Earth is our origin, our source and our final destination. It is our nurturing safety in the cold vastness of space, it is the mother that gives life. It is said that the Earth is our womb and our tomb, offering life a never ending cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It is ingrained deep in our consciousness that it is the provider for our lives giving its fertility to nourish and sustain us. We live our lives by the cycle of the earth, perhaps less now than centuries past, but the rotations give rise to the seasons, growth of spring, abundance of summer, gathering of harvest in late summer, reflection of winter.
From an elemental aspect it is seen as the unifying element, anchoring and nourishing Wood, Water , Fire & Metal. In some ancient descriptions of the five elements, earth was at the centre, although in classical TCM it is now seen as part of the cycles (see two images below).
The function of the Stomach: The Stomach governs decomposition, known as the ‘ Official of Rotting & Rippening’, preparing the food and drink for the Spleen to extract the food qi through a process of fermentation and maceration. This function is central to the production of qi in the body. “The 5 Yin organs all derive Qi from the Stomach, thus the Stomach is the root of the 5 Yin organs.”- Su Wen, Ch. 19
The function of the spleen: From a western medicine point of view the spleen controls the level of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets; however in TCM the spleen is the ‘Transformer and Transporter Official’, converting food and drink, extracting ‘Food Qi’ and ‘food essences’, which are then distributed to the Lungs, Heart and Liver. This process is central to the production of both Qi and Blood, so the Spleen is seen as the all important energy provider.
Colour: Yellow / Ochre
Season: Late Summer
Animals: Bear, Frog, Ox, Goat, Snake & White Tiger
Organs: Spleen (Yin), Stomach (Yang)
Time of Day: 9-11 am (Spleen) 7- 9 am (Stomach)
External body: Head hair
Power: Capacity for Belching
Dreams: Ships, boats and travel. fearful & frightening. Floating supported.
Life aspect: Ideas and Opinions
The Five Spirits: Thought (Yi)
The Chinese clock or Horary Clock is also known as the Law of Midday/Midnight; this shows how each organs has an optimum tie of the day/night at which it is at its highest energetic, the opposite time on the clock is when it is at its lowest. Each organs is assigned a 2 hours slot back to back with its yin/yang partner organ for that element. Looking at the Stomach element it is from 7 am to 9 am, followed by the spleen.
The old adage “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is now based on some scientific facts such as: it increases your Metabolism, regulates blood sugar, leads to higher cognitive performance; this is not to say there are benefits from fasting but the time to load yourself with fuel is early in the day. The flip side is, as we have proven in recent decades, late meals are not healthy for us, we need time to digest and sleep is not that appropriate time. The take away – pun intended – from this is that the stomach is the furnace that needs fuelling at the right time to enable the spleen to provide the energy to the whole system throughout the day.
The Five Shen – Yi Thought
The spiritual aspect of the spleen is important for our ability to think, study, memorize, focus, concentrate and generate thoughts. When in harmony our mind has clear thoughts enabling decisive actions, ritual and structure in life so goals can be achieved. When out of harmony this energetic presents itself with physical manifestations such as knotting up the middle part of our body and digestive issues. Mentally it is seen as a poor digestion of thoughts, rumination, overthinking, lacking drive or intention and an imbalanced selflessness – giving to the detriment of ones self.
Qi gong movements that enrich and balance the Earth element:
Wu Qin Xi (5 Animals) – Bear – https://youtu.be/EvCpnWWBCx0?t=231
Holding The ball & Turning to look at the moon (Shibashi 7 & 8) – https://youtu.be/gff6GkSJH40?t=377
6 Healing Sounds – Spleen https://youtu.be/C7OSQqT6yzE?t=286
The Law of the Five Elements – Dianne M Connnelly
Qi gong Empowerment – Master Shou-Yu Liang
A Pearl from the Dragons Neck – Tom Biso
Between Heaven and Earth – Harriet Beinfield & Efrem Korngold
Fire Heavenly beast prints by Adan Thoth –https://thoth-adan.com/blog/five-heavenly-beasts