Autumn is my favorite season.  I love the cool mornings, the sun with a lower intensity, and the energy as the season shifts.  Even though people consider spring to be a season of beginnings, my experience is that autumn is truly a time of beginning in my life.  After being cooped up all summer the energy begins to expand outward, but more importantly there is an inward expansion of energy.  As we move into September and October we find that the veil between the realms begins to thin and this is a perfect time to cultivate our inner space, clear out the old and begin to plant the seeds that will bring us fruition in the next spring and summer.

In the Five Element System, the fall is ruled by the metal element.  It is characterized by yin energy.  And what I am calling an inward expansion is usually referred to as contraction.  The wheel of the year passes from the summer where we have full-on vibrant yang energy to a transitional period of balanced yin and yang into a rising yin energy.  Right now we are in the balanced period, but I am anticipating the deepening of yin.  Autumn begins to see an increase in this yin energy: receptive, quiet, dark.

From autumn the yin increases until in the depths of winter we find us in full-on yin energy. While yin itself is contracting and stilling, the overall process of increasing yin is an expansion of yin. Hence I experience expansion within what would be overall considered a darkening, drying and withering phase.

When I am living in harmony with the seasons I find that fall is time for nesting and preparing for increased internal activities.  It is a time for coming home.  We are collecting our energy that was loosed during the year.  It is a good time for personal reflection – especially on the gains and loses of the year.  As we move deeper into the fall and the winter we will have ample opportunity to process the past year.  Emotions may arise from our deep inner pool as we emotionally experience at a greater depth the recent changes in our relationships.

Find below the Metal Element from my recently painted series:  Mandalas of the Five Element System.

Mandala for the Metal Element.

Mandala for the Metal Element.

2 thoughts on “Autumn

  1. love the mandala. would welcome some more specific info. on yin & yang.. of course I know about them, and have for a long time-but my understanding seems a bit vague to me.

    • Yin and Yang represent the basic dualism that underlies the world we experience. Harmony exists when these are in balance. This is a dynamic balance. We see yang energy more prevalent in the summer: hot sun, outward growth, light, movement. Yin energy predominates the winter: more dark, hibernation, inward focus, cool, water. In harmony, the body and all things will cycle with a dance between the yin and yang aspects.

      The balance of these is apparent in health. Chinese medicine is based on both keeping yin and yang in balance and keeping the five elements in balance. A simple example is when the body is dry, hot, and feverish (yang excess) one would work to cool and moisten the condition (increase yin). In meditation, if the mind is agitated (yang) then the practice is to calm the mind by following the breath.

      There are a great deal of subtleties as well. Sometimes yang is excess because there is too much and sometimes it is excess because the yin is too deficient. For instance, a child or young adult typically has sufficient yang and when they get a cold or flu they simply need to have it controlled. However, a elderly person often is yang deficient and when they get a cold or flu it is more difficult to treat because you do not want to use too strong of a therapy. You don’t want to depress their already low yang state. Ideally, you would work to get an elderly person back in balance before they have an acute illness.

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