By: Jonathan Bronson, L Ac.
Blue Heron Wellness
Welcome to the time of shorter days, cooler weather, and pumpkin spice everything. It’s Autumn time. Of course, in the modern world, the beginning of Autumn is marked by the Autumnal Equinox, this year on September 22. On the other hand, did you know that on the ancient Chinese lunar calendar the first month of Autumn began in the beginning of August? The ancients had a way of wisely identifying the beginning, middle, and end of events. Therefore, an Equinox or a Solstice was considered to be the middle of a season instead of the beginning. So, when you hear the term Autumn time in Chinese Medicine it’s really referring to the months of roughly the beginning of August to the end of October. Sometimes this time period is called the “Metal Phase” or “Metal Element.”
That phase or “element” is associated with letting go. It is an acknowledgment of the end of growth that exists in the macrocosm of nature and the microcosm of a single person. In fact, all of the seasonal phases were used to contextualize the human experience. For example, in Late Summer/beginning of Autumn time there was a harvest; later in Autumn changes in the leaves; finally letting go of leaves. So too for people, we have a time of harvesting life’s experience, changing as a result, then letting go of old ways of being. In a physical sense, this is related to digestion. First you eat, then you eliminate. In a psycho-emotional sense, we take in life’s experiences, digest, and come out transformed.
Another example of the comparison between macrocosmic displays and microcosmic functions in a person regarding the Metal Phase/Autumn is related to “reigning in.” While there is letting go on the exterior, what’s happening on the inside? Is all the energy simply falling away as well? Take heart. Even as the leaves are falling all the growth potential is on its way to a state of storage. Nothing is really lost. For example, the sap of trees is all on a path toward going inward for a full state of containment and potential in the winter. The leaves that have fallen but will be food for the growth of spring. So too people find many ways of calming themselves after a long day of work. So, there are also obvious associations with self-care with this time period. In some cultures, there are whole rituals of ending the day. In Japan for example, it would almost be strange for someone not to take a shower and a hot bath after a long day of work to let go of the day.
When those functions are compromised in some way, we call it disease. And the ancients found many methods for helping to restore regular order of their “Autumn time functions” including, acupuncture, herbalism, and movement therapies. At Blue Heron Wellness, now is the perfect time to come in and experience the whole range of modalities for your wellbeing and to be in harmony with the Autumn.