Tag Archives: transition

Season Travel

I was recently invited by my publisher Singing Dragon Press to write a blog as part of their marking of World Acupuncture Day on November 15th. As is my usual way of working, I chose to write about the current season. The wrinkle is that the current season in London where Singing Dragon is based is winter, while I am inhabiting summer in the Adelaide Hills.

Therefore it was an interesting exercise to write about winter and the Water Element without feeling its manifestations around me. It required a kind of inner travel to the cold, wet, dark of the northern winter where nature’s energy is shrinking, folding in on itself and withdrawing within. All this while experiencing warmth, brightness and energetic expansion as my sensory experience.

It took a few days of contemplating this polarity before, quite unexpectedly one day, the winter muse led me to the computer and poured out a Watery musing on the nature of fear. I was transported to the bleak winter landscapes of the UK and the resonances of that season.  It was not easy to hold the dual experiences of outer summer and inner winter, but it did work. I wonder if I was tuning into that same discombobulation that occurs when we physically transport ourselves to the opposite hemisphere and season. One of the ways of working with that seasonal upheaval is to hold points of the Element to which you are travelling, pulling yourself forward to your destination in a seasonal rebalance. While I didn’t actually hold Water points on myself when doing the inner season travel, my conscious focus on the qualities of winter and Water had a similar effect.

The blog is now the property of Singing Dragon so I can’t repeat it here, but you can read it at this link, whatever your hemispherical condition.

Finding Wisdom in Water’s Depths

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.




Spring turns to Summer – Wood feeds Fire

Generation CycleAs spring transitions to summer there is a qualitative change in the way nature looks and feels. The rapid, uprising, often erratic and unpredictable energy of Wood begins to level out. Nature has gone through its most rapid growth from tender sprout to fully grown plant and the speed of growth begins to slow down. Likewise the rapid acceleration in the length of the daylight hours also begins to slow. In ourselves, the sense of strongly uprising Qi may be replaced by a feeling of outward expansiveness.

The sun rises quite early now and tries to coax us out of bed earlier than in spring. The days are much longer and the increasing warmth persuades us to shed layers of clothing, to wear lighter and brighter coloured garments. The temperatures are no longer simply warm but hot. The strength of the sun is noticeably more intense, encouraging us to wear hats and sunscreen. The night comes later, especially if there is daylight saving, encouraging us to stay outdoors and enjoy the lengthening days. Evenings are warm, and there are no longer the cool nights of spring.

In this transition nature offers us an invitation to come out, to be outdoors more, to be more expansive, both physically, and emotionally. This sense of expansiveness leads naturally to a desire to spend more time with others. The start of summer marks the beginning of the barbeque season, street parties, garage sales and get togethers of all kinds. Calendars begin to fill up as invitations to social activities surge.

As the energy of Fire begins to replace that of Wood, we may notice more activity in the heart centre, prompting us to seek more human contact and to have more fun in the process.

After spending the spring months exploring the qualities of the Wood Element within you, you have been developing a healthier Wood, healing the gnarled and creaky places in yourself. A healthy Wood Element gives birth to a healthy Fire Element. The work you have done in the spring season will serve as a platform for continued exploration, growth and healing in the summer. As the season transitions to summer and the Fire phase, you will be much better equipped to move into the expansive, loving, heart oriented Element of Fire.

Moving Between Wood and Fire

The acupoint I have chosen to end this round of Wood points is Xingjian – Moving Between. This is the second point on the Liver meridian, the Fire point on that channel. It is a point that encourages the movement of Qi from Wood to Fire when the Liver Qi is excess. Excess Liver energy tends to rise rapidly and often uncontrollably up the body. At the physical level it can manifest as headaches, dizziness, painful and red eyes, nosebleed, dry throat, pain and itching in the genitals, menstrual pain and irregularity, and abdominal distension. Emotionally it shows up as anger, frustration and irritability. The rapidly rising Liver Qi can produce anger related symptoms such as a rush of blood to the head, seeing red and flying off the handle. Insomnia can result.

Moving Between treats all these conditions, quelling the uncontrolled Liver energy by persuading the pent up energy of Wood to flow smoothly to the Fire Element around the Generation cycle. (See illustration above)

Next time we will begin our exploration of the Fire Element. Throughout the summer you will learn some of the important points of the Fire meridians. Don’t forget to bring your hat!

Location of Liver 2

LV 2The point is located just (0.5 cun) above the webbing between the first and second toes. Don’t confuse this with Liver 3 which we learned earlier in the spring and which lies further up the foot in a large hollow between the metatarsals. Apply direct finger pressure for two to three minutes on both sides.


Some of the above material has been taken from John’s book “Seasons of Life – A Guide to Living with the Five Elements” to be published in 2015.