We are continuing with our exploration of the intricate and intimate energy systems governed by the heart, and in this article we are going to concentrate on the vital role played by the Pericardium.
The organ of the pericardium encircles the organ of the heart and is known as the Heart Protector, or in other translations of ancient Chinese understandings it is referred to as Circulation Sex. This is because much of its energetic workload is related to the flow of circulation in the body and with healthy sexual and reproductive function.
In traditional Chinese understandings the heart system sits in the element of Fire, with its yin protector, Circulation Sex (or the Pericardium) and with its yang partners Small Intestine and Triple Warmer.
This positioning of Heart in the Fire element helps fire hold the energy of love, passion, and joy when in balance, and panic, hysteria and withdrawal when out of balance.
Fire can be warming and nourishing; we use it to cook the food that nourishes us, and we have all known the joy of coming close a warm fire when we are cold. We also know how much we are affected when we are with people who we would define as nourishing our heart. Perhaps for you it was your grandparents, or a special friend who you know always accepts you just as you are. Perhaps it is your spouse or lover. Our life would be much more sparse without them stoking and feeding our heart fire.
On the other hand, fire can be destructive and all-consuming. How many of us have had addictions that we wish to break, but we find such an addiction is essential fuel for our fire. Whether this is cigarettes, caffeine, sex, gambling, unhealthy food, facebook(!) - such fuel to an out-of-balance heart fire drains our life-force and brings disorganisation to the entire heart field. At these times the fire of the heart is flaming too high and then near depletion, weaving a spiral of imbalance.
Circulation Sex (Pericardium) is the main protector of the heart. As the yin protector, its job is to protect the heart from anything that would knock the heart field out of balance. Think of Pericardium/Circulation Sex as a wonderfully wise guardian of the heart that looks at each external event/experience/interaction and assesses whether it will allow the event/experience to be allowed into the depth of the heart.
I visualise my Pericardium as a wonderful Celtic Warrior, either ready for battle or to roar with laughter and have fun with all of the other systems, depending on what is called upon; a system that loves life and lives it with depth and passion. She is magnificent and powerful in her strength and her humility guarding not only the Heart, but all of the yin systems and even our energetic core that houses the soul.
But sometimes, sometimes, this powerful yin protector gets a little too protective. At this time, the energy of Pericardium can start being too much of a gatekeeper/bodyguard, and can actually begin to restrict the ease of the heart with the overprotection of the heart energy system. This especially happens when we are falling into a pattern of self-criticism. There are few things we experience that are more insidious and threatening than the ways in which we can think of ourselves. ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I’m not kind enough, strong enough, pretty enough, brave enough…. My mother was right…. My father was right…..My ex-boyfriend was right… I’m overconfident… I’m not as clever as you… I’ll never be any good at this…'
You will have your own particular patterns and words of self-destruction, little insidious thoughts that play out from deep in the subconscious and take out vast parts of the coherence and vitality of your energy system. And it is these thoughts that can overwhelm the pericardium.
Often when people are experiencing the feeling that the heart is being ‘squeezed’ then it is the pericardium that is working a little too hard and is creating an imbalance in the connective heart field. When this happens it is important to work with the energy of the pericardium to remove such a limiting pattern and return to expansiveness again.
A wonderfully simple exercise that can help the heart field by bringing the pericardium and the heart back into resonance is The Heart Loop. This involves tracing the heart meridian forwards from the armpit to the edge of the little finger and then immediately tracing the pericardium meridian backwards going from the middle finger, over the palm of the hand, up the inside of the arm and ending in the centre of the breast/pec muscle. Return to the armpit in one fluid motion and repeat again and again creating a loop. We are working with a circle of energy here, strengthening the heart energy to reassure the pericardium and then relaxing the pericardium to reassure heart.
Brilliant! You can do this anywhere, anytime and enjoy the benefits of bringing the heart field into greater balance. To watch a video of me doing The Heart Loop click here.
We have a delight in store on Monday when Jyotish Patel writes his guest blog on the overview of the chakras. I have watched incredible healers working with the chakras and yet Jyotish’s connection with the chakras remains the most profound. Just like some people can connect to horses on a different level, or dogs, or cats, and others can connect to trees or plants on a different level than most, one of Jyotish’s gifts lies in his connection to and understanding of the chakras. On Monday his blog reflects on how the unified consciousness of humanity is divided into the chakras in order to manage different aspects of earthly life. Over the next few months Jyotish will be a regular guest as he moves from chakra to chakra.
With love, Prune