In Harmony with Winter: A Time for Inward Reflection

Ah, but the winters! The Earth's mysterious turning-within. Where around the dead in the pure receding of sap, boldness is gathered. The boldness of future springtimes, where imagination occurs beneath what is rigid; where all the green worn thin by the vast summers again turns into a new insight and the mirror of intuition....


On my kitchen table are bowls of drying seeds collected from this years harvest that we'll plant next spring. By the full Harvest Moon, we should have the potatoes, winter squash and corn seed harvested and our garden soil turned under and planted with winter's cover crop. As fall moves into winter, life slows down. The energy moves deeper: sap slows and drops deep into the roots of the tree; seeds go dormant in the deep, dark earth; the grass stops growing in the pasture. Bears and other animals hibernate in their winter burrows or caves. So in winter does our own energy go deep to our core and the Chinese relate the Kidneys, considered the deepest energetic layer in our bodies, to winter time.

I liken the Kidneys to seed energy. They're shaped like 2 bean-seeds and contain the essence and blueprint of our physical and spiritual being; just as seeds do. As we enter into the darker days of winter, we tend to turn more inwards, perhaps spending more time indoors, perhaps being more introspective. It is a time to conserve our energy and hold it deeply. The Kidney energy relates to our spiritual core and to issues of fear and faith; anxiety and trust; control and surrender. The Yang or masculine aspect of the Kidneys is our personal will and drive in the world; giving the fire that is our life force. The Yin or feminine aspect of the Kidneys is our meditative, prayerful energy and is our ability to be quiet enough to hear the small, still voice in the heart and receive that direction deep in our being, holding the imprint as water does. The masculine Yang roots and rests in the female Yin, deriving nourishment and support as it reaches outwards, giving expression in the world.

Spring and summer are active times; in autumn we reap the harvest of what we have sown the previous spring. Now the days become shorter and the nights longer. Winter is a time of rest and renewal, going within to connect with the essence of our being; renewing our vision and our spirit. I feel that this winter especially, in the wake of world events, will be appropriate to spend time in such a quiet, receptive renewal of our being and contemplation. We can consider the seeming absurdity of our world, which includes each of us. Absurd means to be out of harmony with reason and the root word, "surdus" means deaf. What have we become deaf to in our lives? What healing can be done within ourselves, our lives and communities? Who do we need to forgive? Do we have any resentments, hatreds or aversions that need to be cleared? How can we keep our hearts open and loving in times of pain, hurt and challenge? All these questions have to do with the Kidney energy and journeying deeper in our spiritual maturity and expression.

The root word of obedient is "audire", meaning to listen. Who do we listen to? How can we be quiet enough to listen? Being quiet, still and meditative brings healing to our Kidneys and adrenals, stressed by our high-paced life styles. This quietness is the Kidney Yin energy. It takes determination and effort to take the time to be quiet and develop our spiritual communion; this is how we can engage our Kidney Yang energy and direct our will. As we do so, we are able to remain in our spiritual center, surrender more deeply in faith and trust and be a beam of light in the world.

In winter, we dream, we hope, we year's garden, what we will plant. Let's imagine what this world could be, filled with God's peace, harmony and love. Let's imagine what we would be doing in such a world. From the still depths of our being, what seed do we come to plant on this earth? Going inwards, we reconnect with our essence and renew our being with spiritual nourishment. Storing this nourishment deeply, like the seed, holding this vision deep within, glowing with life force.

Some Winter Reading Ideas:

Written by Suzanne E. Sky, L.Ac., MTOM


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