Late Summer: The Season of the Earth Element
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, not every man’s greed”
Touching the Earth Element
Earth Is. It is that place of stillness between Yin and Yang – the center of the cosmic wheel of eternal motion. Earth is here and now, the present moment and the power that harmonizes everything and gives us gravity and support.
The Earth element is Yin, feminine, like Mother Earth in the West.
Colors: Yellow (Yang) and Gold (Yin)
Earthly branches and months: All 12 branches are earthly. Late Indian Summer.
Season: Seasonal transition – the last 18 days of the 4 seasons
Body organs: Stomach (Yang) and Spleen (Yin)
Power Animal: Pheasant (most birds that don’t fly)
Meridians: Stomach & Spleen
Earth’s planet is Saturn. Earth is the place where we stand, the mid-point of balance and for this reason, can be found in all places between stages and phases and thus corresponds to all twelve earthly branches, and its “season” is the last eighteen days of each of the four seasons, the time of seasonal transition.
The Qi of the Earth element, however, flourishes in Indian Summer, those golden moments of fullness before the waning of the light. The Earth’s color is yellow, like the sun, and the ripened crops, and the root vegetables. Earth’s location (direction) is the center.
Earth’s position on the Feng Shui Ba-Gua represents unity and balance. Earth’s symbol is the pheasant or all other birds who prefer the comfort of earth rather than the vastness of sky.
Although Earth is a Yin Element, it can exist in either a Yang or a Yin state. When Earth expresses masculine Yang energy, its color is yellow and is symbolized by a hill. When Earth expresses feminine Yin energy, its color is gold and is symbolized by a valley. Earth’s personality traits are stable, practical, reliable, industrious, empathetic, honest, kind, prudent. Earth types value friendship. Earth individuals do well to meditate and nourish themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
They must learn to develop clear boundaries and take care of themselves. The challenge for earth types is to honor their sympathetic nature and show great kindness to others.
The emotion associated with Earth is sympathy. Other earth qualities are pensiveness, thoughtfulness, and reflection. Just as one assimilates nutrients through the stomach, one assimilates life experiences through the element earth. A strong Earth Element helps to digest and accept fate and expand one’s circle of knowledge.
Earth Element & Chinese Medicine
In our bodies, Earth is our flesh, our muscles and what we are made of and therefore what we metabolize from food. It is our digestive system and where we compost our waste. Earth’s body organs are the stomach and spleen (and pancreas). Earth types should avoid foods that antagonize the stomach because they may have a disposition for stomach disorders, such as ulcers or indigestion.
A weak spleen can cause immune system problems due to poor assimilation of nutrients. Since the sweet taste is associated with the Earth Element, Earth types can develop a sweet tooth. They must avoid the tendency to indulge in too many sweets and rich desserts. Stomach illness and Earth imbalance are indicated as deep sagging facial lines from the base of the nose to the outer corners of the lip.
The function of the Spleen:
The spleen governs the transformation & transportation of food & drink, preventing water retention; It controls the raising function & keeps internal organs in place & send clear Qi to the head; It keeps the blood within the vessels (preventing hemorrhages); It controls muscles & the 4 limbs for energy; It opens the mouth and manifests in the lips: It controls saliva: It houses the thoughts (clear thinking).
When Earth is in balance
Someone with well-developed Earth energy is a well-grounded, nurturing, compassionate person, sometimes depicted as the archetypical “Earth Mother”. When Earth is harmonious we feel confident, at ease, comfortable with life, practical. Easy to be present, free, accepting and receptive. Earth people like to bring others together and make good mediators or peacemakers and reliable friends. They often enjoy both preparing food and eating. You may be attracted by their generous mouth and full, sensuous lips.
Positive emotions are: fair, spontaneous, genuine, harmonious, elegant, practical, centred, rooted, stable, consistent, balanced, solid, satisfied, on time, in tune, sociable, hospitable, nurturing, supportive.
