Cooling The Summer Fire: The Energetics of Our Inner World
We have officially past the solstice into one of the most joyful, life-filled, warm, portions of our cycle here on Earth. This energy is rooted in Fire, Abundance, Creativity and Illumination . How does the summer make you feel? How does it make you think? How does your physical body react to the summer months? For most of us, it can bring about more moments of pleasure, more life force, compared to its winter counterpart. However, like any season of the year, summer can bring about imbalance. My course series Herbalism Through the Seasons teaches one how to counter what may become "too much" or "too little" during these times of transition. My courses go much deeper into the corresponding body systems most affected by this seasonal shift and how to use specific plants during a time of heat, extended light and energy. I am writing this post to provide an introduction into these energetics, how to find balance, and create a gentle awareness of the summer disposition.
A Season Of Opportunity
The summer months correlate to the meridian of our creative selves, our solar plexus. We may have an overwhelming or underwhelming sense of what is occurring here. I find in experiences within myself and others that there is a heightened awareness of what we want to accomplish. That may be jumping into a goal of spending more time connecting with nature or beginning a new creative project.
We may want to challenge ourselves, move out of our comfort zone. This looks different for everyone. Some people see may become overactive, running their internal battery until it is fully exhausted both mentally and physically. This may be due to perfectionistic anxiety, our need to accomplish all we can in just a few months of extended light and warmth. The desire for slowness, ironically dwindles in the summer when strangely enough this slowness is needed to bring forth the energy of summer-that joy, abundance, creativity, and light into balance. For others, it may look like a lack of energy, a stagnation, a blockage in our solar plexus. I know I personally struggle with balancing both. That anxiety of wanting to incorporate many experiences into the summer months with the desire to slow down causing a slump of the sort.
Herbs for Bringing Us Back to the Present Moment
For when we are busy, on the move, filled with that solar plexus energy or lack there of, a few simple herbal remedies can bring the mind and body into a grounded space. Holy Basil, Tulsi Basil (i.e Ocimum Sanctum, Amrita, Africanum) is a wonderful herb to utilize for a myriad of experiences. A member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family of plants, Tulsi's energetics are cooling and drying helping to disperse heat and water in the body. The scent of Tulsi Basil holds aromatherapeutic qualities that work directly on areas of the brain that uplift the mood and calm anxious thoughts. Tulsi inspires us to meditate on the beauty and lore of the summer time- it's colors, its scents, the whole experience without feeling overwhelmed. We can also use Tulsi Basil as an adaptogen (the herbal action associated with strengthening the body systems most affected by stress - i.e adrenal glands, digestive system, nervous system). Tulsi Basil also holds carminative actions, soothing digestive upset due to imbalances of heat. Last but not least, I want to note Holy Basil's ability to strengthen the immune system. Ironically enough, we can become ill in the summer. To further prevent a summer cold due to physical and mental run down, using tulsi will help combat any sickness that may come your way.
A Few Notes on the Physical Shift
Herbalists such as myself view everything happening within a person as interconnected. The physical body follows the health of the mind, heart, and spirit. A few examples of how the body reacts to the energy of summer- the heat, light, Earth are as follows:
- Skin irruptions (rash, burn, change in skin coloration, texture)
- Increase in digestive fire (inflammation of lower digestive tract, bloating due to heat, liver fire imbalance, stomach acid imbalance)
- Imbalance in thermoregulatory actions (the porous nature of the body), perspiring too much or too little, unequal distribution of heat in the body
- Sleep disturbances
Herbs for balancing these imbalances of the physical nature include plants that hold cooling, drying, moistening, and anti-inflammatory actions. When utilizing drying or moistening herbs it is always important to have a proportion of both. To learn more about the many herbs for balancing the body during the summer months, join in on Herbalism Through the Seasons: Cooling the Inner Fire Online Course!
This course will be available only ONCE per year and provides an in-depth look into the topics discussed in this blog post. Click the photo below to sign-up! I am looking forward to discussing the energetics of the mind, body, and spirit during the summer, the many herbs that can be used to balance the fire within ourselves, and the many modalities on how to use these plants day-to-day.