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 dormancy and subsequent rebirth and renewal of the spring. As temperatures gradually fall, harvest begins and deciduous trees start dropping their leaves—we too can utilize this phase as an opportunity for letting go, cutting back, and simplifying.
When we are willing to let go of the past, we are able to move forward into a new, brighter future. Selichot is a day in mid-September when observant Jews reflect upon their actions in the past to avoid making the same mistakes in their new year which begins on the 18th. No matter what our faith, all of us can use the inspiration of thinking back, then assuming new healthier habits or ways of thinking so that we can move forward in a new happier tomorrow.
Fall is also a good time to weed out our closets and donate outgrown, unloved or unworn summer clothing, and to shed belongings that are no longer useful so that when winter finally arrives, we can use it as a time to rest and regroup, attend to our lifestyle choices, focus on our health, and engage in natural healing practices like meditation, tai chi, and chi gong.
As summer draws to a close, you can’t wait to know what the I Ching predicts for your Element in this, the soft Metal phase of Yǒu … so keep on reading!
The symbol of the Wood Element is a tree, and just like a tree, you need water, sunshine, nourishment, time, and patience to bear fruit. Patience isn’t usually one of a Wood person’s attributes, but perhaps as you age, you will become a little more patient and willing to shop for healthy foods, making certain that you are adequately hydrated, and getting outside in the sunshine for a few minutes every day. Water, sunshine, and patience … a simple prescription for a healthier you!
Woodies hide their emotions, both from themselves and from others; like a tree in a forest, you compete for space and try hard to avoid being in the shadows. There’s nothing wrong with being competitive; it motivates you to work harder and achieve more, but when you focus too much on the competition, you may be putting yourself under so much pressure that it defeats the excitement and fun of being a competitive person. Don’t mess with stress—it’s no darned fun.
Paying attention to the competition so that you come up on top can be the perfect recipe for ruining relationships. One-upmanship is part of the fun, as long as you keep things light and friendly. Woodies are genuinely kind and helpful to others—you are not ill-intended; you just like to win! Remember that losing is not the end of the world, and that allowing others to come out on top once in a while, is one way to help them feel as though they are part of the team … your team!
It is said that Wood people are willing to gamble on quick rewards, and don’t have the patience for slow, steady growth. You are inclined to take risks to speed things up but remember that looking for a quick profit in a short amount of time, can mean that you could win big … but you could lose big too. Even though you might not want to listen to an expert’s advice, it may be time to enlist professional guidance and allow yourself to be led, rather than striking out on your own.
Just like a tree; once a Wood person decides on a career, they tend to put down roots and become immovable. Also like a tree, you probably need plenty of space and your own territory and your biggest fear is being cut down by a Metal Element ax. September is a Metal month, so let the image of an ax serve to remind you that it may be safer to be a solid number two, than a more vulnerable number one. You may find that you are happier counting friends than counting wins.
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