By AFEA member James Bartlett

“Planting and begetting are in accord with spring. The three months of ‘spring’ are called the period at the beginning and development of life. The breaths of heaven and earth are prepared to give birth; thus everything is developing and flourishing. Everything is restored at the beginning of spring. Spring is the time of the beginning of the creation of all living beings; therefore, their breath is still flowing softly and weakly, their pulse is slow and slippery, but they keep themselves upright and straight and are in the process of growing, and therefore one compares them to the strings of a lute. When the condition is opposite, then they are sick.” Nei Jing

After the hibernation of winter, the new season of spring begins. It is a time of growth, birth and a time when life is sprouting from all around. It can be seen all around both in nature, and in big cities. Days become lighter, and there is a feeling of optimism in the air. Animals most commonly produce their offspring in the springtime, and all around in the fields, life is springing forth from its seed. It is as if nature is waking up after a long rest, stretching her arms and feeling her muscles and tendons as she prepares for movement. The breaths of Heaven and Earth are prepared to give birth.

The wood element creates the power that manifests the chi of spring. This chi pushes the seed upwards. Even if there is something in the seed’s way, and its path is blocked, it still finds a way to burst through. It is the same chi that gives birth to our vision of our potential, to initiate growth and change, and the determination to achieve that development.

The spring is noisy and exuberant, teaming with life.

Within ourselves we begin to feel more energy, more interest in going outside into nature, tackling projects and making plans. With the daylight hours increasing, we begin to feel a quickening in movement within ourselves. This is the outward looking expression of yang, a quality of the springtime.

From a treatment perspective, in the springtime we may see someone who has no spark, no interest in life, no coming alive, not being born again. The spring within them is asking to be created or they will die. Some people may feel worse in the springtime, their ailments worse or perhaps even that the springtime is the only time they feel well. In the season of spring we literally sow the seeds for the fall of harvest within ourselves. The acupuncturist needs to know that unless the seeds of healing are sown in their proper season throughout treatment, the tree (patient) will not thrive.

The springtime is a sign of the future. It is a sign of reproduction and thriving as a species. It is a sign that whatever has gone before and died, shall be replaced in the springtime. The springtime brings both increase and progress. In ourselves we notice this as a vision, a picture of what the future will bring us and where we will be. From this grows the hope that the vision will be realised. This sense of hope is one of the Wood element’s greatest gift to us, and at the heart of its very essence. For it is only through vision and hope of this kind that we shall ever find the motivation and the sense of purpose for everything we do. 

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