Chinese Five Elements:
The Season of Metal
by Karen Shaw
Metal is the element of the season of Autumn.
Metal is the inspiration, the breathing into our physical bodies the
“Gift of Anterior Heaven” upon our birth, our first breath. Metal is
concerned with first and last moments, entrances and exitings,
inspiration and closure. It is the quality of what our lives can
hold and become. The stillpoint of Earth gives way to the descending
energy of Fall. Nature around us has begun the descent within, and
our Energy mirrors that descent. We are stopped and momentarily
returned to the inside. We are meant to take time, to go within, to
discern what is of value and to let go of that which does not serve.
Physically, the Metal Element governs the Organ
Systems of the Lung and the Large Intestine. Like a deep breath itself,
the Lung Meridian begins deep in our chest, goes up and then down in a
long decent to the nail point on our thumb. The Large Intestine Meridian
begins on our index finger goes up our arm, along the side of our neck,
ending next to our nostril. These two Organ Systems govern so much more
than our basic Western idea of the Lung and Large Intestine.
The sum of our breaths is the beginning and
ending of life. To inhale deeply allows us to participate fully in life,
to know the rhythmic processes of life. Our independent existence begins
and ends with the breath. It is the Art of the Lung to live each breath
The Metal Element honors the Sacred in every
aspect of day to day living. Each task becomes ritual, each responsibility
becomes ceremony. There is a connection to the heavens that permeates all
that is done. The Earth Element pertained to our Mother with all the
groundedness and nurturance we needed. The Metal Element pertains to the
Father, the heavenly aspect of our being. It is literally our inspiration
from above and from all around us. We breathe in our connection to the
Universe and our Guidance. This is the loftiness, the ideal, the quality
that the Metal element strives for: this level of Spiritual connection.
We feel this yearning as a poignancy of each
passing moment in this season of Autumn, this season of the Metal element.
We feel in our hearts what is vital to our being, vital to our life, vital
to our journey. We respond by honoring what we have that is precious to
us, what we have accomplished that is our Soul’s path, and letting go of
that which does not serve us. We grieve the losses as we let them go. The
grief process being a cleansing that allows us to bare down our lives so
that we may enter into the Winter and into rest.
What are some of the ways we can know the Metal
Element within us and within our lives?
We can recognize our reality. Metal can be very
exacting, and when it is distressed we see everything in absolutes and
extremes. Our vocabulary reflects this with the words “always” and “never”
and such punctuating each statement.
We can create ritual, and honor that which we
do day to day.
We can learn to trust the Earth’s seasons and
allow Nature’s seasons to teach us beauty in our transience.
We can recognize that the processes of the
Metal Element within us do not like to be rushed. They need to be ALLOWED
to be fully experienced.
We can give space to what is, allow the
bittersweet edge of life, let go and simply accept.
We can know our breath and thus truly know the
rhythmic process of life.
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