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How to Work with the Water Element This Winter

How to Work with the Water Element This Winter
Photo by Dominik Dombro on Unsplash

As we’re moving into winter in the Northern Hemisphere, we thought it would be helpful to explore the water element. Each element is connected to a season in feng shui, and water is the element of the winter season. We are also beginning to transition into a water year, as 2022 is the Year of the Water Tiger.

What is the Water Element?

In feng shui, we work with the five elements. These are five different types of qi, or energy, that are present in us and the world around us. Water, along with wood, fire, earth, and metal make up the five elements.

The water element is cold, dark, and quiet. It’s the most yin of all the elements. During the winter, which is connected to water, things tend to be more still and more hidden. There is not as much visible activity as there is in the spring or summer, for instance, when trees and plants are blooming and growing abundantly.

We also recognize two different sides of the water element. One is quiet, still, and introspective, like a deep lake. The other aspect of water is a rushing river, which represents our social networks and how we connect to the world around us. The water element is also related to the Career area of the bagua map, called Kan. Water is connected to how we move through life and the path that we take.

Water and Personal Qi

Every person contains all five elements, but there is usually an element or two that is more dominant in each of us. In a feng shui consultation, we look at things like astrology, your home, your intake form, and the energy you show up with to determine your primary element. Other practices such as face reading use additional techniques to figure out which elements are the strongest at any given moment. Sometimes different methods point to different dominant elements, which is why it can be helpful to work with a practitioner to find out which tools and practices will be most helpful to focus on.

If you have a lot of water energy, you are likely intuitive, empathic, and sensitive. You might also have a tendency to go really deep when you are interested in something. You probably go down rabbit holes when you research the topics that you’re drawn to. Water is also connected to fear, so that might be an emotion that’s especially present for you.

How to Embrace the Water Element

One way to embrace the water element during this season is to look more deeply into the things that may be hidden or that make you feel fearful. Even if certain sides of yourself might be scarier to explore, we can gain a lot of wisdom and insights by venturing into these places. What are the parts of yourself that you are ignoring or hiding, and how can you start to pay attention to them and learn from them?

Because winter tends to be a quieter season, it’s also a good time to lean into this energy and take time for planning, rather than jumping straight into action. If you have a lot of wood energy, this might be especially challenging for you since wood people tend to like starting projects and taking action. However, the upcoming winter is a perfect time to slow down a bit and focus more on planning. Then, when water season gives way to wood season in the spring, you will be ready to hit the ground running.

How to Balance the Water Element

The colder months can be a challenging time for many people, especially if you tend to have more water energy naturally. One way to balance this is by bringing the fire element into your home. Candles are a great way to do this, as are fireplaces, if you are lucky enough to have one in your space. The color red and triangular shapes also represent fire, so try adding these to your decor. If you like to decorate for the winter holidays, you might want to keep fire element shapes and colors in mind as you’re choosing seasonal items.

Another way to find balance during this watery season is to embrace the earth element. Earth is nurturing and stable, and it contains water. Think of the sides of a riverbank, holding and creating a boundary for the river. To bring more earth energy into your life, lean into your inner homebody. Cooking, nurturing, and caring for your community are all expressions of the earth element. If you naturally have a lot of earth energy, you might find that you sometimes give too much of yourself to others, at the expense of your own well-being. If this is true for you, the water season could be a good time for you to work with any fears around saying no and maintaining healthy boundaries. It’s a great opportunity to focus on going inwards and caring for yourself, the same way you care for others.