Wood is one of feng shui's five elements. Maximizing how you use this element in design can improve the chi in your home or workspace.
Attributes of Wood
Wood has primarily yang (masculine, active) energy, but it also has elements of yin (receptive, feminine). It is associated with the season of Spring and new beginnings, new life, and new growth. It has the qualities of combined strength and flexibility.
In the destructive cycle, wood weakens earth and is weakened by metal. This means if you need less of the wood element in a design, you can add a few (but not too many) metal elements, and if you need less earth in a design, you can add a few elements of wood.
In the productive cycle, water strengthens wood and wood strengthens fire, so you can add wood elements to fire elements if you need stronger fire energy and add water elements to wood elements if you need more wood energy.
Wood colors are brown and green. Using these colors in design strengthen wood attributes.
The materials that bring wood to design are, naturally, wood (such as wooden furniture), bamboo, wicker, and healthy living plants. Likewise, representations of wood and trees in art can also bring wood to design.
Other attributes of wood include:
- It is associated with the planet Jupiter.
- Flexible young wood is associated with the number 4, which represents blessings and fortune.
- Sturdy older wood is associated with the number 3, which represents new beginnings and family.
- The feng shui animal associated with wood is the green dragon.
Wood and the Traditional Bagua
Wood is represented on the traditional bagua by two trigrams, Zhèn (Thunder) and Xùn (Wind).
Zhèn is one yang line on the bottom with two yin lines on top of it. On the bagua, Zhèn is in the east, and it is the area for family and health. Zhèn represents sturdy older wood. To find the Zhèn section of a space, you need to take compass readings and find its eastern sector.
In this sector, you can strengthen health and family by placing wood elements here, including in your decorating any of the colors or wood elements noted above, such as plants, green or brown colors, or a green dragon. Placing these elements in threes is especially auspicious.
The Xùn trigram is the opposite of Zhèn in appearance; it has one yin line on the bottom supporting two yang lines on top. It is represented by young, flexible wood. On the bauga, Xùn is in the southeast, which is the area for prosperity, wealth, and fortunate blessings.
In this sector, which you can determine with a compass, you can strengthen wealth, luck, and blessings by decorating with wood elements and colors as noted above. For both Xùn and Zhèn sectors, you can further strengthen the wood element by adding water elements and colors.
Wood and the Western Bagua
The location of the wood aspects in a home, office, or space is different if you follow the Western school of feng shui (also known as black hat feng shui). In black hat feng shui, wood is associated with the following areas of a home or space:
- Knowledge, which is in the front left corner of a space when standing at the front door facing inward
- Family and health, which is in the center left area of a space when standing at the front door facing inward
- Wealth and prosperity, which is in the back left corner of a space when standing at the front door facing inward
As in traditional feng shui, you can strengthen the energy of each of these three areas by decorating with elements and colors of wood, as well as with water elements to strengthen the wood energy.
Choosing How You Place Wood
In your home, it is essential to balance the five elements by decorating with colors and items that represent the elements in appropriate spaces. However, when doing so, it's important to choose one of the two methods - traditional or Western - and place items accordingly in order to create consistent energy flow throughout the space.