Embodied Elements Series: The Metal Element & Grief as Praise for Life [Episode 12]

Each day the earth seems to be dipping her body downwards, inviting us to purposely step into the dark. Let us not resist, but willingly enter this long tunnel, this inner passageway with its smell of metals, its fertile stone blood. There is no reneging, no reversing the seasons, the elements, the death process. Every step brings us closer to the world’s silent chambers and its caves of glittering minerals, ever closer to the womb of winter, that immovable germinal place of brooding.

Here in the autumn season, we remember that Metal was one of the first materials humans pounded and shaped for use, and in this sense, Metal has always been emblematic of alchemy and transformation. The discerning medicine of Metal is like a sharp blade to cut, refine, or pare down to what is truly meaningful to us.

In this exploration of the Metal element / Lung energy / Autumn season, we wonder:

-What does the inherent wisdom of our lungs, skin, pores, nose, and immune system know already about themes of boundaries, barriers, and protective shields as we enter this season more deeply?

-How might our bodies feel heavier with the weight of our metals, the calcium in our bones and teeth, the copper of our red blood cells, the zinc that helps with wound healing? How does feeling into these metals connect us with the same mineral matrices in the stones, boulders, elder mountains around us, even the planets, asteroids, cosmos above us?

-What do our animal or plant kin tell us about migrating, gathering, fattening, bedding down, falling back to the earth?

-How might we come to work with grief as praise for life, grief as awakeness, grief as aliveness, or even grief as a creature that moves beyond human time?

-Do we ever attempt to think our way through grief (as worry or anxiety), always spinning and looping in our minds instead of engaging with the healing power of authentic, embodied sadness with its power to move us more deeply into all of life?

-How does Wind, as a living being, an elemental force, or an enigmatic deity, reign over the autumn season? What is the pattern of the Wind’s movements where you live, how do they run their fingers through the cracks in the stones and over the heads of the long grasses? Perhaps you might invite the Winds into your lungs more intentionally, letting their life force meld and move into your own.


Five Element Resources:

In Our Element by Lindsay Fauntleroy

Rhythms of Change by Mary Saunders

Five Spirits by Lorie Dechar


Metal Element Resources:

Essentials by David Whyte

Die Wise by Stephen Jenkinson

The Smell of Rain on Dust by Martin Prechtel

The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller

Advice for Future Corpses (And Those Who Love Them) by Sallie Tisdale

The Emerald Podcast: No One Gets Out of Here Alive (The Death Episode) with Josh Schrei


The Metal Element Spirit Questions: How might the naturalness of our grief wash through us as an expression of spiritual health? Can we let our tears fall to the earth and then physically touch the earth as a gesture of love and tenderness, letting this sorrow move us, not with personal shame but with a true, open heart?


"You were never more lost than you are now, if you cannot reach out, touch the wild earth and weep..." Nettle-eater by Tom Hirons