March feels like the embodiment of transformation. Oftentimes, at least here in Colorado, there tends to be snow still on the ground despite the promise of warmer weather on the horizon. It may be sporadic and patchy, or sometimes it may even be several inches deep and fully blanketed, however deep down we know it is not here to stay. While there may be a few weeks of cold weather ahead, we can often also feel the vibrant buzz of awakening that is also going on this time of the year. It is as though the earth itself is slowly stretching and yawning, blinking eyes open that were long closed in deep winter slumber. Our faces feel the warmth of the sunshine for a little bit longer each day; a few minutes more that remind us of the spring that awaits us. It is this time of year that we may begin to feel an internal stir within ourselves as well. While winter invites us to turn inward, to explore the shadow parts of ourselves and assess what we no longer want to carry with us into the future, spring calls for almost an opposite effect. Like the brand new shoots and seedlings that are slowly emerging from the confines of their shells, rising from the darkness of the earth in which they lie and reaching toward the sun above them, we too are being asked to awaken, grow, and expand.
Image from Daoudi Aissa on Unsplash[/caption] We can align ourselves with the energetics of the seasons as they come and go. This is a great way to not only explore our own internal rhythms but to deepen our understanding of and relationship with the environment in which we live. We invite you in this month’s post to dive deeper into the energetics of spring, however, we also want to invite you, if you feel this concept resonates with you, to join us in one of four seasonal energetics classes we are offering at Golden Poppy. More details will be provided at the end of this post below.
Seasonal EnergeticsAs we have explored in several previous posts, if we take the time to be present and listen, we have the ability to understand the language of the earth. Our planet is very much living, and all beings are interconnected on an energetic level. It is the way of nature to be in sync with the changing seasons, or rhythms, of our environment. Each change in season is very much a transitional shift in energy that has an impact on our own bodies as well as those with which we co-exist, and it is these shifts that are known as energetics. Learning to live in harmony with these consistent energetic nuances can have incredible health benefits. While we cannot ignore the bit of the elephant in the room in that we do live in a modernized world in which our daily routines, technology, and ways of life may not always allow us to completely become in tune with the seasons to the fullest extent, we can still align quite deeply. This can be done through holistic practices and personal lifestyle habits that help one tune in to the shifts and energy of the seasons, or by being mindful of the food we eat at various times of the year. However, we can also return to our most powerful and beloved guides to teach us how to connect with season energetics - the herbs and plants themselves - as their entire life journey revolves around the seasons, including birth, growth, rest, death, and even re-birth.
Basics of EnergeticsThe practice of herbal medicine and herbal healing is inherently holistic. It is a core facet of this practice to have a close relationship and understanding of the natural world, and how its rhythms have an impact on our well-being. It is the foundation of all herbal medicinal traditions to have a system in which energetics are used as a means in which to identify a condition a person is experiencing and to formulate the appropriate remedies to resolve the issue. For example, in the ancient practices of Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is an emphasis on the elements, as it is when these become out of balance that a person experiences dis-ease or discomfort. In Ayurveda, the elements are referred to as Doshas and include Vata (Air and Ether/Space), Pitta (Fire and Water), and Kapha (Water and Earth). Traditional Chinese Medicine, on the other hand, works with five elements including Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. The use of elements as a foundation for creating synergy with energetics can also be found in the “Four Elements Model.” This includes the basic elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water and was used by many traditions, including that of the indigenous Celts. Additionally, the understanding of the energy we, and the world around us holds, and our relationship we have with nature was deeply understood and honored by Indigenous and Native people of our land. In order to live in harmony with the natural world, there needed to be an exchange of energy, and as such one would receive the healing guidance and teachings of the plants. It was believed that we ourselves hold the same energy, or vital life force, that also passes through the plants and natural world on our planet - there was no separation between human and nature. Taking a step back from the elements and energetic movement, energetics can also be used to describe conditions or states of being (whether in the body or in nature), as well as the effect particular herbs or remedies may have as they act within our body. The descriptions of these energetic actions include: Heating, Cooling, Moistening, and Drying. Developing a foundational awareness of this understanding of energetic shifts, our relationship with our natural environment and its subtleties, as well as the basics of such concepts as Hot versus Cold, and Moist vs Dry and how they show up in our bodies, in herbal actions, or the natural world, and contribute to dis-ease, will aid us in better creating personal synchronicity with the energetics of the seasons.
Energetics of Spring
As we approach spring in the northern hemisphere, this is a perfect time in which to begin to develop a relationship with the changing seasons. As we indicated earlier in this post, it is incredibly difficult to not feel the energy of this seasonal shift and transformation. As we approach the Spring Equinox, a time of the year in which the day is equally light as it is dark, we feel the world being re-born. New shoots begin to arrive, the world slowly starts turning green as the snow melts away, and the new arrivals of tiny birds and newborn animals are welcomed into the world. The nuances this time feel like a clean slate. A period in which to start fresh. The energetics of Spring are moistening and moving from cold to warm. Additionally, when considering the elements, the two most prevalent at this time are Earth and Water. One can think of the run-off that occurs this time of year - as we move from the frozen depths of winter, and nature begins to heat up, water begins to flow more freely.
