The Wood Element – Being Who We Can Be!

Posted by Sabina Pettitt on

In traditional Chinese medicine there are 5 elements – Fire, Earth Metal, Water and Wood.  Through the window of these 5 elements one can appreciate all of life unfolding and learn how to maintain balance.  Each element has a primary season, sound, colour, taste, smell, energetic pathways (known as meridians), and spirit associated with it.  And so in March at the Spring equinox begins the element of Wood – new birth and regrowth.

The Wood element is where resides our immortal soul – the Hun as it is called in TCM.  When they use the word ‘soul’ it is not interpreted in any Christian or religious sense but simply as the unique energetic manifestation of each of us on earth with a purpose for being here.

When we look at how the Wood element manifests in Nature it is in the plant kingdom and we see that an acorn becomes an Oak tree and a Maple seed key becomes a Maple tree and an Arbutus seed becomes an Arbutus tree.  There is never any confusion in their consciousness of who they are to become.  And there is never any judgement or comparison either.  An acorn is content and happy to become the very best Oak tree it can.  And none of these amazing trees look at a rose and say “Geez I want to be you.”  Or “I want what you have.  It’s not fair.  You have more than me.”

In the same way that all of Nature simply manifests its best possible expression of who it can be so humans have the same capacity.  We all know people who simply radiate fulfillment because they are doing what they love.  Spring is the season of the Wood element when all of Nature awakens once again and each fulfills its own unique purpose in the tapestry of LIFE.  Within the Liver channel lies the potential and possibility of executing our own unique life purpose.  Did we come here to be oaks or tulips???  Is this lifetime about a stunning career in the arts or a lifetime of service in medicine.  Herein lies the question for each of us.  But for sure we will be in optimal health if we are able to early discover our own unique purpose and have the vision to make plans to fulfill it instead of living in someone else’s dream – parents, culture, religion.  One of my favourite movie lines is what Robert Redford said to Meryl Streep in Out of Africa when she was trying to convince him to stop flying.  Just before the flight from which he never returned he said :  “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I’ve lived someone else’s.”

Spring is the time of new beginnings and Wood is the element of ‘becoming who we can be’ and fulfilling our life purpose.  So this month may be a good opportunity to do a ‘reality check’ about whether or not we are on track and feeling fulfilled and energized in our lives.

The two meridians associated with the Wood element are Liver and Gall Bladder.

To me the Liver channel is like the divine architect of our lives but traditionally it is known as the Minister of Defense because it has the function of vision and planning.

Blue Lupin Essence

One of the plant essence allies for the Liver channel is Blue Lupin lupinus rivularis.  Its gift is to assist with focus and attention, for clear vision and precise thinking.  Also connected to the Root or Basic chakra this essence supports our ability to deal with earthly matters like manifesting support for our quests etc.  A significant feature of the signature of this plant is the fact that it graces roadside ditches and survives in really poor soil indicative of the universal support available to each of us in order to fulfill our purpose.

Another amazing Nature blessing is Sea Anemone (anthopleura elegantissima).  It looks like a wide open eye in the tide pools and offers us the gift of response-ability and the ability to be organized by the universe.  I love that notion – that everything is unfolding perfectly and I just have to be present and available and make choices for myself which are life supporting.

Its message:

Pacific Essences - Sea Anemone

“Only when you are able to respond from your higher Self will your choices lead to inner peace.

Only when you are willing to accept that you have chosen this event as the classroom for your learning will you be free.

Resistance to what is will lead to pain – at all levels.

Step back.  Take another look.  Take another breath.

And then choose your response.”


And finally one of my favourite supports for both the Liver and the Gall Bladder is Twin Flower (linnaea borealis)  which offers the gift of compassion.   No doubt fulfilling our destiny will require lots of forgiving, non-judgement and compassion for ourselves as we experiment with different blueprints for our unfolding lives. 

Twin Flower Essence

Part of its message is:

“When you want to give up your judgement,

and your belief in right and wrong, good and bad,

think of my pink bells and feel your heart.”

The Gall Bladder channel is like a wise General who makes decisions about when to attack and when to withdraw and also makes choices about every aspect of our life’s activities.  As the Yang partner in the Wood element it executes the “plans” made by it’s Yin partner – the Liver. 

Essentially the Gall Bladder is the official who keeps us upright and balanced and assists us with the fulfillment of our goals and dreams and the plans made by the vision inherent in its Yin partner, the Liver.

When our judgement becomes clouded or contaminated by drugs or stimulants our lives grind to a halt and we are not able to fulfill our hopes and dreams.  So one of the essences which supports the Gall Bladder to get back on track is Forsythia.  It was fascinating to me that 10 years after we determined that this flower essence resonates with the Gall Bladder channel and could be useful for treating addictions, that I found it in a Chinese medicine pharmacopoeia and discovered that over 5000 years ago the Chinese were using this plant medicinally to detoxify the liver and gall bladder.

As a flower essence Forsythia, forsythia suspensa, provides us with the clarity and commitment to let go of toxic behavior patterns.  It provides us with the motivation to rid ourselves of what is not working in our lives whether

Pacific Essences - Forsythia Essence

it’s a behaviour or a relationship.  It’s message: 

Allow the golden yellow of my blossoms to bathe you

in the light of transformation.

Let me strengthen your willingness to move forward

To your perfect expression of Self.

Another deterrent to our ability to manifest our goals and dreams is the emotion of anger.  Anger can be the result of our frustration at not fulfilling our purpose and then becomes an obstacle in the path to fulfilling our purpose – a vicious circle ensues and we become further removed from ‘becoming who we can be.’

The sea essence, Mussel, mytilus edulis, is a gift from the sea to get us back on track.  It helps us “to release the burden of anger” and to use this powerful energy as an indicator that we are “off track” and to redirect this powerful energy in a more fulfilling direction.

I have actually witnessed peoples’ physical posture change when they have been able to transform their anger with the help of this essence.

Essentially when Gall Bladder is functioning optimally we are able to fulfill our life purpose with grace and ease.


Sabina and Shiva

With love and blessings

Sabina Pettitt



spring wood element wood essences

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