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The Five Elements Theory of Feng Shui

Feng Shui is the art of placement mainly guided by the five element theory. It is based on the Chinese belief that the universe is composed of five elements. The 5 elements - Earth, Fire, Metal, Water and Wood or forces of nature called "wu-xing" aren't literally elements but qualities, constantly overcoming each other in a continuous cycle. The Five Element Theory in Feng Shui is based on the symbolic representation of the five elements in your environment.

Wood: Wood as the first element is the beginning of new life and the creator of the five-element cycle. The wood element is considered to be creative, social, ethical, and generous. But use of wood in your home in the form of furniture do not have any implications as furniture's are dead wood and do not transmit positive energy. You need to use live wood in the form of a bushy plant similar to a "money plant" as it holds live Ch'i and also retains it. Moreover, plants also filter the air we breathe; so it is much better to use a natural form when it comes to the wood element. Though some Feng Shui experts recommend using the color 'green' as a replacement for wood, it is believed that a color cannot have the effectiveness of live wood.

Fire: Fire is considered t o be the most 'Yang' of all the elements. And since fire is so Yang, colors do work well in this instance. The natural color of fire is red. The fire element can be represented by red colors, fires and candles. While experts recommend caution while using of candles, a tea-table lamp with a red shade make excellent fire replacements. The fire element is active, strong, impulsive and also attractive. While Fire on one hand can be warm and comforting, it can be destructive on the other hand.

Earth: Earth as an element is a combination of soil combined with rock, clay, and stone etc. i.e. you can have earth element in your home by placing a terracotta pot filled with soil, pottery, ceramics or a clay statue. The colors of the earth can be represented by yellow, beige but they are not as effective as the real element itself. The earth element signifies solid, reliable, stable and patient.

Metal: Feng Shui recommends using metals in many forms as Silver, Gold, Copper, and Bronze, etc. Though the metal element signifies power, money, success and intensity, it can also be destructive. Therefore, while choosing an element consider a shape that appeals to you because Feng Shui is about creating a harmony and balance and it should look attractive in the environment. Moreover, care should be taken that you avoid using sharp points or unattractive objects just because they have the element you need. Metal element can be represented by the colors white, gold and silver or anything metallic but as usual they cannot be as effective as the real element.

Water: Water is considered the key element as it is the basis of our existence. Our planet Earth, as well as our body is mainly made up of water and since water has always been related with power, it is considered a very powerful element to use. The water element signifies flowing, traveling, learning, communicating, and influencing others. Water as an element can be gentle or destructive. Therefore, Feng Shui recommends that water as an element should always be clear and free flowing and it should never be allowed to remain stagnant as it might create many problems. From time immemorial cities and houses are preferred to be built beside water bodies which Feng Shui has now replaced by using a fountain or aquarium a fishpond in the garden. Though the element water can be replaced by colors like blue or black, it cannot have the same effective quality as the element itself.

Feng Shui experts stress on the cautious use of the elements in certain areas, because any improper uses might have an adverse effect on the wealth, health, relationships etc. or vice versa. The Five Element Theory states that

  • It can be as creative and productive as --woods fuels fire, fire burns to ash or earth; when heated, metal flows like water and water nourishes wood.
  • It can be as negative and destructive as -- wood takes nutrients from the earth; earth pollutes or absorbs water; water kills fire; fire melt metal and metal chops wood.

Feng Shui elaborates on the three cyclic phases based on which the 5 elements work together in one's environment.

Enhancing Cycle - Also referred to as the 'The Productive or Generating Cycle' is the most favored of all the cycles. This cycle which moves in a clockwise sequence creates harmony in environment and is considered to be favorable for success, happiness, health, prosperity and fulfillment in relationships. It also clarifies that in hours of crisis, it'll help you deal with the situation in a better way.

The Controlling Cycle - Also referred to as 'The Destructive or Conquering Cycle', this cycle which also move in the clockwise direction, represents confusion in the environment. Here when the elements do not seem to work together and everything seems to conflict or destroy itself -- such as relationships, finances, health, communication, etc.

Weakening Cycle - Also referred to as the 'The Exhaustive Cycle', this is the only cycle which moves in the anti-clockwise direction. Regarded as the most important cycle to delete or exhaust negative energy, Feng Shui experts use this in a specific area of the environment to eliminate negativity. But this cycle needs to be used with proper care because any improper use may weaken the energy from one's desires, goals or potential achievements.

Feng Shui is also all about balance of Yin and Yang by using the 5 universal element i.e. symbolism, colors, shape to harmonies one and other thereby rendering peace, health and prosperity.

An important concept in Feng Shui is balance. So Feng Shui suggests that when there are multiple people living in one home, the supporting elements of each individual present in the home need to be taken care of and also it is necessary to ensure that there is no major conflict due to the presence of the various elements. At the same time it's important to have all elements present in your home to achieve balance.

- What is Feng Shui
- Feng Shui Tips
- Five Elements Theory of Feng Shui
- Importance of Feng Shui
- Yin And Yang


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