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Summer – Heart – Shen (夏 - 心 - 神)

During the summer months, nature is at its most expansive and abundant. The sun is at its highest, food is plentiful, and all plant life is full of vital life force. According to Taoist five-element theory (五行, wǔxíng), the element of summer is fire (火, huǒ) and is the most yang of the 5 elements. It is associated with the heart and small intestines.

Taoists teach that the one of the Three Treasures (三寶, sānbǎo) (1), the Shen (神, shén) lives in the heart, and is the channel for all spiritual transformation. It represents the heart-mind, and encompasses our clear awareness, vital energy and our presence.

The Shen is connected to intuition, joy, love, compassion, inspiration and governs sleep and memory. When the Shen is out of balance, sleep disorder will appear bringing nightmares, and insomnia. Its disturbances can also be manifested through physical symptoms such heart palpitations, restlessness, hyperactivity, lack of concentration or loss of memory.

Similar to the fire, the Shen is easy to ignite and get out of control, which is why it is especially in the summer important to engage in soothing activities such as meditation, mindfulness practice, chanting, praying, walking in nature, abdominal muscles breathing or sound healing.


(1) the Three Treasures (三寶, sānbǎo): Jing 精 "nutritive essence, essence; refined, perfected; extract; spirit, sperm, seed"; Qi 氣 "vitality, energy, force; air, vapour; breath; spirit, vigour; attitude"; Shen 神 "spirit; soul, mind; god, deity; supernatural being"

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