The Movement of Energy Through Life Stages

The Water stage, chaos becoming organized

By Cyrie Barnes

There is a predominant energy in each stage of life. The effect that this will have on the energy of each individual will vary according to the core energy of that person or animal. Knowing the possibility of these stages may be helpful because this energy will be more noticeable during these periods, and knowing about these underlying influences will help to explain inexplicable behaviors or physical symptoms.

The first of these is the Water element. As we are in the womb, we are in a state of coming into form, we are ever-changing, we are chaos becoming organized. We are also the carriers and recipients of the ancestral chi, or the energy of all that has come before us. Therefore we are vehicles of potential.

This stage of our energetic life begins at the moment of conception and continues through the first few years of life. When the sack holding the water bursts and we are thrust into the birth canal, this is the energy with which we make our entrance into manifest form.

This first stage of life involves every aspect of coming into our own form, becoming an individual, and starting to know who we are. When we are born, we are very malleable and impressionable, and as we mature, we are less accepting of new ideas, or at least more discriminating about what we will take on as our own. It is also the time when one must be cared for and sheltered. Thus it is a good time for training, and for teaching our animals what is required of them. And for them to let us know what is expected of us.

During the second stage of energetic growth the energy is dominated by Wood. During this time the energy is rising. Arms and legs grow longer and stronger, roots are put down, the definition of who we are becomes very clear - we even have limits. We are adolescents. Because the energy of the Wood element is the creative energy, as well as the energy of anger, this is a time of emotional upheaval. With our animals and our children, this is a time of hold me tight, leave me alone and let me do it myself. The animals come into a true sense of identity, and the integrity of their essence is clear.

Left to right: Wood, Fire, and Metal stages

The third stage of life, according to the elements, is the Fire stage. This energy is that which we manifest in the world. It is the energy of communication, of relationship, and of maturity. It is also the ability to experience life as joyful and playful, and to come into our true sense of self and relationship with our Higher Self. Animals don't seem to have any misgivings about this aspect of themselves. However if their development has been arrested through physical or emotional trauma, they may not come into this part of their life.

The predominance of Earth energy is the fourth part of the cycle. During this part of life the energy is starting to decline. While this may manifest as some incipient weakness in the body, there is greater internal strength, and a greater willingness to share of oneself. In the animals this energy tends to predominate through long periods. The essence of a companion animal is to be of service. They live in their bodies and in time as beings that are totally present, and therefore are always teaching us about this energy.

Finally, we come to the Metal element. This is the time of our life when we turn inward and come fully into our relationship with our spirit. At this time, the body becomes less relevant, and there is a sense of increasingly leaving the body. Therefore, the muscles may become atrophied, there will be more sleeping, less activity, less appetite for the external world. We may even feel our animals become more distant and less concerned about our welfare. The final stage of this energy is the letting go that leads us to the death canal.

The Earth stage; such is the family horse, a true companion animal and always of service in many ways.

Every living being experiences these stages of life. To live more harmoniously with our animals and with ourselves it is helpful to know them and to allow the predominant energy to manifest. Because the life expectancy of some animals is less than that of their human companions, the animals pass through them more quickly than we do. An adolescent dog will generally be one to two years old, an adolescent person is somewhere between ten and twenty years of age.

We could learn from the animals as they pass gently through their stages, or we could resist. Many of the animals that I see are happily engaged with their own life, while their companions protest the changes that are happening to their animal. We would do well to move so gently through our own stages of life, and could learn how to do this by observing them more closely.


This article is a selected excerpt from Chapter 3 of the book "Animals In Their Element" by Cyrie Barnes, Lic. Ac., reprinted with permission.


About the author:

Cyrie Barnes is a Licensed Acupuncturist, having been a human acupuncturist since 1978 and treating animals with Chinese medicine since 1981. In 1997 she became the first acupuncturist certified to treat animals in the US. Cyrie teaches a graduate program on animal acupuncture for acupuncture practitioners and veterinarians, and is a faculty member of the Traditional Acupuncture Institute in Maryland. She has been a cornerstone for, and a great supporter of, the advancement of alternative medicine for animals. Cyrie lives in Sonoma County, California with her family and their four dogs and four horses.