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Aligned Alchemy: Breaking Down The Five Elements Theory of Feng Shui

The Five Elements are perhaps the most fundamental principle of Feng Shui. Rooted in the belief that the world is composed of five core elements, this theory provides insights into the movement and balance of energy, or Qi, within a space or within our selves.

In this post we'll delve into this fascinating teaching of Feng Shui and explore how it can bring balance, harmony and vitality to your surroundings.


The term "Feng Shui" originates from ancient Chinese culture and is comprised of two Chinese characters: 風 (fēng) and 水 (shuǐ), which translate to "wind" and "water". In Chinese cosmology, Wind and Water are regarded as the fundamental elements that shape the landscape and govern the flow of Qi, or vital energy, in the environment.

It's a universal law: Natural forces have a profound influence on the land, and in human life. The goal of feng shui is to create a soothing flow of energy, similar to wind or water, to bring good fortune.

As we strive to manifest spatial harmony, we can harness the energetic qualities of wind, water and all earthly forces to create environments that support our health, wealth, and well-being.

The Five Elements (Wu Xing)

In Chinese philosophy, medicine, and astrology the concept of the Five Elements has a prominent standing. By mimicing the natural world in our built environments we not only create beautiful and functional spaces, but also a sense of peace and order in the subconcious mind.

Wood (Mu)

Energy: Yang

Themes: growth, renewal, vitality, expansion, flexibility, creativity, and upward movement

Color: Greens/Browns

Shape: Rectangular/vertical

Season: Spring

Body; Liver

Direction: East and Southeast

Guas: Wealth/Finances, Past/Heritage

Fire (Huo)

Energy: Yang

Themes: passion, transformation, illumination,  warmth, enthusiasm, and dynamic action

Color: Pinks, Reds, Oranges

Shape: Triangle

Season: Summer

Body: heart and small intestines.

Direction: South

Gua: Fame/Recognition

Earth (Tu)

Energy: Balanced

Themes: Balancing, grounding, nurturing, stability, security, safety, nourishment, fertility, and sustenance and abundance.

Color: Tans, Yellows

Shape: Square, Horizontal

Season: Transitions between seasons

Body: belly and pancreas

Directions: Center, Southwest, and Northeast

Guas: Love/Relationships, Knowledge/Wisdom, Health/Wellbeing

Metal (Jin)

Energy: Yin

Themes: transmission/conduction, clarity, precision, logic, strength, focus, organization, and refinement

Color: Grays, Whites

Shape: Round

Season: Autumn

Body: Lungs, Skin

Directions: West and Northwest

Gua: Future/Legacy, Community/Connection

Water (Shui)

Energy: Yin

Themes: emotions, creativity, adaptable, fluidity, intuition, renewal, wisdom, flexibility, and depth

Color: Blues, Blacks

Shape: Irregular

Season: Winter

Body: the kidneys and sense of  hearing.

Direction: North (front entrance

Gua: Career/Purpose

The Five Elements Cycle

The five earth elements are essential to human life and order in the world. Together they function as a complete system through endless natural cycles of construction, destruction and maintenance. .

There is a dynamic relationship among each of the 5 elements, as each both nourishes and controls another in a continuous cycle of creation and regulation:

Generating Cycle

Creative / Constructive / Productive / Nourishing Cycle

In this cycle, each element supports, enhances and advances the next element in a harmonious flow of energy.

  • Wood fuels Fire

  • Fire produces Earth

  • Earth gives rise to Metal (

  • Metal holds Water

  • Water nourishes Wood

Controlling Cycle

Destructive / Dominating/ Overcoming Cycle  

Conversely, each element also exerts control over another element to maintain balance and prevent excess.

  • Wood roots from Earth

  • Earth absorbs Water

  • Water extinguishes Fire

  • Fire melts Metal

  • Metal cuts Wood

Reducing Cycle 

Here each of the five elements reduces the previous element as we view  them in their natural circular, counterclockwise pattern.

  • Wood absorbs Water

  • Water shrinks Metal

  • Metal reduces Earth

  • Earth dampens Fire

  • Fire burns Wood

Applying the Five Elements Theory in Your Home

Understanding the Five Elements Theory and Cycle is essential for creating harmonious environments that support health, prosperity, and well-being. By assessing the elemental composition of a space and identifying imbalances or disruptions in the elemental flow, Feng Shui practitioners can recommend adjustments and enhancements to optimize energy flow and promote harmony.

For example, if a space feels

  • stagnant or lacks vitality, introducing elements associated with Wood or Fire can stimulate growth and rejuvenation.

  • chaotic or overly dynamic, incorporating elements of Metal or Earth can bring clarity and organization.

There are also more structured approaches. A Feng Shui Bagua Map is a tool which serves as a framework for assessing and optimizing energy flow within a space. It divides spaces into nine sections, or Guas, each representing different aspects of life. When the bagua is superimposed on a floorplan and analyzed from an energetic lens it can reveal elemental excess or deficiencies. Color, shapes, symbols, sensory and transcendental enhancements can create balance in all five elements, with slight dominance of three in a tri-gram of the elemental cycle.

TRANSCENDENTAL CURE: Create a universal container cure using a box, bowl, bag or jar and incorporating items from each element. Great for altar spaces!

Wrapping It Up

There is an interconnectedness of all things in the universe and an interplay of energies in every environment. The Five Elements theory in Feng Shui is a form of Alchemy, emphasizing the transformative nature of energy and the cyclical process of creation and destruction among elements, fostering growth and positive change. By embracing the wisdom of these ancient principles and applying them thoughtfully in our homes and workplaces, we can cultivate spaces that nourish the body, mind, and spirit.

Ready to unlock the transformative power of the five elements in your space? Whether you're seeking greater peace and prosperity, trying to manifest relationships or opportunities, or overall incorporating greater harmony and balance in your surroundings, I am here to guide you on your journey. Schedule a consultation today and let's harmonize your environment to align with the natural rhythms of the universe.


Erin is a certified feng shui consultant, energy healer, wellness coach, and holistic growth strategist.

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