The Chinese also include a fifth “season” or “phase” in their thinking, sometimes described as late summer. Late Summer begins around the third week of August and runs through the Fall Equinox. In August, Nature is undergoing its last burst of growth before harvest time. The energy of this season corresponds to the nurturing Earth element.

The end-of-summer Earth energy is associated with the yellow color radiating from the sun. In our physical bodies, it relates to the stomach, the spleen and the pancreas, organs residing at our body’s center. If our Earth energy isn’t functioning well, we experience malnourishment and difficulties digesting both food and life experience.

This is also a time to slow down. This means that we should cook food for longer periods of time on lower heat. How we cook food will affect how the body tolerates it and how the energy is used. For fall, TCM suggests making soups and stews, using a crockpot or slow cooker, roasting and baking foods. These methods create a deeper warmth and supply greater energy from the food.

As Fire energy of Summer diminishes and transforms into Earth energy, notice how and what you are digesting and assimilating. Not only nourishment in the traditional sense, but everything you are taking in from culture to conversation.  This is the climax of a cycle, a quiet space between the Yang energies of spring and summer and the Yin energies of autumn and winter. Take the time to experience the energetic harmony available at this moment that can bring us wonderful feelings of well-being and completeness.