Understanding the Feng Shui Earth Element

Karen Frazier
Living room with feng shui earth element

Earth is one of the five elements of feng shui. Using the earth element appropriately in feng shui design can optimize how chi, or energy, flows in the spaces where you work, play, and live. You can activate the earth element by using specific materials, or you can use the earth element to strengthen or moderate other elements to create harmony and balance.

Feng Shui Earth Element Attributes

The earth element is primarily yin, which is feminine and receptive. However, it can express in a more active and masculine form, as well. Much like the planet earth, the energy of the earth element is stabilizing and centered. There are four seasons and five elements, so earth represents the in-between of seasons where they transition from one to another.

Earth Element in the Destructive Cycle

In the destructive cycle, wood weakens or diminishes earth, while earth weakens or diminishes water. Therefore, if you need to temper the element of earth, you can use a few decorative elements associated with the wood element.

Earth in the Productive Cycle

In the productive cycle, the fire element strengthens earth, and earth strengthens metal. Therefore, if you need to feed or strengthen earth elements, you can use decorative items and colors associated with the fire element. Likewise, you can use earth colors and decorations to strengthen metal element areas.

Earth Element Colors in Feng Shui Design

Colors you can use in decorating to strengthen the element of earth are neutral earthy tones, such as:

  • Yellow
  • Tan
  • Ecru
  • Light brown

Decorative Objects to Support Earth Energy

Decorative elements that reflect earth include:

Wooden zen table garden
  • Stones and crystals
  • Salt lamps
  • Items made from clay or terra cotta
  • Earthenware elements
  • A zen garden
  • Pieces of art that depict items of the earth

Additional Attributes of the Earth Element

Earth also has other attributes:

  • It is associated with the numbers five and 10.
  • The primary animal association for earth is the yellow snake.
  • Its associated planet is Saturn.
  • The primary shape associated with earth is the square.

Earth Element on the Traditional Bagua

On the traditional bagua, two trigrams have earth energies, Kūn (Earth) and Gèn (Mountain).

Kūn Trigram

Also sometimes written as K'un, the Kūn trigram contains three yin lines. On the bagua, Kūn sits in the southwest sector and is associated with the area of love and marriage. You will need to take compass readings in your home, room, or space to determine which is the Kūn sector affecting love, relationships, and marriage.

Kūn trigram
Kūn

To generate auspicious chi for love, marriage, and relationships in your spaces, use earth elements in the southwest sector, decorating with the earth elements and colors noted above. You can also strengthen this area using elements of fire, which will feed and strengthen earth.

Gèn Trigram

You'll also see this written sometimes as Ken. It is the mountain trigram, and it consists of two yin lines topped by a yang line. On the traditional bagua, it sits in the northeast sector of any room, home, or space, which is the area affecting wisdom and knowledge.

Gèn trigram
Gèn

To strengthen wisdom and knowledge, bring in earth decorative items and colors as noted above. If you don't have enough earth in these areas, you can also bring in decorative items associated with the fire element to strengthen earth.

Earth Element on the Western Bagua

The western school of feng shui doesn't use compass directions. Instead, it bases its black hat bagua on nine sectors determined by where they are located from the front door facing inward. In western feng shui, you will find the earth elements in the following sectors:

  • The love and relationships sector sits in the back, right corner from the front door facing inward. You can use the decorative colors and elements above to strengthen this area.
  • The good fortune sector sits in the very center of any space from the front door facing inward. Earth elements as noted above will strengthen the chi in this area.
  • The wisdom and growth is in the front left sector from the front door facing inward. To strengthen these aspects, decorate with earth elements and the earth-strengthening element of fire here.

When working with feng shui, it is essential you choose one of the two types of schools - western or traditional - and place items accordingly so you do not create confusing or disordered chi.

Feng Shui's Supportive Earth Element

The earth serves as the very foundation on which you live your daily life. As it is foundational physically, so does the earth element also create a solid and centering foundation energetically. Bringing the earth energy to appropriate sectors in the spaces where you live, work, and play will create a more grounded and centered energy in your life.

Understanding the Feng Shui Earth Element