ancient Chinese discovered that the
world could be broken down into five
energy types, and they were given
archetypal names from nature: water,
wood, fire, earth, and metal.
Feng Shui, the five element
theory is used to determine
which element is dominant or
deficient in a space. Used as
guides, the five elements can
help you make positive
adjustments to your space
according to your needs. The
result is a balanced
environment that heals and
A fundamental part of Oriental
philosophy is the
interrelationships among the
five elements. These are
divided into Conducive and
and are as follows:
- From Metal we
get Water. In this context, the metal could mean a vessel or
container for holding water, so we can say that metal traps
water. In another sense, metal is the only element that will
change into a liquid when heated.
- From Water we
get Wood. Water here means the rain or dew that makes plant life
flourish, thus producing wood in the process.
- From Wood we get
Fire. Fire cannot exist by itself but is produced by burning
- From Fire we get
Earth. Symbolically fire reduces everything into ashes, which
becomes part of the earth again.
- From Earth we
get Metal. All metal has to be extracted from the earth.
The entire universe is composed of these five elements.
They are interdependent and each is controlled by another. Hence we find that:
- Metal is
controlled by Fire. Metal can only be melted and forged with
- Fire is
controlled by Water. Nothing will put out a fire as fast as
- Water is
controlled by Earth. We dig canals in the earth to irrigate
fields or build dikes to keep out or absorb water.
- Earth is
controlled by Wood. Trees and their roots hold the soil together
and get their nourishment from the earth.
- Wood is
controlled by Metal. Even the largest tree can be felled by the
metal blade of an axe.
Under this philosophy, we see that no element can be called the strongest or
weakest. They are forever dependent on one another and are equal. They are linked
by the chain of life that brings about their existence, and there is no power
struggle. Each has its own place and function.