A Time for Gathering and Harvesting
For centuries, traditional healing societies have recognized a correlation between the human body and the cycles of the Earth. Each season has its own unique characteristics and the body responds and adjusts to live in harmony. Specific foods are ready for harvest at specific points throughout the year. The enjoyment of these seasonal foods is most supportive to healthy living.
Autumn, which started around the beginning of October, is the entry into the dark, yin cycle. Changes we have prepared for earlier in the year start taking place. Nature contracts, moving inward and downward; daylight decreases; and the air turns cooler. Autumn is the time for gathering and harvesting pumpkins, squash, beans, cabbage, turnips, onions, garlic, root vegetables and herbs, apples, grapes, barley, and rice.
This season is associated with the metal element, representing the mineral ores and salts of the Earth. It is linked to the mind, communication, and creating structures. Autumn encourages us to finish outward projects, to clean and clear, and focus on activities, including study and school, canning and preserving foods, reading, repairing the home, and sinking into more mindfulness, meditation, and quiet time. The associated emotion of this season is grief and sorrow, so don’t be afraid to express these emotions and move toward deeper internal peace.
In the body, autumn is related to the lungs and large intestines. To protect and purify, include more mucilaginous foods, including seaweeds, burdock, pumpkin seeds, and fiber-rich vegetable skins, grains in their whole form, flax and fenugreek seeds, and marshmallow and comfrey roots. Crisp autumn weather is a perfect time for soups and for adding more sour foods, like pickles, sauerkraut, olives, sourdough bread, citrus, and vinegars. When cooking, use less water, include more oils, and use lower heat for longer periods of time to help internalize your foods.
To assist the lungs at this time, try the herbs licorice, wild cherry bark, slippery elm, mullein, yerba santa, and horehound; the essential oils of eucalyptus and lemon verbena; and the gemstones of fluorite, gold, hematite, and green jasper. To help the large intestines along, try cascara sagrada, licorice root, Oregon grape root; the oils of cardamom, cinnamon, lemon, and tea tree; and the gemstones of garnet, moonstone, obsidian, and quartz. Also, don’t forget to include a balanced exercise program to keep your circulation flowing.
Try making a simple brown rice bowl topped with blanched kale, toasted pumpkin seeds, flax oil and a spoonful of sauerkraut. Or, make a hearty vegetable stew with squash, beans and garlic, served with sourdough bread. Grab a bunch of organic grapes or crisp apples for that potluck!
Take the time to prepare your mind and body for the cooler weather to come. Look for Nourishing Spirits’ future healing and cooking tips to continue a beautiful, internal (yin) part of the year.
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