Autumn Seasonal Living

Autumn… the Awesome

During the late summer season ruled by the earth element, energy is poised as it prepares to withdraw and contract in readiness for the condensing of late Autumn.

Autumn contracts this gathered energy from the periphery and brings it into the centre ready for the strong descending action of Winter.

We see this evidenced in nature with soft leaves falling to the earth as the trees contract their nutritional support back to the centre. It is reflected in the sun’s diminishing  strength as it contracts and withdraws its brightness to the Northern hemisphere.

In Autumn the garden harvest is completed with the fruits of summer, stored and consolidated.

A more gentle and reflective attitude at this time will stabilise and support our bodies for this transition.

When we miss the opportunity to connect in to the earth element (that guides Late Summer) by modifying our digestion, we are missing the pivot that regulates our energy for the change. The earth element also dominates for a week  at each change of season, as the opportunity to gather the energy together at the centre and re-direct its flow. The earth period enables you to stand on solid ground to meet the changing elements and requirements.

People who do not recognise the energetic change that dictates the subtle need to contract our energy back for the descent of Winter and who do not resolve the excess damp in the body from Summer foods, may be caught out with Autumn colds and seasonal illnesses or persitent low energy. This disharmony with the seasonal change is the cause of ‘catching’  most seasonal illnesses.


Autumn eating

The change from hot to cool weather is often sudden. To mitigate this change we need to adjust our diet in Late Summer away from cooling salads and include the seasonal harvest of squash and maturing root vegetables,

In Autumn, food is more plentiful than in other seasons. The richness of colour reflected in the changing trees is reflected in the beautiful colours on our plates. Reds, yellows, gold and orange, brown and pale greens…. Many Autumn harvest foods have natural storing qualities to be used throughout the Winter months.

The blood now needs to consolidate and thicken in preparation for the cold of winter.

Eating root vegetables now will reflect the now dominant descending force that is operating and will strengthen and tone the large intestine.

Small hardy leafy greens and pungent flavours from ginger, leeks, onion, daikon, cabbage and radish will help to cleanse the lungs of any excess damp taken in throughout the Summer, usually expressed as mucous.

During this season we can reintroduce the richer tastes and stronger cooking styles that reflect colder weather. This style of cooking discharges the excess intake of liquids, raw foods and fruits that we used to balance the heat of summer. The Summer balancing foods can tend to overwork the kidney and bladder of the water element that we drew on to balance the fire of Summer. This needs to be redressed before Winter.

Introduce stewed baking (baking with lots of moisture), long sauté, boiling and cooking with thicker cuts such as fat diagnols, roll cuts etc. to balance the longer cooking styles. A little more salt can be used now in cooking to warm the body on the colder days.

Rich tasting bean stews that consolidate the energy, occasional fried foods, creamy grain stews etc. can all be used now.

The balance of raw food needs to be reduced now to match the reduction of warm, sunny weather that occurs by the late Autumn. It is time to eat the orchard fruits that we have dried or to cook them into deserts, saving raw fruit eating for the warmer days that still occur.


The Metal element of Autumn

With Autumn comes the gathering in phase. It is ruled by the energetic of contraction.

Metal which is born from the earth is a pure substance created by the condensing of the earth’s tectonic plates. In nature, the prior season of Long Summer Earth turns gross materials into the pure essence of Autumn. In alchemy this idea is reflected by the desire to turn base metals into gold.

The beauty of this season combined with the sense of abundant harvest also comes with a sense of loss as the sun fades and the days grow shorter. This loss is reflected in the Metal element by the capacity to experience grief. The sounds of this season are expressed as weeping and mellow tones. When the metal organs of Lung and Large Intestine are balanced within the human body, this is expressed as a mellow sensitivity to beauty reflected by creative endeavours. When the two Metal organs work in harmony, the Large Intestine supports the Lung to let go of and release any Grief held by the Lung. This liberates the Lung to express aesthetic beauty and the serene virtue that is the temperament of the golden hued season of Autumn.


And so an ancient Chinese saying: