The 5 element theory of classical Feng Shui and Traditional Chinese Medicine states that everything in time and space is associated with one of 5 elements of Qi energy.
The Five Elements were considered by the ancient Taoists as the five forces of nature that shape and stimulate the natural and human environment. These elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water.
The Qi energy of the 5 elements moves similar to an invisible breeze; they move in a sequence. There is an entrance to the setting, moving through the setting, and then exiting the setting. The setting could be a physical space such as a room in a house or it could be a physical body (this theory is a fundamental principle of moving Qi through the body through Chinese medicine and acupuncture.)
Everything in time and space has associations with the five elements.
Wood represents a growing force, moving upwards and forwards. It is associated with growth, education, spring, rectangular shapes and the colour green. When unbalanced, wood can be negative and represent force or aggression.
Fire is a radiant energy, always moving and expanding. It is associated with summer, triangular shapes, and the colour red. Emotionally, fire represents joy, passion and inspiration. Too much fire and you may find yourself in a space of conflict or mania.
Earth is a contracting, stabilizing force, representing protection, concentration and conservation. There is no Earth season yet Earth represents the bridge and mixture of energies between each season. It is associated with the colour brown and square shapes. It denotes fairness and wisdom but in excess is associated with worry and restriction.
Metal is all about contracting and condensing. It is associated with autumn, the colour white, and round shapes. It is associated with integrity, authority, decision making, strength and solitude. In excess, it suggests melancholy, destruction, and obstruction.
Water is a flowing energy, spreading and penetrating. It is associated with winter, the colour black, and an irregular shape. In balance, it represents communication, wisdom, and deep emotions. In excess, it can be associated negatively with fear, nervousness, and stress.
The five element theory can be used to introduce balance in a space – where do you need more balance in your life?
(Photo Credit: flickr.com/Janet Ramsden)