Summer is upon us. In the five element system, summer is ruled by fire element. This is an extremely expansive season. The extra fire from the sun fuels plant growth and expansion. Lots of yang energy, which means, heat, fruition, passion, expansion, and glory. The fire element is all about an external show of power, form and structure.
Mandala for the Fire Element
Summer in Phoenix is a good example of what excess fire/yang energy can do. In Phoenix, the excess fire scorches the earth and instead of expansion we experience a withering of resources and energy. Usually the water element is activated to balance and subdue fire. We experience this as the summer monsoons. The rain pours down to temper the effects of the summer heat. Good to prevent the fire element from turning everything to dust!
Similarly, too much fire in the body is experienced as inflammation and eruptions. If balance is not restored, the internal organs can fall apart from the scorching action of the fire element. The treatment? Much like the desert monsoons, one can find relief with cooling substances such as anti-oxidant rich juices and herbs like burdock and dandelion root. In contrast, conditions where fire is lacking, including indigestion, are benefited by things that create fire, such as the spices like cloves, cardamon, and ginger.
Sometimes it is not so clear how to treat digestive disturbances. For instance, lack of “fire” in the stomach can result in intestinal ulcers (a fire condition) or other inflammatory conditions of the gut (cramping, gas and bloating). From an allopathic perspective treatment for an ulcer involves suppressing fire by the use of anti-acids. From a traditional perspective, the cause of the ulcer would need to be determined first. Some people get ulcers from hyper-secretion of acid while others get ulcers from hypo-secretion of acid. One situation calls for a cooling action the other requires more fuel be added to the fire.
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.