The Gifts of the Five Elements

Summer (Fire) Late Summer (Earth) Autumn (Metal) Winter (Water) Spring (Wood)

The five elements illustrate the movement of life, all of which we are a part of. These elements - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water - are represented in each of us. However, one element tends to guide our constitutional make up. Examples of what each element embodies are seen through color, seasons, movement, aroma, and emotions. Perhaps the easiest way to describe the five elements is to describe them through the gifts each of them present. Which one resonates most with you?

Imagine the Spring time. The flora and fauna are no longer dormant. When outside everything is suddenly alive! What stands out to you after a long winter over the barren land? Is it the sudden vibrant burst of blossoming trees and flowers of every color imaginable accented by the emerald green background and sharp smell of new growth? Or the animals baring their young ready to tumble out of nests in trees or thickets? Do new ideas come to mind in how to accomplish your desires and needs? Frustration and irritation can be wonderfully motivating for new direction. The gifts of this element; clarity, vision, and creativity; give rise to how to move onward and upward with life. How will you frame and design your life’s path?

Ahhh summer... A time for friends gathering together to play whether sipping wine or drinking the latest brew sharing stories and jokes ad mist bubbling laughter. Or the offerings of summer may be cuddling in the arms of a loved one and giggling about shared memories on the porch as fireflies light up the sultry evening sky. Both scenes bring up the gifts of this element - partnership, passion, and love. Are you aware of how everything is connected? For instance, that cup of coffee you sip in the morning. That coffee made quite a journey to you - from sunny, faraway fields; through the careful hands of those who picked its bitter beans and roasted it; to the voyage of air, sea, or road it traveled; to where you picked it up off its shelf or took a cup from the hands of the person preparing it for you to enjoy - perhaps sitting outside sipping it under the same sunny rays that it grew beneath in distant lands. This element reminds us of the relationship of everything that passes through our lives. Do you know this interconnectedness with yourself to the one sitting beside you - and to the world?

There are five seasons in Chinese Medicine. Late summer is the additional one. Yet, this season is still quite known to us. Outside it is humid and dense. It is the time of the first harvest. When all that you have been working for bares fruit. This season is like walking through a grove of peach trees as bees hum lazily as if drunk on the nourishment of the sweet, full fruits bending heavily towards the earth on their descent through ripeness. The gifts of both Earth and mother are synonymous in that they bring forth and nurture all we have sown to move forward through life. This element has a residue of the sympathy of all mothers, including the one that is beneath our feet every moment of every day holding us up, no matter what. What do your thoughts turn to when you seek sustenance? How can you ripen and then harvest your greatest needs?

The crisp, pureness of Autumn... A brown leaf crinkling in the wind... The cool air it glides along as it floats to the ground. Outside, the flora is brightly intensified - reds, yellows, oranges, browns... A majestic canopy of leaves floats - while falling all at once... Rotting, decayed foliage drapes the stark rocks and woods of Earth. All has been given and is now passing... Grief in letting go. The breath outward ~ inward to the vast space of selfs’ residence. A time of recognition. The gifts of this element are found in the space created through surrender and release. As you fall into the temple of self ask - “Is there anything I can let go of? Can I learn from the gems that remain?”

Winter... ssshhhhh... Snow falls silently. The fresh smelling water now slows to glistening ice. The barren landscape conceals the depths below where much waits to happen. Winter’s truth is in not rushing around as we often do but in being still, quiet, and restful. Think of the animals who have withdrawn to down nests or dark caves where they gather strength. This is the time within. Perhaps much seems unknown and fearful as we wait. Wait for what? The gifts of this element lay in the depths of darkness where knowledge can become known. Here is where we can explore, reflect, and find our true self. That which we have been waiting and searching for. In this time of peace can you rest in your deep self courageously and find your own inner light to guide you onward - and soon upward?