Mar 1, 2019
By Dennis von Elgg
OK, perhaps a teaser, dubiously premature in light of the weather, but hear me out.
From ancient China through today the Chinese, not unlike the rest of life throughout history, have honored the sun, the moon and the seasons. These factors have guided every aspect of their most basic needs: food and water availability, shelter from the weather, even the quality of the air. With these factors fluctuating in varying rhythms of consistency and surprises, the Chinese, during the Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 24 BCE), established the 24 Solar Terms, roughly splitting the year into 2+ week intervals determined by observations of seasons and nature. These intervals presented some very useful information as to what and how to meet basic needs as well as the more sophisticated needs of the people.
Utilizing the Winter and Summer Solstices, and the Spring and Fall Equinoxes, the Chinese arrived at a system that places the Winter Solstice in the middle of Winter (rather than the beginning as in the West), and the Summer Solstice in the middle of Summer (rather than the beginning). The two equinoxes, with their equal sunlight/daylight hours, fall into the center of Spring and Fall.
So, despite the wetness of our days, we can look at the sky and earth and see the beginnings of Spring as we head toward the Spring Equinox on March 21, just six weeks away.
Flowers are returning, the grasses are lusciously green and driving upward, insects and animals are churning and awakening, the days are lengthening, and soon to follow, we'll be turning on our lights later and later, followed by less need for heating our homes.
As a Chinese medicine practitioner, I can feel it in a patient's pulse. The energetic Spring pulse is favorable this time of year, hopefully growing to it's fullness as the Equinox nears. In contrast, a deeper, less expressive pulse would warrant a treatment designed to strengthen, motivate and excite. This said, an overly aggressive pulse might suggest a soothing treatment approach would be wiser in hopes to tame an agitated spirit or a festering imbalance.
This is where lifestyle and natural medicines excel. Not just treating a disease but in supporting vitality through the seasons and with the seasons. From rest and restoration to passions and productivity. And all the nuanced expressions between.
Ok, so all this said, Spring is springing. Go outside and look around you. Clean out that garage, that kitchen drawer, and, AND, your emotional clutter. Be honest, be active. New beginnings abound.
Yes, this is the Year of the Pig.
The Pig is of great importance in Chinese culture as the Chinese character for "home" contains two radicals: one of "roof", and the other of "pig". Its value to the home was considered indispensable, thus its inclusion as something so important as one's home and a member of the family. Of course, they ate them too, so, there you go ....
In strength, you will show qualities of generosity, clarity, sensuality, reliability, hard work, gregariousness and eloquence, which all draw good luck to you. Good deal, right?
When in a weakened state you will gravitate towards laziness, self-indulgence, secrecy, self-pity and self-destruction.
I recommend that you make very solid decisions about your well-being. Eat, drink, play and work wisely. Employ self-care. Have dinner guests. Be warm and be strong, The benefits are exponentially rewarding.
Dennis W. von Elgg is a California State Licensed Acupuncturist. He is also a Diplomate of Acupuncture recognized by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. His clinic, The Redwood Needle, is located in Occidental.
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