立秋 Lì Qiū: Start of Autumn
立秋 Lì Qiū, translated as Start of Autumn is the 13th solar term in the Ancient Chinese Solar Calendar and the 1st term of the autumn season. This year it starts on August 7th and continues through August 22nd. 立秋 Lì Qiū begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 135° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 150°.
Let’s look at the meaning of立秋 Lì Qiū, or Start of Autumn:
立 Lì: commence, begin
立秋 Lì Qiū signifies the end of summer in many Asian cultures. It does not however mean that the hot weather is finished with us. In fact, the next 30 day period of hot days are referred to as the “Autumn Tiger” and are typically more sweltering than those in大暑 Dà Shu, or Major Heat.
As farmers are preparing for major harvests during 立秋 Lì Qiū, some animals are beginning their gathering and storing of food for the coming cold winter months. 立秋 Lì Qiū usually witnesses the most rapid growth of crops.
If it rains on the day of the Start of Autumn, a good harvest is expected – Chinese folklore
Additionally, farmers will use their observations during this solar term to make preparations for planting certain winter crops.
Each of the 24 solar terms is divided into 3 pentads or a group of five (5 days). The three pentads of立秋 Lì Qiū are as follows:
1st pentad – cool breeze comes
2nd pentad – morning fog occurs
3rd pentad – winter cicadas appear
Lì Qiū According to the Ancients
Since立秋 Lì Qiū announces the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, it also means that the Yang energy of spring and summer is giving way to the Yin energy of autumn and winter. And therefore, it is time to start eating nourishing meals that will prepare us for the winter and transitioning to the new season by hearkening to the ways of the ancients.
“This is the changing or pivoting point when the yang, or active, phase turns into its opposite, the yin, or passive, phase. Just as the weather in autumn turns harsh, so does the emotional climate. It is therefore important to remain calm and peaceful, refraining from depression so that one can make the transition to winter smoothly. This is the time to gather one’s spirit and energy, be more focused, and not allow desires to run wild. One must keep the lung energy free, full, clean, and quiet. This means practicing breathing exercises to enhance lung Qi. Also, one should refrain from smoking and grief, the emotion of lung. This will prevent the kidney or digestive problems in the winter. If this natural order is violated, damage will occur to the lungs, resulting in diarrhea with undigested food in the winter. This compromises the body’s ability to store in winter.”
–黃帝內經 Huangdi Neijing Su Wen, or Inner Canon of the Yellow Emperor
The Energy of 立秋 Lì Qiū
In Ancient Chinese Medicine, autumn starts the phase of Yin energy. It corresponds with the Metal element which represents the lungs, the large intestine and the skin organs.
During this time, slowing down, focusing on what we have accomplished and unburdening ourselves by letting go of that which no longer serves us is recommended. Just like processes are happening in nature, we should also begin our gradual transition from the expansive growth of spring and summer to the introspective expression of fall and winter.
The Metal element is associated with the nose, the emotions of courage and sadness, the color white, and the sound of weeping. Likewise, the climate is dry, the season is ripening and ready for harvest, and the taste is pungent.
According to Ancient Chinese Medicine, autumn and winter are for the nourishment of the Yin Qi. Focus on self-nurturing and maintain your inner peace.
Common symptoms associated with lung and large intestine imbalances are respiratory issues, sinus infections, as well as constipation and dry skin problems. Now is the prime time to put prevention in high gear and focus on boosting your Zheng Qi as well as safe guarding your emotional wellness!
Make sure you step outside and breathe in the fresh air as well as get your daily sunlight during the SAFE hours of the day. Remember that the moment your body feels thirst, it has already entered into a dehydration stage. Prevent that from happening by drinking water.
“Remember, you are basically a houseplant with complicated emotions.”
Strengthen and enhance your overall endurance with coordinated breathing and Dao Yin principle based exercises from ancient times. Breathe!
And remember, sleep allows your body time to repair and heal.
Yíngyǎng (营养) Nutritional Corner – The Ancient Chinese Autumn
It is recommended in Traditional Chinese Medicine to transition from cold and uncooked foods to more warm and cooked foods during the autumn months.
If you are a Yang Body Type, consider adding more of the following fruits to your diet:
- Star Fruit
If you are a Yin Body Type, consider adding more of the following fruits to your diet:
- Red Kidney Beans
- Bell Pepper
- Butternut Squash
- Acorn Squash
May you continue to balance and harmonize yourself as we transition into立秋 Lì Qiū, the Start of Autumn. Stay calm and enjoy the journey!