The year can be divided into two parts based on the relationship between light and darkness. From the shortest day of the year to the longest day of the year, days grow longer and light increases on a daily basis. During this phase, the male principle known as Yang is on the ascendancy. Yang begins after the Winter Solstice culminates culminates on the Summer Solstice, the past seasonal cycle.
The second part of the year begins after the Summer Solstice as days grow increasingly shorter and nights grow increasingly longer. This second leg of the journey culminate with the Winter Solstice. During this phase, the female principle known as Yin is on the ascendancy.
With Minor Heat, we begin our trek towards Winter Solstice. Despite the fact that the hottest days of summer still lie ahead, we are already in Yin territory, and from now on, as the power of Yin increases steadily, a different set of qualities will come to characterize the themes that drive the seasonal phases of the year.
Every seasonal phase derives its meaning from the unique quality that arises in nature as it passes, and the chief quality associated with Minor Heat is the beginning of Yin or the rebirth of the shadow. Picture yourself standing by a flagpole in an open field before dawn. It is blanketed in darkness. As the sun rises, a few streaks of light fall on its tip, but it remains submerged in darkness. As the day unfolds, the long shadow gradually retreats, and at noon, when the sun is overhead, it is completely gone. Day is drenched in light. But what happens after noon? If you looked at the ground in the budding afternoon, you would witness the return of the shadow. This image captures the defining quality of Minor Heat.
During Minor Heat, we are invited to gravitate ever so slightly towards Yin, both in the natural world and within ourselves. We align with nature by adapting our diet and eating cooling foods like tropical fruits, yogurt, and drinking peppermint tea. Less strenuous outdoor physical activity is also encouraged, especially around midday. Lazying around in the early afternoon to allow the body to cool down is another productive strategy. Psychologically, we resonate with Minor Heat by becoming more introspective, attuning to our inner feelings, and rekindling the imagination. Allow yourself to daydream for just a few minutes every day. Any compelling images and feelings that arise at this time bring awareness to practical matters that will require additional contemplation over the next six months.
I also encourage to you practice the Minor Heat Empowerment on Thursday, July 6th between 5:50 PM EDT and 7:50 PM EDT to deepen your connection to the changing seasonal energies. (Remember to adjust for the time difference if you live in another time zone). Minor Heat lasts until Saturday, July 22nd at 11:15 AM EDT when Major Heat, the sixth and final stage of summer begins. Until then, find a shady spot in the heat of day, and for a brief moment, wallow in the darkness and become aware of any wandering daydreams.