When Earth is out of balance
When people have weak Earth Qi, they can be worriers and meddlers. They are prone to pensiveness. When Earth is out of balance we can often feel ungrounded, uprooted, never satisfied, always in doubt and do not even trust ourselves. Because of this, it is easy to feel abandoned, out of place, awkward, self-conscious and ill at ease. They may overwork, especially in studying or other intellectual work. They are vulnerable to digestive problems and diarrhea. They may gain weight easily and lose it with difficulty. Their bodies have a tendency to make excessive mucus, and they may suffer from cloudy thinking, muzzy-headedness, and a lack of clarity.
Common illnesses include fatigue, diarrhea, gas & bloating, food allergies & sensitivities, eating disorders, heartburn, diabetes and hypoglycemia. Excessive mucus may collect in the lungs or in the sinuses. In women, menstrual problems may include either excessively light or heavy periods.
Those with weak Earth Qi often feel better when they limit cold, raw foods and dairy products. They should eat warming foods and grains to stay well-grounded. They may crave sweets. The sweet taste can be satisfied by eating sweet grains, vegetables, and fruits rather than processed sugars.
Negative emotions are: prejudiced, biased, cheating, lethargic, artificial, unfair, awkward, imbalanced, inconsistent, shaky, envious, unsynchronized, unfriendly, inhospitable, anxious, worried, blaming, dissatisfied, judgmental and disproportionate.
The Spirit of the Earth Element
The Yi is the spirit of intention and is fully committed to manifesting our destiny and bringing the light of our spirits into the world around us. The Yi is the soul aspect that lets the world know that we mean to stand by our dreams.
Yi is the middle, the Earth, the celestial pivot. Above are the Yang spirits Shen and Hun; below are the Yin spirits of Po and Zhi.
The Yi is the spirit of the receptive, creative, energies of the earth. They represent the powers of earth within us and the spirits that give us the capacity for sustained intention, purpose, clarity of thought, altruism and integrity. The Yi is the psychic counterpart of the Εarth, the rich soil of our purpose that nourishes the gestation of our ideas so that they can ultimately manifest in our lives.
When the Yi is upset we see many signs of an unbalanced earth element and problems in the stomach.
Psycho-emotional signs – Obsessive thoughts and repetitive thought patterns, worry, continuous brooding in one’s own problems, excess thoughts, insufficient movement & action, eating disorders (anorexia/bulimia), muddled thinking, over-nurturing of others to avoid one’s own responsibilities and growth.
Spirit level symptoms – Stagnation in the zone of manifestation, inability to transform ideas into actions, continually generating new ideas to no avail.
Possible causes – Constitutional issues or karmic story that needs to be resolved, excess worry, improper eating habits, anemia and vitamin D deficiencies, excess sugar intake, codependency & early childhood trauma which has forced them to be too involved in other people’s stories that they cannot hear their own internal voice, exhaustion and long term strain.
When the Yi starts to fade away our true destiny in all its beauty and colors is not completely fulfilled.
How to help bring forward the Yi, balance the Earth and take care of the stomach?
The Yi needs to be seduced and tempted into coming back to you. This is what the Yi needs:
- RESOLVE WORRY – This is the most important action. For every thought we have in our minds, there should be a corresponding action in our bodies and worry interferes with this natural flow. We need to stop nostalgia and excess worry for the future because all spontaneity is blocked and we are stuck in a cycle of persistent thinking of things which have happened or may happen.
- MOVEMENT – Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga, jogging, dance, walking, cycling – all positive movements.
- AVOID CLUTTER – Clean up living and working spaces.
- SELF CARE – Make some time each day to care for your own needs, not the needs of others
- POWER OF THE WORD – Take your words seriously. Make realistic solid commitments and promises. Don’t make excuses. Practice saying NO as a full sentence when you can’t do something.
- FOOD IS SACRED – Heal your connection to food with prayer before each meal, making sure you sit and chew slowly and respect where this food came from. Fasting, keeping a healthy diet without over-obsession about it.
Click here to listen to the Earth Element Meditation.
May your golden light shine through
Knowing mother earth is holding you
Feel nurtured, supported and held
Smile to your stomach and melt
Mother I feel you under my feet
Mother I feel your heartbeat
Heya heya heya heya heya heya heya
Find out more about Chinese Medicine and the 5 Elements here.