The Chinese term for the five elements is Wu Xing, which is more accurately translated as five energies. We are surrounded by the all-encompassing life giving energy called Ch'i, which can be further separated into strong Yang Ch'i and weak Yin Ch'i.
The energy of Ch'i can be found in various forms, which are identified as the five elements - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.
The elements are the foundation of Feng Shui balance, and play a very important role in creating the perfect environment.
Feng Shui attempts to understand the presence of the different elements in different rooms of a house. If the combination of elements is helpful, it can be strengthened with supporting elements. On the other hand if the combination of elements is harmful, it can be dissipated using conflicting elements.
The first element is wood - it represents new beginnings and growth. Many
people use wooden furniture as a wood element,
but this is not a good substitute to use as furniture is dead wood, it is lifeless and contains little Ch'i.
You need to use live wood, preferably in the form of a bushy plant as it holds so much live Ch'i and retains it. Plants also filter the air we breathe, so it's much better to use a natural form when it comes to the wood element. Trees are also used as good remedies to slow down fast flowing Ch'i.
The wood element can be replaced by the colour green. The colour is not as effective as the element of live wood - there shouldn't be many times that you need to use a colour to replace live wood as there are so many plants you can use indoors.
Fire: The most potent or "Yang" of the elements. Because fire is so Yang, this is the one instance where colour really does work well. A tea-light or table lamp with a red shade make excellent fire substitutes.
This element is often confused with soil, which is only part of it. It
needs to be combined with rock, clay and stone etc... so a terracotta
pot filled with soil is a perfect earth element, or a terracotta
statue or incense holder. Earth colours are yellow and beige, but they
are not as effective as the real thing.
Earth represents wealth when positive, but if negative can cause
illness and bad luck.
Earth represents wealth when positive, but if negative can cause illness and bad luck.
This element is a strong remedy and can be used to prevent illnesses,
money delays, and even loneliness. Usually metal statues, furniture or
decorative plaques are used to incorporate this element in a room...
but you could also try a brass incense holder.
However, try to look at the shape - don't use sharp points or
unattractive objects just because they have the element you need. Feng
Shui is about creating a harmony and balance, so whatever you use
should look attractive in the environment.
Water: This is the key element. We would not exist without it, our planet and our bodies are mainly water. It's believed to gather Ch'i and hence is one of the most commonly used elements. A whole branch of Feng Shui (Water Dragon Classics) is completely dedicated to using water for prosperity. Usually clear and flowing water is used for Feng Shui cures, and is usually kept in metal containers as metal strengthens water. When you need "active" water, a fish tank is used. The fish keep the water in continuous motion and hence make it very yang. The colours blue or black can replace water.
The elements interact with each other in different ways... and the intensity of the interaction depends whether the elements involved are yin or yang. This interaction is classified into 3 different cycles:
If you'd like to learn more about Feng Shui, why not visit the Feng Shui Society's website...
Feng Shui, elements, Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, Wood, Ch'i