Symbol of the Tao
Health Through the Seasons
by Dr. Joseph Odom, OMD, L.AC.

In the northern hemisphere, the sun is now approaching its lowest point in the sky. During the winter, life on earth becomes a seed, dead on the surface, its potential frozen deep inside. We find ourselves looking within. This is the perfect time of year to do what we need to do at the deepest level of our being.

In terms of traditional Chinese five-element theory, we are now at the time of the water element. Water, the life-giving force, has a tendency to freeze in winter. This freeze is the power of focus and concentration that water possesses. This is part of what gives us the power now to concentrate on reflection.

The kidneys are the organ associated with the water element. In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are that place in our lower abdomen where our power lives. The emotion associated with the water element is fear. At times when fear is powerful in our lives our connection to wisdom is obscured. We tend to fantasize and fill in the missing pieces instead of relying on instinct. This reaction leads us to squander inner resources and not produce a potent result in the world.

This post-September 11 world we live in is filled with fear. Try as we might, it is almost impossible not to fantasize worst-case scenarios.

Fear is the emotion that arises from the unknown. The ancients tell us that the way to transform fear is wisdom. Wisdom is the virtue associated with the water element. Wisdom empowers us to stand firmly in the face of the unknown and be sure of our actions. Wisdom empowers us to make any journey in a conscious way, not presided by over by fear.

This is a very good time for all of us to remember that we have the wisdom to overcome our fear. Happy, wise and fearless Solstice to all.

[ Joseph Odom, O.M.D., L.Ac. photo ]
Dr. Joseph Odom, O.M.D., L.Ac. is an acupuncturist in private practice in San Anselmo, California. He can be reached at (415) 258-9551 or