Earth is one of the five elements of feng shui. Using this element appropriately in design can optimize how chi, or energy, flows in the spaces where you work, play, and live.
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 this 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.
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 wood.
In the productive cycle, fire 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 fire. Likewise, you can use earth colors and decorations to strengthen metal areas.
Colors and Materials
Colors you can use in decorating to strengthen the element of earth are neutral earthy tones, such as yellow, tan, ecru, and light brown. Decorative elements that reflect earth include stones and crystals, salt lamps, items made from clay or terra cotta, and earthenware elements. A zen garden is also a lovely earth element touch. You can also use pieces of art that depict items of the earth to bring this energy.
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 on the Traditional Bagua
On the traditional bagua, two trigrams have earth energies, Kūn (Earth) and Gèn (Mountain).
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.
To generate auspicious chi for love, marriage, and relationships in your spaces, use earth elements in the southeast 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.
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.
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 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.
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.