The Colour White, the Pungent Flavour & the Lungs! A Basic Guide to Nature's Autumn Principles
The Five Element Theory
Within the Five Elements Theory the Earth element contains all living processes - it is neither the destroyer nor the creator; Wood and Fire energies rise whilst Earth energy is the pause between the rising and the fall. The fall gives way to the descending elements of Metal and Water. Descending energy moves inwards and slows down - bringing a grounding, stabilising effect and one of letting go come Autumn. Metal grants us a vision of our essence or our 'best self'. It reveals what is precious in our lives and highlights the skills that we have been gifted with, as well as what we must loose to become the person we were mean't to be.
Out with the Old…
The light dies, the days get shorter, fruits are still on the trees although they are dying. Metal energy signals the time for trees shed their leaves; nature lets go of the old to rebirth the new - a process that often holds grief and a sense of loss. The leaves fall and the sap (pure nutrients) moves downwards into the roots for storage. By letting go of our negative emotions and removing dead wood we nourish our own earth, ready for a period of new opportunity after the latent energy of Winter’s Water.
The Metal Element follows a theme of separating 'the pure from the un-pure'. For me, the Metal element has the tightest permeating theme - one of letting go. I love looking at the falling leaves as they remind me to live in the present, let go and feel free. Wounds act as agents of change and it is important that we grow from our pain and remove what no longer serves us. Wounds make us a better person - if we see the gratefulness that is stored within them. Interestingly, I am a Metal element and this has been a theme in my life certainly - perhaps it is this theme that lead me to being a healer and my deep connection to energy and the earth!
Under the Metal element the hot days now give way to cosy warmth and cool evenings bringing a sense of peace and space. The Metal element governs the evening time; perhaps why so many us enjoy long chats in the garden or spending time with family as the evening draws to a close. West, the direction of Metal dictates our dreams and visions. Our emotions and thoughts come to the surface during the increasing dark helping to resolve the old and bring in new ideas.
Metal energy allows for exchange to take place, a lesson of transmutation. It demonstrates the importance of completion and self-worth. Our everyday activities during September and October often include organising, completing tasks and having an ‘Autumn sort-out’. Grief, loss and separation bring gratefulness, success, nourishment and the beginnings of a new you!
A Metal Activity, Will You Take Part?
Now more than ever our Earth is desperate of some care. Without the bees and clean water our Earth Mother will not be able to sustain us. Why not make a pledge to your Metal element that you will use less 'impure' things - whether that be plastic, chemicals or positive change. It could be something as simple as a buying a wooden toothbrush or reducing the amount you throw away. One match breaks easily but many hold strong and create change, our Earth needs us. Our rebirth is always better than we think it will be - some of mine have defied all expectation. In the same way if we begin to care for our earth we will reap far more rewards!
The Physical Body
The following information is not intended as medical advice and this article is for information purposes only. I am simply sharing innate wisdom of nature and observation and not suggesting this is a cause of dis-ease, if you are suffering from any condition you should visit your doctor for advice.
The organs of the Metal element are the Lungs and Large Intestine which nourish the body and sort the pure from the impure. The Large Intestine and Lungs must work together; the intestines must let-go whilst the lungs take in the pure. Similarly, when our expression of grief (the governing emotion of Metal) becomes imbalanced or one can not express their grief it can lead emotional and physical symptoms.
The role of the large intestine is to remove waste and toxins; when we can not let go of toxicity (environmental or emotional causes) toxins are stored in the body. If these organs fail to work correctly or can not bring in the pure and remove the impure then it is perhaps easy to see how digestive issues and breathing disorders could manifest. The organs can become so congested that they are unable to take in purity (the nutrients they need) and dampness can set in, leading to dis-ease.
Metal imbalances can sometimes display in the form of physical symptoms, including: dry skin, dry hair, bronchitis, shortness of breath, coughs, congestion, colds, viruses, sore throats, constipation, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Imbalances can show in emotions such as low self-esteem, depression or OCD.
Deep rooted imbalances can lead to conditions such as asthma, allergies and IBS. I often see undercurrents of emotional pain and suppression in such cases. Sometimes simply observing our thoughts or breaking free can aid the body into recovery. The Metal element governs the hours between 3am and 7am, if you have trouble sleeping or wake up during these hours it could be that your Metal element needs some support; emphasising a need for self-care, nourishment. Hydrating the body, providing nourishing soothing foods and meditation can help to rebalance our Metal element.
The Mental Body
The Metal element represents the minerals and trace elements held within the Earth. We hold Earth's minerals in our bodily structures (such as calcium in our bones and iron at the centre of our blood cells. Metal is Earth's child; the minerals essential for life are contained in the Earth - just like a Mother who nourishes her child.
Other precious metals such as silver and gold are also associated with the metal element. We use precious metals to provide ourselves with value. With every gain there is loss in exchanging of money, each bringing new opportunity. It is about managing loss correctly which sustains a business, just like our emotions. We are provided with pearls of wisdom for our honesty and intention and it is these values with which we should use to push forward, bringing success.
