Winter – The Water Element

Winter – The Water Element

Zhi: The Spirit of Water—Instinctual Power, Aligned Will, Courage & Wisdom

Water is the first element on the wheel of life and also the last. Water is the turning point, the end that is also the beginning. When the water when turns, the cycle begins—and without water, there is no turning. Zhi is the spirit of water. In the microcosm of the psyche, the Zhi reside in the most hidden parts of body consciousness, in the instinctual responses of the sex organs, the biochemical intelligence of the endocrine system, and the knowing or our bones. The Zhi connect us to the collective unconscious, the part of our psyche that draws us out of, and back into, the infinite.

In the macrocosm, the power of the Zhi can be likened to the power of a hot spring, a geyser or the steaming vents of sulfurous fire that shoots up from the trenches of the deep ocean floor. This energy cannot be argued with. It emerges and bursts upward in a fantastic display of negentropic potency. In the human microcosm, it is related to the power of the life force, the instincts, the will and the driving urgency of ambition. The Zhi is the will to live, he unknowable mystery each time a child is conceived, a seed sprouts or new creative impulse is engendered.

Zhi is the spontaneously arising will of spanda, the mysterious potency of matter. It is not the ego- driven control of Western “willpower” or the initiatory energy of abstract ideas and visions. Rather, it is yin fire, the pilot light that ignites the flame of organic processes.

The light of the Zhi spirit can be seen in the shimmering moisture of mineral-laden caves, roots and creatures that crawl beneath the earth. It can be seen in the luminous algae and phosphorescent plankton that shine from the darkness of the ocean. It is the iridescent blue-green chlorophyll, the gleaming haemoglobin, the rich red marrow of the bones, he green essences of life that slither like snakes through the spring grass.

The realm of the Zhi spirits is the realm of what Vedic philosophers called karma, the realm of the unconscious forces and collective energy threads that determine the course of our lives. Here the light of consciousness is buried in darkness and the spirits bathe in the underworld waters of the unconscious. Here the lights of the spirits wait, like the nutrients and minerals waiting in the soil, until the goddess releases them back into the life cycle to nourish new psychic structures.

Signs and Symptoms of Zhi Disturbance

When the Zhi is disturbed, people continually push themselves to the point of total exhaustion or have no initiative at all. They use chemical stimulants, emotional excitement, ambition and desire to whip themselves forward. Results include rebound exhaustion, insomnia, hormonal conditions such as hyper- and hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, anxiety, chronic fatigue and back pain. Other common symptoms include:

General Forgetfulness, Inability to Memorize Data, Lack of Drive/ Motivation/ Initiative, Inability to Stay Steady Pursuit of Goals, Addictive Patterns, Lack of Willpower, Depression, Fear, Sleep Disturbances, Sexual Disturbances, Over-Controlling Nature.

Spirit Level Signs

Lack of Heroism, Absolute Despair, Lack of Hope of Ever Healing or Changing, Inability to Face Fears—Which Interferes with Expression of True Self, “Con-Artist” Mentally—Rather than Taking on our Own Lives Trying to wriggle Around Obstacles and Ultimately Short-Circuit the Evolution of Our Own Soul, “Identifying with God”—Using Will to Try to Control Others and Situations Around Us, Complete Disintegration of the Nervous System (which is one form of Zhi disturbance—neurasthenia or “nervous breakdown”, The person’s “roots” are completely dry and there is no ability to hold steady or even to face the day-to-day challenges of living. This may be the result of years of addictive behaviour or drug abuse, extreme stress or the long-term repression of instinctual impulses.), Spiritual Paralysis (Inability to move on or take on life. Our English Expression “cold fear” as coincidentally apt, as in Chinese Medicine, this psychological problem is often associated with a physical sensation of cold hands and feet.)

Possible Causes

Any time the will is employed to push the body beyond its own limits, the Zhi are affected. The following list includes some of the most common causes of Zhi disturbances in our culture.

Signs and Symptoms of Zhi Disturbance

Overwork, Excessive Physical Activity—excess marathon running, biking, weight lifting, Use of Substances that Impinge an Adrenal Function—caffeine, amphetamines, steroids, Chronic Disease, Addictive Behaviour of Any Kind—Including sexual activity, Chronic Fear and Anxiety (especially during childhood), Shock, Trauma, Guilt, Multiple Births and Excess Blood Loss During Periods, A Lack of Discipline and Encouragement During Childhood.

Inspiration for this Blog from – Dr Evan F.J. Murao

For more information  about your Water Zhi and how Traditional Five Element  Acupuncture can treat this, contact Hannah on –

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