It feels a little odd to be talking of Autumn when, as I write this, it’s a hot, sunny day in Melbourne. And, tomorrow is forecast to be below 20 degrees; perfect Melbourne weather, indecisive as to what season she’d like to be experiencing from one day to the next.
As we transition from one season to the next, the seasonal energy returns to the centre of the 5 Element Wheel, to Earth, for rebalancing the energy for the next season’s manifestation. The Earth element is also associated with late Summer, and while chronologically we are out of Summer, we are still experiencing the warmth, late sunsets and light of late Summer. But Autumn is pressing in, with dawn arriving later in the early morning, cool winds picking up from the South, sudden cold days, chilly nights.
The next few weeks are the perfect time to take advantage of this transition from Summer to Autumn, to bolster our immune systems in preparation for colds, flus and viruses. Supporting our Earth energy, and our Stomach and Spleen Qi (the organs of late Summer), will prepare us for the requirements of Autumn and the Metal Element. Foods such as sweet potato, pumpkin, pears, green beans, walnuts, tomatoes, carrots, figs, milk, kidney beans are excellent foods for strengthening Stomach and Spleen Qi. Earth is also a very social element, and making time for family and friends is a perfect ways to honour and take nourishment from the Earth Element as we build our systems in readiness for Autumn and the Metal Element.
The Metal element is related to Lung and Large Intestine. We breathe in to our Lungs, we inspire, gain inspiration from the external world. The Large Intestine is about discernment, separating what nourishes us from that which does not, and letting go of that which does not benefit us. The Large Intestine absorbs nutrients from our food, and eliminates waste; it takes in and releases.
Grief is a part of the letting go process, and the emotion of grief is related to the Lungs, helping us process and release the heartache that can occur with loss, with letting go. Grief can be thought of as a form of purification. The Metal element is associated with the mind, communication, the intellectual, spirituality. Autumn becomes a wonderful opportunity to start the retreat inwards and contemplate our inner and outer connections, letting go old ways of being and researching and planning new patterns and possibilities, new ways of looking after our health and wellbeing.
Autumn is a delicious time to continue to eat plenty of fresh vegetables, whole grains, meats, nuts, oils. Think of root vegetables such as onion, garlic, carrot, parsnips and thick-skinned fruits and vegetables such as bananas, pumpkin, mango. Pungent spices (ginger, curry mixes, pepper) are also beneficial in Autumn.
Activities such as walking in nature, meditation, deep breathing exercises, decluttering your cupboards, wardrobes, the shed out the back, donating unwanted items, gardening, catching up with good friends are all wonderful Autumn actions. Don’t forget to protect your neck from those chilly winds by wearing a scarf, and keeping your lower back well protected and warm.