The Metal Element is associated with the autumn season. It is the time of letting go and preparing to return to the essence. The leaves falling off the trees signifies the season of fall. When the tree lets go of its leaves, it is entering a new phase. The tree receives the trace minerals from the soil to make way for new growth in Spring and the leaves decompose and rot, leaving behind fertile, nutrient dense soil. Earth cannot support itself indefinitely giving life without death. We, just like the trees, are cyclically restore by letting go, by birth and death, this is the rhythmic heartbeat of life. Autumn brings about a sense of grief and loss as Nature turns inward. We advance forward with the prospects of new growth and birth. JR states, “The Metal Element represents the special core, the divine spark which fires the whole process and whose pure and refined essence enhances the mind, body and spirit.”
The Lung and the Large Intestine are the associated officials. The Lung is the Receiver of Heavenly Qi and the Large Intestine is the Official of Drainage and Dregs. The Lung receives new energy in ideas for the mind and life for the spirit.The Large Intestine removes wastes from within, physically and spiritually. The skin is also associated with the Metal Element, as it is the “third lung”. Dermatitis, acne, eczema, psoriasis, boils and rashes can be indicative of a Metal Imbalance. The associated body secretion is mucous. Together, the Lung and Large Intestine imply the idea of letting go of what no longer serves and grabbing onto the essence of what is valuable. The Metal Element acts as quality control, discerning what is valuable and what is not. The Metal Element helps us to value others and see our own value in the world. When metal is in balance, we have a spark of life and inspiration. The Metal Element can be referred to as the diamond and the outhouse. The power associated with the Metal Element is balance. The Lungs and Large Intestine depict this perfectly though receiving and letting go.
The emotion associated with the Metal Element is grief. There is often a heaviness such as holding on for too long or a hollowness from cutting off, letting go too quickly or being dismissive. Grief comes in many forms, sometimes in waves, sometimes with a sense of fullness - “filled with grief”, and sometimes with a sense of barrenness. Grief can be appropriate after a loss. Inappropriate grief can be a trigger that grabs one long after the loss. Loss brings us to honor and value what we’ve lost and what we have or are. A Metal CF may find comfort in grief or may repress grief. In China, the color associated with grieving is white, which represents moving toward new light. The sound is weeping, the person about to break into tears at any moment.
The Metal Element is connected with vitality and aliveness as well as lack of vitality or essence. It is not uncommon that someone with an imbalance of the Metal Element might go on spiritual quests, searching outside themselves for what’s missing within. They may feel like something is missing in their spirit. They might say, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” They have a longing, a desire for fulfillment from the Heavens. It must be remembered that being spiritual is what we live, not what we say.
The color of the Metal Element is white, like porcelain or white light from the Heavens. The odor is rotten, like the smell of garbage. The scent represents the decomposition of something left stagnant, something which is not moving on. The nose is the sensory organ associate with Metal. LI20, just beside the nostrils is known as the acupoint, Welcome Fragrance. There are many phrases that can be associated with the Metal Element, “turning up our noses” and “taking time to smell the roses”. The taste associated with the Metal Element is pungent, as it opens the offices of the nose. Things like garlic, onions and spices are considered pungent. The climate associated with the Metal Element is dry. The direction is west, the direction of the setting sun, which resonates as the sentiment of the element.
Those with a Metal CF might like to enhance value through jewelry or gemstones. There is a specialness associated with the Metal Element. There is also a multi-faceted nature, just like natural stone formations. The Sheng Cycle describes the Earth being compressed to produce the precious metals. They might be all dolled up or disheveled. They might see everything as Sh*t or see everything as sterling. There may be a relationship to the phrase “knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Metal helps us to understand the process associated with value and worth, just as a child saves and saves and saves for a coveted possession or experience. Value can be misplaced when there is a Metal imbalance. Metal reminds us to invest in things and activities, taking time with them. Metal is connected to self worth. A ‘lack-luster’ appearance may be indicative of Metal being out of balance.
A Metal imbalance might be characterized by inertness, not a lot of quality, not a lot of spark, lacking inspiration and lacking luster. They might be considered cutting, splitting, dismissive, curt or even rude. On the contrary, they could have tremendous integrity and righteousness. They might hold onto things and people or they might hold onto nothing and no one. Attachment to the “good ol’ days” can be reflective of the metal element. An imbalance in the Metal Element can lead to a sense of regret when we lose the ability to meet life face on and instead meet life facing backward. This can be predicated by a disregard for loss and death. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be connected to the Metal Element. Someone with a metal imbalance may be unable to receive compliments, unable to receive the pure Heavenly qi of the universe. They may trash what is good about themselves and look for faults in others. One may present as mentally and physically constipated. They may even present with a “potty mouth”.
There is a connection between the Metal Element and the Father, the father of heaven. The Father has a reputation of being inspiring, non-judgmental and open or harsh, critical and judgmental. The father is an authority, a source of wisdom and a provider of guidance. Metal is associated with respect, respect of oneself, the ability to command respect and respect for others.
Regardless of the CF, imbalance can occur in any element. The Metal quality can be seen within all the elements. The idea of filling a void is associated with the Metal Element, however can easily be represented in each of the other elements. Filling the void with food could represent Earth. Filling the void with promiscuity could represent Fire. Filling the void with plans could represent Wood. Filling the void with reassurance could represent Water. JR notes, “Every Element is quantitatively enriched in its own Nature by the Metal Element.”