Winter And the Magic of Water
Come with me
to the fluid
corners of tomorrow
WINTER -- the season of WATER. Water has an inner readiness to resonate. To vibrate sympathetically. To reflect what is true. To evoke some deep universal inner knowing. To whisper the secrets of birth & death. To shepherd the seeds of life in its womb. To promise renewal in the midst of seemingly impenetrable darkness. To patiently gestate pearls of wisdom in an ocean whose tide of creation & destruction swells eternally.
To flow with tenacity & grace. To find the path of least resistance. To shape shift as it sees fit. To travel widely the curves of Earth & sky, all the while remembering the Source to which it will inevitably return. To cleanse. To hydrate. Penetrate. Saturate. Nourish. Transform.
Wintertime reveals a magic that hibernates within us all. The magic of death and birth, darkness and light, wisdom and transformation.
It's normal for feelings of fear to begin to stir when we enter the depths of Winter, the depths of our being, & of our collective (un)consciousness. It is in the darkness that we must confront our spiritual pain.
There's nothing inherently "bad" or "evil" about the dark, but when we neglect it, deny it, & resent it, it festers like a wound in need of healing. That wound can serve as a profound opportunity for discovery, transformation, and healing, but it can only provide such gifts when it is acknowledged & met with light, love, compassion, and care. This can take time, require patience, a trusting spirit, & a willingness to sit with the pain until its purpose has been fully served.
“Winter teaches us that the only way to fully enjoy the powers of the season is to surrender to it and learn from what it has to offer us. In winter the earth lies fallow; nature appears frozen and dead. In this deep stillness of nature, winter calls us to look into our depths, to reconnect to our inner being, to befriend the darkness within us and around us" (Jason Elias).
In facing & embodying your fear directly, drinking it freely, feeling the weight of it drop down into your core as it swirls down your throat, the intelligence of your body can absorb the raw materials for the courage, wisdom & awe that are created out of fear, whilst graciously excreting the toxic components which might otherwise muddy your internal landscape. As the brilliant Alexander Shaia so beautifully puts it: “When we go to the deepest dark, that’s where the grace of fresh radiance will come forth in us by our courage to walk to the place of the deepest dark.”
It is my hope (as always) that we can find solace & wisdom in the cycles of nature happening around & within us, even when that wisdom contradicts the edicts of our cultural systems (i.e., If you are to be a respectable citizen, you MUST be PRODUCTIVE and engaged at ALL times, because afterall, the holy bottom line depends on it. Sorry, capitalism, Nature has other plans.). The word Solstice literally means "sun stands still," for this is the most Yin day of the year, "when the forces of contraction strike a still point and give birth to Yang, barely glimmering with its promise of light and expansion.” Traditionally, in many temperate regions, the Winter Solstice is seen as the middle of winter, but today in some countries and calendars, it is seen as the beginning of winter. To me, the former (traditional) perspective makes the most sense, with the solstice marking the height, or in Winter’s case, the depth of the season. In this way, Winter’s trajectory begins with a descent into darkness, peaks in its surrender to the stillness of the darkest dark, before finally and courageously birthing back into the light. Decay, vulnerability, death, discovery, courage, rebirth - this is the magic of Winter.
When considering the holidays that are celebrated this time of year, one can see how they align with the patterns of death and birth, rest and renewal, dark and light, that are playing out on both a macro- and microcosmic plane: The many Winter Solstice celebrations that exist across cultures & history "speak to the life-giving power of light, and its symbolism of goodness, wisdom, and life itself for all people" (Andrea Thompson McCall). And as Belsebuub writes in The Path of the Spiritual Sun: “They speak to us of a mysterious and universal understanding of spiritual transformation … The rising of the sun on the winter solstice, out of the darkest day of the year, echoes the birth of light from the dark void” within each of us.
In Chinese Medicine, Winter correlates with the element of Water, and the organ systems of the Kidneys & Urinary Bladder. “Water is the most feminine of the five elements and therefore is considered very yin … Water is the most powerful element for it can move around any obstacle in its path without losing its essential nature. Water can, in time, dissolve the hardest mountains…Although water is a very yin element, it can exist in either a yang or a yin state … Water qualities are creativity, sensitivity, reflection, persuasion, effectiveness, and desire for life and sex. Water types value family and social contacts and possess the ability to attract (being receptive, water can attract, rather than pursue). The emotion associated with water is fear (which, when met honestly, allows for the birth of courage). Other water emotions are indecisiveness, vacillation, and uncertainty. Those born in a water year succeed by not allowing fear to block the fullest expression of creativity” (Susan Levitt).
As a human with a strong Watery-Earth elemental constitution, I often find myself pondering the nature of existence. I sense the unseen magic & intensity brewing beneath the surface, and I open myself up to the workings of spirit. When I rest my attention on water, or better yet, rest my body within it, I feel held. Weightless & saturated simultaneously. Curious. Introspective. Imaginative. Impregnated with possibility. Humbled and awed by the mystery of the deep unknown. Cleansed. United. Reborn. Revitalized.
What follows is a compilation of inspiring & useful content related to the physical, psycho-emotional, & spiritual nature of Winter and the element of Water. As we journey through the remainder of Winter, may you honor & embrace the darkness within as a womb from which new light will slowly gestate & inevitably burst forth. Happy Winter, my friends!
Messages From Water & The Universe - Masaru Emoto
If you want a sneak peak into Emoto’s discovery of how water is deeply connected to our individual and collective consciousness, go check out this video
The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself - Michael A. Singer
I first read this book around the time it was published 10 years ago. I was fresh out of undergrad, and my beloved aunt & dearest friend, Marlow gifted me with a weekend massage workshop at Esalen in Big Sur, CA (aka heaven on Earth). She also gifted me with this book that weekend, and both gifts had a profound immediate & eternal impact on the trajectory of my life journey & the unfolding of my consciousness. Michael Singer encourages us to explore the internal landscape of our minds, & illuminates the truth of who we really are. The untethered soul is the soul who lives from the seat of the subject, the listener, the witness, the one who is aware of, yet free from the limits of one's thoughts & emotions.