Precious metals symbolise transmutation, an important aspect of self-worth. We each come here with a job to do we can bring uniqueness to society and contribution to the earth. When our Metal energy is imbalanced we can not sense our value and as such look to external ways to fill the void and 'eat' another persons energy. Imbalances can cause us to overcompensate with a need of materialistic possessions or a need to seek constant respect and recognition. Wonderful things come from money but it is perhaps that excessive need that often fuels our ego and leaves the heart unfulfilled and chasing for more. What follows is a struggle to ‘let-go’ of our materialistic possessions as they are identified as self, rather than possessions. This often leads to the accumulation of debt, stress and unnourished values and beliefs. The Metal element helps us to find the truth in lies and brings order out of chaos. It can act with nobleness or with destruction. If we use our emotions positively and see them with gratefulness we act with nobly. If we suppress those feelings or if we can’t let go they often translate into our emotions.
The Emotional Body
We have daily physical waste but also emotional waste. Our minds like our physical body can become constipated, stopping us from witnessing the pure nature surrounding us. We become isolated as the body becomes malnourished and reducing communication between cells. Inspiration, spontaneity, calmness, excitement and other emotions are unable to be absorbed and cannot be transformed. When one cannot transform it leads to anger, pent-up emotion and toxic cells. Our mind becomes overburdened. In depression all consuming grief keeps us stagnant and dark.
In Autumn the trees become bare they loose their protective cover, they cannot hide away and have to face the elements head on. Like nature we bear our soul at this time. Our thoughts and feelings come to the surface and the covers to our ego are removed, laying bare for us to evaluate. The Metal element is a super time to analyse our own intentions and thoughts. As the outward expansive energy of the passing Summer descends and turns inward it is a process that is hard to avoid but we can take solace in nature our mother revisits grief yearly, rather than being consumed by grief - a very valid picture in the world right now. Grief when managed correctly allows us to see where we went wrong and alert us to our fears so we don’t have to be burdened with those emotions.
Emotional Elimination in the form of Gratefulness
Elimination in any form is a necessity for us to experience all that we need; in the same way grief and loss is necessary to bring gratefulness and beauty into lives. We should be grateful each day - not because society provides us with days to focus our gratitude, for example Valentines Day, birthdays and the Christmas period - we should be grateful everyday. We may think we are but often we are not. Do you stop and analyse your thoughts. Are your thoughts reflected in the world around you?
Nature provides us with courage to be the best you. Often remembering Autumn is a time of transition nothing is stagnant and time heals and creates change. Instead of viewing wounds as ‘suffering’ why not see them as a vehicle to create change?
Eat the Element - Autumn / Pungent Flavour
Are you ready for the Winter? Our lungs are vulnerable under the Metal element, as they are busy working and need our support and care. The associated flavour of Metal is the pungent flavour - all the foods we would normally eat to keep colds and viruses (invaders of the lungs at bay)!
Cardamon, ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric, cloves are all pungent foods and can help our body to disperse dampness. Excessive dampness can increase acidic conditions in the body and cause a build up of mucus. If your constitution allows the pungent flavours then Autumn is an ideal time to include some lovely aromatic foods and strong flavours. My favourite dinner is a sweet potato and kale curry with ginger, turmeric and mustard seeds. And of course, nature helps to supply our needed minerals in the form of dark leafy greens, grains, seeds and beans. Super!
How to Connect to the Metal Element
White is the associated colour of Metal. Light white candles (safely) against the growing darkness of the season. Place white flowers in the home or white-wash a wall and let go of the old and bring in the new.
We all have down days where we question our life. Allow yourself to cry for the things you have lost; letting go of emotion allows us to bear more and it allows our cells cleanse. It is normal to feel a little emotional as you come deeper into the Metal Element. Just remember grief and loss is really just a mechanism for change.
Each day stand facing west for a few moments (the direction of Metal) and feel a positive, grounded energy. Keep hold of the thoughts that make you happy for a positive day ahead.
Simply take some time to consider your dreams and what it is that you want going forward (and what it is you want to leave behind). Write down the things you want to let go of onto a piece of paper and burn it outside safely. Then take some time to create your wishes going forward. Just begin to imagine how you will feel if you did let go? Were you happy, inspired, creative? How could the energy you free help you?
Now is the perfect time to start a gratitude diary. You simply reflect on what was wonderful each day. A simple meditation each night or each morning can make a massive difference to your day and your future.
Choose one job to complete each day that has been playing on your mind. Start a new calendar and become organised. Build habits under Metal’s courage. It is a good time to take stock of finances.
Nature doesn’t keep her leaves for use next year. Let go. If you are struggling to make plans or deal with your situation why not have a good clean! (a very metal activity) and recycle you old items to make room for the new.
Create boundaries as they are needed to protect what lies within. Plan your time to have a bath, eat something nice, sit and reflect, tend to the garden, meet up with friends and laugh. Providing for yourself regularly helps you to avoid conflicts over the Christmas period and remain present throughout, emotionally and physically.
Sometimes we stop our imagination because the outcome does not fit our current situation. Autumn is a super time to help us cope with change. Change is scary because it is fear of the unknown. We are not walking into the unknown, we are merely transforming. Just as nature transforms providing us with an array of colour throughout autumn in the falling leaves. Getting out and being observant of the changing colours can help you to keep grounded and stable. Who doesn’t feel better after a walk in the park?
We replenish our body with positive thoughts by letting go of our old ones. Tending to your garden is a lovely way to seek balance and bring new growth.
Do you see your body as representation of nature? Our lungs look like trees, our fingerprints are like the rings of a tree, our system lives within a microbiome. The five events theory was developed by philosophers who were in contact with the earth they tended to their earth year on year. Life is really about developing our connection and tuning into that intuition we all have; when we tune inward and follow our intuition things usually work out for the best and you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner (like me!).