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The Five Elements of Life

The 5 elements support and produce one another that shape the formation of planet Earth

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The Five Elements of Life

Through observations of the natural phenomena, ancient Chinese formulated the Five Elements theory that relates to Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, Fire being the fundamental elements that brought about the balance of planet Earth that we reside in. Essentially, the interplay of the five elements forms the universal cycle of life that provides a template that guided life principle and decisions.

Productive Cycle

The 5 elements support and produce one another that shape the formation of planet Earth

Earth produce Metal - Earth is formed by rocks and soils that contain raw metallic minerals e.g. iron, copper, lead, gold etc

Metal produce Water - Beneath Earth, the rocks and soils help store ground water that provide fresh water supply (i.e. groundwater return to lakes, streams and oozes to surface as small springs)

Water produce Wood - The ground water support the healthy growth of trees and plants

Wood produce Fire - Wood, dead branches, twigs and leaves provide natural ground fuel for fire

Fire produce Earth - Fire help break down wooden logs, dead plants tissues to smaller particles that increases soil nutrients and organic matters. It is also through volcanoes eruption that new rocks surface.


Destructive Cycle (Controlling)

As much as producing one another, the 5 elements also harm and obstruct one another

Fire destroy Metal - Fire help increases soil nutrients, but yet they destroy also some metallic minerals

Metal destroy Wood - Metallic minerals affects the growth of trees and plants, they are essential for plants' growth (without the minerals, plants are not able to survive)

Wood destroy Earth - Trees and plants suck away soil nutrients and minerals from Earth

Earth destroy Water - Soil quickly soak up rainwater

Water destroy Fire - Water extinguishes Fire i.e. rain shower helps to douse forest fires


As you can see, the five elements help produce one another, yet also harm and obstruct one another. But when all the five elements are present, all are nicely balanced out. In short, all of the five elements must be present. Take any one of them out and the whole balance will be off.

In the context of Chinese Metaphysics, all forms on Earth can be represented by one of the Five Elements. So to speak, the five elements cycle can be holistically applied to anything i.e. to improve quality of life, to achieving harmonized lifestyle that benefits health and well-being etc. For instance, when we put them into our daily life applications.

Productive Cycle:

Earth produce Metal - We mine for gold, copper and silver

Metal produce Water - We drink mineral water that provide metallic trace minerals needed for the health of our body

Water produce Wood - We use water to cultivate our crops

Wood produce Fire - We use log/charcoal to start fire

Fire produce Earth - We spread wood ash on farmland as low-grade fertilizer and liming agent


Destructive Cycle:

Fire destroy Metal - We smelt raw metal ore to acquire silver, iron, gold etc

Metal destroy Wood - We chopped trees with axe to acquire logs

Wood destroy Earth - We plant trees into Earth which provide us with oxygen during plants photosynthesis

Earth destroy Water - We build rock dam to store water

Water destroy Fire - We use water to put out Fire


To talk of business success, we can apply the five elements theory for your business planning as well

  Find out also: (click to view)
What makes a business successful
Secret to business success
How to build a successful business


Learn more about how Feng Shui can impact your business:

Real-life Case Studies
(how some businesses thrive with success while some fail terribly)


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