According to Wu Xing theory, the structure of the cosmos mirrors the five elements. Each “element” has a complex series of associations with different aspects of nature, as can be seen in the following table. In the ancient Chinese form of geomancy known as Feng Shui practitioners all based their art and system on the five elements (Wu Xing). All of these elements are represented within the Bagua. Associated with these elements are colors, seasons and shapes; all of which are interacting with each other.
Based on a particular directional energy flow from one element to the next, the interaction can be expansive, destructive, or exhaustive. With proper knowledge of such aspect of energy flow will enable the Feng Shui practitioner to apply certain cures or rearrangement of energy in a way they believe to be beneficial.
The elements are:
» metal (Chinese: 金, pinyin: jīn, ) (literal translation meaning “gold”)
» wood (Chinese: 木, pinyin: mù)
» water (Chinese: 水, pinyin: shuǐ)
» fire (Chinese: 火, pinyin: huǒ), and
» earth (Chinese: 土, pinyin: tǔ, ).
|I Ching||Wood, splinter||Fire, lightning||Earth, sand||Metal, iron||Water, ice|
|Trigrams||:|| (☴ 巽 xùn) |:: (☳ 震 zhèn)|||:| (☲ 離 lí)||::: (☷ 坤 kūn) ::| (☶ 艮 gèn)||||| (☰ 乾 qián) ||: (☱ 兌 duì)||:|: (☵ 坎 kǎn)|
The doctrine of five phases describes two Cycles of Balance, a generating or creation (生, shēng) cycle and an overcoming or destruction (克/剋, kè) cycle of interactions between the phases.
The common memory jogs to help remember which order the phases are in are:
» Wood feeds Fire;
» Fire creates Earth (ash);
» Earth bears Metal;
» Metal carries Water (as in a bucket or tap);
» Water nourishes Wood.
Other common words for this cycle include “begets”, “engenders” and “mothers”
» Wood parts Earth;
» Earth absorbs Water;
» Water quenches Fire;
» Fire melts Metal;
» Metal chops Wood.
This cycle might also be called “controls”, “restrains” or “fathers”.
There are also two Cycles of Imbalance, an overacting cycle (cheng) and an insulting cycle (wu).