The Metal Element
As the Earth Element in Classical Five Element Acupuncture represents the mother, the Metal Element represents the father, the heavens, the divine spark and inspiration. Metal symbolizes the essence in the minerals and soil, bringing about the richness in the earth that supports life. Without these minerals in the soil, there is no nutrition or life force in the food which all life needs to survive. As there are minerals in the soil that sustain life, there is also oxygen or Qi energy in the air we breathe that is crucial to the survival of life on this planet. These minerals and this pure Qi energy are the essence of the Metal Element. This element brings quality to our lives on all levels. It allows respect of oneself and others as well as connection to our divine essence, higher selves, or god. It gives us purity, precision, and purpose. The Officials of the Metal element are the Colon and the Lung.
The Colon Official is the garbage collector responsible for cleaning the waste from the organs and meridians and maintaining purity. It clears space for new and fresh things to come in. When the Colon is sick, toxins and waste build up in the body, causing the body and other Officials to become sick and polluted. Physically, the blood can get polluted, sinus blocked, and problems occur within the large intestine, such as diarrhea and constipation. When the Colon is distressed, someone might hang on to things they can’t let go of like possessions causing clutter, or feelings such as grief and resentment. They may be dismissive, assuming everything is as polluted as their own inner world. They can take on the qualities of metal, becoming stubborn, rigid or unyielding, refusing to change and unable to let go and receive new light and inspiration.
If the colon is healthy and effectively removing the waste and rubbish, the Lung Official is capable of inspiring and breathing in Qi, transferring it to the other Officials. It fills the void that is cleared by the colon. When the Lung Official is sick, someone may have eczema, acne or breathing difficulties such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, coughing, throat problems, allergies and colds. The Lung Official is responsible for our sense of value, life, and worth. When it is sick someone can feel disconnected, lifeless, without inspiration, and empty as if they are constantly grieving. To compensate for this feeling, someone may be very neat and meticulous; they might surround themselves with riches, possessions, or people that embody what they feel they lack.
When the Metal Element is healthy, the Lung and Colon Officials are able to work together in the cycle of letting go of the old and taking in of the rich quality essence to nourish the Body, Mind and Spirit.
References: Worsley, J.R., The Five Elements and the Officials, J.R. and J.B. Worsley. 1998.