The Five Elements

The Five Elements

It seems that many people today who have heard about Feng Shui have heard about the Five Elements. These elements; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water are the foundation theory for Feng Shui balance. There also seems to be some confusion about just what these elements really are and how they work. Actually, it is fairly simple and based on common sense. It is easy to understand the elements and their significance. Using them properly and in the correct proportion is what separates a master from a student. The following is a brief description of each of these elements and how they might be applied.

Wood

We start with the wood element since it is the beginning of new life. Just as spring brings new plants and new life, wood is the originator of the five elemental cycle. Many people mistakenly use wood furniture as a Feng Shui solution. The problem with wood furniture is that it is lifeless. To harness the qi (chi) of wood, it is essential you use live wood! A shrub or bushy plant is ideal since it emits live qi and is also an excellent method of retaining qi. Plants recycle the air we breath and can provide a natural filter for the air. A common Feng Shui problem is the staircase that empties into a doorway. A bushy plant can retain some of that qi, when it is placed either on the landing, or more ideally, at the bottom of the staircase. Remember that you want a live plant, so maintain it. A dead plant holds no qi and is actually a “Sha” (unsightly or bad influence).

Wood can be represented by the color green. We find that the colors are not nearly effective though as the actual element. When it comes to the wood element, there is rarely an occasion when you need to substitute the color for a living plant.

Wood represents the directions of East and the Zhen Trigram (3). It also represents the South East and the Xun Trigram (4).

Fire

The Fire Element is the most “Yang” of the elements. It is the hot summer or a blast of heat. In Feng Shui, we usually use a candle or the color of red. 168 Feng Shui Advisors recommends the color red more than a candle as we do not want our clients to risk the possibility of a house fire. Being that Fire is so yang, this is the one example where color does work well. If it is hot, it is even better. A red night light or a table lamp with a red shade make excellent Fire remedies.

Fire represents the South and the Li Trigram (9).

Earth

Earth is an interesting element despite the rather commonplace conception of dirt. Many times Earth is recommended for a larger environmental solution. In this case large granite boulders, or a beautiful clay statue can be used. Terracotta pots filled with potting soil make a great Earth remedy. Earth also represents the Mountain.

Earth tone colors can be used, but they are not nearly as effective as the actual element.

Earth represents the North East or the Gen Trigram (8). It also represents the South West or the Kun Trigram (2). Additionally, it represents the “Center” of the Master Trigram (5). Energetically speaking, Kun – Earth (2) and the center representation (also called a star) of “5″ can have negative influences, whereas the Gen Trigram (North East – 8 – also referred to as the Mountain) can have a very prosperous influence.

Metal

The most common solution, Metal can be found in all forms. Copper, Silver, Gold, and Bronze are a few variations of the Metal Element. Using the Metal Element can take on all sorts of creative ideas. A cast silver deer is one idea. A bronze plate hung on the wall is another. Even iron weightlifter plates can be utilized as a metal solution. Weightlifter plates? Yes, when done properly. This can be done by stacking a few, then placing a brass pot upside down on top and creating a pedestal for a small plant or a perhaps a metal statue. The quantity of the element is definitely there! The key thing to remember is that Feng Shui is about creating a beautiful environment. When utilizing the Metal Element, ensure that it is rounded and pleasing, not sharp and pointed. Metal is the most commonly used remedy for the negative Earth energies as mentioned above. Ideally, the goal is to introduce Feng Shui elemental solutions that are not identifiable as Feng Shui remedies. Feng Shui objects that are unsightly or easily identified as a “Feng Shui Cure” are not recommended. It should blend into the environment and be beautiful.

The colors of White, Silver, or Gold can be used.

Metal represents the Dui Trigram (7) in the West. Dui is a soft metal such as gold. It is also the Qian Trigram (6) in the North West. Qian is a hard metal like steel.

Water

Water is the what give life on our planet. Without it, we would not exist. Our bodies are mostly water. In Feng Shui, Water is a very useful element. Water, when needed, should be clear and flowing. Stagnant water can create more problems than it solves. A simple aquarium, or even a small “metal” fountain can be used. Do not use ceramic or other earthen fountains. This is a common mistake. The Earth element blocks water and neutralizes the positive effect of the Water. Outside, a metal trough, a fountain, or even a fish pond can act as an environmental solution.

Water has always been synonymous with power. Water has been used as an elemental solution by the emperors in the form of moats and by placing their palaces near bodies of Water. If you look at most capital cities today, they are either located near the water or have large lakes or rivers nearby. Most ocean-side and lake-side homes are sought after and usually more expensive.

Water can be represented by the colors blue or black.

Water represents the Kan Trigram (1) in the North.

To conclude, it must be said that you should not use any of these elements haphazardly. Ideally, a proper Feng Shui analysis should be performed by a qualified practitioner. Used incorrectly, the elements can cause harm to relationships, health, or money prosperity. When used correctly, they can strengthen relationships, health, and money.