The cycle of seasonal nodes is one of the easiest to understand and accessible systems of Chinese Cosmology.
This cycle is relatively consistent with regard to the Western calendrical dates on which they occur, varying only one day in either direction each year. They are tied to the astrological constants of solstices and equinoxes.
According to this system, it is appropriate and healthful to receive acupuncture and take Chinese herbs some time during the first node of each season (during or around the first two weeks of each seasonal change).
In the cycle of seasonal nodes, there are 24 cycles of 15 days, each of which correlates with repetitive, observable, and predictable atmospheric and environmental changes. Different from how seasonal changes are marked in the West, the Chinese calendar marks the beginnings of seasons six weeks before the solstices and equinoxes. The Chinese calendar marks the beginning of the season, while the Western calendar marks the mid-point. In addition, Chinese cosmology also recognizes a fifth season known as “late summer,” and connects this to the Earth element. Chinese medicine also considers Earth as a transition phase occurring at the last eighteen days of each season.
The dates for these cycles are listed below. I have colored the nodes that mark the beginning of the seasons in Chinese cosmology according to their five element correspondences. The elements and related colors are listed below the cycles.
Spring Begins February 4
Rain Water February 19
Awakening of Insects March 6
Spring Equinox March 21
Clear and Bright April 5
Grain Rain April 20
Summer Begins May 6
Minor Fullness May 21
Bearded grain June 6
Summer Solstice June 21
Minor Heat July 7
Major Heat July 23
Autumn Begins August 8
End of Heat August 23
White Dew September 8
Autumn Equinox September 23
Cold Dew October 8
Hoarfrost Descends October 23
Winter Begins November 8
Minor Snow November 2
Major Snow December 7
Winter Solstice December 22
Minor Cold January 6
Major Cold January 20
Acupuncture and Herbal Treatment Dates
The dates that follow mark the beginning of the seasons in Chinese medicine, and for the two-week period that follows it is helpful to receive acupuncture and Chinese herbs to aid the body’s transition at a time when sickness often arises. Green Bird, Red Horse, Yellow Monkey, White Ox and Blue Fish are Chinese herbal formulas designed to support the body during seasonal transitions. They are available from my office and through Stems and Branches Herbal Pharmacy.
Spring February 4 – Green Bird (wood – Liver and Gall Bladder)
Summer May 6 – Red Horse (fire – Heart and Small Intestine)
Late Summer July 23 – Yellow Monkey (earth – Spleen and Stomach)
Fall August 8 – White Ox (metal – Lung and Large Intestine)
Winter November 8 – Blue Fish (water – Kidney and Bladder)