Phase Element Earth

Earth is one of the five phases of the five-element doctrine (Wu Xing), which describes the laws of natural phenomena. This theory is applied in practice, for example in acupuncture.

Phase Element Earth | Functional Circuits | Pulse Quality

Earth, our center of safety and security, is the foundation for maturing our relationships with others. Only a sense of self, an accordance with ourselves, gives us the opportunity to relate and bond with others. It is the definition of the Self in relationship to and differentiation from the environment. It is a Self that draws its power from loyalty to mother earth, from a feeling of being safe, nurtured, accepted. From having a home to retreat to, no longer striving and acting, but absorbing strength and peace and security within oneself.

Only with a good [phase element] earth providing self-confidencee and trust in one’s own mother (houtian) energy, it is possible to successfully detach.. Only then there is an energetic basis for the lifelong process of building new relationships at all levels of existence. For the socialization process that means that [the phase element] metal enables a person to establish environmental and social contacts, and to mature and grow with these contacts. This includes also that a person is able to disengage from relationships that have become obsolete.
[The phase element] earth enables us to absorb and to make the absorbed available to us by converting it into the body’s energy (hua). If it can not carry out this function due to an hopeless overload of quality and quantity, undigested and indigestible material will accumulate. Lorenzen 1994, 205

Earth means to seed and to reap. Shujing, cited after Lorenzen 1996

“I am worth being looked after” – that is what mother earth gives to a person, the feeling of being cared for and accepted unconditionally. Basic self-esteem[. …] self-love are rooted here. Lorenzen 1996, 132

Man stands at the center of the world, being focal point, intersection of all aspects of this world[. …] Any perception is associated with a particular individual rating [Yi = idea and meaning; deriving from] individual experience. Reflection implies to integrate sensory impressions, to assimilate external influences. Lorenzen 1996, 130

[The phase element] earth needs time to rest to allow images appear. The time factor is an essential prerequisite for achieving deep knowledge and making experiences[. …] If all polar opposites are integrated and neutralized, silence arises. In that silence new consciousness […] can be born. Lorenzen 1996, 144 + 73

Functional Circuits and Pulse Quality

The functional circuits associated with the phase element earth are: Stomach (ST) and Spleen (SP), whereby Spleen is particularly relevant for our investigations. In the following some quotations.

Functional Circuits Stomach and Spleen (Meridians)

The spleen’s central function in the integration and assimilation of foreign influences goes far beyond material ingestion and digestion of food. Lorenzen 1996, 11

The ability to think rationally and purposefully depends […] on the spleen’s strength. The spleen as an instance of assimilation and integration of external influences has to process a variety of influences[. …] Only to the extent of their integration they will nourish us. To the extent of their rejection they relieve us. Lorenzen 1996, 98-99

All these intellectual activities root in the spleen. If the spleen is strong, the thinking is clear and logical, concentration and memory are good, the ideas are flowing purposefully. Lorenzen 1996, 145

The spleen dominates transformation and transport.
The spleen is responsible for metabolism, ie the conversion of exogenous energy into the body’s own substrate. Lorenzen 1996, 176

On the mental-emotional level, in this stage of assimilation, the first mingling between own and extrinsic energies happens here [in the stomach]. This is the first contact and it determines whether we “like” something or not, even whether we want to deal with someone / something so closely that we want to take it into our inside, or, in other words, to swallow it. Lorenzen 1996, 176

The earth provides what is needed for each creature and plant to survive throughout the season Each life form has its own special way of storing and distributing the nourishment it needs. […] Without good distribution of nourishment our ordinary tasks become a struggle and we loose our balance and security. The future is no longer secure. When all flows well we can work and move with confidence, knowing the resources will be there when we need them. Kaatz 2005, 369

Pulse Quality Earth

The pulse quality that is associated with phase element earth is Huan Mai, the pulse that is sedate; relaxed, large
Huan means slowly, unhurried, loose, delayed a little sloppy.

A pulse, which is slightly faster than a slow pulse with exactly four beats per respiration, is called sedate (Huan).
It is like a thread on the loom which is not yet tightened. It is loose on the finger and normal in every respect. It is smooth and relaxed, just as the branch of a weeping willow, gently swaying in the spring breeze. The sedate pulse displays a wealth of Shen Qi. No matter what other qualities are present, if the pulse is sedate and relaxed it displays Shen. A pulse that contains Shen Qi usually shows that stomach Qi is still intact and the kidney Qi is abundant. Li Shizhen, Bin Hu Mai Xue

Kaatz, Debra. 2005. Characters of Wisdom: Taoist Tales of the Acupuncture Points. The Petite Bergerie Press.
Lorenzen, Udo. 1996. Die Wandlungsphasen Der Traditionellen Chinesischen Medizin: Erde. 3 Erde. München: Müller & Steinicke.
Lorenzen, Udo. 1994. Die Wandlungsphasen Der Traditionellen Chinesischen Medizin: Metall. 2 Metall. München: Müller & Steinicke.