Spring in the Garden

I have a yearly tradition of uncovering my flowers and medicinals on the spring equinox, which occurred on my birthday this year (March 19th). This involves removing the leaves from my cultivation beds as well as burning off the duff layer in the woods to warm the ginseng and wake them from dormancy. Bloodroot and bluebells were just starting to emerge, which are pictured below.

This process brings to mind teachings from the Neijing that tell a story about spring time behavior. Lingshu 75 states that “Humanity corresponds to heaven and the earth, and is in mutual agreement with the four seasons.” This is a statement reflective of the belief that the human body is a projection of the planet both in terms of structure and behavior under the arbitration of time. Chapter 71 correlates human hair to the growth of herbs on the earth. Suwen 2 goes on to say how in spring time one should get outside and “dishevel the hair”.

For myself, the spring equinox is indeed a time to get outside and “dishevel the hair”, which I personally infer as “raking back the leaves” to expose the earth to the heat of the new sun so that the yang qi may rise and awaken the herbs from their slumber. A hard days’ work in the sun and wind can likewise leave one’s hair a literal mess.

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