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Autumn and the Alchemist

Happy Fall!

The Autumnal Equinox, on September 23, marked the beginning of the season of Autumn which resonates with the metal element. The sparkling, crisp, cool days of Fall, when temperatures dip and trees drop their leaves, is harvest time; a time for gathering nature’s bounty and preparing for Winter. In Autumn, the annual cycle, that began in the cold, dark depths of Winter, which held hidden the seed of potential for new growth, draws to a close. The flow of seasonal energy again begins to contract and move inwards. Not surprisingly, Autumn and the metal element are associated with endings, loss and letting go.


The lungs and its partner organ, large intestine, are related to the energy of the metal element and letting go. The lungs are the organ that bring nourishing oxygen into the body and release carbon dioxide, the byproduct of energy production. The large intestine, after absorbing what is valuable from food, eliminates toxins and waste.


The emotions of grief and sadness, which accompany endings and loss, are also associated with metal energy and the lungs. Too much grief and sorrow can weaken the lungs. When transformed, these heavy emotions, become appreciation for, and acceptance of, the whole cycle of life, with its highs and low, ups and downs, gains and losses. Life itself is seen as valuable and precious.


The metal archetype is “The Alchemist” who seeks to transmute his own darkness (lead) into the light of wisdom (spiritual gold). The alchemist cuts through density to find what is valuable and releases what is not. The alchemist reaps the gem of meaning, pearl of wisdom or other gift concealed within painful experience. Having endured loss, the alchemist values life even more. Having faced her own limitations and imperfections, the alchemist finds what is of enduring value in herself, others and what is. By extracting something of value from endings and losses, the alchemist’s pain fuels her soul’s evolutionary growth.


As part of the moving energy of life, we are not separate from nature and its cycles. We all experience endings and loss, and share the alchemist’s capacity for distilling value. We can also use the transformational magic of letting go. Of course, grieving is a natural process and will have its way with us. Yet, with patient, loving, kind attention, sadness, pain, and grief dissolve. As emotions, it is their nature to move. Remember, emotion = energy in motion. Although energy cannot be destroyed, it can change form.


“You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head,

but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.”—Old Chinese Proverb


“May the Angel of Healing turn your wounds into sources of refreshment.” John O’Donohue


“What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.”—Jewish Proverb


“Take the pearl and leave the shell behind.”—Rumi


Autumn is a great time to reflect on what is no longer needed in your life and to let go of what no longer serves you.

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