In Chinese Medicine, Winter is the season of the Water element, associated with the Kidneys, the colors blue and black, the emotions of fear and conversely willpower. With the shortened days of light, we are called to pull in and restore. In this time of year, we experience more time in the dark of night. This darkness is imbued with mystery and inspiration. Can we embrace the calming, restorative nature of the extended darkness? We know that there is always a spark of light contained in the dark, and even in the depths of the dark night, we can trust the certainty of the coming dawn. This inward restorative process is very nourishing to the Kidneys.
In keeping with the tradition of sharing a haiku to honor the season, I have selected one from the renowned Japanese haiku master, Matsuo Basho. It seems to aptly capture the essence of Winter:
wind pierces my body
to my heart
My sense is that to be pierced by the elements, or by the circumstances of one’s life, requires an agreement of sorts from our Kidney aspect. Could we be willing to push though any fear or trepidation and even invite the intense weather/circumstances into our lives? I think yes. Once there, to be in one’s Heart is to be in alignment with the unfolding of one’s life. The Heart is the balancing counterpoint to the Kidneys. By embracing the Will of our Kidneys, pushing through fear, we can find our way into the residence of our Heart.
With this Winter’s arrival, let us welcome the inherent balance of the Fire of the Heart with the Water of the Kidneys, seeking and trusting the interplay of activity and rest, determination and fear, and radiance and darkness.
In closing, I hope this time of Winter and Water finds you feeling inspired to rest and restore, and to step more fully into your Heart which is well equipped, thanks to the support from the Kidneys below, to go forth with the sensitivity, boldness, and loving nature that is its natural way!
Sally Robinson, L.Ac.