In feng shui, spring is associated with the East, new beginnings and the element of wood. The color is green. The Earth and her creatures awake from winter’s slumber, ready to move forward with the energy of the ram, which is symbolized in Western astrology by Aries.
All over the Northern Hemisphere, the green growth is returning. In the more northern climes it is seen as a hint of buds on the trees and the crocus peeping from the leaf litter. In the South, the rains return to bring a profusion of growth which is, at times, visible overnight and the flowers start to shout out their colors. The days become longer and, with daylight savings time, there is a sense of having extra time in the evenings to walk and wander, a feeling of freedom and possibility infuses us. Lightning accelerates, charging the very air with potential.
Across the globe, every variety of bird gets their signal to start their vast migrations to spring breeding grounds. The bears and voles and insects start to stir from their winter slumber and emerge to search for food. (For those of you living in the country, it’s time to fasten your garbage cans.)
The wood element is about growth, regeneration, creativity, expansion and new life. These images can be seen in our celebrations of Easter (the ducks and bunnies have little to do with religion) and the green shamrocks of St. Patrick’s day.
New growth is heady and wonderful. Our creativity starts to soar. For those of us in snow belts, it is time to begin surveying the land and going out to connect with friends and new projects. The sun and breezes now feel delicious on our skin. Our pets also want to be outside in the world of birds and growth. Outside my window in Florida, I watch the redwing blackbirds and bluebirds as they dart about, deciding who will stay and who will travel north on the warm currents flowing from the south.
The forsythia have not yet popped but the wood is yellow with the life that is about to come forth, and a very pregnant groundhog lazily feasts on dropped bird seed, waiting for her young to be born. The Hibiscus bloom in profusion, with their amazing blooms of pink, red and white, and the jasmine and magnolia blossoms begin to unfurl and perfume the night air.
What is the appropriate feng shui action for this glorious time? First of all, get outside. Let your senses feast on the gifts that are coming forth. Give thanks for the abundance that surrounds you. Make some offerings, whether that be a prayer, cornmeal, tobacco, sage or compost. If you have the land, start a compost bin. Many municipalities give them out for free or for very little cost. Contact you town. If they don’t provide them, ask why.
Instead of burning your leaves, rake them in a pile and push them into old trees, which can serve as a natural boundary for your compost. Add any ashes from your fireplace to the dead leaves, and watch as you produce great mulch over the coming months. Never add animal protein because it invites bears, raccoons and other pests, but old salad and vegetable cuttings are great.
All growth is good in moderation. Cancer is a disease where too much growth takes place and overwhelms the host. Spring is a good time to prune and cut back what is dead, both for fire safety and to give space for new growth. If you have extra small trees and shrubs, ask your friends if they would like cuttings or small saplings. Invite them to come help you. A few exchange days can be great community builders. Lots of communities also have give-away days for ecologically appropriate plants for your region.
Living in the city? Bring some plants into your home and place them in the south. They will enliven your days and help clean your air. See if your neighbors are interested in a green roof project; many cities such as New York are helping to design and fund them. If you want to get your hands in the dirt, find a community garden in your neighborhood. If you have no time, donate to one, or to a tree planning effort.
On another note, spring is the time when many of us think about having a companion animal. If you are, please think about boycotting the puppy mills and finding an animal who is waiting for your love at your local shelter or on the wonderful adoption site petfinders.com.
Give to the Earth and she will give to you. Spring is about nature’s generosity and gifts. Enjoy those gifts and with a bit of giving back, our children will enjoy her too.
This blog is dedicated to Jim Davis, my earth awareness mentor and Environmental Director of The Wittenberg Center for Alternative Resources.
To contact Betsy Stang, practitioner of Healing by Design Feng Shui, click here.