Category Archives: Seasons

Abundant Splendour

Fenglong ~ Abundant Splendour ~ Stomach 40


Last weekend saw the completion of the Level 2 Five Element Acupressure course in Adelaide. Part of the material was an Earth treatment to support seasonal transitions, especially for people who struggle physically or psycho-emotionally when seasons are changing. Upon calculation, we found that the transition period from winter to spring has already begun.

The Neijing tells us that the Earth energies come to the fore in the last 18 days of each season. The beginning of spring in the southern hemisphere is at the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, namely August 6th. Which means the transition period began on July 18th. This might seem awfully early to be thinking about spring, but already we are noticing the budding of trees, the lengthening of days and the odd warm one. Spring is in the wings. Personally I am noticing a slight irritability tugging at my liver, my spring alarm clock.

The Earth Element acts as a mediating influence, a power to connect. Using Earth acupoints at a change of season greatly supports a person’s capacity to move smoothly with the change and avoid struggle, discomfort and illness.

In the past we’ve looked at some excellent points that support transitions, including Stomach 36, Spleen 3, and Spleen 4. Let’s look at another one that can be used in any combination with these points.

Fenglong ~ Abundant Splendour is an important point of the Stomach meridian. As the luo-connecting point of Stomach, Fenglong connects to its partner Spleen and balances Qi between the two, harmonising the yin and yang of Earth.

It is the single most important point for clearing phlegm from the body. Phlegm arises when the Spleen’s function of transportation of fluids is impaired and fluid congeals. As the connecting point, Fenglong activates the Spleen’s transporting function and so treats phlegm related conditions, particularly of the digestive and respiratory systems: cough with mucous, bronchitis, pneumonia, constipation, nausea, vomiting, gastric pain, cysts, lipomas and other lumps under the skin.

But it is for its effects in the psycho-emotional realm that Fenglong is renowned in the Five Element tradition. It helps a person who is feeling scarcity in her life to reconnect with a sense of abundance. The character feng depicts the threshing floor at harvest time, brimming with grain, while long indicates a multiplication manyfold of this abundance. Together they portray the magnificent, splendorous bounty of Heaven and Earth.

Ultimately the feeling of abundance has nothing to do with how much we possess, for abundance is not a physical state, but a condition of the mind and of the spirit. When Earth energies are balanced, there is a natural recognition of the abundance that the universe offers us: the bounty and the beauty of nature, the love and connection we share with others, and the simple fact of being alive. Abundant Splendour proclaims these gifts of Earth. It has the capacity to connect us with the truth that we are already the cornucopia of life’s abundance. When we understand that we are a living personification of abundance, there can be deep satisfaction from simply being alive and present to life.

To give your Earth a good turning and raking in preparation for spring, hold ST 40, ST 36, SP 3 and SP 4 in any or all of the 6 possible pairs of points.

Location of Stomach 40

ST 40


The point is on the outside of the leg, half way between the knee crease and the ankle bone and two fingers width lateral to the crest of the tibia bone. Use firm, direct pressure.




Sumer is icumen in

sumer-is-icumen-inThis bright, jolly, 13th century rota sings gaily about the arrival of summer. Its four part harmony is popping with the joy of the season. There are blooming meadows, merrily singing cuckoos, prancing bullocks and farting goats. The song evokes many of the qualities of summer and the Fire Element: expansiveness, joy, expressive movement and an overall outward orientation. You can listen to it here.

The first notes of summer in the southern hemisphere are usually seen around the midpoint between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, about November 6th. The days are long and becoming longer, the temperatures warm and getting warmer, the sun bright and growing brighter by the day.

This year, however, there has been an abnormally cold and wet start to summer in southern Australia. I’m reminded of the jape about the English weather, that the main difference between winter and summer in England is the temperature of the rain.

Last weekend I taught a Fire Element workshop in which we invited the energies of Fire to fill the room so that we could immerse ourselves in a Fire bath. It was an unseasonably cold and wet day and it took a while to turn up the flame. In one spontaneous moment, I invited everyone in the group to spread their arms out wide, a gesture often associated with joy. As we all spread our arms out, I noticed that smiles broke out on everyone’s face. I didn’t even need to bring out the silly rubber chickens to get people smiling.

As we open our arms, we open our hearts. Through this posture, we can access the contented joy that is the natural state of the heart. And since the fundamental movement of Fire is outwards, joy flows naturally out into the world. What is more, this arms-wide-open stance also invites the world in.

I’m going to make it a practice this summer to open my arms out wide at least once a day.

I invite you to join me.


On the Origin of Seasons


Ex rock star and pin-up physicist Brian Cox is making headlines in Australia again. Crossing swords with a climate sceptic on Q&A, speaking at a conference during Science week, and starring in the television series Forces of Nature on ABC. I’m a bit of a fan of this lad from Oldham who grew up just three miles down the road from where I was born. But I was particularly touched this week by something he said in Forces of Nature. Speaking about a fisher family in Greenland in relation to the seasons, Cox observed,

‘Our planet’s motion leads to something beyond the shifts in the thickness of the ice and the lengths of the days. It’s reflected in the ever deepening relationship between father and son.’

This led me to reflect again on the profound influence that the seasons have on us at all levels. I was reminded that the fact that we have seasons at all derives from a cosmic accident that changed the Earth

Not long after the Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago, a planet the size of Mars crashed into it in a glancing collision, throwing rocks and debris thousands of miles into space. Over time, those rocks coalesced to form the Moon. The collision had a dramatic and lasting effect upon the Earth because it tilted the axis of rotation by 23.5 degrees. Now as the Earth orbits the sun, at some points the northern hemisphere points towards the sun and at others it points away from the sun, creating alternating periods of heat and cold, light and dark, indeed of yin and yang.

This random event in the distant past has shaped the character of our planet ever since. And we experience its legacy every day. These spins and orbits have had a deeper effect because they are an essential part of the stage upon which life evolved. The plants and animals that have evolved have done so in response to this celestial clockwork.

The seasons offer us continual annual changes to which we must respond. Each season provides its particular characteristics that shape our activities, our sleeping and eating patterns, our moods and emotions, and above all our relationships. We relate to the Earth in her changing moods, and we relate to other people in the context of these seasonal changes.

All of this completely underpins the Five Element model that guides my work and my life, and about which I write in these columns. It astounds me that the whole course of human history, indeed the trajectory of all of life on Earth was determined by an ancient planetary crash and a 23 degree tilt.

As we move into the season of spring in the southern hemisphere, we begin pointing more towards the sun. While if you live in the northern hemisphere, you are moving into late summer and autumn because you are beginning to point away from the sun.

As the seasons change, I invite you to reflect on your relationship to the Earth, its animals and plants; and also to reflect on your relationship to others and how this is influenced by the changing season. How are these changes shaping the very humanness of your being?

Some of the material in this blog has been quoted from Episode 2 of ‘Forces of Nature with Brian Cox’. The series is currently showing on ABC and available on iView.