Understanding the Five Elements

Five of the guas tantamount with one of the five elements-Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. To encourage activity in any area of life, determine the gua that suits your need and use accessories that enhance the life area that the gua represents. For example, if you want to achieve Fame, place Fire objects (i.e.; fireplace, candles) in the Fame gua of your home and/or office. You can also use objects similar to the quality you want to attract. In this case, a picture of your self, diplomas, awards, or other trophies could enhance the fame area. You could also include photos of the individuals you aspire to be like. For instance, I have photos of Oprah and Sir Richard Branson in my Fame area.

If you want to enhance your Wealth, gua (located in the far (back) left corner of your home, office, or individual room), place money objects, plant it with coin-shaped leaves, photos/postcards of money or a jewelry box.

The Five Elements represent everything in the visible and invisible universe. In nature, we see the five elements in their natural forms. Trees and flowers represent Wood, the sun represents Fire and so on. In the realm of human made objects, the elements are represented by colors, shapes and directions. What this means is that we can re-create nature indoors, using colors, shapes and every day materials.

Each element can help shift your personal energy and/or the energy of your space. When you understand the relationship among the five elements and how they affect you, it will become much easier to harness the energy and direct it towards your best interest.

1. Wood Element:

Wood is the originator of the Five Element cycle and represents the beginning of new life. Many people mistakenly use furniture as a Feng Shui solution. The problem with wood furniture is that it is lifeless. To harness the energy of wood, you must use wood that is alive. A shrub or bushy plant is ideal as it emits live chi and is also an excellent method of retaining chi. Plants recycle the air we breathe and provide a natural air filtration system.

A common Feng Shui problem is the staircase that empties into a doorway. A bushy plant can retain some of that chi, when it is placed either on the landing, or more ideally, at the bottom of the staircase.

Remember that the key here is living Wood. Keep plants healthy and alive. A dead plant holds no chi and is actually Shar Chi (negative energy). If living plants are not an option for you, use silk plants, but never use plastic plants.

Wood can be represented by the color green. When it comes to the Wood element, it is best to use living plants, shrubs, bushes, flowers or grass, as colors are not nearly as effective as the actual element. When there is not enough Wood in the environment, there's nothing to believe in.

You might become worried and anxious, not only about change but also about commitment. With no strong opinions, you might get along with others for a while but end up with an inability to speak out or stand up for yourself. If there is not enough Wood, it's a simple matter to add flowers, plants, bonsai trees, aquatic plants in a bowl of water, or pictures of plants.

2. Fire Element:

The Fire Element is the most .yang. of the elements. It is represented by the sun at its zenith. The middle of the day when the sun is high, hot and bright. In Feng Shui, we usually use a candle or the color of red. Being that fire is so yang, this is one example where color does work well. For instance, a red night light or table lamp with a red shade, make excellent fire remedies.

Fire is the element of understanding, courtesy, and ceremony. A fire-dominated individual is usually reasonable and able to communicate feelings appropriately. This person holds no grudge and has compassion for others. When there is an imbalance in fire, however, it can manifest as an inability to project oneself forward with passion or spirit. A person working in a kitchen or other hot, enclosed space, or someone living in the desert or in the shadow of a triangular shaped mountain, can manifest extremes of emotion, from passive and lifeless to manic and overactive.

With lack of Fire, we suffer from stiff joints, dry skin, bad eyes, and poor circulation. We may be tired and lack passion or feel panic, anxiety and fear about the future. If your environment needs Fire, build a fire in the fireplace, light candles or incense, place red flowers on the desk or nightstand in your bedroom. If you feel you need Fire in your life, go outside during the day and breathe in the light of the sun. This is an easy way to increase your internal fire.

Too much Fire can manifest as a volatile, critical, loud, and obnoxious individual who angrily incites disputes and arguments. If you want to reduce Fire, add ceramic pots, clay tiles and other earthy substances or colors. Additionally you can use water in its many forms, fountains, bowls of water, glass items, or pictures of oceans and lakes. If you feel you have too much Fire, go outside during the evening and breathe in the light of the moon. Breathing outside at night is a sure way to calm down. This is an old folk remedy.

3. Earth Element:

The energy of the Earth is reliable, dependable, calm and centering. The planet Saturn rules Earth and is represented by solidity and security. The color associated with Earth is yellow, probably derived from the yellow soil of China.

