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Acupuncture Today – September, 2012, Vol. 13, Issue 09

Opportunities By The Venus Transit: Nourish Our Earth

By Martha Lucas, PhD, LAc

I am writing this article when we are experiencing the Venus Transit in June 2012. It has been said that planetary events or alignments are gates that, when we allow it, can lead us to connection with our higher consciousness.

I call them opportunities to rebalance our qi by allowing ourselves to let go of unhealthy energetic patterns or patterns that do not serve us well while we have the additional support of planetary energies.

This additional energetic support enables us to purge the old – both emotionally and physically – creating space, openness, and the calm that results from letting go. The Venus Transit in particular offers us a chance to be more in tune with Earth energy. In TCM, our Earth is our nourishing center and, interestingly enough, Venus is considered an Earth or Earthly planet. According to astrologer Alison Chester-Lambert " transiting astrology (without reference to natal charts), Venus offers protection and power along with affirmation, success, security, aspiration, achievement and support with earthly acquisition. Venus is an Earth planet and as such, she is a magnetic and attractive force."

Additionally, the first of this Venus transit's pair occurred in 2004. Look back at your 2004. See if there were issues around being nurtured or that engendered fear. Hint: now is the time to let them go and build your Earth.

Generally speaking Earth is related to the Spleen and Stomach in TCM. However, reducing the body or the pulse picture to a single element obscures important relationships between organ systems. Our pulses reflect a network of organs or elements and each must be considered in its relationship to the other.

For example, if we let our blood sugar drop by not eating at regular intervals, the pancreas (part of the Earth sector/element) will release glucagon to raise the blood sugar back up. Speaking energetically, the glucagon stimulates the liver (Wood) to metabolize the glucagon into glucose and then release it into the bloodstream (Fire). However, if the person is over stressed, has digestion that isn't functioning properly, or suffers from liver dysfunction, then the kidneys and adrenals (Water) must enter the picture to help fulfill the body's demand for energy, which can lead to generalized fatigue. The cycle starts with properly functioning digestion (Earth).

It is common knowledge that emotional strife may negatively affect Spleen/Stomach/Earth. In good health, any organ is able to adapt to emotional fluctuations and maintain a semblance of balance. But, under too much stress the organ will stagnate or move into excess or deficiency and we may see the emotions associated with that organ.

One question is, which came first – the emotion or the dysfunction? Did worry weaken the Spleen or was the Spleen deficient from perceived lack of nurturing thereby creating a pulse movement that mimics that of worry? Very often emotional states like dependency, skepticism, self-doubt, and being "delicate" are associated with Earth, Stomach/Spleen, and/or pancreas energy that is out of balance. But, it's not as simple as merely associating the organ with the emotion. If you consider recent developments in neurophysiology, emotions involve whole networks of neurons and neurotransmitters that involve the entire brain (San Jiao, Kidneys, Gallbladder).

The Chinese model simplifies things because it does not handle emotional nuances or complications very well. If you read Elisabeth dela Rochat and Claude Larre's book, The Seven Emotions, you can see that the Chinese were not very sophisticated in psychoanalysis. Using the simplified list of organ-emotion relationships helps resolve the mind/body split, but it cannot generate sufficient detail to specify more than simple emotional responses.

While the organ/emotion list is a good place to start, it will only give you a general outline of your patient's emotional state. Sometimes a single organ can reveal an emotional state---for example, insecurity buried at the unconscious level of the kidney.

You can often see more complicated emotional patterns in the interaction of two or more organs---for example, the movement at the adapted (deep) level of the San Jiao pulling back on the spleen revealing problems of affect regulation in early childhood. That is, the child's ability to maintain or increase positive feelings of wellbeing was not fostered or nurtured and he/she didn't learn how to regulate feelings. This type of person may have inappropriate emotional responses in certain situations. From the organ/emotion view, neither organ by itself will reveal or define the movement; it emerges from and is only expressed in their exchange. While you can use the organ/emotion list to associate general emotions to the state of the organ you also need to look at the interactions of organs. Physical and emotional states create each other.

A somatic condition may create a particular emotional state (i.e., low blood sugar causing irritability) and an emotional state may create a physical problem (i.e., constant worrying making the patient insecure weakening Earth and digestion and eventually weakening kidney qi).

Click here for previous articles by Martha Lucas, PhD, LAc.

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