Water Element - Winter
"In winter people should retire early at night and rise late in the morning and they should wait for the rising of the sun." - Nei Ching
In the Winter season, which belongs to the Water element, our bodies prefer to store energy so rest is important. Storage is an important function of the Water element; therefore, in Winter it is advisable for people to go to bed early. Winter is the time to nourish and replenish depleted Kidney Qi. Through Rest, Meditation, Breathe, and Diet we can restore our Kidney energy, our basis of will power and strength.
Abundant reserves within give us courage and strength of will. Lacking these reserves, we manifest the emotion that the Chinese for over 5000 years have associated with the Water element.....Fear.
Fear in appropriate amounts is, of course, essential; due care and caution in recognizing our limitations preserves life. More commonly, the emotion of a distressed Water element is fear of not having enough of what it takes to meet the challenge that lies ahead.
For us, winter is a time of self-recollection, when we can go inside to our bare essence. Water, the element that corresponds to Winter, points us to that dark, quiet pool within ourselves where our essential self-identity resides. We can use the energy of this season to more deeply discover the essence our true self.
Winter is a time for internal work: meditation, containment, concentration, and the storing of our energy. We use this season for rest and the filling and maintenance of our reserves, gathering strength for the year ahead. We must be less active in this season, conserving our energy, going to bed early, and sleeping late. Like the seed that cannot sprout until it has gathered sufficient strength, our ideas and plans cannot manifest with strength if our energy is dispersed or drained.
Winter is a time of stillness and quiet, nature’s energy is turned in during this most inward of all the seasons. We call it the most yin of the seasons: trees in winter look skeletal, the sap has sunk, outward signs of life have disappeared, and the landscape is covered with snow. There is work going on, but inside. The energy of winter is latent and potent: in this state of resting deep within, energy is collected and held in reserve; winter is cold and dark, qualities that preserve and store. It is the concentrated, internal force of winter that enables a seed to burst forth in spring growth.
GENTLENESS, RESOLUTION, TRUST, AMBITION, WILL POWER, AWE, OBJECTIVITY, RESOLVE, AWARENESS OF RELATIVITY.
These are all gifts of the Water Element in balance.
ORGAN: Kidney (yin) 5-7pm Bladder (yang) 3-5pm
COLOUR: Blue / Black
ORIFICE: Urethra, genitals, anus
SENSE ORGAN: Ears
FLUID: Urine / Saliva
GOVERNING BODY PART: Bones, Bone Marrow, Teeth
QUALITY: Storing (Storage)
INDICATING BODY PART: Head Hair
HIGHEST EXPRESSION: Wisdom
SPIRIT: Will (ZHI / C’HIH)
WINTER FOODS: Warming spices, like ginger, garlic, and cayenne, as well as nourishing Kidney foods like: adzuki beans, black beans, mung beans, miso, seaweed, millet, barley, buckwheat, lentils, dates, leeks, deep-sea fish, chicken, goat feta cheese, almonds, root vegetables, soybeans, tofu, are all associated WATER foods.
SEAWEEDS: Kelp, Nori, Dulse, Hijiki, Kombu, are a supreme addition to the Winter diet! High in many trace minerals, vitamins E and A, rich in phosphorous, calcium, potassium iron, iodine, they balance and nourish the endocrine system and the thyroid and adrenal glands. Naturally containing salt and high in protein, seaweeds contain basic elements needed during the Winter season.
Try Fleur de Sel with seaweed mixed in place of your regular salt.
Himalayan Sea Salt baths are great this time of year...very cleansing and healing....Himalayan salt water bathing also reduces inflammation of the muscles and joints, Bromides in the salt relaxes muscles and relieves pain and soreness
VEGETABLES: Daikon radish, leek, onion, burdock root, mushrooms, turnips, carrot, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes. Roasted root vegetables sprinkled with Fleur de Sel...mmmmm
Marshmallow Root: diuretic, anti-inflammatory for Kidney & Bladder, demulcent
Cayenne Pepper- warming, circulation
Ginger Root: warming, circulation, tonifies Fire element, digestion, fevers, colds
Juniper Berry: carminative, diuretic, vaginal & venereal diseases
Nettle Leaves: diuretic, blood tonic, Kidney/uterine/back trouble, astringent
Flaxseed: inflammation of urinary organs, cleansing
Fenugreek Seed: Kidney & Adrenal tonic, soothing
GINGER TEA-Great for Colds and Flus
6-8" piece of Fresh Ginger......unpeeled, and sliced thinly
4-5 quarts of water
1 whole lemon
Combine all but the lemon in a large pot and bring to a boil.
Add the lemon...uncut and unpeeled, and simmer for 30min.
Strain into a jug with the juice of the lemon (boiling makes it a lot juicier!)
Great hot or cold! Very healing.
Juniper Berry: water retention, self-confidence, protection, root emotion of fear, overwhelmed, depression, weak Kidney Qi, empowerment.
Sweet Fennel: water retention, weak Kidney Qi, self-expression, productivity.
Geranium: depleted Yin & Qi, nervous burn-out, "workaholic", fear of inadequacy.
Thyme: depression, defeat of unknown cause, courage, defeat, dread, apathy.
Ginger: initiative, self-confidence, accomplishment, apathy, uplifts the Mind (Shen).
Cypress: helps us to move forward, transformation, transition, renewal, unconscious fears & anxieties.