The Feng Shui 5 Elements Theory of Cycles

Feng shui elements

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We need the presence of all five feng shui elements in our home or office space in order to thrive and feel healthy. It is very important to understand the Bagua and know how to bring the required feng shui elements for each specific Bagua area, be it with colors, shapes or specific images. It is equally important to know how to strengthen or weaken the presence of a specific feng shui element.

Illustrative Example

From studying the Bagua, you know that the east area is governed by the wood feng shui element. The fireplace, being a fire element item, is too strong for the wood because fire burns the wood, which makes the fireplace an undesirable design feature in the east.

Does this mean that the house has bad feng shui because it has a fireplace in the east? No, it doesn't. What it does mean, though, is that there is a potential for burnout and stress for people living in this house. East feng shui area is the area connected to health & family relationships.

It is important to have a strong and vibrant wood element in order to bring the desired quality of energy to a home. When the Wood element is weakened, or destroyed by a strong Fire in the East, the quality of energy needed to maintain good health for people living in this home is weak.

As a fireplace is not easily removed or repositioned, what type of feng shui cures can you apply? This is where the knowledge about the two main cycles of the five feng shui elements is very helpful. There are two main cycles of interaction between the five feng shui elements: Productive (cycle of creation) and Destructive (cycle of destruction.)

The Productive Cycle

  • Water nourishes Wood
  • Wood nourishes Fire
  • Fire nourishes Earth
  • Earth nourishes Metal
  • Metal nourishes Water

You will use the Productive, or Creative, cycle when you need to strengthen a particular feng shui element. For example, let’s say, you need to strengthen the wood feng shui element in a specific area. Besides the obvious step of bringing more wood energy (with plants, wood décor items, colors green and brown, etc), you will also focus on bringing more of the water element because it nourishes the wood. You can do that with an actual water feature such as an aquarium or a fountain, with images of water, mirrors, as well as décor elements in deep blue or black colors in fluid shapes.

The Destructive Cycle

  • Water weakens Fire
  • Fire weakens Metal
  • Metal weakens Wood
  • Wood weakens Earth
  • Earth weakens Water

You will use the Destructive Cycle when you need to weaken a particular feng shui element in your home or office. For example, if the water element in a specific area is too strong and you cannot remove the decor element that brings the Water energy—such as mirrored closet doors in the west area—then you need to weaken the water element. In order to do that, you will bring the earth element to put down/absorb the excess water energy.

Decor-wise, you can do any of the following: bring in several big to medium-size earthenware vases, have a beige rug with a predominantly square pattern, paint the walls in a light yellow or beige color and/or bring feng shui art with a strong earth element presence.

Using the Cycles

Now that you understand the basics of the productive and destructive cycles of the five feng shui elements, let’s get back to our example of a fireplace in the east area. Let's see how we can remedy the situation by using the newly acquired knowledge about the two main cycles of feng shui elements.

Our Goal

To strengthen the wood element and weaken the fire element in the east feng shui area of a home.

Feng Shui Design Strategy

We need to bring in the water element because water nurtures the wood and at the same time puts down the fire. You can hang a big mirror above the fireplace, which will bring the desired energy of the water feng shui element. Choose a round or oval shape mirror, as metal nurtures water, or go for a frame in a blue or black color (colors of the water element.)

You can also choose to bring in the water element with strong water energy art, an actual water feature or paint the east wall in a water element color. The optimum feng shui solutions are always the ones that work best with your decor and complement it, rather than detract from it. You can create a harmonious feng shui home in any decor style and for any taste as long as you understand the feng shui element energy that each decor item adds to your home.

The best way to bring feng shui elements into your home is in their natural state. For example, if you need more wood, a lush green plant would be the best cure. The second best thing would be a piece of wood furniture or artwork with lush green colors. Buying items from your community and knowing where they come from will bring you an even better energy. The more you play with the five feng shui elements theory and see how it applies to each area of your home, the sooner you will know how to decorate your house in a way that nurtures and supports the health and well-being of your loved ones.