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Autumn in The Human Landscape

Autumn. The end is near. The harvest colors have faded. Leaves tumble down and blanket the earth for the cold winter ahead. They rot and their scent imparts a poignant reminder of their passing. The air is crisp and dry. The night sky allows us to fully receive the awesomeness of the heavens above, while the vines waste back to the great mother.

At this time, a returning is taking place - the ultimate transformation. The moment, life or idea has germinated, developed, and matured. During its harvest, we relished in its bounty. Now, coming full circle, it bows down deeply after a fine performance and, with little left to offer, begins to let go. Sure we’ll miss it. We may try to hang on, to savor it once again. Its inevitable passing leaves us feeling empty; but even in the midst of our grief, we receive the sacred gift of what its presence truly meant to us. We acknowledge. We are inspired. In our own time, we too journey through the process of letting go, and we accept.

There is a dichotomy to autumn, which is reflected in our ability to effortlessly let go of that which longer serves while we receive the purity of that which truly does. When we let go of what no longer matters, what matters most shows up. When we fully let go, we can fully receive. In one sense, this loss can create feelings of grief, sadness, and emptiness. Yet, at the same time, we can experience fulfillment. The very essence of what was, permeates us as inspiration, and through inspiration, we experience wholeness. While it lived, we took it in and digested it. We savored its nourishment. Upon its transcendence, we experience its most awesome gift: what it truly was, still is and will always be to us. We are left with what matters most – its true essence.

From the Five Element perspective, Metal is the element that corresponds to autumn. Metal refers to the minerals and crystals of the Earth, which have been treasured since the beginning of time for their alluring properties. They can be molded to accommodate practical requirements, or cast into icons as expressions of our individual and collective spiritual ideologies. Strong, sharp and resilient, they can be fashioned to end lives. Bright, clear and resonant, they can be used to heal and inspire. Metal, like autumn, represents the knowledge, experience, faith and trust in that which we truly value, that which we have the deepest respect for, that which we acknowledge as sacred to us. The essence of our spiritual life and our ability to be inspired is a product of Metal. Its gifts are, in a sense, intangible in their esoteric nature. The realization of that which matters most is a thing that is hard to define in its subtlety, yet the experience of its presence is unmistakably clear. It resounds within us. When we receive this gift, it is stored deep within, and will pervade all we endeavor to create.

In Chinese physiology, the Metal element is comprised of yin/yang pair, Lung and Colon. Lung is responsible for receiving heavenly influence via inspiration while the Colon is responsible for letting go of that which is not useful. When we allow inspiration into our life, and eliminate that which is not useful, we’re choosing what matters most. The life we create rings true within us. We experience wholeness, fulfillment, and the same sense of completion that nature offers up as another cycle of seasons comes to an end.

September 2004


Autumn gives way to Winter. Here's an article that explores the energies of Winter, and the Water Element, entitled's not just for breakfast anymore.

A Warm Spleen is a Happy Spleen, addresses Chinese dietary therapy as it applies especially to the cold months.

The FAQ page addresses some of the nuts and bolts of Acupuncture treatment.