Feng Shui Elements

Sally Painter

Five elements of feng shui are important principles governing this Chinese philosophy of placement.

The Five Elements of Feng Shui

Feng Shui philosophy states that chi (energy) lives in all things. It's the life force of nature. This energy is comprised of two opposite forces yin (female) and yang (male). The balance of these two energies is the ultimate perfection of bringing earth (yin) and heaven (yang) together in harmony.

Creation of Chi Energy Cycles

Chi energy is pure when it first enters the earth but quickly goes through various transformations when it manifests into the physical. This manifestation creates five expressions of the chi energy that you know as feng shui elements. These five elements must interact in order to recreate the perfection of chi energy in the physical.

Five Elements:

  • Water
  • Wood
  • Fire
  • Earth
  • Metal

Properties of the Feng Shui Elements

The five elements of feng shui each have their own individual properties and they must be balanced correctly.

Fire

Candles represent the element of fire

Fire is considered the most powerful of all the elements and represents energy, passion, expansion and transformation. When using the fire element in your home, it can be represented by a candle, or by color, such as a red lampshade.

  • Color: red, orange and yellow
  • Season: summer
  • Direction symbolized: south

Wood

The element of wood helps to develop creative energies such as inspiration, motivation and passion. It represents personal growth and renewal and purifies and redirects chi. Wood can be represented by plants, trees or by green objects, for example green pillows.

  • Color: green and sometimes purples, not pastels
  • Season: spring
  • Direction symbolized: east and southeast

Water

The water element of feng shui is directly related to the flow of money and career. Flowing water helps us to let go of things we no longer need. Still water helps the surrounding energies to be calm and offers the feeling of a new beginning and renewed strength. The water element can be represented by a water feature, fish tank or pond. Crystals, wavy statues or artwork and paintings of water scenes are other ways the element of water may be represented.

  • Color: blues
  • Season: winter
  • Direction symbolized: north

Metal

The element of metal draws and unifies all of the elements together. They act as transmitters, conducting the various energies to different areas. Metal stimulates mental strength and intellectual abilities, making it easier to focus and think clearly.

  • Color: white, silver, gray and black
  • Season: fall
  • Direction symbolized: west and northwest

Earth

Representing permanence, stability and home, the earth element is solid giving a sense of security and grounding support. It strengthens the feelings of safety and adds a sense of comfort from within. Rock features, thick carpet, antique pottery and old books help to bring the earth element indoors.

  • Color: brown, beige, sierra and other muted colors
  • Season: end of summer
  • Direction symbolized: center, northeast and southwest

Cycle of Chi Through Five Elements

Chi first transforms into water as it falls from the heavens. When the transformed chi meets the earth, it undergoes another transformation as it begins to nourish plant life. The next manifestation of the chi energy is into plants (wood). From this incarnation, chi transforms once more, this time into fire as the plant or wood feeds it with powerful energy. Out of the fire, chi transforms into ash (earth). The final stage is chi recreating itself into metal. The cycle then repeats itself with metal drawing water from the heavens.

In feng shui, the chi cycle is the perfect manifestation and movement of chi energy through the earth plane. Everything in life recreates this same cycle in order to maintain balance. Through the application of feng shui principles for chi energy, you can bring balance to your home and your life.

Elemental Cycle of Life

The chi moving through the world to create five elements has a byproduct of three distinct cycles of energy.

  • Creative Cycle: The creative cycle is the first energy cycle created by chi. When chi falls to the earth it creates water that becomes the creator of all life. Without chi transforming into water, there would be no life. The creative cycle continues through the rest of the elements in order of creation.
  • Controlling Cycle: This is the destructive cycle. Simply put, this cycle reveals that each element has the ability to destroy the other elements when the creative cycle is out of balance.
  • Weakening Cycle: The third cycle of chi is a weakening one. This occurs when the chi energy can no longer nourish the elements. A weak chi cannot support the natural cycle and therefore all of the elements also weaken. In this cycle, the energy cycle operates in reverse.

Working with the Five Elements

Now that you have a better understanding of the five elements and the roles each places in balancing the chi energy, you can begin working to balance the chi in your home. Remember that the key to successful feng shui is achieving yin and yang balance. Unless there is a natural element like an outside land formation or a missing corner in your home, you should be able to achieve balance by using the less is more theory.

Directions and Elements

Compass directions and elements have matched energies that will help you when you begin balancing the energies in your home. Although compass school of feng shui requires greater math calculations to determine the kind of energies residing in your home, you can use basic feng shui principles and applications to help lessen any negative effects.

  • North: Water
  • Northeast: Water and Metal
  • East: Wood
  • Southeast: Wood and Fire
  • South: Fire
  • Southwest: Fire and metal
  • West: Metal
  • Northwest: Metal and Water

Less Really Is More

You don't need to take a minimalist approach to your interior design, but when adding feng shui elements, it's always best to do so in moderation. Depending on the school of feng shui you practice, you can place elements into your rooms to strengthen a weakened energy. This will take some practice and you may have a few false starts, but if you are persistent, you'll learn and soon find the correct remedies or cures found in element principles.

Restoring Element Balance

Traditional feng shui practitioners believe that working with the five elements of feng shui is the only true way to restore or correct positive chi flow to your home.

Feng Shui Elements