Embodied Elements: Spring and Our Longing to Become [Episode 3]

Welcome to the cycle’s beginning in a seasonal series I’m calling the Embodied Elements. The Five Elements do not live in dusty books or in the minds of scholars, existing somewhere entirely outside of us. No, they are made potent and animate through us living them into being. In some ways the Five Elements are a vital, sacred vocabulary for our internal ecosystem, reminding us that the cycles of birth, death, and renewal live in our bodies as well as in the entirety of creation.

Wood creates Fire, whose ashes become Earth, which forges and shapes Metal, whose mineral matrices dissolve into Water, which nourishes Wood as the creation cycle begins anew. They are enmeshed within us, in our dreams, in our memories, in our cells, and in our psyches. They are an emergent phenomenon, acting to shape and imagine us fresh.

Right now we are smack dab in Liver energy/Wood element/Spring season and our clever body knowing doesn’t need to be an expert in theoretical ideas about the Five Elements because it already knows spring. We know its smell of hope, its innovative shades of green, the optimistic potential it brings in every blooming flower. And we feel this in our flesh: a desire to move, to shake off the accumulated heaviness of winter, and to let a vulnerable hope penetrate the spaces between our ribs.

Tuning into the spirit questions of the Wood element, we explore themes of:

-being in the flow,

-taking a stand,

-speaking our truth,

-the therapeutic nature of anger,

-vision, purpose, and agency (growing upwards even with gravity working against us!)

None of these explorations are done in a vacuum by us as single individuals but instead we are enmeshed within a wider community of support. So instead of trying to go it alone, we reach out for help, initiating conversation with the wisest teachers of the Wood element: the Tree families where we live.

After many years of intentionally engaging with these old, primordial energies of the Five Elements, I feel more and more woven into the verdant fabric of the living world. My hope is that you will too.


Mentioned Books:

Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

Conversations with Trees by Stephanie Kaza


Five Element Resources:

Rhythms of Change by Mary Saunders

Five Spirits by Lorie Eve Dechar


Qi and Meridians:

The Spark in the Machine: How the Science of Acupuncture Explains the Mysteries of Western Medicine by Daniel Keown


Liver Element Resources:

Shaking Qi gong

Ho’oponopono (for release and forgiveness)

All kinds of breathing exercises

Wood Spirit Question:

  • How do we grow through our lives and into our soul’s full expression? [What wants to be born or renewed in your life? How are you willing to assert yourself to make it a reality?]