Summer – The Fire Element

Summer, Fire – the Season of the Heart & its Officials

Summer, our fire season, the most yang time of year filled with heat, sunlight, and outward energy.  Notice how we align with this fire energy during the summer.  We spend more time outdoors, crave more activities, and enjoy vacations.

The organ networks and meridians associated with the fire element are the heart (yin), the small intestine (yang), the pericardium (yin), and the triple burner (yang).  The other 4 elements have 2 organ/meridian associations, but fire has 4, which makes up our 12 major meridian system.

We can think of the heart as the emperor within, the ruler of all the organs . The heart sends blood to the lungs to gain oxygen, and pumps freshly oxygenated blood through the entire body. On an energetic level, the heart is responsible for expressing our inner truth – our eternal nature beyond the ego.  Heart energy also relates to our connection & communication with others, as well as interpretation.  

The small intestine is like the secretary at the door of the emperor, the heart.  The secretary must discern what is important, separating the pure from the impure.  The pure nutrients get passed on to the blood, while the impure gets passed along to the large intestine for elimination.  Energetically, we can think about how small intestine helps us filter situations, people, actions, etc.  What aligns with your inner truth?  Seek the pure and bring it into the heart.  Anything that doesn’t make the cut and drains your inner resources, get rid of it.  It’s impure and should be eliminated.

The pericardium, also known as the heart protector regulates blood flow and sexual secretions.  It is the physical sheath around the heart consisting of fibrous tissue.  Not only does the pericardium have a physical role in protecting the heart, but also does so energetically.  When in balance, we are protected from being over-vulnerable, yet open enough to give and receive love without throwing up walls of guardedness.

Last, but not least, the triple burner (or triple warmer, or triple heater) is responsible for our temperature regulation and immunity.  The upper burner helps support the functions of respiration, the middle burner helps support digestion, and the lower burner helps support our elimination & reproductive health.  Since our fight-flight-freeze response (sympathetic nervous system) activates the triple warmer, it’s especially important to use mediation and mindfulness practices to shift into rest and digest mode (parasympathetic nervous system).  Our modern day life is constantly shifting us into sympathetic nervous system through work deadlines, traffic, phone notifications & more.  By protecting the over-use of our triple warmer functions, we’ll improve our immune system, nervous system and overall well-being.

Make sure to stay well hydrated and limit exposure to any extreme heat conditions so the fire element within doesn’t rage out of control.  Bitter is the taste associated with fire, as incorporating bitter foods (lots of leafy greens) into your summer diet will help tame any excess fire.  This is the time of year to bring in fresh fruits and vegetables, which will help with hydration and cooling the body.  You can also bring in red foods like red bell pepper, tomatoes, strawberries, etc. to support fire through its associated color of red.  Begin to check in with how you feel after eating.  Be mindful not to over-do it on raw, cold foods, as it can aggravate the spleen and disrupt digestion.  Moderation of all things is key to keeping the 5 elements in balance.

Happy summer everyone!  This is the time to express JOY,  the emotion of the fire element.  Share it widely and freely with lots of laughter!