All the materials that come from the earth, clay, bricks, concrete, ceramic tile, marble, sand and rocks are associated with Earth. The shapes that represent the Earth element are square, box-like, or flat. Remember the story of the Three Little Pigs? The first one built his house of straw, the second out of wood, and the third built his house of bricks. Of course, the house of bricks lasted the longest. If you want to have a solid and reliable house, live in an Earth-type house.
Earth is represented by sympathy, trust, integrity and a well-balanced person who is reliable and sincere. The person with too little Earth will disappear when the check arrives. The person with too much Earth will offer to pick up the check, but will have to borrow money from others to do it. Residing in a tall building or living underground may cause an imbalance in Earth. With too much Earth, we may have difficulty attracting money or resources. To create a more balanced environment, add any kind of Metal, such as silver, brass, copper, mirrored or reflective surfaces, or the color white. The addition of plants or the color green also reduces Earth imbalances. If you feel lethargic or off-balance or suffer from low self-esteem, lack of direction, or an inability to set goals, there may be too little Earth in your environment. Add Earth elements in the way of sand and rock gardens, bonsai trees in ceramic bowls, rocks, stone jars, pottery, marble, statuary, or earthly colors of gold, orange or yellow. Fire increases Earth, so add pottery oil lamps, incense, candles or the color red.

4. The Metal Element:

Metal is the element of Fall and represents letting go, withdrawal and reversal. When you hold on to the past, there might be an excess of Metal.

Symptoms of excessive Metal include constipation, inhibition, or breathing disorders. In acupuncture, Metal is associated with the lungs. Trouble accepting reality manifests as stiff joints and poor circulation. There may be an emphasis on money and the material world.

When there is an excess of Metal, add fire remedies such as candles, incense, a red porcelain vase, and gold or brass candle holders. Another way to reduce Metal is to add Water in the form of water gardens, fountains, bowls of water, or a glass water dispenser. You can also add the Earth element in the form of sand, rocks, or tile to create a more balanced environment.

Metal represents morals, ethics, righteousness, and precise thinking. Individuals ruled by Metal are able to communicate well and can speak up or be silent when appropriate. There is precise thinking as well as new thoughts and ideas.

Too little Metal makes a person quiet, cautious, and careful. This person can be as difficult to get along with as one with too much Metal and might be talkative, righteous, overly enthusiastic, and impulsive in speech and behavior. Emotional grief is a symptom of a Metal imbalance. There may be an inability to organize thoughts and resources; objects may be lost due to scattered attention and lack of focus. To add Metal to any environment use the colors white, gray, or black-and-white patterns. Silver trays, metal cookware, brass pots, gold jewelry, wrought-iron railings, steel furniture, metal sculptures and anything made of any kind of metal can be used. Real or fake money, gold coins, or medals can be placed strategically to attract more resources.

Metal enables us to focus and concentrate. If you want to emphasize Metal in your life, wear a metal ring on the finger that represents the activity you desire. Wear the ring on the finger of your left hand if you are male, the right hand if you are female:

  • Thumb: Personal Power
  • Index Finger: Scholarly Success
  • Middle Finger: Stability
  • Ring Finger: Love
  • Small Finger: Creativity

The key to remember Feng Shui Elements is about creating a beautiful environment. When utilizing the Metal Element, ensure that it is rounded and pleasing, not sharp and pointed. Items should blend into the environment, be beautiful and include the colors of white, silver or gold.

5. The Water Element:

Water is what gives life on our planet. Without it, we would not exist. In Feng Shui, water is a very useful element. Water should be clear and flowing, as stagnant water can create more problems than it solves.
The Water element is represented by communication, the transmission of ideas, wisdom, and social interaction. If there is an imbalance in water, the individual may be lonely and isolated, forgetful, infertile, or impotent. He or she may suffer from rigid joints, dull vision, and lack of clarity, insomnia, disturbed dreams, or feelings of inferiority. When there is too much active Water, the individual is like an ocean. Unconfined, overwhelmed and overpowering. When there is too little moving water, an individual is like water dripping off rocks, or like a fountain that bubbles constantly, yet goes nowhere. Water rules social interaction and if you want to activate the Water element in your life to be more popular, call someone you haven't talked to in six months or make a point to introduce yourself to one new person every time you go out. Make no complaints or requests. This is a simple and cost-free cure and one that works.

An imbalance in Water often coincides with confused thinking. For clarity, place a bowl of clean water next to your bed at night. Visualize your mind being as clear as the water. In the morning, replace the water. Do this until you have attained the clarity you desire. The addition of clean water can improve any environment. It is quite simple to add the Water element to any environment by placing bowls of clean water, fountains, water coolers, or glass objects such as vases and jars. Adding any kind of object or color from the Metal category encourages the Water to be more present. Water can also be represented by the colors blue or black.

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Ganesha's Grace,
Malav Bhatt
The GaneshaSpeaks Team