Welcome to my favourite Season, Autumn! also known as the Metal Season in Chinese Medicine. As the days shorten and the leaves fall and the harvest comes to an end we find ourselves in this season of letting go and finding what is of most value to us. This is not only a season of the year but also a natural part of our day (late afternoon/evening), our monthly cycles for those of us who bleed (premenstuation), the moon cycle (waning moon) and our life cycles (perimenopause). It is the time when we prepare for the rest of night/winter/elderhood and we shed the layers of what we no longer need so that we can come to what is of most importance to us as we move forward. This can be felt strongly during premenstruation and perimenopause, if our lives are out of balance and we have many things that are not serving us that we are resisting letting go of or feel that we cant let go of. We can look to nature for an example of the ease with which the trees and plants are letting go of their fruits and leaves and preparing to rest for the winter.
The organs that are associated with this season are there to help us with this process, our lungs through the inhale and exhale and our large intestine with it’s clearing of the waste from our system, as well as the skin which also helps us clear toxins. If these organs are working well we can more easily clear the burdens from our body and we can also clear any trapped emotions, especially grief and sadness which are natural emotions when we are letting go of something, be that a dream we had, the coming end of our reproductive years, the end of a relationship or the death of a loved one. But if this grief over runs us these organs can become impacted, causing shortness of breath, asthma, constipation, obstructed bowels, eczema, rashes, and other skin issues. The spirit of Metal is known as the Po or the corporeal soul and it is said to enter into our bodies when we are born and return to the earth when we die. Disorders of the po were known as the seven ghosts with names like stinking lung, flying poison, greedy thief, dog’s cadaver. Each associated with severe emotional repression causing great somatic illness in the body. I find this so interesting as so many cultures including my Celtic Ancestors saw this time of year as being a time of ghosts, where the veil between the world thins.
“The corporeal soul is the spirit of the Metal element. This means it’s mortal and it dies. Po comes from our mother (Earth). It houses all the automatic systems and instincts. Everything that can breathe has Po. Po being part of the body makes us introspective.”
To Strengthen our Po
There are several things we can do to strengthen our Po and allow for introspection and pull ourselves out of being stuck in introspection. For the acupuncture pts, massaging them for a few minutes or place a drop of the suggested essential oil (EO) or flower essence (FE) on them.
- Deep Belly Breaths- support our lung function, stimulate our bowels, helps release grief
- Lu3 Palace of Heaven- Helps us to let go of our grief (frankincense EO)
- Lu5 Elbow Marsh- promotes movement when we are stuck in grief or introspection
- Lu9 Supreme Abyss- supports us in reflecting on our lives (Atlas cedar EO)
Metal Season Reflections
As we naturally move inward with the season taking some quiet time to reflect on what we value and what we are ready to let go of can be incredibly nourishing to our metal element and Po. Take some time away and sit with these questions.
- What are you ready to let go of?
- What is no longer providing value to you?
- What is draining or depleting to you right now?
- What are your core values?
- Why are these important to you?
- What is preventing you from living them?
.Living in alignment with the season
As we are beings of nature our bodies need to live in alignment with the seasons in order to maintain optimal health and vitality. Some ways we can do that are eating seasonally, dressing for the weather, sleeping with the patterns of the sun and getting outside as much as possible. In the Autumn these things can support our bodies:
- Eating more pungent white foods: onion, garlic, apples, radish, daikon, white beans, cauliflower, mushrooms.
- Eating warm slow cooked foods like soups and stews
- Going to bed earlier and sleeping later
- doing more gentle exercise: qi gong, yoga, walking
- Keeping our necks, heads, feet and bellies/low backs covered to keep our bodies warm and prevent pathogenic wind, cold and damp from entering the body