After the bountiful and outgoing summer comes autumn with the harvest and the gathering of the result of last year. The outward-directed energy starts to turn and will slowly turn inwards.
In Catalunya where I used to live, there is still the big celebration of the Vendimia, the harvesting of the grapes at the end of summer. In November they still hope for a little uplifting with good weather during some days, ‘El Estiu de San Marti’ when there is a festival to build ‘els castells’ the human castles.
In the USA the prolonged end of Summer is called the Indian Summer, like in China originally a time with warm weather and humidity. It’s like the summer not willing to give up, but eventually the leaves start to colour and to fall, the days are growing shorter and summer will turn into autumn.
But then the energy finally turns totally inward and nature comes to a standstill in Winter, after the gathering of the Autumn comes the closing and storing.
Silence should reign and reflection is appropriate, the winter is the time of the kidneys and related to our ancestry, the past and the vital energy that is stored in the deepest layers of our body, the ones that preserve the essence and hopefully will serve for the future generations.
Kidneys, ovaries, testicles, hormonal system, bone marrow, nervous system, brain but also hearing, all of them belong to Shao Yin, the deepest layer of the interior what we call kidney energy in the west.
In Oriental Medicine we call this, the Heaven Before, the vital energy that enters in our being on the moment of conception.
One of the main locations on the body related to this energy is a point on the Governor meridian (the meridian that controls the spine and head) called Ming Men, The gate of Life, in between the kidneys in the middle of the spine between the second and third lumbar vertebra. In the orient especially in Japan, there is quite a culture about covering the lumbar area and keeping it protected from cold and wind.
All nice this introspection and winter calm but then, not expected by the many comes the storm as we are living now. Mr Darcy, has been pummelling the east coast of Britain with strong winds and snow up till the streets of Brighton! Today again in Brighton the east wind, 25 miles an hour, straight from the black sea and Ukraine, freezes your bones.
According to ancient understanding the 5 pernicious factors that penetrate the body are wind, cold, heat, humidity and dryness, but wind has an extra dynamic because it is able to carry every one of the others with him.
Meaning, there is wind-heat, wind-cold, wind-dryness etc.
Wind is volatile, changes places, penetrates quickly and produces changing symptoms.
It penetrates first through the skin and then into the lungs (who control the skin) into the body.
The only protection is what is called Wei Qi, defensive energy. We will come back to this.
At this moment the most important thing is protecting the body from infiltration by cold wind.
In the current circumstances with a widespread infection of alien virus the most important thing is to be able to direct all the defensive energy towards that. Therefore protect the body from having to fight other (secondary) fights.
Curiously there are 4 important acupuncture points related to wind (feng) in the neck and the nape of the neck.
We always cover our faces with shawls etc but the enemy comes from behind!
It’s much safer to face the wind than have the wind coming from the back.
The acupuncture points that are located in the back of our neck are the following
Feng Fu 16, governor meridian, The hall of wind, in the nape of the neck, in the middle, just behind the skull.
Feng Que 20 Gallbladder meridian, The pond of wind, on the edge of the side of the occipital bone.
Feng Men, The gate of wind, between the shoulder blades at the height of dorsal 2, one and a half thumb out of the middle line.
All these points, maybe zones are susceptible to be infiltrated by wind, in this case cold wind. As the old texts say, sudden rigidity is due to wind.
Normally wind and especially cold wind, affects the top part of the body, it penetrates between the skin and the muscles leading to an intent of the body to expel it, shivering. Sudden stiffness can occur, but being infiltrated the dispersing and descending function of the lungs is impaired leading to liquids accumulating, runny noses etc.
When we have the beginning of a cold most of the times it starts with a feeling of cold or rigidity in the neck. This can be very subtle but to the sensitive listener, very clear. During the years we have to learn to listen.
Apply warmth, the warm bottle of water that your grandmother used is still one of the best remedies. Warm your neck and the zone between your shoulder blades before sleeping.
Together with Ming Men in the lower back and the areas that are prone to wind invasion it’s time to protect your back and neck from cold wind, meaning shawls round your neck, bodies for the ladies and putting your shirt in your trousers for the men all the time!
These details seem to be superfluous but in our immunity system they are of utter importance.
As Hagakure, the way of the Samurai says, to the big items in life we shouldn’t give too much importance, to the small details in life we should give uttermost importance.