Knowledge of the 5 elements and their interaction with each other is a fundamental part of Feng Shui interpretation and practice, because in the ancient Chinese view of the universe, everything in it made of one of these five elements.
The five elements are wood, fire, water, earth and metal, in no particular sequence or order. Instead, there are productive and destructive cycles, and upon these sequences are based a wide range of possible interpretations. These describe attributes, aspects and characteristics of different compass direction sectors of any living space, home, office or garden.
Water produces wood by making plants grow, it controls fire by putting it out.
Water represents winter and the colour black or dark blue.
Water flows in rivers and seas, and seeps relentlessly into the earth, quietly running away, infiltrating, eroding, and restructuring in its way. It is putting out fires and flooding the land , destroying everything on its path. Water is fluid and flexible, seeping through the tiniest pores and covering large surface areas. As an excellent element to use as a Feng Shui energizer, the water can be used in the corners of the garden that represents the wood element because water enables plants to grow and flourish. But, too much water can cause the roots to die. The balance is important.
Water is usually not good for parts of building or garden that are said to be under influence of other, fire element , that is in the South part of the home. When there is too much fire in the fire sector, than that part of the home gets too much sunlight, and then the water becomes an effective balancing agent. Where there is a preponderance of water in the garden, for instance, rock landscapes can be introduced to restore harmony since rocks belong to the earth element, which controls the water.
Fire produces earth by reducing things to ashes, it controls metal by melting it.
Fire represents summer and colour red.
Fire is an element that every garden needs if the plants are to flourish and bloom. It is the same with people. Of you wish to shine, or to have the energy and stamina to succeeded , the fire is absolutely essential. Fire is the only element that does not exist on earth of its own accord- it must be created or produces every time it is needed. The fire can not be stored as well. It does not have a tangible form, but is very powerful and it is a source of heat, light and energy. Without the light and warmth, the plants can not bloom and reproduce, water can not be harnessed into steam energy, and earth itself can not be “growing”.
Without fire, metal can not be transformed into useful tool. Fire is vital element that transforms or enhances the other four elements in Feng Shui. However, the fire must be always controlled, because of its destructive capability, fire has the most frightening potential to get out of control and cause disasters on enormous scales. The nuclear bomb symbolises the point eloquently. Too much fire is dangerous, showing us the dark side of it. So, do not have too many light in your home or garden.
The fire is generally an excellent additional element for any of the corners of the garden, especially for wood corners, since the fire gives light and warmth to plants, symbolically helping wood to bloom and reproduce itself. Fire is not good for metal corners, only in small quantities, it aids in making metal more valuable. Without heat, metal can not be manufactured into something useful and beautiful.
Wood is a fuel that produces fire, it controls earth with the roots of its plants.
Wood represents spring and the colour green.
The wood is the only element that has the ability to expand and grow of its own accord. Yet to do so, and to flourish , it needs all four of the other elements – earth to give it home, water and minerals to feed it, and the warmth and light of fire to bloom! All gardens, especially the South-east and East corners of the garden, should have the healthy presence of the other elements in order for the wood element to reach its full potential. When you consider the significance of the East and the South-east in Feng Shui, the South-east represents luck, the East represents health luck- so it is very important the wood sectors to be properly energized.
The most important general rule to consider is that there should be a mix of the five elements; none of them must dominate the others. The fire, in the form of sunlight or artificial light is necessary element in the wood sector, even though wood is said to be consumed by fire. The theory of the elements becomes progressively more and more subtle as we go deeper into practice.
Metal produces water or liquid when it is melted, it controls the wood by the metal tools.
Metal is the only lifeless element. Of the five, this is the one that associates to coldness and hardness that comes from its being completely deficient in spirit and movement. It is devoid of the vitality of fire, the flow of water, the growth of wood and the quiet breath of earth. It symbolises a rigidity that is resolute and unbending.
Nothing can bring metal to life, but it can be transformed into magnificent of tools and most beautiful of accessories and objects. Even the human body needs minerals to survive., meaning metal is one of the crucial ingredient needed for sustaining life.
Metal is supposedly the element that produces water and therefore, an excellent additional element for the Northern parts of the garden. However, at the same time, it is a supplement, needed in small quantities. If you are considering placing metal structures of metal element in your garden for decoration, it is necessary to consider the distinction of “big metal” and “small metal”. Small metal symbolises implements that transforms logs into furniture and, big metal cuts down trees and destroy wood altogether.
Earth produces metals, it controls the direction and flow of water.
The earth element dominates the world. There is more of this element than any other. The earth element is solid and tangible, usually “lying” silent and still for centuries. The only time it blows its top when the element of fire causes volcanoes to erupt and earthquakes to rumble.
However, most of the times the earth element symbolises the kind of strength that comes from being dependable and reliable.
Earth is the element that produces the metal. To create this kind of harmony in the garden, create a pebble-strewn garden, or a herb garden in the metal corners of the West and the Northern West parts of the garden. The earth is also a necessary supplement (in small quantities) for wood-without earth , wood have a hard time attempting to survive and flourish, so the placing decorative pebbles in the East and South-east corners of the garden, would be good idea.
None of these elements are better, stronger, or more important than the other. They exert equal influence on the human condition. However, the effect (good or bad) of these elements depends on their inter-action with one another.
The sequences of the elements offer clues on the outcome of luck, taken from both a spatial and a time dimensions, and also point to corrective measures that can be taken to counter a diagnosed disharmony of the elements.