What are the Five Elements? What do they symbolize?

Updated: May 28, 2020

Clockwise: Growth cycle, Anticlockwise: Weakening cycle

Wood, fire, earth, metal and water are five different elements of mother nature. It is also the fundamental part of the Chinese philosophy. They are one of the building blocks of our metaphysics knowledge. They can tell seasons, Feng Shui, Bazi, Date selection, Name selection, Traditional Chinese medicine and so on.

Each element has a relationship with one another. They have grown, weaken and control in different ways.

The growth cycle:

We begin with water as the source of all living things. Rain and mist will help plants and trees to flourish. Wood is a by-product from the tree. Energy from the sun will cause Wood to burn under intense dry weather. After burning, it will reduce everything to ashes which becomes a part of the earth. After millions of years of extreme heat and pressure, earth forms metal. It is extracted to be mold into a vessel or a container to collect water or hold water (condensation process). Or it is also known to described metal can change from a solid-state into a liquid. Hence, representing water.

The weakening cycle:

Weakening cycle is a different perceptive of the growth cycle. There are sides of the same coin.

The controlling cycle:

In mother nature, there is a natural force that will counter the other. For example, Wood is carved by metal. It produces useful items for people. Fire is extinguished by water to stop further destruction. Water is absorbed by earth to form barriers and protection. Metal is mold through fire to form sharp objects and weapons. Wood holds the soil to create barriers and protection.

At different times, the element strength varies.

- Wood: Wood is durable in spring and winter.

- Fire: Fire is intense in summer and spring.

- Earth: Earth is stable during the change of seasons.

- Metal: Metal is durable in autumn.

- Water: Water is strong in winter and autumn.

When we deal with Chinese metaphysics, the right path is to seek equilibrium between the elements. Too much one or the other will cause disharmony. The power relation between the elements in the growth cycle is reversed. It requires careful use of all the elements that can help you achieve matters.

If you like to have some discussions, make an appointment with me. I can't help everybody, but I hope I am of some use to you.

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