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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Outline of the 5 Element Theory or Wu Xing

The concept to the 5 element theory is vast.  This post will provide just a brief outline.  I'm going from memory and gathering from various sources found in an old notebook.  If you are interested in learning more let me know, seek out books or search the internet.

To approach 5 Element theory, a background in Yin Yang theory is primary.  The blog uploads with the more recent post first so although I am covering the material backwards it will fall into place as it needs to. 

The 5 Elements


"Without growth there is no development.  Without control, hyperactivity will lead to harm." - Ancient Saying

The elements fall into in a circle.  This is called the supporting or creation cycle.  In the most simplest terms:
Fire burns, the remaining ash turns into Earth.
Within Earth we find metals.
Whether through human engineering or simply Water falling on or through Metal within the Earth, Metal channels & directs Water.
Water helps trees (Wood) grow.
Wood produces fire.
What remains of the Fire turns to Earth...

When charted in a circle with starred arrows in the center, a controlling cycle is found inside:
Fire forges & shapes Metal
Earth channels Water as in shapes of rivers, disbursing it into mud or containing it as ponds or lakes
Metal (in the form of an ax or saw) cuts Wood
Water extinguishes Fire
Wood controls Earth (shading it, roots moving it, shaping it, its debris building it)

A harmful promoting cycle also exists which can be approached another time. 

There are no hard and fast rules.  For example, dumping dirt on a fire will extinguish it.  Although there are stronger tendencies, the dance and interplay can move in many directions. 

Each element has corresponding meridians (lines of energy points used in acupressure & acupuncture) and organs, emotions, physical & personality characteristics, season of the year and influences interpersonal relationships.

Corresponding Meridians
Fire:  small intestine, heart, triple burner, conception vessel meridians
Earth:  spleen, stomach
Metal: lung, large intestine
Water: kidney, bladder
Wood:  gall bladder, liver

Fire: joy & happiness
Earth: sympathy, love
Metal: grief, sadness
Water: fear
Wood: anger

Fire:  Most yin of all, a more active, flamboyant person, the dancing flame, sometimes exhibiting too much courtesy, red glow to the face, laughs a lot, tends to use humor to hide true emotions. 
Earth:  Day-to-day worker, maintains, nurtures, gets things done, has endurance and stamina, perhaps heavier in the hips, can be depressed and have a martyr or victim image as often the personality is one quite busy supporting and nurturing others.  The negative state of an Earth type is worry.
Metal:  Very yang, logical, organized, perhaps has a monotone voice, slow to trust others, generally "metals" tend to be wealthy, has a very good or a very bad sense of smell
Water:  On the positive, displays courage; on the negative displays fear.  Sleep is necessary for good health. Family stress can be problematic.  Deep emotional therapies are helpful.  
Wood:  Sometimes tall, thinner, tree-like.  Enjoys planning, design.  Although strong and flexible with deep roots there remains a vulnerability to the wind, winds of change.  When angry, will clench their jaw, fold their arms or maybe throw stuff.  Although we may associate Fire with anger, the real heat of this emotion is found closer to the burning Wood.  

So far, do you really identify with one of the elements?  Now, some people identify strongly with one, while others may easily have predominant characteristics of two.   

I most identify with Wood yet see myself in all of them.

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