秋分 Qiū Fēn: Autumnal Equinox

秋分 Qiū Fēn, known as the Autumnal Equinox is the 16th solar term on the Ancient Chinese Solar Calendar and the 4th term of the fall season.

秋分 Qiū Fēn: Autumnal Equinox

秋分 Qiū Fēn, known as the Autumnal Equinox is the 16th solar term on the Ancient Chinese Solar Calendar and the 4th term of the fall season. This year it starts on September 23rd and continues through October 7th. 秋分 Qiū Fēn begins when the sun reaches the celestial longitude of 180° and ends the longitude of 195°.

秋分 Qiū Fēn is the time when the night and day are equal in length, and the Yin Qi and Yang Qi are in balance. This means that the heat and cold are also balanced.

“The night of White Dew and Autumn Equinox, one night is colder than the one before.” – Ancient Chinese Proverb

Farmers in southern China are still harvesting rice during 秋分 Qiū Fēn and those living in the north are already planting winter wheat.

“Thunderstorms calm down, insects make their nests and water dries up.” – Ancient Chinese Proverb

Each of the 24 solar terms is further divided into 3 pentads or a group of five (5 days). Let’s take a look at the pentads for 秋分 Qiū Fēn:

1st pentad – 雷始收聲 thunder begins to soften
2nd pentad – 蟄蟲培戶insects make nests
3rd pentad – 水始涸 water begins to solidify

中秋節Zhōng Qiū Jié: The Mid Autumn Festival

中秋節Zhōng Qiū Jié, translated as Mid-Autumn Festival, typically falls during the 秋分 Qiū Fēn solar term. This year it begins on September 29th and is one of the four most significant annual celebrations in the Chinese culture.

中秋節 Zhōng Qiū Jié has gone through several stages of evolution throughout Chinese history. Dating back more than 3,000 years, the Mid-Autumn Festival originally celebrated the yearly harvest.

Approximately 1,500 years ago mooncakes became a tradition on the day of 中秋節 Zhōng Qiū Jié, or Mid Autumn Festival.

Approximately 1,000 years ago during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) of China 中秋節 Zhōng Qiū Jié became an official holiday.

Since that time The Mid-Autumn Festival has continued gaining national popularity and has maintained its great importance among the Chinese annual festivals.

There is also an ancient legend that tells the origin of 中秋節 Zhōng Qiū Jié, or Mid Autumn Festival.

The Legend of 10 Suns During Qiū Fēn: Autumnal Equinox

Once long ago, according to Chinese Legend, there were 10 suns. It was so hot that no crops survived and people were dying. Hardship and famine filled the land. And then there appeared a hero archer whose name was Hou Yi and who was skilled enough to shoot down nine of those suns, bringing relief to the land and people. To express her appreciation, the Queen of Heaven gifted Hou Yi with an elixir of immortality. The hero archer chose not to drink it and instead gave it to his wife Chang’e for safekeeping.
On the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month one of Hou Yi’s followers attempted to steal the immortality elixir from Chang’e when her husband was away hunting. To preserve the elixir Chang’e drank it which made her immortal. As a result Chang’e had to leave Earth, making Moon her home. Hoping to be reunited with his beloved, the hero Hou Yi presented cakes that looked like moons to the Moon on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month every year for the remainder of his life.

“As the bright moon shines over the sea
From far away you share this moment with me
For parted lovers nights are the worst to be
All night long I thing of no one else by thee
To enjoy the moon I blow out the candle stick
Please put on your nightgown
For the dew is thick
I try to offer you 
The moonlight so hard to pick
Hoping a reunion
In my dream will come quick.”

-by poet张九龄 Zhang Jiuling (678-740) of the Tang Dynasty

The Moon

The moon is its fullest and brightest on the Autumnal Equinox, symbolizing family reunion. Much of Chinese folklore and art is dedicated to the moon.

