From the earliest civilizations, careful observation of nature revealed that understanding time in relation to the earth is crucial to the growing and harvesting of food. In essence, they understood that time was a matter of repeating cycles.
The ancient Chinese understood time, as well as space, is important, and this is reflected in the Chinese calendar. It’s a combination of the lunar and solar calendars.
Their observation over hundreds if not thousands of years revealed that people are under the influences of these cycles. These cycles of time—like every other thing in the universe– are explained in Feng Shui in terms of yin and yang and the Five Elements, all expressing and manifesting qualities and forms of Qi (energy).
The concept of the elements in Five Element theory is not to be taken literally. In fact, the word “element” is somewhat misleading. Each “Element” represents a particular form of energy that moves and establishes itself in a characteristic way. Each Element represents many things, according to what sphere of the universe, what aspect of life is being considered.
What do the Elements “look like”?
There are 5 Elements — Wood, Fire, Metal, Earth, and Water. Each one has its own unique characteristics as it relates to the time of the year. At the time of this writing (September 2015), I am in Vancouver BC Canada and those of us in the northern hemisphere are in the months of metal.
Each September, the days become shorter with cooler temperatures as the summer season transitions into Autumn.
In terms of Feng Shui Five Element theory, the dry cool weather of Autumn relates to Metal.
In the physical world, the directions of west and northwest; white, grey and metallic colours; silver, gold and brass objects; round shapes, metal sounds (music and bells)—all are related to Metal.
In the human body, Metal governs the lungs and large intestine. Its sensory organ is the nose.
Just as each Element has particular characteristics, each interacts with the other four, in particular, defined ways. For example, Earth energy supports Metal, while
Fire energy controls it, and Metal itself controls Wood energy.
The months of the Monkey, Rooster and Dog are all related to autumn. This year the solar month of the Monkey began August 8th.
How does Metal personally affect you?
Metal emotions can be seen as autumnal. Romantic and sometimes sad, Metal energy is associated with wistfulness and melancholy. Positive Metal emotions are fairness and justice. Metal is associated with integrity.
If the Metal Element is favourable for you, you love the autumn. You feel better, things go easier for you. You feel healthier and opportunities come to you.
If Metal is not favourable for you, you will feel pressure, you will work harder with fewer results. Too much Metal in Chinese medicine can be experienced with skin, lung, sinus or large intestine problems.
Remedies consist of either strengthening or weakening the Metal with colours, foods, etc. Another very viable option is to simply wait– take a holiday or lie low until the Metal time passes. Of course, this is all very simplified, but you get the idea.
Is Metal good for you? That depends.
In Feng Shui, harmony and balance are said to bring a good life. To determine what Elements are harmonious and balancing for you, a Four Pillars or BaZi chart must be constructed (the Four Pillars being the year, month, day and hour of birth). This is translated into the Five Elements. Where the chart needs correction, Elements can be used to help create balance.
At the same time, you may know intuitively how Metal affects your life (and your chart).
For example, you know that cooler Autumn temperatures are balanced with warmer fall clothing. Summer fruits and salads are replaced with warming soups and stews. Again, these examples are simplified, yet they speak to your own ability to create change.
Awareness and consciousness of the change in seasons allow you to create change for yourself and live a balanced life. Therefore, the more you understand Feng Shui, the more you can create conscious, positive change in your life.
So, for the next few months, we are in Metal time. Do you notice a difference? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.