For thousands of years, the I Ching has provided guidance for decisions about our health, relationships, financial matters, 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 lunar calendar, May is positioned right between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It is the time of soft yin as the Fire Element begins to warm us and exert its energy on our lives. May is further represented by the Chinese character Sze 巳 which translates to “preparation for ripeness,” an indication that emerging possibilities are beginning to come our way.
For thousands of years prognostication from the I Ching have provided guidance for our health, relationships, finances, work, and play. I Ching predictions follow the lunar year, the seasons, and are based on the cycles of heaven and earth. The Five Elements, Yin and Yang, and a variety of stems, branches, directions, and phases also have their say, all creating a trail of portents, possibilities, and probabilities.
Mother’s Day is celebrated this month in nearly every country on earth. In China, cities often present a series of Mother’s Day activities that feature the Five Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water; group dances; tree planting; a delicate feast and ceremony called Thanksgiving Mother that lays out a child’s responsibility to be a good student as well as kind and able to live in peace and harmony with others.
In the US, we’ve got Cinco de Mayo on the 5th, Mother’s Day on the 8th, Armed Forces Day on the 21st; then Memorial Day will bring the month to a close on the 30th. May also features some silly celebrations like Say No Day and National Hugging day, along with recognition of some serious medical conditions like Melanoma Monday on May 2. Skin cancer is yet another reminder that even though the Fire Element and the sun can be warming and nurturing, they can also be dangerous and destructive.
May is named after the Greek goddess Maia, the daughter of Atlas, the lover of Zeus, and the mother of Hermes. Maia was a nurturer; her name is an honorific term for older women, mothers, and midwives. As Fire energy begins to warm the earth, it is also the time to refresh our stash of sunscreen and dig out our sunglasses and summer hats.
The Fire Element is spunky—it is both creative and destructive—it can nurture us with its warmth and burn our forests and our skin with its heat. The wisdom of the I Ching can help us know what to expect in this phase of rising Fire, so have a look at what’s in store for you in the merry month of May.
Fire’s energy is on the rise, so use that extra oomph to sign up for a class at your local gym, park, or rec center. Many cities have recreation programs that offer inexpensive, fun activities like tai chi, swimming, softball, tennis … even sailing! Or lace up your kicks, pack some water and sandwiches, and head outside. Your destination could be a city park or a mountaintop, keeping in mind that spring weather won’t last forever!
Anna Jarvis invented Mother’s Day in 1908 to use as a reminder to write our mothers a letter that expressed our love and gratitude. Eventually, she began boycotting greeting card companies because she thought they exploited her original idea for their own commercial gain. The lesson here is that sometimes it is necessary to make a complete 180 from our original intention … and if she could do it, so can you!
Give up unrealistic expectations. We expect our mothers to nurture and love us unconditionally even though we are adults. Our mothers may need a little nurturing from us at this point, so if at all possible, do something extra nice for her on Mother’s Day. Take her to lunch, or deliver flowers to her door. If the two of you happen to live in different parts of the country, call or Facetime her to say that you are thinking of her.
Is your piggy bank empty? Wish you could take a vacation but have other obligations that need to be taken care of? Walk, ride your bike, take a bus, subway, or ferry and go somewhere—anywhere. Getting “there” is part of the adventure and your destination can be as simple as trying out a new bakery, walking around a university campus, or going to the hardware store … whatever floats your boat!
Woodies like you can be a little bit inflexible, which is why we told you the story of the founder of Mother’s Day. You have great ideas, just like she had, but rather than behaving like an immovable post, conjure up the image of bamboo because it is flexible, can sway in the wind, yet never breaks. Just like you, bamboo is incredibly strong, but because it is flexible it can endure.
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