Seasonal Nodes : White Dew

September 8, was the start of the White Dew Seasonal Node. We are now well into Autumn in the Chinese calendar, and the midpoint of Autumn, the equinox, is only about 2 weeks away. Autumn is one of the two Yin seasons (along with Winter), and it is associated with Metal, the Lungs, and the direction West. 

The movement of Autumn is the movement of harvest. Nature is slowly winding down. The names of the three smaller material manifestations of White Dew reflect harvesting of food for the Winter to come, and the return of birds in their migratory patterns: Swan Geese Pass Through, Swallows Go Back, Flocks of Birds Stockpile Morsels.

Even though we are in Autumn, a Yin time of year, it is clear that Yin and Yang are closely intertwined. During White Dew, the days can still be quite warm. However, evenings are starting to dip in temperature. Therefore, one of the things to be aware of this time of year is wearing clothes that are too light or too exposing of the body. During the early morning, or in the evening be sure to wear clothing that protects against the gradually cooling temperatures. In some places the weather continues to be fairly warm and thus slightly out of sync with this Seasonal Node. In those places guard against rapid temperature fluctuations as they may trigger colds or other upper respiratory problems.

Another caution this time of year is overconsumption of cold foods. Eating cold foods burdens the Spleen and Stomach, and this is more so during the Yin and colder times of the year when the body is trying to consolidate its Yang warmth. Over exposure to cold this time of the year can lead to diarrhea.

The best idea to start focusing on during White Dew is Nourishing your Yin. Start slowing down, going to bed just a little earlier, and taking stock of your life. Literally move your mind inward and begin to reflect.

From a physical, practical sense, we may notice more seasonal allergies, coughs and common colds. Autumn is the season of dryness, if you suffer from very dry nasal passageways, rub a small amount of coconut oil inside your nose on a daily basis, and enjoy steam inhalations with eucalyptus oil. If you are familiar with Neti Pot use, this is an excellent time to keep sinuses open and moist.

During White Dew, the foods we eat should gently moisten dryness and protect the Lungs. While the days are still hot we can eat mildly heat clearing foods but be cautious about eating very cold (or chilled) foods. In order to build Yin, we can increase mildly sour foods. White Dew is still a season of fresh fruits that fit these guidelines perfectly, such as peaches, paw paw, apples and pears. Other foods to eat include watery vegetables such as zucchini, or fresh lily bulbs, rice, sesame seeds, honey, walnuts, spinach, and grapes. Animal foods are milk products, eggs, pork, clam, crab, oyster, and mussels. Beverages that have a moistening effect include light teas, fruit juices and cow’s milk. In the west milk has gotten a lot of bad press. Some say it should be avoided all together. In Chinese medicine there is no such thing as a food that everyone should avoid. However, people prone to a build up of mucus should avoid milk, but do know that milk is moistening and people with dryness can drink some with good benefits. Best herbal teas are Chrysanthemum or Mint.

Rice congees are a perfect fit for White Dew in that they are gently moistening and, support the Spleen and Stomach. The traditional White Dew congees is Lily Bulb and Pear Congee. Tomorrow I plan to make a Pear, Celery and Chicken Congee as my personal constitution normally does well with a bit of light meat protein mixed with fruit and vegetable during White Dew. So for this Seasonal Node focus on proper food, avoid cold foods, drink warm herbal teas, slow down, begin to go inward and enjoy self reflection. As you walk in nature notice the contracting energy of the earth, the fallen leaves, and the changing energy of Nature, reminding us of our own impermanence, knowing Spring will be here sooner than we know!