By AFEA member James Bartlett
“The three months of autumn are called the tranquillity of one’s conduct…soul and spirit should be gathered together in order to make the breath of fall tranquil…all of this is the method for the protection of one’s harvest.”
As the summer fades away to memory, the season of autumn begins its cycle within nature. The harvest is over, the flowers are rotting away, and the weather begins to turn to colder and wetter. The season of the metal element is a time of decline and death. Just before the leaves begin to fall and the flowers fade, there is one last show of beautiful colours that can be seen all around. The oranges, reds and browns of the leaves begin to decay, and are eventually let go of by the trees to fall, and to go back the earth. Autumn is a time for letting go in nature. It begins to stop hanging on to the life and warmth of summer and succumbs to this declining stage of the year. The outside world becomes quieter, stiller and more subdued.
If this part of the year didn’t happen, there would be no room for new growth in the spring. There would be no room for new buds and shoots, and no minerals from the earth to sustain them. The importance of the death that surrounds us in nature, is that it gives the opportunity for new growth and life in the Springtime. In Spring we have upward movement and vigorous activity. In Autumn we have death, increased stillness and downward movement. With this downward movement and the rotting of the year’s growth come the nutrients that fill the soil to enable future growth in the spring.
The Autumn, and the metal element, are responsible for the quality in life. If the nutrients that go back into the soil aren’t of a rich enough quality, then life will struggle to be born in the springtime. This is the quality that metal brings to the chi energy It is responsible for. This applies to all levels of being, mind, body and spirit. We depend on the quality of the spark from the metal element within us for its inner quality and value. The Metal elements ability to discriminate between good and bad quality is essential for the future growth that will take the dead’s place. It grants us the ability to recognise the quality from the rubbish and to be able to take it in.
The Metal element is responsible for enriching our lives with the purity that comes from what is taken in. The air that we breathe is linked to the metal element, as are the lungs that we draw it in to. The vital essence from the heavens is bought in by the power of the metal element, and expelled by the metal element, through the large intestine. It embraces the dying and letting go of what we don’t need, or that which doesn’t serve it. It fills the void with an essence of pure quality that we can use to enrich our lives.
The nutrients that are absorbed into the earth are rich in minerals and metals. When the theory of the five elements was being created, the metal work that we see nowadays was not the case back then. Metal was seen as the bedrock in which forms part of the earth and prevents the water from falling away deep into the earth, so it can be used again. This is why metal is responsible for the creating or birth of water in the sheng cycle.
The metal element is responsible for bringing in from the Father, like the Earth is responsible for the nurturing mother aspect.