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.
The Metal Element exerts a greater controlling force over Wood people than all the other elements, meaning that in September, Woodies who are typically forceful and assertive might be a little more willing to take a step back and think before they leap into action.
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!
Woodies are invigorated by sour, and you’ll be happy to know that many new refreshingly tart, thirst-quenching, sour beers are being made in the US. Quite a few of these sour beers are also low in alcohol which can be a perfect thing for your toxin-adverse element. If beer is not your thing, there’s always lemonade, limeade, or citrus-infused sparkling water. The main thing is to drink plenty of fluid during this final blast of summer heat, so drink up!
You have many ideas and plans swirling around in your brain, and the more complicated they are, the better you like them. Knowing as you do that Wood people are prone to over-doing, now is the time to try stepping back a bit and working toward simplifying your plans. Over-stimulation isn’t particularly good for us; it gets us emotionally out of whack and negatively affects our immunity. It’s time for a chill pill, dear Woodie, so pull back, rest, and relax.
Wood people are all go-go, but when you go full tilt 24/7, you simply aren’t getting enough rest. When you are tired, you get cranky, and everyone around you suffers. Smooth your rough edges by going to bed at a reasonable hour to wake up feeling refreshed and happy. The old saying goes, “When Mama ain’t happy; ain’t nobody happy.” Whether you happen to be a mama or a papa, you know what you need to do … just do it!
Down with plastic straws, nix plastic shopping bags, and just say “no” to plastic bottles. You’ve got extra energy to burn, so invest in a glass water bottle and fill it with fresh, filtered water from your own tap. Not only will you be saving money, but you will also be helping Mother Earth. Your pocketbook will be fatter, and you will have done your part as a responsible human being. Kudos to you for making an effort, and enjoy having a few extra dollars in your pocket.
Ancient wisdom tells us that each of us has a higher purpose that can lead us to enlightenment, freedom, and clarity … to name a few virtues. When we live according to our higher purpose, our decisions will govern and support the best choices about what we eat, how we spend our time, what we do for a living, whom we choose as a partner, and the friends we hang out with. Is your life’s work in accordance with your life’s purpose? Only you would know the answer.
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