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 …
September is the eighth lunar month in a soft yin Metal phase called Yǒu. It is characterized by transformation, letting go, cutting back, and simplifying in preparation for the spring's dormancy and subsequent rebirth and renewal. As temperatures gradually fall, harvest begins, and deciduous trees drop their leaves—we too can use this phase as an opportunity to let go, cut back, and simplify.
Earth nourishes the Metal Element, but that energy exchange does not work in the other direction. In a Metal-heavy month like September, normally kind, loving Earth people may find their energy moving toward non-productive activities such as rumination and worry
When we are willing to let go of the past, we can move forward into a new, brighter future. For the ten days following the beginning of their New Year on September 6, observant Jews reflect upon the past, ending in a day spent in prayer for their mistakes, and begin the New Year afresh. Regardless of our faith, we can all use this example to inspire us to reflect and look back, then assume healthier habits or ways of thinking so that we can all move forward to a new happier tomorrow.
Fall is the perfect time to weed out our closets and donate outgrown, unloved or unworn summer clothing. When we shed belongings that are no longer useful to us, we can use the quiet of wintertime to rest, relax, and regroup; attend to making better lifestyle choices; focus on our health; and recommit ourselves to setting aside time for natural healing practices like meditation, tai chi, or qi gong.
In the west, we will celebrate the Harvest Moon on September 10th. On the other side of the world, the full moon initiates the Chinese Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival. On this night which celebrates the round, bright, full moon, families gather to enjoy a feast, like families gathering for Thanksgiving in the west. Chinese families hang lighted paper lanterns, go for a moonlit evening stroll, and exchange traditional pastries called—you guessed it, mooncakes!
As summer draws to a close, we can imagine that you are interested in hearing what the I Ching has in store for your personal element in this soft Metal phase called Yǒu … so keep on reading.
Some people lead from their heads or their hearts, but loving, nurturing Earth people lead from their stomachs! Many Earth people are loosey-goosey when it comes to maintaining a routine; they skip breakfast, and nibble on a cookie here and some chips there, all of which can quickly add up to an over-fed but an under-nourished human being. Quit snacking, set up regular mealtimes, and eat real food with real people. Your stomach will thank you, and so will your overall health.
There will always be difficult people that require a great deal of our energy and drain our emotional batteries. Robust emotional health requires that we are well-nourished and well-rested, that we have social connections with others, that our immune system needs to function well to avoid becoming ill, and that we need restorative sleep. When our emotional batteries run low, we do not feel physically or emotionally well, which makes it difficult for us to function.
Rather than snacking all day long, sit down with a friend or family member and enjoy a lovely meal together. Focus on the people around you rather than the food, and leave digital devices elsewhere. Among the many benefits of shared mealtimes is that it creates a sense of belonging. Regular mealtimes provide opportunities for friends, colleagues, or families to come together, build ties, strengthen relationships, and lessen the creation of obesity.
While many people have the give me’s, most Earth people have the give-ies, and that is because many Earth people enjoy occupying a position that is smack dab in the center of other people’s lives. It’s all about finding balance, dear Earthling—figure out how to balance your love of giving to others with the necessity of learning how to preserve, conserve, and especially grow what you already possess. Make sense (cents), doesn’t it? Think about it.
Opportunities in a Metal month may require that you let go of something you are currently doing and move on to something completely new and different. Perhaps you need a better balance between home and your life’s work, or you need to set aside some time for a vacation or to have a little fun. Work needs to remain in the workplace, and your free time needs to have its own space, even if you work from home. You deserve more “me” time, so go for it!