The season of Spring is still with us in the Northern Hemisphere. Associated with Spring within the 5 Elements is the Liver being the Yin Organ and the Gallbladder the paired yang organ. They are closely related and it is often difficult to separate their functions and disharmonies. The Liver is known as the General and the Gallbladder being its chief- advisor implements the Liver’s plan and responsible for its execution.
The Gallbladder meridian in action The gallbladder provides ‘qi’ to the tendons and sinews to ensure their correct movement, flexibility and control. Imagine yourself wearing a green military uniform and marching briskly across a drill ground. The gallbladder meridian start from the outer canthus of the eye and runs from the side of the head down, across your shoulders like the epaulettes on a uniform and then down the outside of your body and along the outside of your legs like the stripes on your uniform pants. You exercise simultaneously the liver meridian.
According to Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM), the Liver organ is often referred to as the Military Leader in its character, responsible for storing blood and regulation of essential substances among others.
The liver’s primary functions include the storage and filtration of blood, is being the Yin aspect. The liver is also responsible for the smooth flow and distribution of blood throughout the body this is also an active process. The female body depends heavily on the supply and circulation of blood in circumstances such as menstruation, pregnancy and labor throughout their cycle of life. The liver ensures, that blood is directed to the uterus and the ovaries to support these physiological activities. According to TEAM, the Liver’s energetic system ensures a proper volume of menstrual blood and facilitates its ease of the flow at the time of bleeding. Many gynaecological problems are due to liver blood disturbances. If the liver stores blood normally, menstruation will be normal. If liver blood is deficient there will be amenorrhea, (absence of a menstrual cycle). If the blood of the liver is in excess or hot there may be menorrhagia (heavy or long menstrual cycle).
Problems arise, when Qi – the flow of life – is obstructed by a blockage or stagnation. A blockage can arise from obstruction or resistance to change in any of the 5 elements. Since we are in Spring let’s look more closely at the Wood Element and its related organs the Liver and Gallbladder. We all know, emotional states that are repressed can also have a pathogenic effect on mind and body. A good example is the disharmonies in the wood-element, which are very common today, with the associated emotion of anger, which is not actively lived, or the inherent emotional state of enthusiasm.
Many complaints with pain symptoms and tension states, as well as headaches, tinnitus and high blood pressure can be the direct result of a repressed wood energy which is not actively lived and needs to strive strongly outwards. A big health problem here is also the lack of authenticity, which is unfortunately quite recognized in our culture. We often say a well-intentioned ‘yes’, where with the power of the wood element a ‘no’ would have been more appropriate, in order to let live flow on unhindered in a new direction. Anger, uninhibited enthusiasm and new beginnings, all emotions of the wood element are not fully accepted and therefore have little room to be expressed harmoniously in our society. The suppression of the wood element in an individual person or in a society is not really possible and the individual person is then under strong pressure and our society therefore becomes a powder keg. The present situation with the Pandemic shows this quite clearly. If we imagine this figuratively like the germ of a young tree that wants to come to light at all costs and pushes with all its strength through asphalt on a direct path – and if this is not possible will just find another way.
It is the long-awaited change of winter. There is a sense of renewal, as the sun warms the earth. Birds are active again, chirping in the early hours, seeds sprout, snowdrops are in bloom, daffodils pushing through the ground. It feels like new life is starting. Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) looks at health and illness through a special lens. TEAM believes, that the human body is a microcosm reflecting the macrocosm of the universe, we can relate to this through the saying: “As above, so below.” Our bodies must follow the natural law. All change in the universe as well as in our bodies occurs in five distinctive stages. Each of these stages is associated with a particular time of the year and a specific element in nature and a pair of organs, one being yin and the other yang. Each season has its own energy, and it is this seasonal energy which allows different things to change. These changes, which link together the seasons of the year are mapped out in the Five Elements. It is important to know that seasonal energies are known to influence their related organ’s function.
