Tag Archives: The Five Elements

Creating Feng Shui Harmony While You Travel

The key to good Feng Shui in transit is to bring it with you internally! Feng Shui is about creating harmony with the world around you, and there’s no better time to step up your Feng Shui than while you are in transit, on vacation or between places.

Creating a sense of harmony and peace during this time is the key.

Packing Your Feng Shui Travel Kit

Select small, lightweight items that boost, balance and circulate the Chi in any environment.

  • 1 or more round-faceted crystals on strings
  • 4 small angels made of thick paper in the Bagua colors of black, red, purple and green
  • 4 scented tea lights in their own metal cups, or a mister to scent up and clear the area
  • Cleansing incense such as pine or sandalwood
  • Necessary items such as thumb tacks, safety pins, matches, string
  • A multicolored scarf representing the colors of the five elements (white, black, green or blue, yellow and red hues)
  • Smooth stone or natural crystal for grounding energy
  • A touchstone to remind you physically and in every other way of “home,” such as a picture of your loved one or another item from your home.

Using the Bagua

Start at the front entrance to the room and place one crystal in front of a window and place angels in the Health, Wealth, Helpful People and Love areas.

If the room feels especially stagnant, hang a crystal in the center of the room. Set up a place of beauty in the area that you would see as you wake up; use a five-element cloth, incense, candles, angels and fresh flowers when available. Choose items that are light, travel well and are available at a moment’s notice.


When used, these items can transform a room from grim to agreeable. Keeping a sense of home and creating space in our temporary environments allows us to ground, unwind and fully enjoy the fun of traveling stress-free.

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The Five Elements Spotlight: Water

Water In Astrology

The element of Water is part of ‘The Five Elements’ and is associated with the signs Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.

Water In Nature

Water Element represents all forms of water that exists on our earth. Consider the range and transformative properties of water; clouds, rainfall, gentle streams, noisy waterfalls, the stillness of a frozen lake, a mighty river, the vast oceans, and waves.

Water is all about our ability to change, to flow and overcome obstacles by eroding them away over long periods or sweeping them away like a tsunami at other times!

Water Element Colors

Color: Blue, Dark Blue, Black

Water In Health

The Ancient Chinese determined that the kidneys and urinary bladder, ‘the waterworks,’ and reproductive and sex organs are all connected to the Water element.

If the kidneys are out of balance, a person often feels scared, frightened and fearful, they can be hypersensitive, mistrusting and even paranoid.

When Water element is not balanced, either too weak or excessive, problems in these areas might occur.

  • Sexual organs and related sexual diseases
  • Blood-related problems
  • Urinary and prostate problems

Kidney blockages and/or weakness can manifest physically as ear, hair and tooth problems, urinary infections, kidney stones, reproductive sexual problems, dull headaches, lower back, leg and knee problems, a lack of willpower and determination and possibly kidney disease.

Water Character

Water types show qualities inherent to Winter which makes them appear rather cool, calm and reflective. However inwardly they are building up reserves and preparing for spring, which may bring a new innovation as they can be highly creative.

The negative emotion associated with Water is fear, while the positive emotion is calmness. A balanced Water Element uses resources of energy, time, contacts, and money wisely, rather than hoarding or overspending them.

Water element also represents a person’s wisdom. A balanced Water indicates a person is wise and intelligent and capable of thinking clearly and acting appropriately.

Water Activities

These sports and activities are good to stimulate weak water energy.

  • Swimming – especially in the sea or a large lake to increase Yang Water
  • Run or walk – close to water, along with the seashore or riverbanks
  • Star-gazing – walk outdoors, connect with the universe on a Winter’s night
  • Long baths and showers
  • Live near Water – a riverside, lake view or by the seaside
  • Wear more black and lilac colored clothing
  • Sleep on a metal or waterbed

Water Foods

Food and drinks are one of the easiest ways to balance our elements as they stimulate our organs directly and can act as a medicine. Here are some of the foods which are good for those lacking Water

  • Salty and watery foods
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Seaweed
  • 2-3 liters a day of boiled and filtered water

Water Element Basics

  • Time of day: Night
  • Time of year: Winter
  • Energy: Floating
  • Natural form: Lake, Ocean, River, Rain, Snow, Cloud, Fog, Pond
  • Direction: North
  • Organ: Kidney and bladder
  • Attitude: Objective, artistic, original, flexible
  • Taste: Salty
  • Color: Blue, Dark Blue, Black

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The “Five Elements” Theory Of Chinese Cooking

Chinese people believe that we are surrounded by five energy fields or five different kinds of “chi” (氣). These are also called the “Five Elements” and they play an important role in all aspects of Chinese culture, including the way people eat.

This theory states that if these five elements are changed or moved, this could seriously affect a person’s fate.

If the concept of Yin and Yang is the center of the Chinese culture, then the theory of the “Five Elements” should be treated as its cornerstone. But what exactly are the five elements of Chinese cooking and how do they play a part in Chinese cuisine?

The five elements are: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth.

It’s just like finding the perfect balance yin and yang, it’s about trying to find the perfect balance between the five elements.

