Some people believe living in harmony with the seasonal changes is beneficial in some way, but when asked how is it beneficial the answer is not that clear.
Harmony in chinese calligraphy
Celebrations to mark seasonal change have been practiced by most cultures since the ancient times. Nearly all traditions also have special days of celebration; Christmas and Easter in the west; Devali and Holi in India; New Year by most cultures and many more. Have you ever wondered why these traditions exist universally? Why is there a need to have celebration for seasonal change or religious celebration? The traditional explanation for celebration is usually to mark a historical event , christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus christ for example or to mark a change because the conditions we live in have changed e.g. from winter to spring. However, these explanations are not adequate to explain why people celebrate moon cycles for example, there is no significant changes in the weather or any historical events associated with the moon cycle. Is there a more basic need for us to celebrate these? Is it possible that at the dawn of time these changes conferred some benefit to survival and as man become more and more independent of these changes instead of being a survival benefit they became rituals. We are now so independent of the environmental changes most people don’t even know where about we are in relation to moon cycle, equinoxes or solstices. We are instead overloaded with other useless information such as the life style details of the latest movie star or about the latest disastrous event either locally or abroad. We don’t pay enough attention to the natural rhythms of our universe or cosmos.
In the east there is a whole philosophy of living well and being on the right path, to be in line or in harmony with the universal energy. This energy is called qi, it is primordial , non dualistic, it is essential for action and existence; and from it all the elements of the universe are derived. So it is important to be in line with this powerful universal energy otherwise the flow of your own individual energy is not optimal , or gets blocked if your energy is flowing against the universal energy , which in turn leads to illness. To stay aligned with this energy one must live in accordance with the Dao or the Way. The Dao can be thought of as the flow of the universe, or some essence or pattern behind the natural world that keep the universe balanced and ordered. To go against this flow of universal energy or not living according to the dao is to disrupt your energy flow and invite illness.
In the eastern tradition there is a deep understanding of nature’s cycle and could be applied to many things: not just the seasons ,but also to relationships, one’s work, the development of a child, emotions, the progress of a disease, a life in its totality.
The initial question does living according to seasonal changes confer some benefit? If you look at it through the eastern philosophy then definitely there seem to be a benefits. It seems to promise better health in addition to many other potential benefits. In the west there is no philosophical thought on this subject but if one apply these eastern concept to western traditions it seems to make sense. LaurelKallenbach, an acupuncturist explains why the final month of the year , an inherently Yin season ( time to be resting and caring for the self), is not the time to indulge in Yang activities like shopping,partying and staying up late ( these activities require a lot of energy which your body doesn’t have). This disharmony results into feeling tired and exhausted, in fact it may even result in an illness. Another argument given for celebrating seasonal changes in the west by Paula Klimek , she says ” acknowledge not only the outward seasonal changes but also the symbolic/ subjective rhythms of our live. In taking the time to honour these festivals, we honour our own symbolic process of unfoldment.In this way we cooperate with the natural progression and live with a true consciousness.” I would also add that when we are celebrating the seasons we are making traditions with the family and friends which strengthen the bonding of love and caring. All these help the health and the healing.
I myself like the idea of celebrating the seasons, it make me more conscious of my environment, helps to create bonding with others and make me think about universal energy and whether I am in align with it or against it. I wish I can say I am very good at it but I am going to try, I will start celebrating the seasons in more conscious and deliberate way. Intuitively it makes sense to be aligned with powerful primordial energy.
Laurel kallenbach: Winter Wonder Yin
Paula klimek: Celebrations of Festivals
Page 89 Chop Wood Carry Water by Rick Fields, with Peggy Taylor, Rex weyler, and Rick Ingrasci
- Moon Phases and Lunation Cycle (astrologyinhealth.wordpress.com)