It is the time of the Water element currently; Winter has begun and we feel its effects. The first snows came a few weeks ago, it didn’t stay for us in Basel but we all saw and felt it. It affected everyone I met that day; whether they felt cold or didn’t sleep well or that they were just excited and invigorated by the snow. Snow is Water and Water element governs winter in Chinese Medicine. If there is someone who really understood the seasons is Antonio Vivaldi, the musical composer who lived from 1678-1741. He composed The Four Seasons (Le Quattro Stagioni) as music with sonnets. Listen to the music and read the sonnets, (turn on subtitles), you will feel Winter deep in your bones even if you are sitting in a warm place.
Water has existed on our planet since 4.3 billion years, our planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. I watched a documentary about the Origin of Life. It explains how the Earth was created and transformed to what we know of it today. To show how old the Earth is in relation to us, in the span of 24 hours, we would occupy the span of the last 4 seconds. 4 seconds! We, humans, are but 4 seconds in the history of the Earth! It sure puts things into perspective. Water comes early on this clock, somewhere at the start of the second hour. In fact, Water is key to the origin of life on Earth. It is a solvent that provides possibilities for molecules to interact with one another in multitudes of ways, thus, creating different lifeforms.
The Earth surface is covered with 71 percent of Water. It is estimated that the human body is made up of 60 percent Water. This correlation between Earth and the human body is not a coincidence. It is Water in us and on Earth that creates, maintains and draws life. In Chinese Medicine, Water governs the organs of Kidneys and Urinary Bladder; they both deal with the transportation and organization of Water in the body. The Kidneys have a very special place in our medicine, it is the organ that holds life essence, interestingly it is the only internal organ that manifests itself as a pair. The external organ that also has the form like Kidneys and are a pair are the ears; they too belong to the Water element. Water's cardinal direction is the North, where the climate of cold originates, its color is black/dark blue and its taste is salty. It also manifests in bone, what remains of us when our flesh is long gone. Trust is the emotion of Water in balance and fear is the emotion of Water not in balance.
"Fear, which corresponds to the kidneys, is a perversion of the movement of Water. Water is a controlled attraction downward that solidly maintains the foundations of life. Fear is an unrestrained sinking, an uncontrolled descent."
(Larre, Rochat 1992: 173)
The energetic movement of Water is downward. As with Water, winter shows us and even demands of us a downward, rooting feeling, not an "uncontrolled sinking" but a conscious storing of the energy deep down and within ourselves. By demand and "uncontrolled sinking," I refer to those moments when we chose to continue working when our bodies told us to stop, then we ended up getting sick and having to spend the quiet, restful moments in bed, feeling like a truck ran over us. Conscious storing means, go to bed earlier, spend more time in quiet contemplation, read/listen to material that links you to your inner self and also into deeper connection with our fellow living beings. There is much out there to make us fear, but this is where we find within ourselves that deep water, full of powerful lifeforce that seeks to maintain life.
Larre, Claude/ Rochat de la Vallée, Elisabeth (1992) : Rooted in Spirit. New York: Station Hill Press.
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