To honour the energy of Winter brings us closer to living in harmony with nature is all about honouring the natural cycles, from day to night, through the seasons, and even birth to death.
This contrasts dramatically from our modern lives where we don’t know where the moon is at, we use artificial light to be active well beyond sundown, we heat and cool our homes so that they are fairly much the same temperature all year round, and many of us are glued to screens for most of the day!
One of the greatest learnings I’ve gleaned from studies into Chinese medicine, astrology and Feng Shui as well as building biology, is the need to re-synchronise with nature. To reconnect with it. To honour its energies.
Which brings us to today’s topic – the energy of Winter.
Winter time brings us low temperatures, chilly winds, rain, snow, and even lets us make dragon-breath!
It is a time where we rug up under layers of clothing and don the hats, gloves and scarves – and even then our noses, fingers and toes can feel frozen.
The Energy of Winter is the Ultimate Yin
In Chinese Medicine Winter is the ultimate Yin. Yin is quiet, cold, resting, deep and solid. The energy is very feminine, nurturing and soft.
When we examine the seasons, the energy of Winter is contracting, turning inwards, retreating. It is blue, black and dark grey; quiet, still and introverted.
Winter is a time to hibernate – as much as we humanly can.
At the very least, going to bed early and rising later.
And it’s a time to nurture ourselves at a very deep level.
The Water Element
Winter relates to the Water element and epitomises its deep-flowing tendency. Water takes us into the depths of ourselves so that we can reassess who we are and what matters to us; and everything else can be washed away.
As an element, water is incredibly important to our wellbeing – with our bodies being made up of close to 60%, we can’t go long without it.
Water is also powerful. It has the ability to erode rocks, break through barriers, move around obstacles and avoid difficulty as it flows.
It can flow into deep, dark and hidden places, it can freeze, and it can stagnate.
Water also has an amazing ability to store information, as seen in the work of Masaru Emoto.
We can mimic the nature of water.
Through the use of positive affirmations we can shift belief systems, change core values, reaffirm who we are and strengthen regard for ourselves and for others.
We can be strong and forceful through assertiveness and self-respect.
When faced with difficulties, we can negotiate our way through.
We too can flow into deep, dark and hidden places. Mythologically, this is about transformation and can be likened to going to the Underworld. It can be a painful journey, but it offers the opportunity for enormous growth.
Winter gives us a moment to stop, catch our breath, dig deep and change, before stepping back onto the merry-go-round of our busy lives.
It's a time when we can regenerate and be reborn in whatever capacity we choose.
The season of Winter
ultimate “me time”Lucinda Curran
The Emotions of Winter
Fear is the main emotion related to Winter and can provide momentum to make changes.
Due to its painful nature, we tend to avoid fear. However, by travelling internally during this season, it is possible to uncover things that may first be confronting.
Difficult situations can be eased with a deeper understanding, which can provide insight and even stimulate the impetus for positive change.
Whilst it may be uncomfortable to lean in, the opportunities to grow and develop are so rich – I do encourage you to do this.
Joy provides the balance to fear and can be introduced by way of catching up and laughing with friends, watching a funny movie, or doing things that bring you great pleasure.
The Nature of Activity in Winter
The energy of Winter is subdued.
Winter is about hibernation and regeneration, reducing your activity levels, increasing your sleep, introversion and a seasonal adjustment to your diet.
Which is why Winter is the time to replenish reserves through Yin activities, such as reading, watching a movie, painting, drawing, knitting, gazing at the clouds, contemplating…
Exercise is gentler, with the likes of tai chi, yoga and Pilates being some of the better choices.
The Winter Diet
Slow cooking, baking, and roasting are all suited to Winter, and Winter seasonal root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, swedes, turnips and yams) are perfect for this as they nourish the Yin.
Cooking styles also play a part.
In Winter, soups, stews and casseroles are recommended.
Complement the winter flavours by adding some salty foods to the mix – some pickles, olives, or umeboshi.
Other wonderful winter foods are walnuts, black sesame seeds (which are different to unhulled sesame seeds), black beans, and sea vegetables.
Cold and raw foods and drinks are best avoided because our bodies expend so much energy warming them up, before they can be broken down and utilised. So, hold off the green smoothies until the thermometer rises!
Sounds to Honour the Energy of Winter
Given Winter is about traversing the inner world, soft and nurturing sounds are more suited.
The ultimate sound for this season would be softly drumming, particularly the heartbeat rhythm: ||-||-||-||. This can be such a primal sound, and conjure sensations of being within the womb (the ultimate hibernation).
This results in a sense of peace, total support and timelessness.
It is this sense that binds those present in a state of oneness… as hearts and brains entrain and beat as one.
The drum unites.
The Hopi tribes believe that drumming directs Qi into the “body” of the Earth Mother – causing her to come to life.
Native Americans see the Earth as a drum, and all the sounds of nature emanate from this Earth Mother drum.
The drum is seen to manifest and harness the energies of Gaia at every level.
Relaxation and healing can be achieved with slow and rhythmic drumming.
This can take one into a deep state, which can cause the surfacing of deep-seated thoughts, feelings, emotions and events. These can be viewed and released.
The Energy of Winter… and the Inner Journey
The energy of Winter brings a time to pause, go deep and reflect – assessing what is important and nurturing at a deep level.
Make the most of this wonderful opportunity and relish this lovely energy! Curl up under a blanket with your favourite person or book, hug a mug of something warm… and relax.
If you’re interested in going deeper, I have a 30-day mini e-course available for you – Winter Inner Journey.
If you'd like to experience this gentle experience, then you'll be pleased to know it's only $27 (AUD).