Earth is symbolized by late summer, the time of harvest. Fire is its’ mother and Metal is its’ child. As the heat of summer tips off and the days get a little shorter, in late summer, we reap the benefits of our crop, gathering and storing for the seasons ahead. There is a palpable sense of decreasing energy that comes from the Earth. The plants begin to turn yellow and everything starts to dry out. A good seeding in spring leads to a good crop in summer which leads to a good harvest. Good quality depends upon all of the elements coming in abundantly. The celebration comes to an end, which can create some sadness within.
The power of Earth is the essence of decrease, the state of starting to wane, a release from one phase to the next. The color of earth is yellow. The climate is humidity and can be observed by the dew upon plants. The odor is fragrant, like just over ripened fruit. The taste is sweet, ideally coming from fruit. Cravings of sweet can be indicative of an imbalance. Palliating theses cravings can lead to blood sugar imbalances. The sensory organ associated with Earth is the mouth, where we receive nourishment. The sound is singing, care taking and extending sympathy to others.
The emotion is sympathy, but caring, thoughtfulness, generosity, selflessness, and abundance are also qualities of Earth. The fortification is the muscles of the body, supple, strong, holding energy and power in the storehouses. Classical texts describe the flesh requiring adequate reserves to keep one warm and protected. With the appropriate amount of flesh, our immune system is strong. When we have too much or too little flesh, it is difficult for one to be at ease, we are uncomfortable in our body, we are insecure, we can be greedy or needy, we have insatiability, and we are resistive to love and nourishment.
Earth is associated with the direction of center and is sometimes schematically places in the center of the other four elements. Earth is important for all the elements to flourish. When the Earth is healthy, with the optimal soil, the trees grow upright and strong in Wood. It is important to note that different kinds of Earth grow different things. Earth supports the maturation of Fire. When the Earth is balanced, Metal forms in high quality. Water is contained by Earth when Earth is strong.
The Earth reminds us of our connection to her, resembling roundedness, giving us something firm in which to stand upon. Our connection with Earth provides us with the feeling of stability, security, contentment and at ease with oneself. The Earth is representative of total nourishment and is akin to the love of a mother, feeding the child, providing mental stimuli, and loving the child unconditionally. With the Earth element in balance, one has the strength to move out into the world.
Earth feeds us physically, mentally and spiritually. The Stomach official receives nourishment and breaks it down into digestible pieces. The spleen spreads that nourishment throughout the Kingdom. This powers our bodily functions, keeping us warm and active. Physically when out of balance, abdominal distention, discomfort in the epigastric region, flatulence and retention of food in the stomach are common. When food is not being digested, there is very little to distribute and thus very little energy within the system, leading to weakness and lethargy. Being unable to digest food means we are unable to digest ideas and love.
In balance, there is the balance of yin and yang, nourishing of self and nourishing of others. In relationships, we are fed by our connection, it must be fulfilling. It is common that out of balance, the Earth element shows itself as over-mothering or over nurturing without awareness to one’s own depletion. It can become easier to give than to receive. One can also resist love and assistance from others when they require it. Or, one can have a strong desire to be cared for and nourished by others, without nourishing oneself. Out of balance, Earth can seem like a bottomless pit for nourishment and love. One can become obsessive with anxiety and worry. One can even become a hoarder. JR describes a common body language of the Earth element to include a rather blank stare and the need to repeat information several times.