From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Indian Summer: Earth Element predominates

(Photo by Schnobby)
Autumn marks a transition from summer's fullness to winter's starkness, but just when this occurs is open to debate.  Although Northern Hemisphere cultures tend to consider the September equinox as the beginning of autumn, some still honor the ancient traditions which begin in August instead.

If that weren't confusing enough, the term "Indian Summer" is also in the mix.  No one quite knows why this name was first applied to what Wikipedia calls "a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather, occurring after the end of summer proper."  Theories,
however, abound.  Some think that this term originally referred to American Indian raids which had occurred during that time of year, and others think that it referred to the "traditional period during which American Indians harvested their crops of corn and squash."

Dr. Thea Summer Deer associates Indian Summer with the predominance of the Chinese Earth Element. She describes this sacred time as "the transition point between the yang expansion of spring and summer to the inward yin of fall and winter."  In practice, it "is when the middle way is summoned between the extremes" – a time when "it is important for us to give pause and come to center."

The Earth Element corresponds with sweet flavors and bright shades of yellow.  These are reflected in such harvest gifts as sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash.  Traditional Chinese Medicine tells us that strong Earth Qi (energy) makes for "a well grounded, nurturing, compassionate person…"  Weak Earth Qi can result in worry, meddling, overwork and digestive difficulties.  Warming foods and grains can assist the latter people to stay grounded.  Sitting meditation is also recommended.


Copyright September 3, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved


No comments:

Post a Comment