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Working Skillfully with The Metal Element- The Gifts and Challenges

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Do you ever find it challenging to let go of old thought patterns or emotions? Do you find yourself ruminating over old thoughts, memories, and emotions that no longer serve your highest good?

In Qigong, the Metal Element is essential in helping you stay healthy and balanced in your physical and emotional body. When the Metal Element is strong within you, you can gracefully process life’s experiences and let go of energy that no longer serves you. These qualities are essential for both physical and emotional well-being.

Today, we will explore the various gifts and challenges that Metal offers. I’ll also share with you how practicing Qigong can help harness the Metal Element’s qualities to experience more peace and harmony in your life.

Transformation is the guiding principle for the Alchemist, who seeks the perfection of form and function.

Organs Of The Metal Element

Like each of the Five Elements, Metal connects to specific organs in the body. The organs of the Metal Element include the yin and yang paired organs of the lung (yin) and large intestine (yang); it is associated with the skin and opens to the nose.

These Metal Element organs are all about letting go and detoxifying the body. The large intestine is involved in breaking down food to digest nutrients and remove the waste that is no longer useful. When you breathe, your lungs release carbon dioxide, old emotional energy, and stress. And it is well known that when you sweat, your skin also releases toxins from your body.

Because of their detoxifying nature, these Metal Element organs are known as the “organs of elimination.” Physically, this elimination process is essential for ridding the body of toxins and pathogens that could cause illness. Energetically, the process of elimination allows you to let go of old emotional energy that could be causing you unnecessary stress and pain.

Emotions Of The Metal Element

Metal connects to the heavy feelings of grief, sadness, and depression. While these feelings may not be pleasant when you are in the thick of them, they are necessary aspects of our human experience.

Grief and sadness are healthy ways your body processes challenging life experiences, such as the loss of a loved one or disappointment. Because grief is often so painful, it can be easy to think that somehow the process is negative or wrong. Yet, in our wholeness, when you’re able to see beyond the pain, you can usually find a gift that also lives within your grief. And with the right timing and compassion, the sadness can open to new opportunities that allow beauty and new life to emerge.

On the other side of the grieving process, it’s possible to find other Metal Element emotions, such as inspiration and confidence. After you move through the grieving process and release your pain, you can find a new horizon of possibilities.

One of my favorite musicians, Kate Wolf, sings a lyric that is appropriate here, “The sweetest hello often follows the hardest goodbye.

Personality Traits

Just as the Metal Element plays a vital role in your body and emotions, it also influences your personality. People with a lot of Metal will exhibit its personality traits more strongly than those with less.

The Metal Element is associated with the gift of clarity. People with a lot of Metal often have clear intentions about the life they are cultivating. They don’t waver when making decisions because they’re in touch with what they desire. They can take action and make things happen with focus and intention.

People with strong Metal Element are organized, clear, action-oriented leaders. They are great at scheduling and making a plan. They have clear boundaries to protect themselves and others. If you try to push past the limits set by a Metal Element personality, they’ll give you a firm but respectful “No.” This can make Metal personalities excellent advocates for justice and for speaking for those who don’t have a voice in the situation.

While the Metal Element personality has many gifts of truth, clarity, and discernment, it also has its fair share of challenges. The same energy that makes Metal Element personalities great at planning and organizing can also lead to being overly perfectionistic. If something doesn’t align with the Metal Element’s vision of how things “should be,” it is incredibly frustrating!

Metal personalities are often detached and neutral; even in romance, they have the potential to remain distant from their partner. This can make them judgmental or harsh with their options, leading to conflict in the workplace or other social situations. Their trap of perfection paralysis can make it hard for them to complete projects that they start because it is not good enough.

To avoid these challenges, Metal Element personalities benefit from learning how to work skillfully with Metal energy, so it’s directed constructively rather than critically.

The Alchemist

Listen to this passage to help us understand The Metal Element in archetypical lensing.

I'm reading pages 204-205 of Between Heaven and Earth A Guide to Chinese Medicine.

By Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac. and Efrem Korngold, L.Ac., O.M.D

The Seasons

In Qigong, each of the Elements are expressed through the different seasons, and Metal connects to Autumn. Just as Metal helps people process and let go of old energy in the body, it does the same in nature. After the outward expressiveness of summer, the world lets go of the past, goes inward, and prepares for winter.

During Autumn, Metal can be seen when the trees let go of the leaves that no longer serve their highest good. Just as grief can transform into inspiration, the leaves that fall become fertilizer for new seedlings. Without the purging process that takes place in Autumn, it wouldn’t be possible for the cycle of new life to continue.

If you are ready to release old energy and cultivate the gifts of inspiration and clarity, check out my next Live Qigong for Autumn workshop starting soon!

Receive The Gifts Of The Metal Element This Fall…

In this Online 7-Week Qigong for Autumn workshop, I will share powerful Qigong practices designed to cultivate Metal and Lung Qi. The breathing exercises not only boost your immune system, fortifying your energy for the colder winter months, but they also support you as you let go of stagnant sadness in your body.

Since The Metal Element and lungs are associated with the fall, the combination of breathing practices, flowing movements, and standing postures are here to support you in receiving the gifts of the season with your whole body, mind, and spirit.

This workshop is for you whether you are interested in processing grief, boosting your immune system, or experiencing greater discernment and clarity in your life. Qigong for Autumn offers empowering practices to help you on your journey.

Click on the banners below and experience for yourself the gifts of the Metal Element in your life. We have morning and evening sessions available.

Embrace the blessings of the Metal Element this Fall with Autumn Qigong - a transformative Breath Series designed for women. Click the banner to discover more about this empowering practice!

Would you like to start your day clear, energized, and with a light, joyful heart? Click here to get started!⬇️⬇️⬇️

Hugs and deep bows of love and Gratitude to you and your practice!


The ideas in this post were learned from Holden Qigong, one of my Qigong teachers.

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