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Applying the Five Element Theory

The Five Element Theory is one of the cornerstones of Classical Feng Shui and Chinese Metaphysics. In addition to the Five Element Theory, a practitioner creates balance by using the Yin and Yang Theory, the Bagua and the Lo Shu Square.

There is a symbiotic relationship between the Five Element Theory and colors when it comes to personalized Feng Shui. We are all drawn to certain colors and shapes because that is a reflection of who we are. The Five Elements Theory symbolize the natural rhythm and flow of the universe that is inherit and reflected on our planet. By practicing the same rhythm within our homes, we can achieve balance. When we are in tune with our nature and who we are, we use the elements that we are drawn to. That is reflected in the objects we surround ourselves with as well as the colors we choose and articles we wear.

The Five Elements are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. These Five Elements interact in three different types of cycle. For the purpose of this particular blog, I will describe the colors and seasons that are inherent in each one of the elements. Water: The Element of Flow

Water is an element we cannot live without. It is represented by the colors black and

deep blues. I have often wondered about the popularity of blue jeans. Like water, it is a universal item. Everyone that would otherwise be drawn to other elements and colors can wear it well. In the productive cycle, also known as the SHEN cycle, the element of metal is beneficial to water. Metal is represented by the colors white, pastel and metallic. Water represents the winter season. In the Midwest, there is a lot of snow. Snow is a form of water. Flowing and undulated shapes represent the water element.

Wood: The Element of Growth

Wood is represented by the colors green and brown. Since water is beneficial to trees and plants, SHEN cycle, the color blue is also beneficial to people who have the wood element on their chart. Wood represents the season of Spring, rebirth and all vegetation. It is also represented by the shape of a rectangle. Fire: The Element of Intensity.

Fire is represented by all shades of the color red. When wearing or using the color red, it gets our attention immediately. Wood is beneficial to fire, as it feeds it. SHEN cycle. For people who have the fire element in their birth year, various shades of browns and greens are favorable. Fire represents the season of summer, the warmth and heat. The triangle shape represents fire.

Earth: The Grounding Element

Located at the center of the bagua, everything revolves around it. It is essential to the others. Earth tones as well as yellow color hues are a representation of the earth element. Fire feeds earth, SHEN cycle, so reds are beneficial to earth. Earth has no season associated with it. The square is the shape associated with the earth element. Metal: This Element of Strength and Vitality.

It is represented by the colors white, metalics and pastels. Earth tones are also beneficial, SHEN cycle, because metal comes from earth. The circle represents the metal element, it is a continuous line and shape that does not break, like coins. Metal is associated with the fall season.

Knowing these elements and what they represent, are helpful to give us a clue to what a person is attuned to. Are they firm and rigid or they happy go lucky? A person born in a metal year more than likely will not have any red in their home. Red represents fire and fire melts metal. When I visit client’s homes, I can immediately see what elements they resonate with the most by the décor of their home. One of my clients had a few rooms of blue color wall and accessories, as well as photos and pictures of various lakes they visited.

The tell tale sign was their family room that had an entire wall filled with a collection of wall clocks. The faces of the clocks where mostly white and they were all round. This is the home of a person born in the year of a metal element.

To find out what your element is, look through the first and 4rth column of the chart on the resource page of this site. In the Chinese astrological system, the five elements are known as the “10 Heavenly Stems”. That means that there is a Yang and a Yin year for each of the five elements. The first chronological time the element is present is always yang. Yang being more active, Yin being receptive.

Knowing your elements and that of others will tell you why you are drawn to certain colors, shapes and seasons. It will also tell you what is beneficial and nourishing to yourself and others. I invite you to test your element colors by wearing items that are associated with it by colors and shapes. Ask or observe others’ feedback and actions. Note that having the colors and shapes in your environment can be nourishing to you too.

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Note: A version of this blog has been previously published on

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