A blanketed hush lays across the fields now. The land seems to be saying, “shhh, no more talking now.” Feathers swell and fur thickens. Hibernating frogs rest on the bottom of creek beds. Misty breath emerges from the stolen dens of sleeping foxes. Flower bulbs buried deep within the folds of the earth lay pregnant with spring time imaginings.
In the Northern hemisphere we are moving past the skin, through the muscles, deep into bone time. In traditional Chinese medicine, winter is aligned with the energy of the Kidney channel, the sacred holding ground of our bodies. The Kidney meridian relates to how we use our vital essence, our fire, our genetic codes. It reflects how we age, how we adapt, and how we understand our limits.
It is the time of year when our ancestors would have counted their blessings and counted their food stocks as they fretted over how long the winter would be. Will I have enough? Will I be okay?
The emotion of the Kidney element is fear. Many of us carry this memory of fear in our blood. Fear of survival and fear of the unknown. This year more than ever this fear is being strongly activated within the collective.
We strengthen our Kidney energy when we give fear a voice, when we hold fear’s ancient, wizened hand, when we stare fear in the face, and acknowledge its intelligence and longing to protect us. Fear just wants to be seen. When we listen to our fear, instead of suppressing or diminishing it, fear becomes less overwhelming and authoritarian.
We strengthen our Kidney energy when we feel into the roots of our lives. Its source runs in the deepest channels of the body, through the bone marrow, the teeth, and the primordial thickness of ourselves. It asks us to better understand what we are made of.
We strengthen our Kidney energy when we connect with the resilience of our ancestors. We come from long lines of survivors. When we share stories in the winter, honoring our ancestral wisdom and traditions, we fortify ourselves with a sense of belonging and trust.
We strengthen our Kidney energy when we rest and nourish our bodies. This is not nourishment that comes from movie-watching on the couch or from on-line shopping therapy. True nourishment feeds our spiritual core. It brings life force and vitality into our bones, strengthening our very framework. ⠀
As many of us prepare to spend the holiday season in greater solitude than in previous years, this Kidney energy is rising to the surface of our lives like a forgotten possibility- an invitation to learn how to listen to the terrain inside of our own being and recommit ourselves to this inner work.
Friends, let us honor our lowlands, our lowlight, our lowtones, while also warming ourselves by living, breathing fires. We are making a study of contrasts, finding a different kind of beauty, knowing that even in the cold darkness, this too belongs.
I am imagining that we are warming ourselves by these fires together, burning off what no longer serves us as we find new ways to feel free in these dark days.
And if we were together, I would offer you this cup of pine needle tea, a recipe I have been relying on a lot this winter. Quite a bit higher in vitamin C than oranges, pine needles are easy to find, easy to make, and mild, even slightly sweet in taste. Enjoy!
Winter solstice blessings, peaceful holidays, and a big warm hug to you.
December 2020 Newsletter