Image from Bogomil Mihaylov on Unsplash[/caption]
Practices to Align with the Spring SeasonSpring can be thought of as the baseboard in which we launch our intentions for the rest of the year. It is this time of year that we purge and release that which we no longer want to carry with us, but also set the groundwork for what we want to, and are more than capable of accomplishing.
- Detox and Release. While it may be so common it almost feels cliche, but spring cleaning is a long-held tradition for a very good reason. This time of year is about clearing those things that make us feel bogged down. We are emerging from winter, which, while a period of deep rest, can also leave us feeling cooped up and sluggish from spending a lot of time indoors. This is a great time to clean your home, get organized, and clear away cobwebs. Additionally, this is a great time to set an intention to detoxify your body. Perhaps assess where you could improve habits (it’s easy to get a little too comfortable with Netflix during the winter!), or where you can incorporate healthy, more supportive foods into your diet and decrease those that are less supportive (i.e. junk foods or processed foods).
- Let in the Light! We are finally transitioning from a period of extensive darkness and moving into longer, warmer days. Spring can also symbolize a period in which we are unfurling from within (as would a seed), shifting from turning inward and instead expanding and allowing ourselves to be open to receiving. You can embody this by throwing open your blinds with glee, and allowing the sun to shine brightly through!
- Let Go. What is it that you might be holding on to? An emotion commonly associated with the energetics of this time is anger. Coming out of the winter months, we may be feeling pent-up frustrations. Be intentional about letting go of what no longer serves you, and find a means of release that works best for you. Perhaps that is by writing it down and verbally speaking out loud what you no longer want to carry. Perhaps it is by simply allowing yourself a long, much-needed scream into a pillow!
- Plant Seeds. There probably is no better way to develop symbiosis with the world around you this time of year than to literally plant seeds. Not only does this allow you to nurture something and help it grow, but this is an incredible way to more deeply understand the process in which a plant grows, changes, and develops. As you plant seeds, you can also use this as a means in which to set an intention, allowing the seeds to represent what you hope to cultivate in the coming year, and infusing your love and gratitude in your care for them.
Image from Nikola Jovanovic on Unsplash[/caption]
Herbal Allies for SpringThere is no better time to get out and connect with herbs of our natural world than early spring, especially from a wildcrafting perspective. In the spring, the earliest herbs are those that are incredibly nourishing and supportive, packed full of vital nutrients and minerals. These herbs often take the form of young, tender greens, serving a dual purpose of medicine and food, and are incredibly supportive for helping get the systems of the body moving. Early spring herbs and greens tend to be bitter in nature, which help contribute to encouraging the fire of our digestive system, help purge one’s body of waste, and support our lymphatic system. While early spring greens tend to be fairly abundant, before embarking on your adventure, we invite you to check out our post on ethical wildcrafting as a refresher. Early spring, nourishing herbs that can be wildcrafted include stinging nettle, chickweed, cleavers, dandelion leaves, plantain, and curly dock. For a great local in-depth wildcrafting resource on early spring herbs, check out this post by Forage Colorado! Additional flavor profiles that are supportive for this time of year include those that are on the more sour end of the spectrum - pungent, aromatic, and spicy. These are great for stimulating the body, and awakening our systems, stoking our internal fire until we grow closer to summer and we require less internal heat due to the fact that our external environment is warmer. Examples of warming, aromatic herbs great for spring include Cardamom, Chicory, Cinamon, Ginger, Dandelion, Coriander, Tulsi, and Tumeric!
Join us for Seasonal Energetic Classes!Did this post resonate with you? Are you wanting to go deeper? If so, we are so excited to welcome you to join us in a seasonal workshop series at Golden Poppy. Each season, we will offer a class that is comprehensive and in-depth, teaching participants how to align themselves with the rhythms of each season. This class series will take a deep dive into the energetics of the seasons and how these affect your body and your state of health, and apply this knowledge in easy-to-use ways so you can begin to match your body to the rhythms of nature. We will discuss energetics from an Ayurvedic, TCM, and Western herbal perspective; touching on ancient traditions as well as their modern counterparts. We will cover herbs, foods, and lifestyle habits for each season to help bring, and keep, your body into harmony with the world around you. These will be longer, lecture-style classes, starting with the Spring season so come prepared to take notes and discuss!
Spring Energetics Class: Sunday, March 28th 11am MST. This will be a zoom class so if you can't make it live you can still sign up and get the recording.Cost: $10/person Thank you so much for reading, and we hope to see you soon!
- Adelmann, Marlene. “The Herbal Healing Practices of Native Americans.” The Herbal Academy. 27 March 2013. Retrieved from: https://theherbalacademy.com/the-herbal-healing-practices-of-native-americans
- Aon, Orion. “Early Spring Greens.” Forage Colorado. 2020 April 18. Retrieved from: https://www.foragecolorado.com/post/early-spring-greens
- Aspsi.org. “5 Spring Equinox Rituals to Celebrate the Start of Spring.” Aspsi.org. 14 February 2021. Retrieved from: https://www.aspsi.org/2021/02/20/5-spring-equinox-rituals-celebrate-the-start-of-spring
- Josey, Sarah. “Seasonal Energetics.” Golden Poppy Herbal Apothecary. [Word Document].