• Color of Yellow
• Sound of Singing
• Odor of Fragrant
• Emotion of Sympathy (or lack of )
• Taste of Sweet
• Sensory organ – Mouth
• Manifests in the Lips
• Tissue – Muscles
• Season of Late Summer
• Power of Decrease
• Direction of the Middle
• The Climate of Damp
• Time of Day – 7am – 11am
The list above.. is just that, a list. Though what lies in commonality within it, are some of the different manifestations of qi embodying the Earth Element. They can be observed in all things, because ‘the 10,000 things’ are all just different forms of qi that came from an expression of the Tao millions of years ago. We can observe it in nature, people, music, animals, and even ‘seemingly’ inanimate objects. For the sake of this website – in terms of discussing the Element itself, my spirit is drawn to discuss these observations through a particular microcosm – within the soil of Mother Earth. When it comes time to discuss the Officials, I will refer to the very same observations, though how we see them manifest in people.
After the Fires of the summer reaches its peak, the cycle begins its slow decline, and nature gives way to the Late Summer. It is a time of harvest – a gathering of nourishments and sustenance, an internal storehouse, so that we can smoothly transition through the autumn and winter leading to a flourishing rebirth in spring. The Earth beneath us and all around us – one of its main roles has to do with nourishment, on all levels – feeding our bodies with food, our minds with its sights, sounds, colors, smells, and our spirit by continuously providing for us: food, foundation, understanding, a center, a sense of security and stability.
This brings a new perspective to “food”, a concept that says, there is no such thing as physical eating and nourishment alone. In order to be truly nourished by what we take in, it has to be desirable and palatable on the level of mind and spirit, as well as the physical. The more appetizing or the more interested we are in a book, story, idea, class, lecture, etc., the more likely we will digest and assimilate the information. This could explain when I was doing my undergraduate education in Business Administration that I was struggling to get to class and retain the information versus being the eager, passionate, and mostly a straight-A student whilst studying Chinese Medicine! We say things like, “chew over the details”, “swallow a story”, “digesting facts”, or “I’ll need to let that ruminate”. A rich, abundant, sustaining store of knowledge can give us the same security and stability of that of a fruitful harvest. And we file or store information in various accessible places, just as we store our fats and sugars for future benefit.
This element brings the quality and essence of the Mother. The Earth beneath our feet continually nourishes people, plants, and animals from the time of before our birth as a seed or fetus up until our eventual death; providing fuel, sustenance, stability, grounded-ness, and a sense of core. This is no different from the relationship between mother and child. She is the ultimate source of nourishment for the babe in her arms, though it may only seem like food… under the surface, what she is offering the child being held is unconditional love and attentiveness, a sense of “there, there, I am here, and I understand”, compassion, sweetness, safety, security, stability, a sense of belonging and a sense of home. These concepts of “mother” and “home” are crucial. They are places we should always be able to come back to for warmth, love, comfort, rootedness, nourishment – a haven for us to return to, to recharge, to digest, assimilate, and then distribute to our cells, muscles, tissue, organs, mind, and spirit.
THE STOMACH OFFICIAL –
Official in Charge of Rotting and Ripening
Above all, this Official is in charge of receiving nourishment – physically (food), mentally (thoughts), emotionally (feelings), spiritually (vibes, intuition, etc.). It is then responsible for chewing, digesting, and breaking down what its received into something palatable and useable to fuel the activities of all the other Officials.
Likened to a cement mixer – the Official is the mixer itself and our “food” (on all levels) is the water, sand, and cement. When the Official is healthy, there will be a proper mix to make a quality, useable, sustainable cement. If its is unhealthy – we will either have a mix that is too watery, too dry and crumbly, or somewhere in between… that is still unusable to provide a proper foundation. We can also draw from an analogy in Nature, right? The soil in the Earth also has to maintain the proper balance of water, sunlight, minerals, and other nutrients, so as to provide an abundant nourishing harvest that will be sustainable through the winter.
As mentioned before in regards to the Small Intestine (II), if the Official is sick, changing the quality or frequency of the ingredients may not do any good at all. In this case, the Official’s function of receiving and/or breaking down nourishment of any kind is impaired, and therefore wouldn’t further benefit from feeding it all organic whole foods. And if the Stomach is unable to break down and digest, then the Sorter has no way to separate the pure from the impure among the bulky undigested food.
As mentioned before, this Official is responsible for providing useable, fortifying fuel for all the other Officials. When it is healthy, there is a sense of stability and security among them, because they have an anchor in the Stomach Official as a core source of nourishment and energy (qi) – here again, we can see the analogy of the Mother.
How do we see this mentally, emotionally, spiritually? This is our ability to properly receive, break down, and digest the information we receive on a daily basis, and then send it through. How we digest news, experiences, and events – ex: getting married, having a baby, September 11th. It also gives us the ability to be satisfied or satiated – by what we eat, our achievements, our progress, what we’ve learned in a 3-day weekend workshop on the Earth and Metal elements.
We can hear things like, “Bring it on, I’m ready to receive” OR “I’m full”, “I’m fed up and can’t take in the world around me”, “I can’t break it down”, “I can’t digest it”, “I’m sick to my stomach”.
THE SPLEEN OFFICIAL –
Official in Charge of Transportation and Distribution
So let’s assume that we now have a high quality, properly chewed and broken down mix of raw useable nourishment (qi). Now what? It needs to get distributed to all the other Officials – mind, body, and spirit level. If the Stomach is completely healthy, but the Spleen isn’t, than that super, powerhouse mix of qi is not going to be all that helpful.
A key word that comes up with this Official is ‘movement’. Instead of using the analogy of the cement truck, let’s change it to a truck full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Like mentioned above, it is the Spleen Official’s job to make sure that the qi from this food gets to the other Officials. With a sick Spleen, we could see this truck full of food stuck in the warehouse (Stomach) not going anywhere OR possibly seeing it not finishing its rounds and leaving some Officials starving and the other Officials left with the burden of trying to compensate. This Official is not only charged with the transportation of Qi, but is also responsible for the movement of all the other substances in the body, such as blood, urine, lymph, feces, etc.
This concept of movement extends to the mind and spirit as well. Without it, logically, we get stuck in our thoughts and find relief when there is a sense of flow again. Likened to our inner ‘filing system’ – our ability to access and transport memories, ideas, experiences, knowledge ==> having a direct correlation with our capacity to process, remember, study, and concentrate. Like the Stomach Official, the Spleen, through its function of transporting energy to every fiber of our being, also provides for us the stability and security of the Earth element. Simply stated, it is the Stomach’s receiving and mixing, followed by the Spleen’s distribution that allows our spirit to receive the warmth, love, and nourishment of Mother Earth. And it is Mother Earth that is constantly feeding and revitalizing us, so that we may perform all the intricate processes involved in the feats that we accomplish on a moment to moment basis.