“When will the moon be bright and clear
With a cup of wine in my hand, I ask the deep blue sky
Not knowing what is the time of year would be tonight in the palace on high
Riding the wind, there I would fly.
Yet I’m afraid the jade and crystal mansions would be too high and cold for me
Dancing to play with my shadow, how does it compare with in the world
Turning around the vermillion pavilion, stooping through the gauzed window
The moon shines upon the sleepless
The moon should bear us no grudge
why is it oft full and bright when people part from each other
People may have sorrows and joys, partings and reunions
As well as the moon is bright or dim, wax and wane
Rare is perfect since the ancient times
May we live long and share the beauty of the moon together
Even if we are hundreds of miles apart.”

-By poet 苏 轼 Sū Shì (1037–1101) of the Song Dynasty

The West Lake “Three Pools Mirroring the Moon” in Hangzhou, China is the place to be on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is the prime spot to appreciate the full moon. This lake and its symbolism is so significant to the Chinese, that they even printed the image of the “Three Pools Mirroring the Moon” on the back of one Yuan note.

It is important to slow down during this time of year and focus on self-nurturing, maintaining your inner peace, and safe guarding your emotional wellness.

秋分 Qiū Fēn Indications

Harmonize with the autumn season so that you do not suffer dis-ease during the winter. Autumn begins the phase of Yin energy coming off of the Yang energy of Summer. It corresponds with the Metal element which represents the lungs, the large intestine and the skin organs.

The Metal element is also associated with the nose, the emotions of courage and sadness, the color white, the sound of weeping, and the white tiger. It correlates with the direction of West, which is the direction of dreams and visions. Likewise, the climate is dry, the season is ripening and ready for harvest, and the taste is pungent.

Focus on your breathing, fresh air, and meditation.  Be open to new ideas while protecting your boundaries and limits.  Embrace yourself and let go of the things that no longer serve you.  秋分 Qiu Fen is a time for clarity, productivity, and discipline.

The wind begins to blow more freely during 秋分 Qiū Fēn which can bring pestilence through the skin to the lungs.  Be sure to cover your neck and skin during this time to protect your Zheng Qi.

It is also important to stay hydrated as autumn is a time of dryness. In Chinese Medicine we often see people with dry and itchy skin, dry cough, sore throats, and constipation during 秋分 Qiū Fēn.  You can  avoid all of this by drinking enough water daily and doing Dao Yin exercises to harmonize with each day!

“This is the changing or pivoting point when the yang, or active, phase turns into its opposite, the yin, or passive, phase. Just as the weather in autumn turns harsh, so does the emotional climate. It is therefore important to remain calm and peaceful, refraining from depression so that one can make the transition to winter smoothly. This is the time to gather one’s spirit and energy, be more focused, and not allow desires to run wild. One must keep the lung energy free, full, clean, and quiet. This means practicing breathing exercises to enhance lung Qi. Also, one should refrain from smoking and grief, the emotion of lung. This will prevent the kidney or digestive problems in the winter. If this natural order is violated, damage will occur to the lungs, resulting in diarrhea with undigested food in the winter. This compromises the body’s ability to store in winter.”

黃帝內經 Huangdi Neijing Su Wen

秋分 Qiū Fēn In Practice

Continue to use acupoints  外關 San Jiao 5 (Wai Guan) accompanied with 大椎 Du 14 (Da Zhui) to start the body’s ability to activate its Warming Principle and Yang Qi.

Also consider using formulas that will build 正氣 Zheng Qi like:

玉屏風湯 Yu Ping Feng Tang
補正氣湯 Bu Zheng Qi Tang
桂枝湯 Gui Zhi Tang and other associated formulas that will build 正氣 Zheng Qi.

In the realm of Chinese food therapy consider olives or pumpkin at this time to enhance people’s ability to activate the Warming Principle as we hit the autumnal equinox.

May you harmonize the center and stay in balance with the equinox.

If you have any further questions, you can setup a 15 minute Q&A session with me here when you sign up for a Si Jin Bao PRO account.

Kamal Polite, D.O.M., A.P., C.H.E.

Kamal Polite, D.O.M., A.P., C.H.E.

Founder & Chief Herbaceutical Engineer

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