February 12th, 2021 is the start of the Chinese New Year. The Metal Yin Ox is the 2nd animal in the Chinese Zodiac in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Calendar. The Ox hour is 1am-3am. The Heaven Energy for 2021 is Metal. The Earth energy for this year is Earth, the planet we live on. The Ox is in harmony with our planet Earth’s energy, which is positive, as there is no conflict between Heaven and Earth for us people who live between these two huge energetic forces.
The Ox an incredibly industrious animal is known for his hard work, positivity, honesty, reliability and helpful nature. This will be manifested in all of us in the coming 12 months, so the astrologers predict. The Ox Year 2021 is going to be a year when work will be rewarded.
In Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM), the Bladder is one of the six Yang organs and is paired with the Kidneys (Yin). The Yin Organs being the Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lungs and Kidneys all store vital substances such as Qi and Blood. The Yang organs are more active and have the functions of filling and emptying, think of Gallbladder, Small Intestine, Stomach, Large Intestine and the most active one, the Bladder. The Bladder is the perfect example of a yang organ, as its main physiological function is to remove water from the body in the form of urine. Urination is an essential function of our bodies and the Bladder plays a vital role in filling and emptying of urine.
Winter is the season associated with the Kidneys. In Traditional East Asian Medicine, the Kidneys are known as the powerhouse of our body. It is therefore very important, to slow down in Winter to preserve energy for the coming season.
The Kidneys store ‘pre-natal Qi’, energy which is inherited from our parents. The Kidneys send extra energy to any other organ, if they are low on Qi, drawing from the inherited energy.
The ears are the sensory organs of the Kidneys. Any ear problems, such as ear infections, tinnitus or deafness are a signal, that Kidney energy needs extra support.
Water is the final phase of the 5 Element cycle. It is the time of when our inner energy moves downwards achieving stillness. Our activities slow down, and we enter a period of rest to close the cycle. In this quieter, reflective time we should focus on getting enough sleep, stay at home and rest. Over-work and lack of sleep easily depletes the water element and the kidneys.
The Water Element is often called the ‘Philosopher’. The element Water incubates modesty and sensibility and in Oriental Medicine is associated with wisdom, stamina and endurance. It is about our ability to flow and overcome obstacles. We understand this better, when we think of the many ways water presents itself in Nature. Think how our energy can resemble a gentle rain, a trickling stream, a mighty river, a frozen lake or the waves of the ocean.
Why wait until the New Year to make a resolution, when you actually already know, that you are not really committed to it? New Year’s resolution, apparently all sound good on the surface and are based on what you think you should do, rather than what you really want to do. According to statistics, a third of resolutions don’t make it past the month of January because there is no motivation. You might get an initial burst of energy to get up and get moving, but somehow it is not sustainable. If you want your intended change to be sustainable and life-enhancing, the focus needs to be on the process, not the outcome.
Es ist Heiligabend in Oberndorf nahe bei Salzburg im Jahr 1818 und die Bewohnerinnen und Bewohner haben sich für die Weihnachtsfest in der Kirche St. Nikola versammelt. Da die Orgel nicht bespielbar ist, haben der Hilfspfarrer und der Dorfschullehrer eigens ein Lied komponiert, das sich auf eine Gitarre begleiten lässt. Die Melodie des neuen Liedes erinnert an ein Wiegenlied, ebenso, ebenso der Text, der das Jesuskind ruhig schlafend beschreibt. So hören die Kirchgänger zum ersten Mal die sanften Töne des zuvor noch nie gehörten Weihnachtsliedes “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht“. Sie ahnen nicht welchen Erfolg dieses Lied haben wird. Ist es Zufall oder Schicksal? Glück oder göttliche Fügung? Wie kann es sein, dass ein kleines, schlichtes Weihnachtslied – innerhalb von nur wenigen Stunden komponiert – weltweiten Ruhm erlangt? und das ganz ohne Twitter, Facebook und Instagram! In einer Zeit der es weder Radion noch Fernsehen gab.