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Winter’s Archetype: The Philosopher

Picture that quintessential cozy winter scene: curled up with some deep thoughts and a cup of tea by a fire while an evening snowfall paints the landscape out a frosty window. This is the ultimate haven of winter’s archetype: the philosopher. Winter is about the inner journey, and the philosopher represents that journey through calm but discerning introspection. They value thought over action in the quest for truth and are not afraid to go into the dark recesses of the mind to find it.

In Chinese Medicine, winter is the season of extreme yin. Yin represents the receptive energies that balance the active nature of yang. Yin themes include stillness, contemplation and darkness. Also, yin is associated with cold and constriction. Winter is kidney time in TCM and its corresponding element is water. The kidneys are considered the root of our life force, a battery that holds our primal charge. The kidneys also regulate water metabolism in the body and help to keep the fire element in check. Water is an essential source of life associated with the personal and collective unconscious, as well as wisdom and perseverance.

“A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence” -Jim Watkins

“Water gives way to obstacles with deceptive humility. For no power can prevent it following its destined course to the sea.” Tao Cheng

The philosopher archetype embodies important aspects of kidney energetics and water symbolism. In TCM, Kidneys relate to the health of the bladder, bones, brain and reproductive system. We may see issues in these systems if the water element and therefore kidney function is out of balance. A healthy philosopher, or ‘water-type person’, will typically have strong bones, wide hips, and a bright mind. In a balanced state, the philosopher is determined and persistent (yet flexible) like water. They willingly traverse the depths and hidden corners like water in caves or subterranean streams or the dark reaches of the ocean. They are naturally curious and inquisitive. Out of balance they can tend toward exaggerated introversion, fear and suspicion. Fear is the emotion associated with the kidneys, but the flip side of that (and power of the philosopher) is the courage to face the truth of ourselves and the world.

We all, as microcosms of nature, personify the different seasonal elements. Some of these archetypes resonate stronger at different times, though we may notice, in ourselves and others, a general tendency towards a specific one.

Do you resonate with the Philosopher?

Are you…
*appreciative of alone time?
*devoted to truth?
*sometimes susceptible to feelings of fear and isolation or aggressive suspicion? (depending on patterns of deficiency or excess)
*willing to persevere?

With every elemental archetype it is vital to find and nurture the balance necessary to express and experience the best traits of each one. This winter, one way to support your water element is with quiet reflective moments, and a cozy safe place to go inward and explore the mysteries of life. Your inner philosopher will reward you with truth, strength and vitality.

Visit us on 205 W. 2nd Street, Suite 502, in Duluth for more kidney/water element support this winter, including diet and lifestyle tips to balance your unique seasonal and constitutional needs!

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