According to the Chinese lunar calendar, Autumn begins early August. In 2019 it’s August 8 and August 7 the following year. In the West, we often think of Autumn starting with the Equinox. This in the East is the celebration of the peak energy or mid Autumn.
Now, you may think, what? August? August is still hot. How can that be the start of the fall?
Autumn, Seasonal Changes, and 24 Solar Terms
Seasonal changes are not a switch, an on/off. It’s a flow, a morphing. Summer heat is still very much present when autumn begins, and slowly dissipates until third week of August. Early September, we start to observe cooler temperatures, a period called White Dew, the dew on the ground becoming frost (Cold Dew) early October. This is the 24 Solar Terms, an important calendar. In 2016, UNESCO included it on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The first four solar terms were created as far back as the Shang Dynasty (17th Century BC – 1046 BC) and the four seasons, through eight solar terms, were established in the Zhou Dynasty (1046 – 256 BC). The calendar was completed, with its 24 solar terms, in the Han Dynasty (256 BC – 220 AD).
No matter where we live, we have seasonal changes. Yes, even in the tropics. The leaves may not turn golden or drop to the ground there as they do in colder areas. So what do I mean?
Autumn and Its Correspondences
We all have Autumn in our lives, whether as a season as in the older years or during the day. Related to Autumn are the Lung and Large Intestine Organ Function Energy flows, which are most active from 3 AM to 7 AM, with the Lung OFE peaking at 4 AM and Large Intestine OFE at 6 AM. These are the times they are most active; we can think of them as driving the bus, so to speak.
Each season also corresponds with an element. For Autumn, it’s Air or Metal. Everything is made of the elements. They form our environment, they build our physical bodies. The elements support and energize each other. There is a creative and a destructive cycle. That is nature. Air – the air and life force we inhale. It’s organization, ideas, perfectionism. We can also find air/metal in Feng Shui principles, in the space we occupy.
Seasons then also correspond with an emotion. For Autumn, it is sadness and grief. We call it an attitude as Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioners. An attitude is a habitual response in life. Some people struggle with this time of year, with melancholy, feeling under the weather. If energy were not sufficiently gathered and brought into this season from Summer, the immune system may be weaker, and the person less vital.
Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.Deborah Reber, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
So there are many ways the energy of the Autumn can manifest in our being – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and in our environment. Perhaps the biggest message – and lesson, of this season is to let go. Exhale.