Feng Shui

Basics of The Five Elements

In Chinese philosophy, the Five Elements are the building blocks of everything in the Universe. The elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

Also known as the Five Transformations of Energy, used often in Feng Shui, each of the elements represent a different phase of energy and the Five Element Cycles show how these phases transform from one to the other.

One of the best ways to illustrate the energies are with the seasons:

  • Wood: represents Springtime and uprising energy, such as plants pushing through the soil.
  • Fire represents Summer and ascending energy, such as flames reaching to the heavens.
  • Earth represents Early Fall and stabilizing, grounding energy.
  • Metal represents Late Fall and contracting energy, such as when trees lose their leaves to conserve.
  • Water represents Winter and descending energy, such as falling rain or water seeking it’s lowest level.

The Creative Cycle works like this (follow the black dotted line):

    Wood feeds Fire
    Fire creates ash (which is soil)
    Earth produces Metal (minerals)
    Metal condenses into Water
    Water feeds plants

To counter balance and keep harmony in the natural world, there is also the Controlling Cycle (follow the red line):

  • Fire melts Metal
  • Metal chops Wood
  • Wood breaks through Earth
  • Earth dams up Water
  • Water dowses Fire

Every element has an element that “creates” it and an element that “controls” it. Therefore, balance and harmony are maintained.

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