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Five Elements (Wuxing)


The Chinese Five Elements philosophy is a Taoism system that are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, Feng Shui, numerology, physiognomy and fortunetelling. Its meaning covers the five basic dynamics of the universe: water, fire, meta, food, and earth. Ancient Chinese philosophers used the theory of Five Elements to explain the formation of all things on the earth and their interactive relationships.


What is the Meaning and Characteristics of Five Elements?


Five elements refer to Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth five elements.


Element

Meaning

Characteristics

Water

Things that are cool, cold, moisturizing and moving downwards.

Wisdom

Fire

Things that are warm, hot and arising upwards.

Propriety

Wood

Things that can grow, ascend and develop freely.

Benevolence

Metal

Things that are purifying and descending.

Righteousness

Earth

Things that are bearing and receptive.

Honesty


Theory of the Five Elements: the Balancing Relationships of Generation and Overcoming

Generation interaction: Wood makes Fire; Fire creates Earth; Earth stores Metal; Metal generates water.

Overcoming interaction: Fire melts Metal; Metal chops Wood; Wood grows in Earth; Earth absorbs Water; Water quenches Fire.

Trigram Chart


Chinese Five Elements Charts


Five Elements and Fengshui


Elements

Metal

Wood

Water

Fire

Earth

Heavenly Stems

Geng, Xin

Jia, Yi

Ren, Gui

Bing, Ding

Wu, Ji

Eight Tri-grams

Qian, Dui

Zhen, Xun

Kan

Li

Gen, Kun

Planet

Venus

Jupiter

Mercury

Mars

Saturn

Days

Friday

Thursday

Wednesday

Tuesday

Saturday

Directions

West

East

North

South

Middle

Colors

White

Green

Black

Vermilion

Brown

Divine Animals

White Tiger

Green Dragon

Black Tortoise

Vermilion Bird

Or-giraffe


Five Elements and 12 Chinese Zodiacs


Elements

Metal

Wood

Water

Fire

Earth

Chinese Zodiacs

Monkey, Rooster

Tiger, Rabbit

Rat, Pig

Snake, Horse

Ox, Dragon, Goat, Dog

Directions

West

East

North

South

Middle


5 Elements: Seasons and Solar Terms


Elements

Wood

Fire

Metal

Water

Earth

Seasons

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Intermediate

Earthly Branches

Yin

Mao

Chen

Si

Wu

Wei

Shen

You

Xu

Hai

Zi

Chou

Chen

Wei

Xu

Chou

Solar Months

Feb.

Mar.

Apr.

May

Jun.

Jul.

Aug.

Sep.

Oct.

Nov.

Dec.

Jan.

Apr.

Jul.

Oct.

Jan.

Solar Terms

Spring Begins

Insects Waken

Qingming Festival

Summer Begins

Seeding Millet

Moderate Heat

Autumn Begins

Dews

Cold Dews

Winter Begins

Heavy Snow

Moderate Cold

Weather

Spring Showers

Spring Center

Corn Rain

Creatures Plenish

Summer Solstice

Great Heat

End of Heat

Autumn Center

Frost

Light Snow

Winter Solstice

Severe Cold


The 12-Year Cycles of the Five Elements


Elements

Metal

Wood

Water

Fire

Earth

12-Year Cycle

1960 - 1971

2020 - 2031

1924 - 1935

1984 - 1995

1972 - 1983

2032 - 2043

1936 - 1947

1996 - 2007

1948 - 1959

2008 - 2019


Application of Five Elements


Five Elements in Traditional Chinese Medicine


Elements

Metal

Wood

Water

Fire

Earth

Organs (Yin)

Lung

Liver

Kidney

Heart

Spleen

Organs (Yang)

Large Intestine

Gall Bladder

Urinary Bladder

Small Intestine

Stomach

Sensory Organs

Nose

Eyes

Ears

Tongue

Mouth

Tastes

Spicy

Sour

Salty

Bitter

Sweet

Emotions

Sorrow

Angry

Fear

Happy

Longing

Food

White Food

Cyan Food

Black Food

Red Food

Yellow Food


1.Diagnosis based on Five Elements


Traditional Chinese physicians used to diagnose disease by observing and enquiring the patients based on the relationships among the five elements, organs, taste and  and the pulse condition. For example, if someone who likes to have sour food, has blue color in his face and surging pulses, this person might have liver problems. While a person who has a bitter taste in his mouth, red color on his face and surging pulsed is impacted by the element Fire and he is likely to have heart problems. With a long time of experience and practice, Chinese doctors have skillfully applied the theory to medicine field, learning and explaining the physiological phenomena with the dialectical relation of the Five Elements.


2.Acupuncture Therapy


Ancient Chinese people related the human organs with the Five Elements and apply the interactive relationships among those elements to the human organs. Therefore, acupuncturist can choose the corresponding acupoint to adjust the people’s physical condition, mind and emotion. Like demonstrated in the above table, each elements corresponds to one organ, which also corresponds to one emotion. Bad emotion can affect one’s organ and Acupuncture can help to relax people and cure organ disease. For example, if a person is angry, there is a good chance that his liver is affected. In such case, he can get an acupunture therapy at the liver point.


3.Naming Babies

Chinese people often name the newborn babies based on a lot of principles, one of the most important factor is the element. By analyzing the birth year, day, time and the family name of the baby and corresponding them to the heavenly stems and the earthly branches and the Five Elements, the baby’s life can be predicated. To avoid the bad parts of the baby’s life, certain characters containing the either compensating or overcoming elements will be chosen and this baby is believed to be successful in the future.


Read More About the Chinese Zodiacs and Their Elements


Zodiac RatZodiac OxZodiac TigerZodiac RabbitZodiac DragonZodiac SnakeZodiac HorseZodiac GoatZodiac MonkeyZodiac RoosterZodiac DogZodiac Pig

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