The Five Elements In Chinese Cuisine

Chinese herbalists and doctors believe that to properly treat a patient, you must know the state of the five elements in their body. Any deficiency or an excess of an element can lead to illness. 

The five elements also represent our five main organs:

    Lung (metal)
    Liver (wood)
    Kidney (water)
    Heart (fire)
    Spleen (earth)

The five elements also represent five different colors:

    White (metal)
    Green (wood)
    Black/blue (water)
    Red (fire)
    Yellow (earth)

In Chinese medicine and cooking, it’s believed that if you are weak or ill in certain parts of your body or organs, you should consume certain colors/elements of food to help you feel better and improve your health.

Red/Fire/Heart Food

Chinese people believe consuming food that is red in color is good for your heart, small intestine, and brain.

Foods that fall into this category include carrots, tomato, sweet potato, strawberry, chili, red beans, red pepper, jujube, goji berry, dragon fruit, apple, brown sugar, and anything else that is a shade of red.

Green/Wood/Liver Food

If you consume green-colored food, it’s good for your liver, gallbladder, eyes, muscle, and joints.

The list of green foods could be endless. Some of the main ingredients used in Chinese food include mung bean, Chinese leeks, wasabi, and all the green vegetables and fruits.

Yellow/Earth/Spleen Food

According to this theory, yellow food is good for your digestive system and spleen.

You can eat things like sweet or baby corn, yellow sweet potato, taro, oats, pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow pepper, soybeans, egg yolk, bean curd, ginger, orange, star fruit, lemon, pineapple, papaya, peanut, walnut, honey, and more.

White/Metal/Lung Food

If you eat white-colored food, it is supposed to benefit your lungs, large intestine, nose and respiratory system, and skin.

Common white foods include rice and noodles, both of which are staples in Chinese cuisine. The list also includes lotus seed, daikon, onion, garlic, bitter melon, winter melon, broccoli, bamboo shoots, white wood ear, milk, tofu, soy milk, Asian pear, banana, almond, white sesame, rock sugar, and more

Black/Water/Kidney Food

Black and blue foods are reportedly good for your kidneys, bones, ears, and reproductive organs.

Black or dark blue foods aren’t as numerous, but the list includes some great options. Look for ingredients like wood ear, seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, black beans, raisins, blueberry, black grapes, black sesame, black vinegar, tea, sweet bean sauce, and more.

Conclusion: It’s Not a Prescription Diet

Please note, eating a balanced diet is very important. This article is simply intended to introduce you to the five elements theory as it’s reflected in Chinese food. It is not designed to be a magic cure-all for anything that ails you. If you have any health issues, it is important to consult your doctor or a nutritionist before you take on any specific diet.

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The Five Elements Spotlight: Wood

Wood is one of Feng Shui’s Five Elements. Each element, including wood, needs to be used correctly and balanced throughout the space for the optimal flow of chi energy.

Maximizing how you use the wood element in design can improve the chi in your home or workspace.


Spring is the beginning of the seasonal cycle, a time of birth and new beginnings. It is also the energy of the element Wood.

This is the energy that brings forth new growth, that pushes the new grass through the snow, the new branches out from old wood, produces new leaves. It does this so nature can take in the nourishment it needs to flourish.


Are brown and green. Using these colors in design strengthen wood attributes.


Liver and gallbladder organs are connected with the element of wood. Thus, when the liver is out of balance, the person can be very resistant and become literally a ‘stick in the mud’ type of person, who finds it hard to uproot themselves and adapt to changes. Thus they can be inflexible, irritable and nervous and even become angry.


Wood is yang/masculine in character. The predominant attributes are considered to be strength and flexibility, as with bamboo. It is also associated with qualities of generosity and idealism. One quality of the Wood element is leadership.


Are often aggressive or assertive, direct, and can have a strong temper and a lot of drive. They are usually outgoing and socially conscious and can be insensitive. The Wood element is associated with negative feelings of anger, and positive feelings of patience and altruism.


They love sour and salty rather than spicy taste; blue, green and dark rather than white or plain colors; like to study and think. Meanwhile, wood people follow the rules and work seriously; love criticism, landscapes, outing, music, swimming and fishing, etc.


  • Time of day: Morning
  • Time of year: Spring
  • Energy: Upward
  • Natural form: Trees, grass, plants, flowers
  • Direction: East
  • Organ: Liver and Gall bladder
  • Attitude: Positive, enthusiastic
  • Taste: Sour
  • Color: Green

Using Feng Shui Plants In The Workplace

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that involves arranging your environment in a way that allows the energy (or Chi) to flow smoothly through it.

This energy is made up of five elements (Wood, Earth, Fire, Metal, and Water), and its believed that the flow of this energy can have considerable effects on your finances, health, happiness, and personal relationships.

Whether you believe that it is the flow of the chi, or that the ancient practice tapped into great design and sense of proportion, the practice can definitely has a positive impact on design.

Because it has the power to increase productivity and happiness, Feng Shui is a great practice to bring into the workplace, and one simple way to do this is by introducing a number of office plants that help Feng Shui.

This is because plants enhance the Wood element, which symbolises relationships and new beginnings, while their natural green is said to have a calming and relaxing influence on people.

