Summer the Season of Maturing
Summer is the most yang of seasons.
The days are long and hot and there is a natural tendency to be more active, to stay up late and to sleep less. We tend to be more expansive; it is natural at this time of the year to socialize more and spend time outdoors.
In ancient China, where the majority of people lived and worked on the land, the focus of life during the summer was on harvesting crops which had matured and ripened with the heat of the summer sun. In the Su Wen, an ancient text on Chinese medicine, it says:
The 3 months of summer
Are called prospering and developing the flower.
The qi of Heaven and Earth
The 10,000 beings flower and bring forth fruit.
-- Su Wen Chapter 2
In the Five Element Tradition, the season of summer is associated with the Fire Element. Two of the organs, or officials, as they are referred to in Chinese medicine, associated with the Fire Element are the Heart and the Heart Protector. In Chinese medicine the emotion linked with the Fire Element is joy. This is similar to the western idea of the heart being connected with the emotion of love. For many of us this feeling of happiness is most closely associated with our intimate relationships.
Do you not see
That you and I are as
the branches of one tree?
With your rejoicing
comes my laughter;
With your sadness
Start my tears.
Love, could life be otherwise
With you and me?
-- Tsu Yeh (Tsin Dynasty A.D. 265 - 316)
To be fulfilled, we need to have close relationships that nourish and support us, and from the perspective of Chinese medicine, this can only happen when we have a vibrant and healthy Fire Element. We are then able to share love, feel the comfort of the warmth that comes from being loved, and exchange laughter and joy.
The Heart Protector
Closely linked with the Heart is another offiicial, the Heart Protctor, which acts as a gatekeeper to the Heart. When healthy and balanced, this official is able to open and close the entryway to the Heart as circumstances demand. The Heart Protector allows access to the Heart when appropriate, such as when we are with those whom we trust and love, but prevents access when circumstances are threatening or unsafe. The ability of the Heart Protector to act in a way that is fitting to the varied experiences of life is very important. If it is too rigid in its role, the Heart will lose connection with others and be deprived of love and closeness. If, on the other hand, the Heart Protector does not protect the Heart enough, the Heart will be damaged by constant exposure to painful experiences.
Palace of Weariness
This acupuncture point is on the Heart Protector meridian and epitomizes the nature of the Fire Element. When we lose our connection with others and our experience of love is very limited, we can feel alone and isolated. This lack of love and joy can cause a profound weariness. The term palace is used quite often in the names of acupuncture points. In ancient China, a palace represented the place where the emperor lived. In Chinese culture the emperor was seen as the manifestation of the divine on earth, so his residence was regarded as being very special. This point can help resuscitate the Fire Element, making it easier to connect with others and experience love and joy.