Fire and Water in the Body
Let’s think about the interaction of fire and water. Fire can melt ice, heat water, or create steam. Water can contain fire, dampen it down, or extinguish it all together. Taoist healers examine the elements in nature and use them as metaphors for interactions inside the body.
The Fire element or phase is represented by the heart energy (and others) and the active aspects of the personality. People who enjoy a lot of different projects, being outgoing, and talkative, likely have an abundance of Fire energy. We can think of the season of Summer. If the fire element goes unchecked, eventually these behaviors will cause fatigue and they will ‘burn out.’ The burnout can deplete the kidneys, adrenals, and eventually bone marrow and sexual energy.
The Water Element relates to the kidneys and fluids of the body, such as the sexual fluids, the bone marrow, and the lymphatic system. A Water personality may want to stay in, relax in their pajamas at home, and spend most of their time resting. We can think of the season of Winter. A little water behavior can help us recharge and allow the body to repair. Too much water behavior can make us soft, lazy, and even depressed.
Of course, both elements are important and balance is the best approach. Taoist’s will also try to flow with the seasons, being more fiery in the summer and more watery in the winter. If you find you’re leaning too far toward one or the other element and it’s negatively affecting you, you can change your activities, meditate to bring them back to balance, or change your diet to nourish the elements.
Over time, the alchemical cooking of water and fire will process out impurities. Like the blacksmith using fire and water to shape the metal, we can cook the base metal of our personality into a more pure precious metal.
The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching:
Transforming Your Lead Into Gold