I've gifted this book to people more than any other book I that I love. It's that good. Trust me on this one - find a way to get your hands on this book asap. And in the meantime, go download 13 free audio files with over 20 minutes of truly inspirational excerpts from the book in celebration of its 10 year anniversary here!
Winter Solstice Ritual ideas from Mystic Mamma
One unusual practice in entering into the darkness of your demons involves “feeding” them...
“The deepest dark is not the place where grace goes to die, but the deepest dark is the place where grace goes to be reborn.” - Alexander Shaia
“There is a well-known story of the Sufi wise man Mulla Nasruddin, who one night was combing through the dirt under a street lamp in front of his house. A passerby asked, ‘Mulla, what are you looking for?’ ‘The keys to my house,’ Mulla replied. So the two got on their hands and knees searching for the keys, and after another hour, the passerby asked, ‘Are you sure you dropped the keys here?’ ‘Oh no,’ said Mulla, ‘I dropped the keys inside my house.’ Astonished, the passerby asked, ‘So why are we looking out here?’ ‘Because the light is shining out here,’ replied Mulla.”
Favorite Acupuncture Points:
Kidney 25 - Shen Cang or Storehouse of the Spirit (especially potent when used during the first half of Winter)
“The name of the point combines the character shen 神 spirit with the character cang 藏 to store, conceal, or hide. Cang implies not only the storing away of what is valuable for later use but also the idea of hibernation, of going inward, of passing through the lean months of winter by dropping into a deep state of rest.
The minister who resides at the center of this point cradles the shen like a restless bird safely beneath her silken robes. There, in the dark, the wounded wings of the light can heal.
In current times, our world often seems too painful to bear, but this point reminds us that gradually radiance will return to the Earth. Deep in the Storehouse, the seeds wait until it is once again appropriate to grow. This waiting is not the same as doing nothing. Rather, it is like winnowing, separating the precious from the worthless, breathing in what truly inspires us and breathing out what we no longer need. In this way, in a time of darkness, we veil our light and yet continue to shine.” - the brilliant Alchemical Acupuncturist, Lorie Dechar, LAc
You can activate the power of this point by applying pressure to your chest in an area about 2 inches lateral to either side of your sternum, in the 2nd intercostal space.
Kidney 7 – Fu Liu or Returning Current (most potent when used during the second half of Winter)
“When we open this point, it is as if we have cleared away a blockage in a stream. Without force or effort, the current once again begins to flow. This Water point brings vitality back to our being. On the spirit level, it is a point of rebirth. It restores our faith in our own resiliency and re-awakens our desires, drives, and will to live.
The character liu, meaning stream or current, has embedded in its ancient etymology a picture of a newborn baby upside down with four strands of hair hanging down from its head. This character tells us that this point is related to the moment of crowning during a birth. It brings us the gift of faith in the renewal of life, the awesome thundering of the soul that comes when the baby’s head first emerges from the mysterious darkness of the birth canal.
Consider this point when a person is disheartened, exhausted, or has completely lost touch with the river of their Tao. Consider it when there is a need for someone or something to be reborn. Consider it when action proceeds without the stabilizing influence of wisdom and when the light of faith no longer illuminates the darkness of the world.
Through this point, the yin’s tendency towards entropy is reversed. We can once again dare to stand against the forces of disintegration and death. The streams, rivers, and oceans of life begin again to flow. As we read in Hexagram 24 of the I Ching, ‘The transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced.’” - Lorie Dechar, LAc
You can activate the power of this point by applying pressure to the depression about 2 inches above the medial malleolus (ankle bone) on the anterior border of the achilles tendon. Try applying juniper essential oil to further warm and stimulate Kidney Yang. Juniper is known to “strengthens the will and our capacity to stand strong and upright in the face of adversity. It drives out negativity and relieves the fear of failure. Applied to Kidney 7, this oil activates the forces of life and brings vitality back to the soul.” - Lorie Dechar, LAc
Favorite Podcast episode: Robcast Episode 176 w/Alexander Shaia on the Mythic Power of Christmas
This is full of spiritual, philosophical, creative deliciousness that will surely nourish the Watery philosopher within you.
Favorite Random Inspirational YouTube vids:
Favorite Herb: Cordyceps (Dong Chong Xia Cao)
Among many other healing abilities, “Cordyceps Mycelium is very widely used for the purposes of strengthening the primal Kidney functions, which include sexual functions, brain power, structural integrity and healing ability of otherwise normal, healthy people. It is a very powerful Yang tonic.”
Favorite healing tools/gear:
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Tuning fork for deep stimulation of acupuncture points (try it on some Kidney or Urinary Bladder points, i.e., Kidney 25 or Kidney 7!)
Favorite Winter activities:
Join my aunt, Suzanne Marlow MFT, and I for our juicy Embracing Your Demons workshop at Yoga Soup in Santa Barbara.
Surfing (don't forget your wetsuit, unless you wanna brave it Wim Hof style)
Morning Tea Ritual. Observe the steam. Feel the warmth. Ponder the wondrous qualities and abilities of water.
Magnesium Salt baths
For more on how the Water Element plays itself out in your body, & the best ways to support your Water Element, follow me on Instagram @friespirit! Until then, keep growing that light within the dark, my dearest humans. I am here for you & so, so honored to be sharing this journey with you!
In health & happiness,