The Water Archetype

We have Five Elements and each one is an Archetype. As we approach Winter, let us discover what the Water Archetype is. By understanding this element and archetype, we can better witness our strengths and lessons, as well as learn tools to support our constitution.

The Water Archetype

The Water Element is associated with Winter and midnight. We can more easily understand this element when we think of winter. The cold descends and the day turns dark early. We are beckoned inside where it is warm. We naturally want to hunker down by the fire, perhaps with a cup of tea or nice bowl of soup or stew.

Being the most yin of the elements, the Water Archetype is feminine, still, the moon, dark, cold, introversion, death/rebirth…It is going inward and within, the dream world.

Often called the “wisdom of natural simplicity,” wabi sari relates to the quirkiness and uniqueness that is inherent in the Water Element.

Maureen K Calamia, Creating Luminous Spaces1

In the summer which is the Fire Element, we enjoy the height of the sun’s warmth. In the winter, we journey into the underworld, as Persephone herself descends. Quiet and dormant, seeds are nurtured within the spaces of Water, awaiting the time to emerge. Winter is a time to rest and conserve energy. If ever there is a time to rise a little later, it is in the darkness of Winter.

In Creating Luminous Space, Maureen K Calamia names the Water archetype “The Philosopher” – “Water can be so obsessed with the big questions, she is always searching and never feeling satisfied. She knows that the bottom is fathomless, yet she doesn’t hesitate to attempt to reach it.”

She further describes this archetype as independent, self-sufficient, imaginative, playful, calm, flowing … and the flip side, when imbalanced, inaccessible, suspicious, cynical…

Many Water people prefer the spaces of privacy and nonconformity in their work, so often artistic and creative. Like a still pond, Water people can be calm, deceptive of the depths and torrents of thoughts and musings below. Highly cerebral and articulate, they are drawn to the unknown and profound. They can easily become reclusive, withdrawn, detached, stubborn, and blunt.

Water, in our spaces, can be found where it is still and quiet. These are fantastic for placing your altar and meditation or yoga mat. Replenish and nourish yourself here. You can activate this area with flowing water such as a fountain or with colours such as dark blue and black.

Water Archetype By the Sea

In Five Elements Theory, the Water Element is associated with the Kidneys and Bladder. Knowing your organ type and elemental archetype can give you powerful insights as well as time-tested ways to support your constitution.

If you are a Kidney/Water type, here are some signs of health and weakness.

Signs of Healthy Kidney Type
  • Youthful appearance, at any age
  • Abundant healthy hair
  • Strong bones
  • Mental clarity and acuity
  • Spiritually connected
Signs of Unhealthy Kidney Type
  • Premature aging, a pale and puffy appearance
  • Premature hair loss
  • Brittle bones
  • Mental fog
  • Irrational fear
A Fortifying Recipe for Beautiful Hair

Dr Yang shares an easy-to-make congee recipe he grew up with in Facing East. Have you had congee? It is one of the staples in Chinese cuisine. A lot of kids grew up eating this, especially when they were under the weather.

This 4-servings recipe used 1/2 cup of rice, 4 cups of water, 1 cup of walnuts, and 1/2 cup of black sesame seeds. He suggests putting the washed rice into the water and bringing it to a boil over medium heat before simmering. You can use a few walnuts and sesame seeds as toppings. Grind the rest into a powder and stir this powder into the pot when the rice is 70 percent cooked. The water is still creamy at this point. Garnish with the toppings you set aside and serve hot. Sounds delicious!

Cosmetic acupuncture expert Shellie Goldstein offers a simple self-acupressure routine to support the kidneys. Working on these meridian points on the ankles, neck, and face can help Kidney Qi flowing and for us to feel replenished. The following routine benefits not only Kidney/Water Type people. Try it whenever you are feeling stressed and mentally fatigued.

Kidney 3

The primary point to strength Kidney energy, K3 is located inside the ankle in the soft spot, between the tendon and the ankle bone.

Kidney 6

From K3 move your finger over and below the ankle bone. K6 is the soft spot.

Bladder 60

BL60 is below the ankle bone, on the outside of the foot and helps with back pain as well as to brighten your eyes and face.

Bladder 10

BL10 is located on both sides of the neck, the notch about one finger-width from the spine. This helps the flow of energy to the head.

Bladder 1

BL is located on either side of the nose, at the corner of your eye. BL1 is great for eye issues, including relaxing them and reducing puffiness and dark circles.

Bladder 2

Above the inside corners of the eyes, BL2 is located at the ends of your eyebrows. This meridian point helps to release tension in the face thereby softening the lines in the forehead.

Bladder 3

BL3 is located on the hairline, directly above BL2. This also helps with forehead wrinkles.

Where are the meridian points? Check out these charts – The Kidneys Meridian and
the Bladder Meridian. You can find this self-acupressure routine, and many others, in Your Best Face Now by Shellie Goldstein.

Whether you are fit in with the Water Archetype or not, we can all benefit from understanding the Water Element. We may want to nourish our Kidneys in particular when we feel our Waters out of balance or if we are prone to illness and depression in the Winter, the Water Element season.


1 Creating Luminous Spaces by Maureen K. Calamia. Conari Press, 2018. p. 163

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