What Chinese astrology has to say about what the !@#$% is going on.
Updated: Mar 29
Back in January I attended a webinar hosted by Lillian Bridges, a Chinese medicine practitioner on the topic of the Chinese New Year, the year of the Metal Rat. In her forecast she amazingly shared how this year was destined to be a big year for health, medicine, and technology. A bad year for stocks, a good year for gold, the military, and acupuncturists (although that part has yet to be seen). I recall feeling amazed when awareness of the coronavirus hit as I reflected on her predictions. I thought it might be helpful to share with you what I know about the Metal element from my studies of Chinese medicine and how it may inform some of how you view and experience this time.
The organs associated with the metal element are the LUNG, (hello Respiratory Pandemic!) and the Large Intestine. The season is Autumn. The emotion, grief. Here we are, individually and societally experiencing grief on every level, physical, mental, & emotional. Having to let go of so many things we thought we knew for sure as we’ve been thrust into unprecedented uncertainty. Letting go of having and doing life in so many of the ways we’ve become accustomed. Not to mention, all the deaths. Metal is also the parent element to water in the Chinese nature cycle, and water is the element associated with fear. Certainly our losses have thrust us into uncharted territory in nearly every realm, causing most of us to experience tremendous fear and anxiety about the future.
So here’s the thing about metal, although it can be molded into many different forms, one of its main attributes is its ability to cut. Whether you’re wielding a knife, a pair of scissors, a machete, a chainsaw, or a scalpel. And the ability to cut points to a capacity to prune, and to me this pandemic feels like one massive global pruning. Metal is the element that keeps overgrowth in check. It clips things down to size, puts you in place. The energy of Metal can be humbling, the ultimate ego deflator. It brings the power of purging to all that is extraneous, inflated, and non-essential. Metal energy drills life down to what is essential. And don’t you bet as individuals and as a society we are learning fast what is and is not essential.
Just like our large intestine functions to let go of waste, it's worth reflecting that we are not exactly what we eat. We are actually what we don't sh*t. The large intestine is the final stop in our digestive tracks where our bodies make that call, and we absorb the last of what may be useful to us. There is a recognition and appreciation of value. A dismissal of the bullshit. In the cutting, metal energy can be expressed in the feeling of being cut-off and isolated. To the converse, it can make people feel even more connected to others, as the mundane distractions of life that often mask our deep intrinsic interconnectedness are being lifted.
Metal is about acknowledgment and respect. Respect essential workers. Respect teachers. Respect health care providers. Respect home-birth midwives. Respect.
It’s about taking nothing for granted. Appreciation. Gratitude.
The metal element in all its forms is asking the perpetual question, what really matters? What do I value? What do I hold onto? What do I let go of? How many of us are asking these questions in our individual and collective lives.
The lungs, our precious lungs are our source for both inspiration and expiration. If you don’t look around you and see both, you may be missing something. People are radically stepping up. Inspiration is everywhere, and so is loss, death, many things coming to their end.
And of course, in our global slowing down, our planet is breathing better again. This virus might just be mother nature’s immune system functioning perfectly.
Autumn, the Metal season, is a time of composting. Leaves falling to the ground, nature turning down and inward, becoming what will ultimately turn into fodder for the next growth cycle, the next spring, which also promises to come again (although in the Chinese astrology we don’t hit that element until 2024, and interestingly, the last time we were in a metal year was 2008/2009). I can’t imagine we have to wait that long but it feels useful to reflect on the gifts of the metal element as they are showing up around us and within us.
The ancient Chinese knew we were all a part of nature and in their wisdom and capacity for observation noticed the expression of these cycles. That’s the good news I think. We won’t be here forever and there is much meaning to be extracted in the meanwhile.
And however this year is pruning you, I hope it comes like a gardener cuts a clipping of a plant, repotting you in a new vessel where you can continue to grow and flourish. May you have good health, healthy bowel movements and many deep breaths, on all the levels...
Finally, I’m here for you, whenever you need a dose of inspiration, a virtual shoulder to grieve upon, or a resource to help you weather this season.