in the Law of Mother and Child. The Liver and Gall Bladder communicate with the Heart, the Emperor, about making decisions for its kingdom. When Fire is not fed by Wood, things can go out of control or smother. This can look like someone asking for guidance, being unable to make up their own mind or the attitude, “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it.” Heart problems can manifest if the energy of the Fire Element is too low due to the Wood Element not supplying it with energy.
Physiologically, the gall bladder holds the function of storing bile which was secreted by the liver. It is important to note that if the gall bladder is removed, the energy system will reroute. Removal of the organ doesn’t necessarily mean that the function won’t work well. Even the body itself, can function well without the organ. The Gall Bladder Meridian has 44 points and runs down the side of the body. It is the only meridian that traverses in this way. It moves through the major joints of the body. Thus, easy, smooth, coordinated movements are associated with healthy Gall Bladder function. Whereas, clumsy, uncoordinated, awkward movements that lack flow are associated with a Gall Bladder that is out of balance. Coordination of body, mind and spirit is a function of the Gall Bladder.
Physically, diminished coordination and balance above and below, inside and outside, right and left can be a function of a limit in the Gall Bladder’s function. Movement is very important to the Gall Bladder and Liver as well. When the Gall Bladder doesn’t have enough movement, there is a feeling of being stuck. Physical movement alleviates this stagnation. Stiffness, inflexibility, and rigidity of the body, mind and spirit are a product of the Gall Bladder not functioning well. A Gall Bladder in balance will afford someone the skill of being “good on their feet”.
When in balance, there is a sense of security and harmony associated with the Gall Bladder. Things seem to go smoothly according to plan and adjustments are made easily. There is a sense of self confidence that one can handle what comes one’s way. This confidence carries toward the future. Furthermore, the Gall Bladder gives us sound judgment. The Gall Bladder and Liver contribute to our ability to have vision. Specifically, the Gall Bladder gives us perspective. When it functions poorly, we have tunnel vision or we can only see one path. We can become aimless. On the contrary, we can also see so many possibilities that we cannot decide. The Gall Bladder gives us tolerance and understanding. ‘Choice’ is associated with the Gall Bladder and its’ function reminds us that there are always choices in everything we do. The Gall Bladder gives us the ability to choose. JR goes on to say, “The better the health of our Gall Bladder, the clearer our thoughts and thought processes will be.”
When out of balance, there is hesitancy, timidity, panic and indecision. Indecision might present like being glued to the spot or frozen by decision (rather than fear which might be a reflection of Water). Judgmental qualities toward self and others, criticism toward self and others, narrow mindedness, and a limited scope might be signs of an imbalance within the Gall Bladder. The Gall Bladder out of balance cannot handle impurities and may overcompensate by micromanaging. The Gall Bladder out of balance may also impart a sense of ‘should upon others’. One may present with the panic or fright of indecision, which may initially lead a practitioner toward other elements, but at the root indecision could be the cause which indicates an imbalance in Wood, specifically, the Gall Bladder. Uncertainty can produce great distress. Physically, because of the meridian’s pathway over the head twice, the Gall Bladder may contribute to headaches, dizziness, one-sided symptoms. The Sayings such as, “think twice before making a decision” and “measure twice, cut once” can be linked to the Gall Bladder’s function and its’ meridian.
It also seems worthy to share this quote from Neil Gumenick, “In the state of pure, unobstructed consciousness, there is really no choosing. Seeing with brightness and clarity, we simply know what path to take. We choose the path of the Tao, (or Nature, or Divine will, call it by whatever name) – the path that is right for who we uniquely are. Without the distractions of the chattering mind, we are oriented toward health in its fullest expression – love, happiness, peace, wisdom, hope, and strength. Our natural inclination becomes service to benefit.”
The correspondences of the Wood Element and hence the Liver and Gall Bladder Officials are:
Fortification: Ligaments and Tendons
Classical Five Element Acupuncture, Volume 3 by JR Worsley
Personal Class Notes ITEA 2019
The Liver Official by Neil Gumenick