As I sat in the garden this morning, gratefully receiving the sun’s rays after a week of rain, it came to me how directly water (the Water element) feeds plants (the Wood element). The rain has made the plants grow tall: the plants have just kept growing the more it has rained. Now the sun has come out again, they’ve shifted from growing to blossoming and flowering, bringing the joyful colour and fruition of the Fire element to my very green garden. Flowers are more ephemeral, short-lived: fire burns itself out. The flowers drop their petals, sometimes after just a few days; these return to the earth to be broken down (the Metal element, the ash in the grate) and fed back into the plants through the soil, or seeding themselves to start the next cycle.
Water provides the energy to grow… in a simple, direct way. It feeds the creative cycle. The Water element needs to grow to flow. If we’re not seeding, growing or creating, we’re not flowing. Those of us with a strong Water element, in this context, aren’t ambitious in an outward way: we just have a constant need to grow, expand, be our best selves. This can also manifest in the form of risk-taking, testing boundaries physically or emotionally… as a river rides over and erodes banks when in full flow. The river doesn’t have a “goal” to broaden its banks; this is a by-product of its need to flow.
The word “ambition” has never resonated with me. It is too outwardly striving, implying walking over others to get what one wants. Inner drive? Yes. I find it hard to do absolutely nothing – one of my biggest challenges. When I do surrender to doing nothing, the dormant seeds awaken in me and flow returns – the ideas, inspiration, energy and peace. The inner drive of the Water element is both yin and yang; the kidneys encompass both yin and yang; they are constantly balancing the fluids in our bodies, cold and heat, our need to rest with the desire to move – the still surface of the lake with the currents underneath; the bubbling spring and the slow, idle wide stretches of a river.
When I don’t write, I’m not enabling my Water to flow. It comes out as fear and/or sweat instead. The Water that is needed for the Wood to grow then become Fire (flowers, in nature, as well as fire from sticks rubbed together), no longer reaches the heart. The hot flushes intensify as the heart energy also becomes stuck, stops flowing, is thwarted from its desire to manifest and celebrate.
I realise (again!) that our creativity truly is at the core of our purpose on Earth, in order to maintain the flow of the five elements within our bodies and energy fields. Creativity in all its manifestations. Just as we need the inner energy surge of Water, the sex drive, to procreate (the doing/Wood element), which results in a baby. All stages nurtured and manifested by Mother Earth herself. Earth is at the centre of the cycle; she is our core.
And so my understanding of the five elements and their cycles in nature, and how these reflect our own rhythms and energies, continues to grow.