def: to rouse from sleep; cause to stop sleeping.
This year, spring begins on February 4th, according to the Chinese lunisolar calendar. This time of year is often thought of as the coldest part of winter in the West, but it’s actually the beginning of the rising yang energy of life, and a critical time to activate plans for the year ahead—especially the ones that will require strength and willpower. Want more info on the calendar and how it works? Read my post "Understanding Daoism: The Chinese lunisolar calendar.
Our current Jie 節, or rhythm, which began on February 4th is called start of spring or spring begins. All four of the seasons are divided up into 6 terms approximately 15 days apart, totaling 3 months. When you look closely at the whole season you immediately see the rhythm of life as it moves through each season.
Each season begins with an energy shift: the falling of the season before and the rising of the new season. Each season has a story arc that begins with hope and preparation and new beginnings: Each season peaks at the solstice or equinox, with the most potent expression of the energy of the season and then begins to wane. If you follow the moon phases of a month you can see each season as a loger representation of the same energy: moving from new moon to full moon and then making its way back to a new moon again.
Below is a chart of the spring solar tems (courtesy of Daoist Gate) that shows the rising change of energy from the pure yin that we reached at the winter solstice to the current rising energy of spring now.
The beauty of this viewpoint is that we get to track the energetic movement of a season from beginning through its peak all the way to its end.
This is more important than ever before in our lives, especially if you live in an urban center, but in this age of technology it’s still very difficult to stay connected to the quiet measured movement of our energy and the world around us when we are so used to getting big prompts from our devices every few moments.
“One must create stillness in order
to hear the whisper of the Dao.”
How To Make The Most Of This Energy
Each season is connected to an elemental phase. (The elements are called phases because they are in constant change, rising and falling. Although they are dominated by the peak elemental energy that they are maturing into they are linked to the constant change that is life.)
In Daoist chinese medicine there are 5 elemental phases and four major seasons of the year. Each season is connected to a cardinal direction, organ, tissue, meridian, emotion color, and much more, all of which are linked by the movement of the earth along its path around the sun, and in relation to the changing stars over head.
There are four main elemental phases which make up the four seasonal arcs and their cardinal directions. If you look at the chart above you will see fire to the south, water its opposite to the north, wood rising to the east and metal falling to the west. The final element (or as I like to think of it, the first elemental phase) is earth.
The earth stays in the center. It is the place from which all elemental phases begin and end. They rise from the earth and descend back into the earth. For this reason, when we look for the earth in the seasons, we add approximately 18 days of transformation at the end/beginning of each season.
Again, looking at the diagram, you will see this change occuring as each elemental phase cycles into the earth and then back out of the earth and into the next elemental phase. You can see the movement of energy moving through the organs in the diagram as it is moving through the whole body and all of its related tissue, etc.
Returning To Spring
Since the winter solstice (the darkest most yin day of the year), we can notice very small increments of change occurring in the lighting of the day. And even though it’s brutally cold outside, the light of the sun today is staying bright much longer and hitting my eyes in a way that activates my curiosity and generates a feeling that at first I hesitate to identify, but when I finally feel into it I know that it is change!
There are many things will happen as the energy rises through the season,but 3 things in particular will occur:
Water will increase: it will melt from the mountains and it will fall from the skies.
The light will continue to grow brighter and stay in the sky longer.
All forms of life on the planet (in our hemisphere) will AWAKEN.
In the definition at the beginning of this post, the word awaken means “to rouse from sleep.” In the world of energy and light workers, this means new life energy the vital breath of the Dao. New life energy is the result of karmic seeds sown in the summer and fall of the last year, or of your past life, or many lives before and this one.
The awakening energy of spring is incredibly exciting, it is filled with the stored potential energy that has been cultivated all winter and is ripe with the explosive creativity of life. In the country, this begins with light and water, then surges into birds and insects, rain and green arriving everywhere.
However, we live in a world that has challenges built into it that help us discover who we are.
Awakening into life from a dormant state is often difficult and requires an explosion of energy, usually taken from the energy that was stored all winter. Imagine the first blades of grass punching through the frosted earth’s surface as they surge toward the sun and new life. Or the baby chick with all its might kicking at the shell that has contained it and must now break free in order to live. Life is extreme at its awakening; it is powerful and creative, and in a way desperate and hopeful all at once.
life is extreme at its awakening
it is powerful and creative and
in a way desperate and hopeful
all at once.
When we feel this stored energy potential, it is critical that we are in stillness with ourselves so that we can direct it with intent to begin the next phase of our life’s journey.
Spring is the season of the Wood elemental phase the awakening of new life energy and the surge of transformation that gets the new year really moving. This is why the Chinese new year begins at approximately the second new moon after the winter solstice, which falls roughly closest to the Solar term "Spring Begins" on February 4th. The number of new moons before the solar term can vary quite and thus the range for the new year can be anywhere from the Jan 20 to around Feb 20. That being said, the energy of spring begins happens at just about the same time every year, never varying more than a day.
The new moon is the yin energy of great potential inside of us. It is your creative plans and your inner wisdom. The spring begins solar term is the yang activator on the yin potential, creating the powder keg of change known as new life energy.
It is in this time that we feel the desire to change and transform. The urge to get back in shape, or start that blog back up, or begin that new business venture, or ask that person out on a date. It spikes in us like a jolt of thunder on the winds of change.
It is the energy of the wood element that corresponds to our liver and fight or flight systems. The energy activates our tendons and fascia and literally makes our bodies feel like we want to spring into action.
The energy activates our muscle and fascia it literally makes our bodies feel like we want to spring into action!
Spring Into Action
This time should be felt within us, and the rise of energy should be ridden like a surfer on a great Hawaiian wave. But as is always the case, with great power comes great responsibility. We must listen to the power of the spring surge and feel its awakening through every cell of our body. Then we must take a moment to connect with the present and understand how to engage this power with care, to stay in harmony with ourselves in the moment.
For example there is a great sexual charge that comes in the spring, but if one is married or committed to someone it might be unwise to go out and hook up with some hot partner in a moment of physical bliss. So what does one do with the energy if it rises in a way that isn't so clear?
Meditate, take inventory and feel into your truth in the moment. All energy is merely a frequency that can be applied to do many things. Sexual energy is the root of the first Chakra and is deeply connected to our creativity. You can easily channel the energy of sexual desire up into the body and allow it to activate your creativity in many ways.
Also if you have been sedentary all winter it’s important to begin the movement of spring slowly and let your body acclimate to change before pushing it to its limits. By far the largest amount of energy I see occur in the spring and are predominantly sprains and strains from overdoing it too quickly with one's favorite sport.
So stop for a moment, set your body up straight and sit for 20 minutes in meditation. Feel into your liver and take the time to follow your breath, letting it grow more quiet with each inhale. Let your mind move freely until it begins to grow more and more quiet, when it reaches a point of stillness and your heart can clearly reflect the world around you ask yourself a simple question:
What shall I do with this Vital Breath of the Dao? How shall I use this force as the spring rises within me?
Then let the answer resonate within you until you feel the desire to act.
With love and qi in this new spring awakening,