Fire in the Fall

It can be tough to be a Fire person in the Fall.  Days get colder and shorter, the air gets drier, and worst of all, energy turns inward and slows.  This season encourages peeling away and discarding whatever is not essential, like the leaves falling from the trees, to reveal the quintessential nature, structure, order and beauty of lasting reality.

Fire finds it difficult to relate.  Fire controls Metal, and Fall is the Metal season.  The phrase we learned for it in school is that Fire melts Metal: the warm, outward-moving, connection-oriented aspects of Fire are meant to keep Metal pliable, to help it let go of the non-essential without indiscriminately, coldly cutting away everything that is imperfect and turning completely inward.

But that’s just a metaphor, and Fall is such a lovely, pleasant season.  Crisp, clear days and bright colors are such a relief after the heat and humidity of the Midwestern Summer.  No individual’s energetic makeup is responsible for keeping the Five Phases in balance at such a large, global scale as the seasons.  So what does this have to do with an individual person’s inner workings?  And how in general does something larger like the season affect an individual in Five Phase terms?

Naturally the truest answer is “it depends.”  But beyond that, there are actually some generalities that can help you understand how the seasons may affect you so that you can adjust accordingly.  Whatever your dominant Phase, you probably tend toward expressing that Phase in either an overabundant or depleted way.  In order to sort this out, please refer back to my earlier blogs as well as my favorite Five Phase introductory article.  Also make note of which Phase controls your dominant Phase, and which Phase your dominant Phase controls.

If you express your Phase in an overabundant way, it is likely that the season corresponding with your Phase may exacerbate symptoms or present challenges, whereas the season of your controlling and/or controlled Phase may bring relief.

Depleted types may find the opposite to be true: the season corresponding with their Phase brings relief with a welcome infusion of their dominant energy, whereas one or both of the controlling/controlled Phase seasons may pose huge challenges.

Our Fire person, for example, may find Fall very draining if she happens to be a depleted type, because the natural direction of the energy around her is counter to her own and it takes more effort to maintain the active, social lifestyle that feels best to her Fiery nature.  On the other hand, another Fire type, tending toward overabundance, may absolutely love Fall: the cooler, slower energy absorbs some of his excess. He finds it easier to maintain balance in his life, and the cooler weather keeps him from feeling so overheated all the time.  The dryness of Fall may still cause its own set of problems, but Fall may be a great time to socialize over bonfires and enjoy deeper connections with friends.

As a last note, once you’ve assessed how the seasons affect your dominant Phase, remember that you don’t have to just brace for a season or two of misery each year.  Use the Five Phases to boost your energy if you’re depleted, and to help dissipate energy if you tend toward overabundance.  Next week I’ll discuss a few techniques for this…

Posted in Chinese Medicine, Five Phase Theory.