Basics of Five Element Theory
Dynamic, ebb and flow, and the circle of life are just a few ways of describing the rthymic balance we experience in life on an everyday basis. The early Chinese were astute observers of nature. They witnessed that there was a fundamental movement between all things in nature. They summed up this observation with the development of a philosoophy; the interplay of yin and yang.
Yin describes things that are darker, heavier, deeper, more hidden, slower moving, and cool. Yang describes things that are bright, light, on the surface, fast moving, and warm. The five elements of Chinese medicine are the first five fundamental things that are created by the interplay between yin and yang. In fact, the five elements are descriptions of yin and yang on a gradient scale. Extreme Yang is known as Fire, while extreme Yin is known as Water. Yang within Yin is known as Wood, while Yin within Yang is known as metal. Earth was originally the centralized balancing point upon which all the other elements pivoted.
Five Elements and Life Cycle
The five elements describe our journey through life. We are born into the Wood phase of life where we are growing, expanding, rising, and sprouting. We move into our early adulthood in the Fire phase of life where we are exploring, diffusing, finding love, and starting to earn a living. The high point of life is the Earth phase. Earth time is a balanced time, where things are flowing along, and we feel solid. Earth time is also a crossing point or a bridge leading us to the second half of our life. After Earth time, comes Metal time, or the Metal phase of life. Metal time is where things start to contract, consolidate, and solidify. Metal time is our later adult years, often when people in America decide to retire. After Metal comes Water. The Water phase or Water time of life includes our very old age where we once again become flexible and fluid. The Water Phase is also associated with Pregnancy and the seeds of new life. In the journey of the five elements, there is no end, only new beginnings as the cycle recreates itself.
The five elements of Chinese medicine have many associations, and vast applications. They correspond to various organs and meridians in the human body. They relate to our physical environment. They even related to interior design when we apply them through the principles of Feng Shui. It is my desire to share with you the wisdom and practical applications that the five elements can have to various areas of life. Please look for upcoming blog posts where I’ll share stories, insights, practical wisdom, and a dose of good humor.
Until next time,
I’m Jocelyn Michel, with you every step of the way.