Welcome to the Earth Element: the season of fruition and harvest. The smell of this season is fragrant, the air is heavy and scented. The climate is more humid, there’s a thickening of the air and Qi. The plants in the garden are putting less energy into growing and maturing and more energy into the fruit or harvest of the plant. It seems like everything is slowing down. There is a quiet or calm in the air.
If wherever you go people are giving away zucchini, then you can be sure you are in the heart of late summer.
Beginning to Slow Down for the Year
This pause in the year is of special significance. For it is at this time that the "yang energy", or active energy of the year begins to decrease. It’s like the pause at the top of a sine wave. From here on until next spring the energies of the planet and our inner energies are slowing down, becoming more receptive and less active as we begin our decent into winter.
The power of this season is decrease, signifying the decrease in activity in the year and in our lives. It is important that we notice this change and begin our descent. The late summer months will be about adjusting our lives to this decrease in activity.
Look at your autumn and winter schedules with this in mind, leaving time for rest and early bedtimes as the days become shorter. Put off any major projects until the spring of next year, leaving this winter free for rest and restoration.
Late Summer: From "Fire" to "Earth" Elements
In Chinese cosmology, the summer season is divided into two phases: the first half of summer is called "simply summer" and is ruled by Fire. The second half is called "late summer" and is ruled by Earth. These are two distinctively different influences. While fire is strongly active, forward moving, "yang":, the earth influence is slower, less forceful, more reflective, more "yin". You can feel the difference as the change from fire to earth occurs. Summer begins to slow down, the days feels sleepier, the morning dews return.
We too are called at this time to slow down.