Dr. Elson Haas
written by
Dr. Elson Haas

Jan 18, 2023

Winter – Water – Moon – Emotion

Welcome to the Year of the Water Rabbit!

Here’s some Elemental wisdom for the Chinese New Year from the Spirit Boxer (Sifu Robert Bergman) my long-time Qigong teacher.

Rabbits are gentle and loving animals and beyond their own families they nurture and thrive in community. They are quick and agile and their spirit is light, therefore, they adapt easily and are deeply connected to nature as they are vegetarians and love lush greenery.

Their personality allows them to be open to change in both relationships and finances and yet they are very responsible once they make their decisions. It’s a good year to review the old and allow for new adjustments in one’s personal and financial relationships.

The Water element provides additional fluidity and is powerful as it can be wild and also calm — depending on the conditions. Water also represents intuition and vitality as it is life for all things. It can also be forceful and destructive.

Especially after the pandemic, the Water Rabbit year is a great opportunity to nurture family and relationships and strengthen community and resources with wisdom.

Working with the Moon by Elson Haas MD

The Chinese calendar is based on the cycles of the moon rather than our Western solar timekeeping method. Personally, I have always paid attention to the lunar changes and this season is a particularly good time to consider “working with the moon.”

In the Chinese Five Element system, Winter is aligned with Water. Water must stay in motion, yet it fills spaces; it has a rhythm, a cycle, which is primarily ruled by the movement and gravitational pull of the moon. The daily expansions and contractions of the oceans in the tides are like the breathing cycle of the Earth.

The moon is yin, the receptive, feminine, dark principle, relating to the subconscious—the hidden, the emotions. Water in turn has these same characteristics. The state of Water in your body may reflect the state of your emotions. Like the planet, you can also have droughts and floods, stagnant pools and fresh flowing streams.

We all have our cycles. Many of us have cycles in which held-in emotions are released, like the winter rains. Then, with the new awareness and expression of these feelings comes a real lightening up of our energy. Excess water, sometimes held in the body along with the emotions, can cause lethargy and slowness, irritability, and an inability to express ourselves.

In each lunar cycle, the sun (the male, active, light principle) and the moon (the female, receptive, dark principle) go through many relationships. We experience this cyclical change internally as well.

  • During the time of the new moon (when the sun and moon are in the sky at the same degree relative to earth), with its darker nights, our experience is most yin, concerned with inner needs, creativity, and with looking forward into the next cycle. The sun and moon are aligned.
  • At full moon, when the moon reflects sunlight at night (the sun and moon are 180 degrees apart in the sky relative to earth), our experience is most yang, often with bright and active nights, more social activity, and feelings may be less prominent.

It can be very helpful to observe and track your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual life in light of these cycles. Have you thought about keeping a lunar journal?

From the Chinese Medicine viewpoint, individuals with deficient Water energy may find it difficult to slow down, relax or rest, with an inability to reflect clearly. Qualities of compassion, understanding, and responsiveness to needs and feelings of others are often seen as the maternal and feminine aspect of ourselves, and are also characteristics of the Water element.

A balanced Water element allows fluidity and flow, an ability to rest and nourish oneself and others, to guide perception and reflection, and have a ready expression of feelings such as love.