Plants in the workplace are also important for Feng Shui as they purify the air by lowering CO2 levels, and removing dust, mould, bacteria, and everyday toxins from electrical equipment from the air. This improves concentration, which boosts productivity. Some of the best Feng Shui plants to purify the air include the Peace Lily, Money Plant, and Ficus.

Plants with rounded leaves are also preferred because they attract positive energy, and they represent wealth as coins are also round in shape.

Check out our guide for some of the best plants for Feng Shui in the workplace and home.

Golden Pothos: Golden pothos is one of best Feng Shui plants because it’s particularly effective at removing chemicals from the air, such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. These are emitted from everyday items and appliances, and can cause headaches, dizziness, and other unpleasant symptoms. However, they’re also said to be able to bring life to areas of the workplace or home that collect dead energy (such as above cabinets and shelving units), so place them in these areas wherever possible.

The Jade plant: (which is also known as the ‘Money plant’) is considered to be very lucky as its presence attracts wealth and prosperity. Because of this reason, they make popular housewarming and wedding gifts, although they can also bring good fortune to offices and other workplaces. According to Feng Shui, you can welcome money into the home or workplace by placing the Jade plant close to the entrance. If this isn’t possible, however, it should be placed in the southeast corner of the building.

Chrysanthemums: Because they help to ease feelings of anxiety and promote positivity and optimism, chrysanthemums are another great plant for Feng Shui. This is due to the fact that the golden yellow colour of the plant represents the sun, and its ability to provide life-bringing energy to the planet. Chrysanthemums should be placed on the first floor of your home or workplace, in the Fame area (or the back middle). They’re also the ancient symbol for fall (autumn); this means they’re especially lucky when brought into the building during this time of the year.

Boston Fern: Like golden pathos, the Boston fern is one of the best plants for purifying the air of everyday chemicals (particularly formaldehyde and xylene). In fact, NASA research from the 1980s also names the Boston fern as one of the top air-purifying plants! Due to their lush appearance, Boston ferns are regarded as being very welcoming plants in Feng Shui; take advantage of this by placing them in entrances in your home or workplace.

However, it’s important to remember that not all plants are good for Feng Shui. In fact, drooping plants (such as ivies) should be avoided as they drag down energy, which makes workers feel more tired, and generally unproductive.

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Cooking The Feng Shui Way

We all know the ideal meal has a variety of colors. Not only is a monochrome meal boring to look at, it doesn’t provide the variety of nutrients that our bodies need.

Feng Shui and Chinese Medicine are closely linked. “The Five Elements” are associated with seasons and organs and when you eat foods according to the season, it will help balance the corresponding organ.”

For example: the Metal Element is associated with the color white, the season of Autumn, and the body organ of the lungs. So incorporating pungent white foods, such as those in the onion family, are useful for dispelling mucous and common colds that often occur during this time of year.

The Five Elements On Your Plate

Metal – White – Autumn – Lungs – pungent white foods such as onions.

Water – Black – Winter – Kidneys/dark, salty foods such as seaweed or miso soup.

Wood – Green – Spring – Liver – leafy vegetables and sour flavors such as lime or vinegar.

Fire – Red – Summer – Heart – As the heart is already quite active in summer, choose bitter foods such as burdock root or sprouts to reduce excess fire and clean out the cardiovascular system.

Earth – Yellow – Late Summer – Spleen-Pancreas – sweet potatoes, yams, and squash.

A well balanced plate will promote the health of each of the major organs, but eat more of the flavor and color of foods that correspond to each season for best health.

Yin & Yang Foods

The goal of Feng Shui is to create harmony and one of the ways we do that is to create a balance between Yin and Yang, the active and the passive. With food, we can do this as well as all food falls on a continuum of Yang to Yin.

In fact, you can anticipate how you will feel after a meal based on what kinds of foods you eat! Want to feel more energized? Eat Yang! Want to feel more relaxed and mellow? Eat Yin!

Yang foods: are more energetic, they are warming foods that stimulate movement, progress and activity. These foods include meat and eggs, and hard cheeses.

Yin foods: are cooling and promote relaxation and reflection, such as liquids, fruit, sour foods and vegetables.

A beautiful food chart that categorizes Yang-to-Yin foods can be found here.

Feng Shui Food Preparation

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Like Water for Chocolate was the one in which she prepares the meal while completely depressed and when the guests come to eat, they all begin inexplicably crying! It’s Feng Shui food preparation at its most elemental!

Everything you do around the cooking process of your food preparation and dining gets absorbed right into the food and then into your body. This is why we strive to create a kitchen that is clean, bright, and happy!

Sometimes, just playing some favorite music or taking a moment to dance in between washing and chopping can add some zip to your meal and to your body!

And bring out the best! You deserve to eat on the your best dishes! In fact, toss out the chipped, broken and cracked dish ware and bent forks and give yourself the royal treatment.

Where you eat maters as well. If you’re accustomed to eating in front of the TV, try out your dining room table! And one tip for romance: sit next to your partner during the meal instead of across from each other. Your energies can mingle more and so can you!

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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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