The Five Seasons

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a beautifully intricate system of healing that’s been around for about twenty-three centuries or so, some say much longer. This ancient system of healing was developed by masters of balance, health, illness, disease and treatment. Though the origin of TCM is uncertain, it contains in its’ roots the Taoist thinking that the patterns and cycles of nature supply the ideal example by which humanity can maintain balance and thus, thrive. In Chinese medicine, the microcosm that is our personal lives can benefit from studying and employing the examples embedded within the macrocosm of the seasons of the earth. Centuries of study have been devoted to the cycles and patterns found in nature. This study, combined with the continual refinement of TCM, led the ancient masters to understand how nature’s cycles are mirrored in human life. This system of medicine, like the seasons of the earth, is in a continual process of movement and refinement. Even today, students of Chinese medicine continue to study and refine the ancient teachings.

Five Element Medicine is a particular set of teachings with roots anchored deeply in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The origin of Five Element theory remains unclear but was studied and taught by renowned Five Element acupuncturist and master teacher J. R. Worsely. The Five Elements of Earth, Metal, Water, Wood and Fire contain certain characteristics are reflected through the five core emotions of Sympathy, Grief, Fear, Anger and Joy. Additionally these same five elements correspond to the five seasons of the natural world: Harvest, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.

The seasons, as defined in Five Element Medicine, are not specific periods of time demarcated on the calendar but more as passages in life that reflect certain qualities of growth and movement. Spring is associated with new growth and the elemental quality of Wood. Spring then gives way to Summer, the where are visions come into fruition. It’s represented by the element of Fire. Summer then calls forth the abundance of the Harvest, the season which embodies the element of Earth. Harvest, in turn, leads to the season of Fall which is the season of letting go and includes the element of Metal. Fall then ushers in the silent cold of Winter, a season of rest that is symbolized by the element of Water.

Additionally, within each of the Five Elements are also corresponding colors, tastes, sensory organs and body systems. Together, they comprise an elegant system of continuous movement and transformation that serves to keep us in a state of balance and harmony. Encoded within the seasons of the natural world is a template of wisdom that can guide us in negotiating life’s perpetually fascinating and sometimes challenging passages with courage and grace. Soul of the Seasons offers a unique approach to Five Element Medicine as seen through the template of the five seasons. It delves deeply into these five seasons of transition, in both their balanced and imbalanced states, in order to open the doors to deeper self-awareness and to mine the fertile soil of our inner and outer landscapes.

By identifying what true balance looks like within each season, along with a clear picture of our imbalances, we can learn to identify our strengths and make gentle yet powerful corrections that strengthen and deepen our relationships and our relationship with the earth.

“This is what I would offer to you in reading this book; to more fully embrace your divine destiny, to transform your emotional stuck-ness into vibrant expressions of authenticity and to come into a place of balance where your heart is at peace.” – Melody

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