As we enter Winter life slows down and nature rests. Animals go into hibernation and seeds lie dormant, but beneath the surface is hidden activity that will bring renewal in Spring. In Winter, if we live according to the seasons, we should go to bed early and reduce our activity. By slowing down we preserve and conserve our Qi so that it is there when we become active again in Spring.
Winter brings us into the Water Element, the most Yin of all the Elements. This is the realm of the personal and collective unconscious. “It is the primeval ooze out of which form materialises as life. It links our past and future, ancestor and descendant, and is the source of our inherited intelligence.”(Beinfield & Korngold, Between Heaven & Earth) Water is also the most prevalent Element in the human body.
The Water Element corresponds to the colour blue, the taste is salty, the sound is groaning and the emotion is fear. While fear is mostly seen as a negative emotion it’s positive side is the caution and also the motivation that allows our survival. Fear protects us from predators by keeping us aware and our fear of not being able to survive drives us to work and find ways to support ourselves. Out of balance we may suppress our fears or become overly fearful.
The Kidney and Bladder meridians belong to the Water Element. The Kidney meridian holds our essence or Jing, the source of reproduction, development and maturation. Jing enables conception and growth to maturity. It declines as we age. The Kidneys sort fluids into clean and turbid, the clear part is sent upwards to the Lungs, while the impure goes to the Bladder and is excreted.
The archetype for the Water Element is the Philosopher. The Philosopher is on a search for truth and meaning, looking underneath the surface for hidden gems, dispelling ignorance. The Philosopher is able to see what is possible and so may be disappointed with what is. “The Philosopher yearns for meaning that transcends the rudderless meandering of human affairs.”(Beinfield & Korngold, Between Heaven & Earth)
Nutrition for the Water Element includes salty, purple,black and blue foods. Vegies such as kale, mushrooms and seaweed; buckwheat; aduki, black and kidney beans; black sesame seeds, walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds; pomegranate, blueberry and mulberry to name a few.
This Winter try to find some time for sitting by the fire, going to bed early and just slowing down a little. This will enable the Qi to be ready for the Spring.