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  • Writer's pictureZsuzska Juhász

Changing with the seasons

Updated: Jan 19

The main concept of changing with the seasons comes from the paradigm that there is a rhythm for everything in life (practically these are the cycles). This intrinsically alleviates the stress of our overachieving society pressuring you to do everything, all the time, all at once, constantly providing high level results. Understanding how nature changes with each season shows you clear reference on how to adapt and what activities are supported and not supported for a specific time of the year.

The Chinese year does not follow the calendar year because it starts with February and the Chinese name for this festivity literally means spring festival or spring festivities, because they are indeed celebrating the start of spring. The lunar new year always starts somewhere around the end of January and beginning of February, which for us European people seems a bit way too early to celebrate spring. But if you take a closer look it actually accurately reflects the trinity I was explaining earlier. With February we step into spring on the third level of the mind and spiritual self first, this is a roughly 45 day period after which we move to the second level, the emotional, energetic and communications. And finally, what most of us would consider the start of spring, the March solar equinox, we arrive at Spring on the first level of the body and foundations.  

Depending on how  attuned you are to nature you can feel or experience the start on different levels. Naturally this is the case for all seasons, so all of them have actually three different starting points and some of them are overlapping. This might sound a bit complicated, moreover confusing and hard to follow, however a human being anyway has these three levels continuously working at the same time. So learning to adapt on all three levels might be beneficial for this very reason as well. 

One of these easiest ways, in general, to adjust to the seasonal change is to directly attune to nature.  Observing and exploring what happens exactly  in each season can give you a better understanding and experience of what is the optimal way to achieve harmony in a certain period of time. Being in harmony is a crucial and essential part of the Oriental approach and from a health perspective it ensures that you have a healthy body, you are managing your emotions and you have a calm mind. 

In the Oriental wisdom each season is tied to a specific Element or phase of the Five Elements. It is important to recognize that these Elements are interconnected, so we can talk about them without one another. We cannot say that one is better than the other, because if one were missing, actually all of them would be destroyed.  These Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. And everything and everyone consists of these Five Elements, moreover everything and everyone existing was created by the Five Elements. 

It is important to note that, however they seem similar in naming to the Western four Elements, there is minimal overlapping between them. Also I must emphasize that I am referring to the Five Elements as Elements, because that's the more commonly known naming for them, but more accurately we should call them Five Phases to reflect their more dynamic characteristics. 

There are several relationships between the Five Elements,and I will pick now the most important one to understand the seasonal changes, this is the nurturing or creation cycle often also referred to as the support cycle. In this sequence Wood supports Fire, Fire creates Earth, Earth nurtures Metal, Metal supports Water,  and Water nurtures Wood. 

In this cycle spring is Wood Element, summer is Fire, autumn is Metal and winter is Water Element. You could ask why is Earth missing? Usually there are two approaches to define the place of Earth. Either Earth is referred to as the Indian summer, which is the end of summer when the weather is still hot during the day, but the mornings and evenings are already chilly. Or the other Approach is that Earth is in between the seasons, it is actually the last month of each season giving you the opportunity to reattune and readjust yourself to the next time period.

In the following blog post I'll start explaining the seasons starting with spring.

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