As we bid farewell to the warm days of summer and welcome the cool, crisp days of autumn, we find ourselves in a season that holds significance in both the Western and Chinese traditions. While here in the West, we celebrate the autumn equinox as a time of balance and harvest, Chinese culture brings its own perspective to this seasonal shift, linking it to the Metal. Let’s explore the concept of the Chinese Metal element and how it harmonizes with the autumn equinox.
The autumn equinox, which in 2023, was on September 23, marks the halfway point between the summer and winter solstices. During this time, day and night are of nearly equal length, symbolizing a delicate equilibrium between light and darkness. In the West, we often associate the Autumn Equinox with the harvest season, a time of reaping the fruits of our labor and preparing for the colder months ahead. I live in the far northern realm of Minnesota, we start preparing in early September.
In traditional Chinese philosophy, we divide our universe into five elements: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal. These elements are not just physical but also abstract concepts that represent different aspects of nature and life. Each element is associated with specific characteristics, colors, seasons, and more. Metal is one of these elements and is closely related to autumn. So how does the Metal element correspond to the autumn equinox?
Metal is associated with harvesting and collecting the fruits of one’s labor, much like the autumn equinox in the West. It’s a time when we gather the results of our efforts, but also when we let go of what is no longer needed, just as trees shed their leaves. We’ve harvested the last of our tomatoes and have just a couple of peppers left on the pepper plants. We will let go of the plants by breaking them down and sending them to the compost or the garbage bin.
Metal is often associated with clarity, precision, and organization. As autumn arrives, it’s a great time to reevaluate our goals, set priorities, and make plans for the future, aligning with the Metal element’s focus on structure and order. I’ve been planning for this and have registered to go back to school. My first class begins on Monday, October 2, 2023, and I’m so looking forward to all that will bring to our lives.
Metal encourages us to value quality over quantity. Just as artisans refine raw materials into precious metals, this season reminds us to refine our thoughts, actions, and possessions, keeping only what truly matters. I’m going through closets, drawers and cupboards and making these hard decisions. I know I will thank myself in the next few months.
Just as metal can be molded and shaped, this element teaches us to embrace change and transformation. The autumn equinox is a reminder that change is a natural part of life, and it’s essential to adapt gracefully to new circumstances.
As we celebrate the autumn equinox, we can find harmony and wisdom in the Chinese Metal element’s teachings. Just as nature undergoes a transformation during this season, we too can embrace change, refine our lives, and find balance between light and darkness, all while honoring the beautiful traditions that connect us to the cycles of nature.
They say Feng Shui is the ancient art and science of placement. I say it is part of a support system for our lives. Feng Shui helps us balance the energies of our home or office spaces to create harmony and abundance. This lends support to our lives, and makes it easier for us to achieve the things we want, like health, wealth, love and happiness.