“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
A balanced Water element allows fluidity and flow, it nurtures our ability to rest and nourish ourselves; it is the lunar, maternal, feminine aspect of ourselves. The Water phase of the Five Element Cycle is a deep Yin time, where the WILL is rooted in the path of Knowledge and Wisdom.
GENTLENESS, RESOLUTION, TRUST, AMBITION, WILL POWER, AWE, OBJECTIVITY, RESOLVE, AWARENESS OF RELATIVITY.
These are all gifts of Water in balance.
Water energy descends, reaching a point of maximum concentration. Storage. Water is like the new moon, though dark, about to emerge into a new light. It is a time of regeneration, awaiting rebirth. “The Kidneys call to life that which is dormant and sealed up; they are the natural organ for storing away, and they are they place where the secretions are lodged.” –Nei Ching Winter is the time to nourish and replenish depleted Kidney Qi. Through appropriate rest, concentration, and diet we can restore our Kidney energy, our basis of will power and strength.
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)
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.
SIMPLE WINTER MISO SOUP
1/2 cup Seaweed (Wakame, Kombu) soaked, rinsed & cut into small pieces
2-3 Tablespoons miso (medium/dark)
11/2 cups chopped vegetables
4 cups water (stock or seaweed soak water)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Sauté seaweed & vegetables
- Add water & bring to a scald
- Reduce heat to low & simmer covered 15 minutes
- Mix miso in a little broth, add to soup
- Bring soup back to scald & remove from heat
Vegetables: Daikon radish, leek, onion, burdock root, mushrooms, turnips, carrot, cabbage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bean sprouts……. Be creative!
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
Simmer 1 tbsp. root/seed/berry in 1 cup water for 10-15 min.
Steep 1 tbsp. leaves in 1 cup water for 10 min.
Juniper Berry: water retention, self-confidence, protection, root emotion of fear, overwhelmed, “give up” 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: “demoralized spirit” depression (existential), defeat of unknown cause, courage, Morale, defeat, dread, apathy.
Ginger: initiative, self-confidence, accomplishment, apathy, uplifts the Mind (Shen).
Cypress: helps us to move forward psychologically, transformation, transition, renewal, unconscious fears & anxieties.