Sunday, October 5, 2008

Why? Understanding renewal for you!

When I went yesterday off to the local store which specializes in supplements at very good prices, I realized that there was a fine topic here to blog upon. How is it possible to regenerate, restore and rejuvenate our bodies and what in the world do we do to accomplish that?

For the past over 30 years, I have delved deeply into many facets of Chinese medicine, Japanese acupressure, kundalini yoga, Tibetan meditations and some martial arts mostly because of my interested in building my whole health and well being. The techniques I use, the philosophies that explain why and how to use them have become an integral part of my daily life. From my practice I bring practicality and from philosophies I bring understanding. Take what is useful to you and discard the rest at your personal responsibility and discretion.

First of all, I think it is important to renew our understanding of the changing of the seasons which means literally to review the precise journey that the earth, (tilted on its axis at 231/2 degrees) and sun make together annually.

Beginning with the spring equinox, approximately March 21st, we notice that the sun is hovering over the equator of the earth on its northward journey toward the Tropic of Cancer. On May 1st, it reaches the half way point between equator and tropic: this marks the start of the summer season. Mid summer, the solstice, is when the sun hovers over the Tropic of Cancer, its northernmost point on June 21. By August 2nd summer ends as the sun reaches the midpoint half way to the equator between solstice and equinox. This is the beginning of autumn, the fall season. Fall equinox comes approximately September 22nd. when sun hovers again over the equator now on its southward trip to the Tropic of Capricorn. The mid point between equator and tropic is reached November 1st marking the beginning of winter. Winter solstice, when the sun hovers over the Tropic of Capricorn, its most southerly point, is December 21. On February 2nd, the sun reaches the midpoint on its return between tropic and equator. This is the beginning of spring which advances as the sun travels northward on another equatorial pass, spring equinox once again.

It is important to note the five major stations of the sun across the planet: equator, two mid points between equator and tropic and two extreme points over the northern and southern tropic lines. The Druids gave us names to designate the celebrations of the seasonal changes which made the tribal year:

March 21, spring equinox : Oestre
May 1st, beginning of summer: Beltane
June 21, solstice, mid summer: Litha
August 2nd, beginning of fall: Lugnasa
September 21, fall equinox: Mabon
November 1st: beginning of winter: Samhein
December 21, solstice, mid winter: Yule
February 2nd, beginning of spring: Imbolc

When you check out for yourself the annual journey that the earth and sun make together, you can understand that the calender is off by at least half a season. This can make a difference to you when you are considering the plan to make to regenerate your body.

Even before there were Druids, there were earth people who noticed the seasons and the herbs, grasses, and plant foods available for nourishment throughout the year. In Asian lands, the people that collected the plants and ate them could feel and understand which of the systems of the body each was feeding.

Then, they made an important next step: they wrote down their observations on bone, stone and jade. Approximately 2800 BC of the fourth world, a head clan chief named Shen Min collected all these artifacts and synergized them into a treatise known to this day as the Yellow Emperor's Treatise on Yin and Yang and the Five Transformations.

This Chinese shaman identified five elements and five changes: fire, earth, metal, water and wood and noted that with the annual advance of the sun and planet, the seasons, each of these transformations came to prominence and then changed into the next. Fire marked the summer season, Earth was late summer, Metal (air) was strong during the fall, Water at mid winter, then beginning in early spring, the Wood element came to its own. The five elements, also known as the Five Transformations, form the basis of understanding today of the study and practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture and acupressure, martial arts, healing techniques such as shiatsu, and moving practices such as tai chi.

The next blog will develop these understandings further. What can it all mean? And mean to me, you ask? With understanding comes the ability to make wise choices.

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