What the Five Elements Really Are

Five Elements Diagram for Healing Season leilaninavar.com

The Five Elements are not like the atoms on the periodic table of the elements. They're not the building blocks of matter. In Classical Chinese Medicine, in Daoist philosophy, the word xíng, which we usually translate as "elements," could better be translated as "phases".

These five phases are processes. (Verbs, not nouns - hey! just like in Systems Theory!)

They're moments in the breath of expansion and contraction that everything moves through.

Let's take the Water element. Yes, physical water resonates with this phase, but "Water" is a shorthand. It's a symbol. It's a representation of "condensed energy." We associate it with the season of Winter. That condensed Water/Winter energy is when life is happening - but unseen, underground.

In the cycle of a life, it's before birth, or after death.

It's quietude.

It's midnight.

It's the kidneys, the bladder, the bones.

It's fear and awe.

It's reproduction, maturation, and aging.

Then comes the phase of expansion: Wood, or Springtime.

Then Fire, or Summer: full flourishing.

Then Earth, the time of harvest.

Next, Metal, or Autumn, when things are withering, falling away, beginning to contract again.

Each of the elements is also associated with functions of the body, parts of the body, channels of qi in the body, with activities in life, with colors, flavors of food and herbs -

and with certain emotions. This is what we really focus on in Healing Season. How we can understand our emotions as expressions of the same expansion and contraction of all things in the universe.

And how we can tend to our emotions in a really practical way.

So, yes, anger can be understood as this beautiful, natural expression of Springtime energy.

And we can understand how anger affects the Liver, and liver health affects anger.

AND, let's be real - anger is tough. How do we actually relate to it in a way that keeps us well??

That's what this is all about.

I love Healing Season, and if you're drawn to it, come on in. We start in 6 days!