In acupuncture theory, the 5 Elements and their many correspondences hold, explain and organize EVERYTHING. The Metal element associates with Fall, so let’s jump in!
EVERYTHING FALL, THE METAL ELEMENT: Classical Five Element Acupuncture is organized around the 5 Elements and their associations. Fall is associated with Metal, the Lungs and Large Intestines, our skin, the pungent taste, the color white, and the emotion of grief. It includes the ability to receive inspiration, which is the Spirit aspect of the Lung’s ability to inhale. Just as the Large Intestines have the function of eliminating bodily waste, this function includes “letting go” at other levels: the mental ability to let go of ideas, relationships or habits that no longer serve. The Metal voice is the sound of weeping. Fall vibrates through many dimensions (as do all the Elements and seasons).
But first, why should you care about the change of seasons and their correspondences? There is an internal harmony in each of the seasons, correspondences that go together and enrich and support the others. When you are aware of them, it amplifies your appreciation of both the large and subtle shifts that take place as the days roll on.
The equinox on September 22, 2020, marked the official change of seasons. Although we use the calendar date to note it, you might experience it more deeply if you go outside and use your senses to determine what, if anything, you perceived has changed. Your sense of Fall may be earlier or later than what the calendar decreed. Rely more on your own senses than the calendar for true seasonal guidance.
The sun is rising later and setting earlier now. The mornings and evenings are cooler. Look around outside – what do you see? Ornamental grasses are going to seed, feeding the birds. Flower heads may have gone brown or fallen, there may be more leaf fall than a few weeks ago, and you may notice the scent of decomposing leaves as you scuff your way through them.
Challenge: Wet decomposing leaves have a slightly different fragrance than dry decomposing leaves; can you discern the difference?
I frequently write about the seasons. Being aware of or tuned into them brings a richness and depth of experience to how we experience our days. It’s one thing to notice when pumpkin spice starts hitting menus or candle displays, it’s another to be aware of the change in temperature, humidity, the change in trees and plants and even animal behavior. It’s the difference between hearing one instrument and a string quartet or orchestra. Observing the changes in nature may hone your senses to other subtle but noticeable changes in your environment.
This is the first in a series of short articles that will explain how the various aspects of Fall are relevant to your life, and what to look for and contemplate. I’ll also suggest some activities that will help focus your attention on the body, mind and spirit aspects of Fall and the Metal Element.
The next article will focus on the Metal body: Lungs, Large Intestines and the Skin.
Fall is my favorite season of the year.
Jeanine Byers says
Very interesting! So would we wear ivory as a Metal fall correspondence, or the traditional colors of fall that we see in nature?
Kathleen Port, L.Ac. says
That’s a great question! I think if one follows feng shui, then fall colors (white, metallics) might be in order (depending on your personal astrology and situation (i.e., business meeting, family gathering, celebration, etc.). But some people love nature’s colors, so as long as you find the right hues for your skin tone (right?) then nature colors can also spark happiness. So there is no single answer to how we can harmonize ourselves in fall!
Virginia Allain says
In Florida, autumn is pretty subtle. The good part is the last 2 days were moderate enough to have the house open. Such a relief to wander in and out without it being beastly hot outside and stuck in air conditioning inside.
Kathleen Port, L.Ac. says
We have a similar situation in California, but when one takes time, the little signs are there. I’m sure Florida Fall will become more evident as the days progress!