Feng Shui principles - 5 elements

Each element has its own characteristics, i.e. corresponding shapes, objects, colors, sounds and emotions; elements govern not only landscape, surroundings and internal features, but also different body parts, organs and bodily functions. Therefore, mastering Five Elements qualities is crucial for good Feng Shui practice. Since we can categorize every landscape feature and/or building into Five Elements concept, for Classical Feng Shui practitioner it becomes possible not only to diagnose potentials of the existing property - but also to foresee the occurrence of probable future opportunities – or problems. Moreover, mastering over Five Elements concept might open up the chance for us to introduce necessary changes toward establishing overall harmony and that is how Five Elements hold the keys to good life of the residents and business.

Basic Feng Shui principles: Five Elements (also known as Five Transformations) 

Although all natural phenomena can be classified and explained under Ch’i and Yin/Yang theory, the Five Transformations concept can add more diversity and refinement in their understanding. Elements are continuously moving throughout nature, shaping and influencing not only landscape but also human body and mind. Therefore, this ancient theory might also provide all the necessary information needed to recognize not only the energy of the certain site and buildings, but also the overall status of the personal energy of the individuals. 

Since everything contains and exhibits qualities of at least one of the five elements, there is no wonder that certain seasons, years, days, etc., might affect our residential or commercial premises, but also our very own personal status. Five Elements are also ruling over time and this enables us to choose the site or building in tune with the current Period energy, which in turn allows us to introduce significant improvements in people’s lives. 

About Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal 

The Five Elements are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal.

Here are the basic qualities of the elements:







Water is a deep and the most mysterious of all the elements. Water also represents a quiet phase in nature (winter) when energy is withdrawn in order to be renewed and accumulated.


Water people are emotional, intelligent and philosophical.

Wood represents energy penetrating to the surface.

Since Wood element supports growth and development, whenever there is a need for growth (personal or business), Wood element can be used to boost it.

Wood people are creative and quick to react, but they tend to be impulsive and rash.


Fire is about warming and expanding. It represents the most active phase when everything reaches quickly its full potential.


Fire people are bright, passionate and enthusiastic.

Earth phase (late summer) is the most fertile one, where everything ripens and comes to its fullest.

Earth is supportive, giving & nurturing. Earth people are stable, hardworking and & diligent.

In Metal phase (autumn), energy is withdrawing, in order of preserving the matter and preparing for the winter.  Metal people are stiff, but they are also just and firm.  



Five Elements are continuously influencing each other and each element is constantly generating or weakening some other element. Complexity of their relationship can be seen in the fact that each element is the mother of one element, but in the same time the child of other one, and this fact opens up the opportunity to introduce changes simply by strengthening beneficial elements – or weakening the inauspicious ones. 

Five Elements in Feng Shui 

The energy of Five Elements is distributed throughout the nature and landscape and it might be said that elements are literary ''organizing'' the flow of Ch’i in the area. The importance of this concept is vital in Classical Feng Shui practice, for in assessing the potentials of the site, it is necessary to analyze the elevations and waterways in the context of the Five Elements. Thus, for example, cucumber-like elevations are ruled by the Wood element, while the Fire elevations are easy recognizable for their sharp peaks (valued for spiritual purposes: temples, churches, etc.). 

Certain type of elevations, when prominent, might affect the whole region. I will take an example of Mountain Saleve, featuring over landscape of Geneva; this flat-top mountain is categorized under the Earth element in Feng Shui practice, well known as upholding financial and banking activities (Geneva, capital of Genf region in Switzerland, is well known as the world financial center and the seat of the most prosperous companies and individuals).







Tall building, skyscrapers.

Tall features & vertical stripes.

Pointed roof.


Triangle shapes, bright colors.

Square buildings, flat roof.

Quadrate & heavy furniture, horizontal stripes.

Rounded buildings and domes.

Circular and elliptical features.

Irregular shapes.


Wavy designs.


Elements are affecting us from immediate surroundings, for other buildings can be classified under Five Elements theory, too; for example, low building with flat roof is the Earth element property, while skyscraper is categorized as Wood element. 

After thorough evaluation of the location, building, surroundings and occupants’ Ba Zi, it becomes possible to determine the key element(s) that can bring harmony to the certain occupants of the specific location or property. Therefore, this concept is usable not only for analyzing the energy of the site/building, but it can be applied successfully in order of harmonizing and improving the overall quality of energy, which might in turn maintain the well-being of the family and-or business.


Five Transformations for health 

From all the foregoing, it is obvious that the Five Element concept is fundamentally important for the application of many Chinese arts. Five elements theory is the core concept of ancient Chinese cosmology and philosophy, and therefore these principles were applied in various fields ranging from agriculture and geography, to the important state issues.  

Elements are governing certain organs and bodily functions






liver and gall bladder

vision and musculoskeletal system

heart and small intestine, but also pericardium, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system

spleen/pancreas and stomach, and it is in charge of digestion

lungs and small intestine, but also skin

kidneys and bladder, but it is also managing our bones and endocrine systems


Five Elements theory is an essential part of Traditional Chinese medicine from 10 century BC, when the concept was first emerged in a number of philosophical discussions.  This concept, also known as the Wu-Xing, can explain all human experience by categorizing them into five groups, based on the setting that elements reflect all levels of human existence and functioning, from anatomy and physiology, behavior, emotions and intellect, to relationships with other people, career choices, etc.



Althea S.T. is Classical Feng Shui and Ba Zi Life Dynamics consultant,Mentor, Speaker & Educator.

Her services includes:
• Residential and Commercial Feng Shui Consultation
• Ba Zi Chinese Traditional Astrology Consultation for personal guidance & counseling
• Date Selection for important personal and business events
• Workshops, corporate talks and lectures

www.classicallyfengshuied.com / FB Classically Feng Shuied / Mail: classicallyfengshuied@googlemail.com

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