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!
The Water Element encompasses the Kidney and endocrine organ system. Essence, or Jing, is produced in the kidneys—it comes from our inherited DNA, our food, and the air. Essence can be understood as the will to live, to create, and to procreate. Summer is the time when Water energy is most likely to be deficient, but it can be restored with fluids and juicy fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, watermelon, and zucchini.
The Water Element allows us to move through the world with confidence and gives us awareness of our ability to handle difficult situations. Water also provides us with endless creativity, love of relaxation, and quietude, which can be drowned out by our busy lives. When we lose our sense of inner peace, it is time to take time out to be able to interact in a healthy way with the demands of the outer world.
Your wisdom gives rise to compassion and love for others that arises from Water’s ability to extend honor to all of creation simply because it exists. You do not pass judgment, nor do you collapse into pity—you love deeply from a position of absolute respect and consciousness that all of us have a role to play in the greater whole. Water people view things in the context of collectivity—as a part of the greater whole.
Water energy is cold; the exact opposite of Fire. It is cold that makes it difficult for Water people to step into the unknown. You may experience fear if you are uncertain how to plan for your financial future, even though the act of planning is not likely to cause you any actual harm and could ultimately bring you pleasure and enlightenment. If you are reluctant to move ahead, it would be entirely appropriate to ask for help.
Creativity dwells within you so anything could happen on your watch. At some point, every project will come to completion and then you can step back and admire the work that was done—then step away, retreat, and restore your energy which is an appropriate thing for Water people to do. You need downtime before you take on more work; and no amount of wishing or trying can rush the restorative power of a timeout.
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