Updated: Nov 13
Summer begins! Hail
Red Phoenix! Days lengthen, Yang
Flourishes and blooms.
Hello Friends of Flying Needle!
Happy Beginning of Summer!
- first summer solar node -
Hope this finds you well during these interesting times!
Seasonal Musings & Reflections
Summer begins on May 6th this year. Although it's been on the cooler side this week, Summer is the season of fire, the heart, and flourishing yang. We can observe this in longer days, thriving plant life, and the increased activity of our other than human kin. In the North Carolina Piedmont, the gray tree frogs typically begin singing during the first week of May. Have you heard them? Bats are courting. Baby birds are in abundance. According to the 2001 edition of the Piedmont Almanac, the first fireflies often appear during the second week of May. My observation is that they have been showing up closer to June the past few years. What have you noticed?
The Neijing Suwen says:
The Three months of summer one calls “the thriving and fulfillment”. The qi of Heaven and Earth mingle. The myriad creatures flower and ripen. Sleep at night and rise early. Don’t be too greedy for the sunshine.
Traditional yang sheng (life nourishing) advice for the Beginning of Summer node is to preserve a good mood which nourishes the heart and supports entering into stillness. It is recommended to avoid excess eating and drinking, and heart fire “becoming too exuberant.” Simply put, this is a great time to go with the flow, be easy and friendly with oneself, and pause to appreciate beauty, especially in the natural world, when we encounter it.
With regards to heart fire, Dr Henry McCann explains:
The Heart is the fire organ. This means that occasionally it is prone to excess heat, signs of which include insomnia, irritability, dry and hard stool, red eyes, and thirst for cold beverages. One way to avoid excess Heart Fire is to dress appropriately for the warmer weather as it starts to come. Avoid strenuous work in direct midday sun, instead taking advantage of the slightly cooler temperatures in the early morning or later afternoon. Be sure to consume plenty of clear fluids such as water or herbal teas. Mint tea and chrysanthemum tea are both gently cooling to the body.
Another traditional yang sheng recommendation to regulate heart fire is meditative practice, either sitting or standing, focusing the intention, attention and breath on the lower abdomen, the lower dantian. This is considered to be the most yin aspect of the body. By placing our mind intention on the lower dantian, the qi of the heart is guided downwards which strengthens and warms our center. We bring yang heart fire, to the yin of the lower belly, microcosmically resonating with the macrocosmic Summer movement referenced in the Suwen quote above – The Qi of Heaven and Earth mingle. Here, the heart fire is heaven, and the lower dantian is earth.
While Summer dietary recommendations are to increase sour, bitter, and cooling foods, be mindful of your own constitution, dampness, and the ambient temperature. The digestive system likes to be warm. We don't want to cool it off too much. Think of the Goldilocks Principle here. You may find that it applies to much of what we talk about here.
With regards to physical activity, Summer is a great time to move and sweat. Ideally, this is not done in the most intense heat of the day. Afterwards, it is not recommended to cool off too quickly. Sitting in a strong breeze, under a fan, or in front of an air conditioning vent may feel good to some of us, but it can drive the cold into the body through the open pores and create stiffness and pain.
May your Summer days be filled with beauty, mystery, and friendship!
May you and your kin feel both rooted and free!
May we walk in gratitude with our Ancestors!
May all being and becoming receive nourishment!
The sign and scent of Summer's
Brightness and delight.
It is my sincere hope that you have found something of use in these words.
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Wishing you and all your relations wellbeing and good medicine!