For thousands of years the I Ching has provided guidance for decisions about our health, relationships, finances, work, and play. Predictions from the I Ching follow the lunar year and are based on multiple, overlapping cycles that govern the heavens and earth. A variety of stems, branches, directions, and phases also have their say, each creating a trail of portents, probabilities, and possibilities, so let us begin…
In the Chinese horoscope, August is the seventh lunar month in a phase called Shén 申 whose character usually refers to “spirit” but can also represent spirituality, god, deity, consciousness, or awareness. Shen resides in our hearts—it is a channel for spiritual transformation, and it connects us to magic, inspiration, intuition, joy, love, and compassion.
August is a strong Metal Element month in which the heat of high summer begins to subside and as we journey toward autumn. In August, our energy also begins to decrease or contract which is our cue that it is time to let go of things, ideas, attitudes, and feelings that are no longer of use. It is also time for us to reflect on that which we have sown, and to consider what our goals are for the future.
In the Chinese lunar calendar, seasons change earlier than in the west. In the lunar calendar, for example, the seasons begin when the first faint whisperings of change in the natural world appear, hence spring begins in early February, summer arrives in May, autumn begins in August, and winter arrives in November.
The Chinese image for August is “full ripeness.” In the west, we think of August as still being summer, but in traditional agrarian cultures, farmers are well aware that the solstice is more than a month behind us and that daylight hours are becoming shorter. Before we know it, Labor Day will be here!
August’s Metal energy compels us to look back and reflect, but it drives us forward toward spiritual pursuits and personal transformation. You must be curious to know what else the I Ching reveals about your Element this month… so check it out!
Earth energy is exemplified by the Stomach organ system. The stomach is a hollow container which is why our home, a bird’s nest, a cup, or a chair\ are considered to be perfect examples of Earth Element energy. Our stomach gathers our food, then sends it along our digestive tract for the extraction of nourishment. Your physical health as an Earth person depends upon the food choices you make, so choose wisely and choose well.
Earth energy disburses the resources it collects. It gives of itself to foster new life, but this giving does not come without a price. When we care about someone or something, we give something of ourselves over to them. Over-caring however, can lead to worry which is the emotion associated with the Earth Element. In extreme cases worry becomes a never-ending, unproductive, obsessive habit … and who would want that?
In relationships, Earth energy governs emotional attachment. Bonds are built as we share experiences with others. Bonding cannot be hurried—it needs to be developed slowly, carefully, and meaningfully because strands of our essence are lodged inside those we’re bonded to, and theirs is entwined with ours so there is potential for great harm to us if someone that we love and trust is motivated by their selfishness.
The Earth Element is characterized by the ability to collect, accumulate, and gather resources. When we eat, we take in food and transform it into fuel as it is needed. Likewise, money is an Earth Element phenomenon that illustrates Earth’s accumulative nature; it is not difficult for Earth people to accumulate money and to distribute it as needed or as they see fit. Easy come; easy go… that’s the Earth Element!
Clutter is a sign of Earth Element imbalance—a sign of overabundance and a lack of the ability of Earth energy to contain it. Earth is characterized by dampness, that in healthy amounts surround and nourish us and our surroundings—an excess of dampness, however, leads to the accumulation of things piled on top of other things, which is burdensome and makes it hard to function effectively at home and work.