The Five Elements: The Key to Bringing Balance

image stripes of the five elements

The Five Elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water are a fundamental aspect of nature and feng shui. They provide the answers to bringing balance to spaces, people and energies. Many people find the phases confusing. This is where a feng shui practitioner can help! We’re trained to analyze the Five Elements and translate the result. We cut through many layers or information and present options to bring harmony to your space.

The Five Elements are found throughout nature. They apply to much more than your land, home, office or workspace. They are applied to people, personalities, health, food, directions, the planets, you name it.

Each element works in relationship to the others through three primary phases: the creation (or strengthening) cycle, the controlling (or overpowering) cycle and the reduction (or softening) cycle.


Five Element Creation Cycle

In the creation phase, each element adds to the power of the one that follows it:

  • Metal carries Water
  • Water nourishes Wood
  • Wood feeds Fire
  • Fire creates Earth
  • Earth contracts to Metal

Metal is formed deep within the earth. It hardens and carries water. Water, in the form of condensation, feeds the Wood energy of plants and trees. Wood is used as fuel for Fire. When Fire burns, Earth (ash) is created. Over time, the Earth contracts and Metal is formed.

You use the creation cycle in your space when you want to add more of an element. For example, if you’d like to strengthen the Wood (vitality) element, you could add the Water element in the form of a mirror, the color black, actual water or virtual water.


Five Element Controlling Cycle

The controlling cycle is a cycle where one element overpowers another element. You see this in nature when:

  • Metal is used to chop Wood (an ax)
  • Wood breaks up the roots of Earth (the roots of a tree)
  • Earth dams Water (sandbags)
  • Water extinguishes Fire (rain, also a hose)
  • Fire melts Metal (volcanic eruption)

If you have too much of an element in your space, this cycle is a great way to bring it under control. For example, if an environment is too sluggish and stuck due to overwhelming Earth energy, bringing in Water (in the form of a mirror, the color black, actual water or virtual water) is a quick way to begin to rebalance it.


Five Element Reduction Cycle

The reduction cycle is a gentler approach to balancing a space. You use this cycle to take the edge off an element that may be too strong. In this cycle,

  • Wood absorbs Water
  • Fire consumes Wood
  • Earth smothers Fire
  • Metal depletes the Earth
  • Water holds Metal

If you prefer a gentle approach vs. a drastic one when something is out of balance, the reduction cycle is a good one to use. For example, too much Water energy in the form of many windows or mirrors is easily balanced by views of plants and trees or the addition of plants and greenery to your space.


Ti’an Five Element Sculpture Garden

Maureen St. Germain, author of the best-selling book, Waking Up in 5D, sent me a series of photos from a Five Element sculpture garden in Ti’an China. The sculptures are amazing! See if you can recognize the power of the energies through each sculpture:

wood sculpture five elements

This is an interpretation of the Wood element. Do you see how it represents trees and upward vitality?


fire sculpture 5 elements

Here’s the interpretation of Fire. It’s a vibrant and transformative energy.


Earth Sculpture 5 Elements

The energy of Earth has solid, stable qualities. In this interpretation I see the many layers of earth in the sculpture and a very solid bottom in the accompanying symbol.


Metal Sculpture 5 Elements

Metal is a strong energy. It can cut through things and get directly to the heart of any matter. Metal brings clarity.


Water Sculpture 5 Elements

Water flows, swirls and creates a ripple effect. Do you get the sense of that here?


5 Sculptures in Ti’an Five Element Sculpture Garden

Here’s a view of the sculptures as you enter via the Wood element. Following the path clockwise, you’ll see the creation cycle of Fire, Earth and Metal. Water is hidden from this view:

If you do a Google search on Five Element sculpture gardens, you’ll find many throughout the world.

Contact Peg if you’d like help analyzing the Five Elements in any room in your space. When you feel comfortable with how the elements work together, you’ll have an easier time bringing balance to your space and to your life.