Updated: Nov 13
Shorter days. Turning
Towards rest. Hail Black Tortoise!
Winter has arrived!
Hello Friends of Flying Needle!
Happy Beginning of Winter!
- first winter solar node -
Hope this finds you well during these interesting times!
Seasonal Musings & Reflections
Yes, it may feel like Spring, or early Summer, but Winter began at 0600 on Monday, 11/7.
Before we go down the rabbit hole (tortoise tunnel?) of the causal implications of climate change, there's a couple of other considerations to keep in mind.
1 The 24 Solar Nodes mark the movements of Yin and Yang in the environment primarily through an observation of day length. As we continue to move towards the Winter Solstice, days get shorter and shorter culminating in the shortest day of the year. This is the point of maximum Yin expression in the yearly seasonal cycle. It correlates to Midnight within the circadian cycle.
After Winter Solstice - peak Yin - Yang begins to wax. Days start to become longer, increasing in length until we reach Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year - peak Yang. This breath cycle repeats until Sol goes supernova and Terra's life cycle comes to a close. From this vantage point, climate and weather are both smaller subsets of a considerably larger rhythmic pulsation.
Simply put, even if there are azaleas blooming today, it is the beginning of Winter.
2 The Neijing Suwen chapter 71 tells us that in a Water Tiger year we may see things and beings “growing against the season.” The oldest recorded reference to the Neijing is in a bibliography from a text dated to 111 CE. There are patterns at play that have been observed for considerably longer than the Modern era.
None of this is to downplay the impact of climate change, simply to say there is now, and likely always has been, a robust level of complexity in seasonal expression.
Thanks to Master Zhongxian Wu for the reminder about chapter 71!
Winter is a time, if at all possible, to get more rest. Suwen chapter 2 advises us to: Sleep early, rise late.
Be sure to wait for the sunshine.
It also encourages us to “avoid the cold and stay near the warm.” As the cooler weather arrives, dressing in layers and having a hat, and scarf available are good habits. We want to stay warm, but not so warm that we are sweating. A little cold is invigorating to most bodies.
While Winter is a time for rest and quietude, movement is still important. There's a couple of sayings that my teacher Tom Bisio likes to use as encouragement: Movement in Winter decreases disease;
Laziness in Winter means an extra bowl of medicine.
- and -
Tonifying the body in Winter enables one to fight a tiger in Spring.
That being said, Winter is not the optimal season for our most robust movement training. It's the time for consistent nourishing practice rather than pushing our limits.
With regards to diet, Winter is the time for cooked and warming foods. Consuming too many raw and/or cold foods and beverages is taxing on the digestive system any time of the year, but most especially during Winter.
May your Winter days be filled with beauty, mystery, and friendship!
May you and your kin feel both rooted and free!
May all being and becoming receive nourishment!
The haiku is a reflection on another teaching from the Suwen. When times feel disharmonious, unstable, even chaotic the sage effortlessly swims within the currents of Yang and Yin that flow between Heaven and Earth. Not being a sage, I don't know how to do this. However, I like to imagine what it might feel like if I did. Sometimes, I pretend I am a sage who has attained this capacity to see what it might feel like to move through life with such ease and grace. If you try this game, please let me know what you discover!
It is my sincere hope that you have found something of use in these words.
If you know folks who you feel would enjoy this newsletter, please forward it their way! Thank you!
Wishing you and all your relations wellbeing and good medicine!