Welcome back to Qiūfēn, 秋分, the Season of the Autumn Equinox, and day of my birth! Qiūfēn is one of the classical Eight Gates of Chinese Astrology – the Eight times of Year that rectify the Annual Qì. This period is one of only two times a year that yīn and yáng, day and night, are in a relative state of balance. As I have said before, balance is a taut situation, nothing other than a temporary fulcrum in an otherwise imbalanced and dynamic continuum of constant movement.
The Autumn Equinox is a time of peaceful stillness preceding our full decent into the yīn of Winter. Yáng begins now to drain down and in as the environment grows cooler and drier. The nights grow longer as the world around us becomes more dreamlike, and the power of imagination begins to dominate the landscape. The Qì of this time is quiet, focused, and reflective.
In short, this temporary state of balance offers us a capacity for rest and recalibration that comes only twice a year; so, make good use of it. The rest is a kind of still clarity, like the surface of a pond becoming smooth and reflecting the sky above it. The capacity to take stock of life and to self-reflect is enhanced in the mirror of Nature. This time zeros out the scale.
As Yīn takes charge, the world changes as outward productivity and creation are reversed. To the uninitiated, the craziness of our world goes on, it seems, unchanged, but beneath the surface, the reversal of Yáng to Yīn moves the available Qì from generative to re-generative, just like every day, when we must at some point cease productivity and prepare to sleep and dream. The world is now of the same quality as 5-7 pm. In the grand scheme, the harvest should be complete, and everything begins the slow process of storing and planning. Will we survive the coming Winter?
Yīn takes the form of Princess about to become Queen. In the coming months, she reverses all the Emperor’s mandates for productivity and expansion and instead turns our focus local to the art of being human, to our personal relationships, and to the mandate of our Ancestors to keep the wheel turning.
Although modern culture allows us to be independent, for most of our history, no human being survived the Winter alone and without community. From here on out, the collective Qì, the interwoven tapestry of human relationships is brought forward into the realm of necessity. For better or worse, we in this together!
Welcome back to the season of Báilù, 白露, White Dew, an important seasonal shift that heralds the accent of Yīn. The heat of Late Summer has ended, the growing west wind is cool and carries migrating birds; the appearance of White Dew and occasional cold in the early morning reveals fresh Yīn Qì, a fragile glimpse of snow, and a signal of the coming Celestial Presence of Winter.
A time of stillness and clarity, Báilù has always deeply inspired the poets and hermits of China, for amidst the now busy time of harvest and preparation, the outer aggression of Yáng subsides, allowing for Yīn to grow unnoticed and in secret.
This gentle unnoticed Yīn is envisioned as Nymphs, playful spirits who inhabit the seas and forests, who emerge now from their hibernation in the summer months to play on flower petals and blades of grass. Their presence brings a cool and misty shimmer to the morning light and makes way for the Celestial Realm of Autumn and Winter, for the dreamlike Yīn that will blanket us following the Autumn Equinox.
This is a time of inspiration and preparation. Summer's Light remains, but the cool dry wind brings a much-needed change. Our Qì naturally turns inward, and we begin to remember the mortality and impermanence of all things. Autumn is coming, so the work of the Summer Harvest must continue – the memory of a thousand Winters reminds us of true value, of what will sustain us in the coming months.
Togetherness and cooperation are crucial. Farms and families come together to celebrate their bond and the bounty of the harvest. The annual Qì is strongest from 5-7 pm, as the nights begin to grow longer. Make room for the night, make room for the imagination, make spacious your inner space.
Nymphs are on the wind, whispering magical vision. Keep busy but stop and listen to the sound of rustling leaves, for we live on a living planet, and the myth of the city makes this easy to forget.
Behind all the drama and upheaval, the unrelenting dismantling force of the Metal Rat continues to unscrew the nuts and bolts of our foundations. It does this to make way for new foundations of lasting value, but there are no guarantees, for this vision is as fragile now as morning dew; are you gentle enough to see it?
Welcome back to the season of 雨水, Yŭ Shŭi, the time of Rain Water. As Spring awakens, Heaven and Earth renew their Immortal romance – this is the first Yīn response to the impulse of Yáng to emerge in the coming year. Moisture, rain, and nourishment seep into the Earth, where Yáng is still trapped in the form of “seeds.” If Yáng has been properly stored in the Winter, the seeds of Life burst open and now begin to take root. If Yáng has been weakened, decay, rot, and mold may occur (in every sense of the word).
The Qì of this season is mild, gentle, friendly, and receptivity is being asked of us. Can we open and receive the nourishment of nature? This is a time of renewal when rain fertilizes the dreams of Winter, and our visions begin to take root. If the following year is to be fruitful, we must water the seeds and tend carefully to the soil, which must be properly aerated.
In other words, loosen up; let Yīn and Yáng play – open to others, open to the world, open and receive the rain, the messages of life that you have been ignoring all Winter. The friendliness of this season offers us a wonderful chance to eat humble pie and graciously admit that we know nothing, that we were wrong, that we made mistakes. No matter your age, we’re all just kids on the playground right now, nothing serious.
The element of Wood is soft, supple, and pliable like a newborn, and it sucks up the rain in order to grown. Like a child, it is hungry for growth. Newness and curiosity are key, and new actions are auspicious. Take in new ideas, see new movies, read new books, talk to new people, or simply relate to the same old people in a new way. What if every time you meet is the first? You're not who you were five minutes ago!
Cultivate the strength of Spring Qì through weakness; we’re all babies right now. It’s okay for babies to be weak. Their job is simply to take in the world in wonder.
Spring is renewal, but it is caution rather than enthusiasm that encourages growth. Seeds don’t need cheerleaders; they need responsible farmers. Impulse is the pathogen of this time. Yáng is given a boost, and we can be all too eager to rip out the seeds and eat them before they have had a chance to grow. The seasonal Qì is no longer pernicious but our impulses, our inner Yáng, is immature and eager. So, avoid being “very productive,” and instead be a kid again.
Take in the rain. You can’t fill a pot with water if the lid is closed. Nor can you fill a pot without a base. Neither can you fill a pot filled with old water.
Tiger's Play--the View Teachings of Chinese Astrology
This page is your source for short, pithy articles on the view teachings of Chinese Astrology. Here, I will share everything I have learned about how to follow Astrology as a spiritual path.