Treehugging Holiday


Milos Duma grass rothko

In the Western world, we teach children that there are four elements which create and make up all of life, fire, earth, water and air. In Taoist, Chinese medicine’s Five Element Theory, the elements that make up the physical world and beyond, are seen as catalysts for change, each one engendering the next by its evolution, beginning with wood. Wood, or the “green world” as a fifth element is the addition. So curiously missing, so non-existant in the Western theory yet, this “seed” is literally critical, and demanding gracefully, to return, acknowledge and provoke its presence in our lives, bodies and psyche.

Milos Duma Plant

This is the season we “add green” around the world, to celebrate Winter Solstice and the return of longer days and moments of daylight. This element called  “wood” is universally symbolic of growth and eternal life, as its season is the Spring, when it emerges as reaffirmation of life, health and hope.  The organs are the liver, gall bladder, and like the green world on the planet itself, it governs the “self-regulating” processes of the body, the digestion, respiration, heart beat and basic metabolism. So much for the science of it all. What is this emotional, mythic force of wood?

Milos Duma

On a more subtle level, within our psyche, wood energy is expressed as impulse, engendering, rising, developing, expansion and survival. The photographer, Milos Duma, whose images illustrate this post, speaks of this vital green force in his series “Plant,” that, “…living in the unnatural environment…in despite of its peculiar nature, these plants are surviving, and they have tendency to endure that peculiar world built by human hand. ”

Milos Duma grass rothko

Most people experience nature (or even ordering their own nature) like the Duma photograph above, neatly cordoned off and controlled, a quest for clean, a drive for elegance and purpose. I see in this image, society’s cultivated ideas of green meeting fabricated, fake, temporary walls. Neat and nice, yet Duma creates anxiety, tension and contemplation through his garishly lit imagery.

In Five Element Theory, the element of air is signified by “metal” and represents the mind and mental activities. Determination, force, strength, yielding, self-reliancy, reservation and sophistication. In contrast to wood, representing the direction East, no surprise that all this mental, mind energy represents the West, in the body, the lungs and breathing, and in the psyche, relationships. For me, as the Green Provocateur, this image speaks volumes about this exact relationship at which the human race finds itself. We love when plants show us what’s real.

Milos Duma fir vase

The wood element in Chinese medicine relates to the liver and gallbladder, which is related to the “actions” of planning, vision and judgement or discernment. The “reactions” when this element is unbalanced are feeling stuck, frustration and anger. The physical organs ruled by wood and green are perceived as “the grand architect for our vision of the future.”  This architecture of growth is the blueprint, the patterns we repeat naturally in our own human actions of growing and building. Structurally, visually and literally, wood forms the very spine, the marrow of our existence.  Trees of lights, evergreen fir trees and bringing green inside our homes…this is the universal body electric.

Christmas tree

No X-ray specs needed. The Matrix is Glowing.

Milos Duma Body electric

This holiday, when you embrace the spirit of the season and others, extend your branches (arms) from your light, (happy, human, heart) and feel how this impulse, to engender light, is so primal and life-enhancing. So green. So good.

Happy Provoking and Happy Holidays from Green Provocateur.

images by Milos Duma


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