Understand the 5 Elements – Simplified Guide for Beginners

How 5 Elements used in Chinese Metaphysics?

Five Elements (五行)  also known as 5 transformation energy concepts came into maturity during the Han Dynasty era.

These 5 elements theory can be used in many different ways until today such as Chinese medicine, Fengshui, Bazi.

For Chinese Medicine or TCM,  if the person having heart health problems.  In the five elements, the heart is representing fire and to make sure the Liver is well maintained which is representing Wood. Why is it so? Because the Wood element generates the Fire element to make the Fire element stronger.

five elements

In Fengshui, the direction, shapes, and color of the objects do correlated to the five elements in the Fengshui practice.

For example colors like red, orange represents the Fire element.  For Shape, like rectangular referring to the Wood element.

As for Bazi, a person born in the hour, day, month, and year does correlate with different elements. Different hours, days, months, and years have different elements and that is how we interpret the Bazi chart how these elements interacting with each other.

The concept of 5 Elements

The 5 elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. Each element has its own characteristic like its colors, shapes, seasons, directions, human organs, and many more.

There is 2 type of different cycles to represent how these 5 elements are correlated to each other.

These five elements cycles are the productive cycle, the destructive cycle, and the controlling cycle. These 2 different cycles do help strike a balance and harmony in our environment.

The Productive Cycle

In the 5 elements productive cycle, we will able to see how these 5 elements produce or generate.

5 Elements Productive Cycle

In the above chart, we can see that:

Water generates Wood – Water produces Wood element by watering the woods and plants.

Wood generates Fire – where wood is able to feed the Fire to make it stronger.

Fire generates Earth – as it Fire will produce Earth which can represent ashes.

Earth generates Metal – where Earth able to turn metal the ashes will turn into mineral resources like ore.

Metal generates Water –  the Metal will condense and produce into water form.

Weakening the Elements

The productive cycle will also cause the element to be weakened. For example when Wood generates Fire where Fire will be stronger but Wood will be weaker at the same time.

The Controlling Cycle

In the 5 elements controlling cycle, we will able to see how these 5 elements weaken or counter each other.

5 Elements Controlling Cycle


In the above chart, we can see the following of how these five elements correlated with each other in the destructive cycle.

Water is able to control Fire as it will extinguish the fire with water.

Fire controlled Metal by melting the metal using Fire.

Metal countered Wood as Metal able to chop off the Wood with an axe.

Wood can weaken the Earth by extracting all the essence of the earth to become barren.

Earth able to dam the Water by absorbing all the water

Keeping your bathroom or toilet clean

This is the most basic stuff to do and ensure your toilet does not produce any bad smells which will lead to affecting your house Fengshui. Cleaning your toilet or bathroom at least once a week will be good enough.


The main purpose of the 5 elements theory is to maintain well balance in the environment. It still being used today for many purposes like Fengshui, Bazi, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).

Do let us know about your thoughts about 5 elements? Do you use color to enhance your home or for yourself?

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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