Diving from Fall into Winter, a Five Elements Perspective
Transitions can be tough, especially as the darker, cooler season grows towards it's peak, sometimes we find ourselves holding onto the warmth and sun of prior months, lamenting the season change. Let's tune into a Five Elements perspective on this season.
First, in East Asian medicine, that was refined during a time where most human activity was agricultural-based, the start of each season is actually much earlier than what we normally think. The apex of each season occurs on the Equinox and Solstices. So, Fall starts some time in late August/early September, and apexes at it's Equinox September 22. Similarly, Winter starts around Halloween/Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos), and apexes the darkest day of the year, December 22. This is less about weather, and more about the movement in Nature and in ourselves, being that we are an extension of Nature, not separate from it.
Let's take a look at the season we're leaving, Fall, the Metal Element. This Element resonates with the Lung and Large Intestine organs, which have physical and spiritual/psychological functions. Lung allows us to connect with our higher selves, through literal and spiritual inspiration. One way to do this is through meditation and stillness, acknowledging what IS, nothing more and nothing less. This is the superpower of Lung. Large Intestine, Lung's Yang sister pair, distills the last bit of usefulness from digested experiences, whether its literal minerals, water, or 'gems' we can use from old situations, before letting the rest of the refuse go. Letting go of what no longer serves can be difficult, and as the trees model this process annually, it reminds us that we can do this for ourselves. It's perfectly in-line with this season to purge closets and garages, to grieve changes and loss, and to feel the desire to do less day to day. This movement with Lung and Large Intestine is a beautiful and necessary part of us: connection and loss, re-connecting and letting go. This sets us up to be ready to move into the next season: Winter.
Water Element resonates with Winter, with cold, retracting inward, deep, inner listening,
connecting to our Dao or Path in life, connecting with our ancestors, and distilling all the movement from this year into ourselves, listening, resting,
percolating. If we are caterpillars, this season is where we crawl into our chrysalis, doing the inner 'work' of resting, getting still enough to hear our intuition, so we can emerge fully in Spring, not as a partially developed butterfly, but as one who is fulfilling our path in life when the Yang returns in warmth and sunlight. Water Element can be challenging for those of us who tend to be hyper-productive and have a hard time resting. It also embodies the deep unknown, connecting with our faith that we will get through the winter, where energy and materials are more sparse in Nature.
So, as we find ourselves in this transition from Fall to Winter, know that within the most Yin time of year, there is always Yang/light/warmth, and let yourself off the hook occasionally for canceling plans and resting a bit more. It's totally on-brand for this season and your body will absolutely thank you in the spring. We also can support you in this season with activating metal and water points that are designed to smooth this transition, as well as helping strengthen immunity and dealing with emotions that are embodied in these elements. Metal and Water, grief and fear, can also be experienced as gratitude/connection and resilience/bravery. Be gentle with yourself and celebrate the wonderful joy of doing nothing, even if it's occasionally.