Whether it is Chinese medicine, Chinese martial arts, Chinese astrology, or Feng shui, a system called Five Element Theory is used in all of these disciplines.
What are the Five Elements?
Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal are the Five Elements and they represent all kinds of things such as seasons of the year, internal organs, personality traits and even directions. They are symbolic of different planets and family members also. The Five Elements (also known as the Five Transformations) are both literal and symbolic and they have a relationship with each other.
In Xuan Kong (Flying Star School) Feng Shui practices, Five Element Theory is used to balance out energies in a room and each element is used very specifically. It is a common misinterpretation of the elements when all of them are brought together in the same room, or even in the same item. For example, national chains like Bed Bath & Beyond or Pier One Imports used to sell “Feng Shui” Candle sets. They contained five candles, each a different color and representing a different element.
But when burning, a candle is nothing more then the fire element. These are cute gift or novelty items, but they should not be taken seriously as Feng Shui remedies. Another popular blunder in design is the water fountain which is made of copper, filled with stones, and containing a ledge for a candle and a sprig of bamboo. This too was an attempt to bring all the elements together as if this were to bring balance to a room. To the contrary: when all the elements are placed together in one location, they will cancel each other out.
Here’s how: There is one type of relationship that is considered productive and harmonious and the cycle is as follows: water nurtures wood, wood feeds a fire, fire creates earth, earth produces metal and metal strengthens water.
Another type of relationship is called destructive or controlling: water puts out fire, fire melts metal, metal destroys wood, wood depletes earth and earth blocks water.
It should be obvious now, that to put all the elements together in the same location would nullify the point of adding one primary remedial element.
Another mistake that novices make is to place an element in a room based solely on what directional zone it is. This mistake happens because each of the eight basic directions is related to an element, but this still does not mean that you use that element in every single house. For example, the direction of south is inherently associated with fire. But this does not mean we burn candles or display red color in the south sector of every home or business. Not only should we be considering what unique element combination is in that area based on the year of construction and the compass alignment of the whole structure, but we also need to take into consideration annual cycles. Yes, in addition to permanent energies, we also have changing annual (and monthly, and daily) cycles.
For instance, one thing everyone will have in common in 2017 (and again in 2026) is the annual 5 star will be in the south sector. The 5 star is capable of causing all kinds of problems and the fire element would only encourage it and activate it further.!
How does one know which element is best for a room and which element may be harmful? This is revealed in a classical Feng shui evaluation, factoring in the age of the building and its magnetic compass orientation. It is only the Xuang Kong Fei Xing School of Feng Shui which evaluates a space on this level. They are relatively simple calculations, but they need to be learned and they demonstrate how and why a room might create a certain health problem, a money block, or a relationship struggle. Putting a certain corrective element in the room can neutralize the negative or unbalanced forces and truly bring a state of harmony to that location. Then, whoever functions in that room can reap the benefits of that balanced space.
Each person also has a certain Element associated with their year of birth and this too reveals what kind of relationship they may have with others. For example, a woman born in 1979 is the Zhen (Wood) trigram. If she is with a man born in 1974 there can be clashes because he is the Gen (Earth) trigram. Wood dominates Earth so it can say something about their relationship and who controls who.
Five Element Theory pervades all of Chinese metaphysics and it is a fascinating study in how our world is organized and hinged on the relationship between these few natural ingredients and life forces.
Author: Kartar Diamond
Company: Feng Shui Solutions ®
From the Feng Shui Theory Blog Series