This week, the weather has been hot, sunny and dry.  The middle of summer, the height of Fire Phase season, stands in stark contrast to mid-winter, which is the height of Water season.  As you might suspect, the differences in weather between these seasons mirror their equally different overall characteristics and personality traits between Fire and Water type people.

Water provides our deepest level of energy and support.  It represents the most primal energies: heredity, longevity, and self-sufficiency.  It is boundless as the oceans and deep as an underground stream.  Water energy can gush like a waterfall, bubble up like a spring, and even gouge out canyons.  But it can also dry up in the desert, scald like steam, or freeze solid and cold as ice.

Water is a contemplative, inward-looking phase.  Like the plants storing their sap deep within, Water type people tend to live below the surface: you may know a Water type for many years before you find out what’s really going on in their mind.  This does not come from any deceptive or malicious intent; they simply don’t feel the urge or necessity of expressing every thought, emotion or viewpoint.  Natural loners, Water types can be content sitting with their own thoughts and dreams for hours or even days on end.  While this rich inner life can provide a strong, stable groundwork for a productive life, Water’s challenge is to balance dreaming and inner work with action and expression in the outside world.

Balanced Water is deep, stable, strong, and full of promise and potential.  Like the other phases, though, it can tip out of balance.  When Water becomes overpowering, it drenches the warmth and outward motion of Fire, causing a person to become cold, unemotional, and unable to communicate or act effectively in the world.  On the other hand, Water can weaken, almost seeming to melt and disappear like a light rain soaking into the ground.  The Water type person still withdraws, but rather than a withdrawing to gain strength, this is more a dissolving or disappearing- blending in and melding with the surrounding opinions and personalities instead of maintaining Water’s strong, independent outlook and sense of self.

Whether you are a Water type person or not, maintaining a strong, healthy Water phase is important.  If your Water phase is weakened, try eating a bit more salty-flavored foods, such as seaweed, or black foods packed with energy like black sesame seeds or black beans.  Although the Water phase is associated with the cold of winter, it may help to eat a little spicy food, too, to help the Water energy you already have get fired up and circulate.  Since the color associated with Water is black (or deep blue), wearing or displaying this color can also help bolster your Water phase.  In terms of mental/emotional states, both fear and willpower are connected with Water energy: remember, water is a powerful force in shaping canyons and landscapes, so learning to direct your own path in life is a sign of a strong Water phase.

Remember that since Water is such a deep, foundational energy, we all need it for a strong, healthy base in life, whatever the season and whatever phase we ourselves represent most.  But without the balance of the other phases, Water is mere potential without anything to show for its promise.  In order for life to happen, the germinating seed must sprout, grow, flower, produce its own seeds and finally surrender its own material back to the earth in order to nourish the next year’s seeds.  So, when the Water phase gets too strong and a Water person finds that all their potential, creativity, and resourcefulness are going to waste, look closely to see which part of the cycle is missing.  Water supports all the other phases, and rather than toning Water back, it can be more effective to strengthen whatever other phase in the cycle seems to be overpowered by Water in the moment.

Posted in Chinese Medicine, Five Phase Theory.