The Metal Element
“The Metal element represents the special core, the divine spark which fires the whole process, whose pure and refined essence enhances the body, mind and spirit.” -J.R. Worsley-
As the Earth Element in Classical Five Element Acupuncture represents the mother, the Metal Element represents the father, the heavens, the divine spark and inspiration. Metal represents the essence that is in the minerals and the soil bringing about the richness in the earth that supports life. Without these minerals in the soil, there is no nutrition or life force in the food in which all life needs to survive. As there are minerals in the soil that sustain life, there is also oxygen or Qi energy in the air in which we breathe that is crucial to the survival of life on this planet. Both these minerals and this pure Qi energy in which we breathe are the essence of the Metal Element. This element brings quality on all levels to our lives; respect of ones self and others, connection to our divine essence, higher selves, or god. It gives us purity, precision and purpose. The Officials of the Metal element are the Colon and the Lung.
The Colon official is the garbage refuse and collector responsible for cleaning the waste from the organs and meridians and maintaining purity, clearing space for new and fresh things to come in. When the Colon is sick, toxins and waste build up in the body, causing it and other officials to become sick and polluted. Physically, the blood can get polluted, sinus problems are caused due to blockages in the channel, and problems happen within the large intestine such as diarrhea and constipation. Mentally when the Colon is distressed and garbage piles up, someone might be hanging on to things that they can’t get rid of such as possessions in their home causing clutter, or feelings such as grief and resentment. They may be dismissive, assuming everything is the crap they are projecting from their own inner pollution. They can live in doubt and gloom, and like the qualities of metal, they may be stubborn, rigid, unyielding, refusing to change and unable to let go and receive new light and inspiration.
If the colon is healthy and the waste and rubbish is removed effectively and efficiently, the Lung Official is in charged of inspiring or breathing in Qi, light, and vital essence, descending it down to the other officials to replace the void that is cleared by the Colon, and then taking the carbon dioxide to expire. Physically when the Lung Official is sick, someone may have problems with breathing such as asthma or hyperventilation due to stress, skin problems such as eczema or acne (the Lung governs the skin.) It also will have problems such as chronic bronchitis, coughing, throat problems, allergies and colds because the meridian pathway runs from the thumb up the medial part of the arm through the chest and lungs, through the trachea and larynx. On a mental and spirit level the Lung is responsible for our sense of value, life and worth. When it is sick someone can feel disconnected, lifeless, without inspiration, and empty as if they are constantly grieving the loss of this connection. To compensate for this feeling, someone may be very neat and meticulous; they might to surround themselves in riches, quality possessions, or people that symbolize the purity and quality in which they feel they lack within.
When the Metal Element is healthy, the Lung and the Colon Officials are able to work together in the cycle of letting go of the old and the taking in of the rich quality essence to nourish the body, mind and spirit.
References: Worsley, J.R., The Five Elements and the Officials, J.R. and J.B. Worsley. 1998.