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The Elements of Feng Shui

Aug 17, 2007
The Feng Shui energy (or Chi) of an object, person, or place, relates to whatever is in its space, and the flow of Chi is unique in every living environment. These forces are always moving and always seeking balance (Yin and Yang), which rely on the Five Elements of water, wood, metal, earth, and fire, and they are believed to affect everything we do. Each element has its own particular energy that radiates to everyone and everything else in its proximity.

Although the properties of Feng Shui elements are individually important, what is more important is the positive or destructive effect that each element can have on the other. If for example, you have a room that lacks the wood element, you would have to supply a water element as well, because water is what enables wood to grow. Feng Shui elements can either be harmonious and unified, or they can be ridden with conflict and cause anxiousness, worry and depression. Each element has its unique properties, and I've listed them below:

Water
Water is fluid, and can signal networking, communication, professional opportunities and wealth. It also indicates travel and communication and relates to literature, the arts, and the media. Water can be both gentle (like soft rainfall) or violent (like a hurricane). Water nourishes all living things, but can also wear away the hardest rock.

Wood
Wood promotes creative energies and development. It can be pliant and bending, like the willow, or strong and unyielding, like the oak. Wood is sociable and community minded. It also represents birth and early childhood.

Metal
Metal elements are transmitters and they conduct energy. Metal generates harvest, business and success. On the negative side, metal also indicates the sword and can be destructive and violent. Various types of metals are considered very precious for their association with health. For example, many people wear copper bracelets for this reason. But too much metal in a living space can attract too much energy and can be destructive.

Earth
Earth gives stability and represents permanence. It's associated with real estate and legacies. Earth can be patient, just, honest and methodical. However, it can also be smothering and demanding. It should be used in moderation.

Fire
The element of fire is considered the most powerful of all five elements and represents energy and passion. It can also be a sign of danger. When there is too much fire present, it can be destructive. Fire warms and cheers, but it can also burn and destroy.

To Feng Shui believers, each of these elements has its own unique personality that either enables it to "get along with" the other elements, or it will be in discord with them when the balance is not right. To find such balance, it would indeed require a systematic study of spiritual Feng Shui. Happy trails to those seeking Feng Shui enlightenment; seek and you just might find!
About the Author
Timothy Green is the co-author of SPEAK E-Z CHINESE In Phonetic English. You can find fun and easy Mandarin lessons, as well as travel and culture tips about China at The Cathay Cafe.
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