Seasonal Cultivation : Rain Water

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 Tuesday February 19th, was the beginning of the second seasonal node of the new-year and the new Spring –“Rain Water.”  We’ve been experiencing rain, snow - mix of both, typical of this time of year. Thus true to the name of the node, there is more moisture in the environment.

During Rain Water the expansion of Yang in the natural environment continues. So, while days can still be cold, we are definitely experiencing up and down in temperatures. The three smaller periods of Rain Water are “Otters Sacrifice Fish, “Swan Geese Appear”, and “Vegetation Sprouts”.  The swan goose is a rare large goose native to northern China. While we don’t have them here in the US, we do have other species of geese flying north again heralding the warmer Spring weather to come.

One of the sayings in Chinese related to Rain Water says, “as Rain Water arrives damp qi is heavy, be careful not to damage the Spleen and Stomach.” When walking around outside, I’m excited by the feeling. There is a movement of energy coming up from the Earth, and also much dampness and water around us.  It is a good time to make sure your lower back/kidney area is kept warm and free of drafts, your neck and ears as well.

The basic recommendation for Rain Water is to supplement the Kidney and strengthen the Spleen. We do this because the weather is still chilly and can tax the Kidney as the viscera of cold and Winter. We also want to be supportive and comforting to the intestines.

The second suggestion for Rain Water is eat congee! I eat it almost everyday, and love cooking it - it has a very soft meditative quality.   Congee is a type of rice porridge or soup depending on how you prepare it. And why eat congee now?  First, congee is warming and supplements the Spleen. Furthermore, congee is mildly damp draining so it protects the body against the increase in dampness in the environment. Congee is incredibly easy to make, and in China it is a common breakfast or brunch food. People of all levels of health can benefit from being taught to make and eat congee.

Just about any ingredient can be added into this basic congee.  One of my favorites for morning is white rice, butter and honey congee.  And I just had asparagus, scallion and garlic for lunch!

During Rain Water, since it is a time period of early spring, we also need to stay warm and guard against Wind. As such, the basic thing to avoid during Rain Water is don’t be in a rush to bring out spring summer clothes.  The northeast US is starting to warm up. But, we are early enough in the year that we may see more cold, and the increased dampness in the environment makes the temperature feel a little chillier than it actually may be.

 Stay warm!  Get much rest, and be kind to your Self.