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.
Fire and Metal do not mix. Fire Element people are impulsive, sensitive, and emotional, while Metal energy is controlled, careful, and analytical. In September, a soft yin Metal month, Fire people may feel a bit more restrained because of Metal’s influence, which could be helpful.
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!
The Fire Element is strongly linked to heart function, so you need to incorporate heart-healthy practices into your life. Eat healthy fats, practice good dental hygiene, get enough sleep, don’t sit for too long, and avoid secondhand smoke. Control portion size, eat more fruit and veggies and select whole grains. Plan ahead, create menus and go shopping with a list. Be good to your heart because it’s your only one!
Ever wonder why pets make our hearts happy? Pets lower stress and alleviate depression; petting an animal calms us and lowers blood pressure; even the simple act of watching a goldfish swim eases tension. Playing with an animal increases the levels of feel-good chemicals in our brain, and our pets bring order to our lives, get our joy juices flowing, and increase our social connections. Animals love to give love, and Fire people love to receive it; it’s a win-win for both.
Even though you enjoy being center stage in a group setting, Fire people like you can feel a bit awkward and uncertain when engaging in one-to-one relationships. You like feeling loved and admired but may not know how to reciprocate. Here’s an idea—practice saying sweet nothings to your dog, cat, or even your fish—then move on to people and start telling the ones you love how important they are to you and see what happens. Aw shucks.
Fire people are the peacocks of the world—luxury fuels your fire, but it also burns a hole in your pocket. Work on appreciating some of the beautiful things you already have; combine scarves, ties, socks, stockings, hats, vests, and other accessories in brand-new ways. Dig around in drawers, closets, and cupboards, and repurpose some interesting things you completely forgot you had. Recycle and reinvent, and then strut your stuff in a brand-new way.
Fire people are known for their passion, but conversely, they can also completely wear themselves out. Get back to your heart-healthy protocol; eat well, get enough rest, and protect your health. Exercise regularly. Practice calming meditation, yoga, tai chi, or qi gong. Giving your all to your life’s work can be exhausting, so step back and take better care of yourself. This will help you rise to the top … and stay there.
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