Dear Vicki: The Winter Solstice is approaching and I’m dreading it as the start of winter. The dark and cold make me very unhappy. But my sister (a writer) loves December: The darker and colder, the better for her. I think she’s crazy, but how can we be so different when we’re just one year apart? Could this have something to do with our elements? I don’t even know what element I am. Signed: Dreading Winter
Dear Dreading: Winter Solstice does herald the start of winter in the northern hemisphere; December, January and February are usually the coldest, darkest months here. But within the Five Elements model, Winter Solstice represents a pause in the constant cycling between light and dark. December 21 is the shortest day of the year and the longest night. Beginning the next day, the nights shorten and the days lengthen. So if you hate the dark, Winter Solstice is good news for you because beginning December 22, the days get longer. But the cold? Well, that’s around for several more months.
To answer your question, how we respond to a time of year absolutely can have to do with our element, especially since each element has a seasonal affiliation. On the surface of things, it seems logical that an element would resonate with their own season, and that can be true. But it isn’t always so straightforward. If someone’s primary element is unbalanced, they may not do well with their own season and may really need what another season has to offer. Let’s look at how this might work and perhaps you will recognize yourself.
Dear Vicki: I feel silly writing, but I’m having trouble with my boyfriend Wilson. We met at college last fall and in spite of the fact that he’s a quiet, serious guy, we hit it off. Even though I usually hate the cold, we had a lot of fun last winter ice skating, throwing snowballs, and drinking hot cocoa while we talked late into the night. But he started getting moody in the spring and no matter what I tried, he wouldn’t cheer up. Now, in the middle of this glorious summer, he’s grumpy and doesn’t want to do any fun things outside anymore. The beach is too hot. The tennis courts are too hot. Everything is too hot! And he doesn’t like my friends. I love summer, love the fun of outdoor parties and connecting with people, and can’t imagine why he’s complaining. From what little I’ve read about the Five Elements, I think I’m an Earth because connecting with people matters to me. Is this relationship doomed? Please let me know so I can find someone else to have fun with the rest of the summer. Signed: Loves the Sun
Dear Loves the Sun: No relationship is ever doomed as long as you understand each other and are willing to put a little effort into meeting each other’s needs. It’s also important to understand yourself, so let’s start there.
You could be an Earth; connections certainly matter to Earths. But they want deep, lasting connections and will work hard to keep them, no matter what. You don’t sound like you’re in a space to do that. However, there is another element that values connections, and that’s Fire. Fires tend toward quick and fun connections rather than looking for something that will stand the test of time. Fires also enjoy being busy, usually appreciate summer activities, and often don’t do well with cold weather. Honestly, this sounds a lot like you, so I suspect you’re a primary Fire, not Earth.
On the other hand, Wilson sounds like he could be a Water. They enjoy winter more than most and are usually much less enthralled with hot weather activities. And while Waters usually tend to be loners, when love strikes, they will connect on a one-to-one basis. Noisy gatherings aren’t their thing, but quiet time alone with someone special works. No one is better at talking late into the night than Waters, especially if the topic involves philosophy or esoteric ideas. Because winter is Water’s season, the approach of spring sometimes makes them uncomfortable as they are moved away from their comfort zone. And summer? It’s way outside that comfort zone! Remember how much you normally hate winter? As a Water, Wilson will feel pretty much the same way about summer.
Dear Five Faces: This isn’t really a question about a relationship with another person, it’s more about my relationship to a season. I hate winter and actually think I may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because I’m always so depressed during the winter no matter how beautiful people say it is. Even worse, I’m pretty sure I’m a Water, which makes winter “my” season. If so, why do I hate it so much? Dreading Winter
Dear Dreading: This is an excellent question at an excellent time for you. In a recent post we touched on the fact that the seasons absolutely affect our primary element, usually in good ways. During the season associated with our element, we often feel more “ourselves,” as if the incoming energy reminds us of who and what we are. For example, my Wood element is all about getting things done, which is the hallmark of spring. So right around the middle of March, I usually do feel like I’m waking up from a long winter nap and am ready to take on the world. The incoming energy of spring helps me get going in a way that thrills my Wood.