A Quick Guide

to the
5 Elements
STEPHANIE ROBERTS
author of the Fast Feng Shui
TM
series
WATER
WOOD
FIRE
EARTH
METAL
A Quick Guide to the Five Elements
published by Lotus Pond Press
415 Dairy Road, Suite E-144, Kahului, HI 96732
www.lotuspondpress.com
copyright © 2002 Stephanie Roberts
All rights reserved.
Based on information originally published in the book Fast Feng Shui: 9
Simple Principles for Transforming Your Life by Energizing Your Home by
Stephanie Roberts (Lotus Pond Press, 2001).
Permission is granted to share the complete, unedited digital version of
this booklet with others, providing the following conditions are met:
• The document remains intact and entire, including cover and copy-
right pages
• The web site www.fastfengshui.com is clearly stated as the source of the
document
• A hyerlink to that web site is provided in any accompanying message
or documentation
For ordering information, see page 14 of this booklet.
For more information on how to use the five elements
as an essential tool in feng shui, pick up a copy of:
Fast Feng Shui:
9 Simple Principles for Transforming
Your Life by Energizing Your Home
The five elements describe five essential qualities of chi (life force energy),
which you can use to enhance, control, or balance a space, depending on
your needs:
The Five Elements:
Essential Qualities of Chi
3
Each element can help shift your energy and/or the energy of your
space. When you understand the relationships between the five elements,
and how they can affect your space and your energy, they become a power-
ful tool in your feng shui tool kit. Metal helps you concentrate and get
things done; its inward focus helps you clear your head and cope with
details. Water is helpful when things have been stuck for a while (think of
ice melting), and for improving communication. It is also associated with
cash flow and opportunities. Wood energy is associated with new begin-
nings, and it can help you make smooth progress in the projects you under-
take. Fire creates heat and action, and is the energy to use when you want
to increase passion and intensity in any area of your life. Earth energy is
good when things are chaotic and you need more stability, or if your are
dealing with issues of commitment, nurturing, or receptivity.
Metal—the quality of contraction, sharpness, focus; when too
strong, metal energy can make you sharp-tongued and critical
Water—the quality of flowing, making connections; too much
water energy can make you “wishy-washy” and indecisive
Wood—the quality of easy growth and progress; too much wood
energy makes you aggressive or impatient, lacking compassion
Fire—the quality of excitement, expansion, quickness; too much
fire energy can leave you stressed out and anxious
Earth—the quality of settling down, being receptive; too much
leads to depression, sluggishness, feeling stuck or weighed down
Element Shapes
and Colors
Each element is associated with specific shapes and colors:
4
Metal—white, gold, silver, grey; round and oval shapes, arches
Water—black and dark blues; sinuous, curvy, irregular, and wave-
like shapes
Wood—greens and light blues; tall narrow shapes
Fire—reds, purples, bright oranges; triangles, flame shapes and
other pointed or angular shapes
Earth—browns, yellows, cool or muted oranges; low, flat, square
shapes
This is the basic information that you can use to adjust the energy of
specific rooms and areas of your home. For example, to spice up your rela-
tionship areas, or to enhance your reputation by activating li gua, add more
fire energy: lights, candles, or things that are red, purple, pink, and/or
triangular in shape.
Water energy is good for enhancing kan gua (career) and for improv-
ing communication; if you can’t use a water fountain, find images of the
ocean or rivers, or choose home accessories that feature curvy and/or wave-
like shapes, and that have a predominantly blue or black color scheme.
Similarly, you can add metal, wood, or earth energy by working with
the colors and shapes listed above.
Others are not so obvious. A mahogany dining table, for example, is
made out of wood, but it is square, flat, and (unless it’s been painted) brown
in color. In energetic terms, then, it has more earth energy than wood
energy, because the wood is no longer vital and growing, and the shape
and color of the table are associated with earth.
A candle is a good example of the fire element, but if it is a tall green
candle it also has wood energy because of its shape and color.
Many items have a combination of qualities, so you will need to use
your best judgment about how much of what kind of influence it will have
on your space. Try not to go nuts puzzling over what element something
represents. If it’s not clear right away, then chances are good it combines
several different qualities and will not have as strong an impact on your
space.
Keep in mind that function, placement, and your own intention are
important, too. If you worry so much about choosing the right elements
that you no longer enjoy your possessions, you’re trying too hard! Feng
shui should be easy, graceful, and fun. If you love something, it has good
chi for you. If you aren’t sure what element it represents, focus instead on
the symbolic meaning of its imagery, and use that to help you determine
where to place it in your home. (For more information on the impact of the
symbolic meaning of artwork and objects, please read Fast Feng Shui: 9 Simple
Principles for Transforming Your Life by Energizing Your Home.)
5
Elements and Objects
The material that something is made of is important, as well. Some obvious
examples are:
• Brass clock—metal
• Fish tank—water
• Houseplants and flowers—wood
• Electric lights—fire
• Pottery bowl—earth
THE CREATIVE CYCLE
Here’s how it works:
• Metal produces water (think of moisture condensing on a cold can of
soda on a hot day)
• Water nourishes wood (without water, wood will die)
• Wood feeds fire (without fuel, fire cannot burn)
• Fire creates earth (as the fire burns, it produces a pile of ashes; think
of a volcano becoming a mountain)
• Earth produces metal (metal is extracted from the earth)
Use the Creative cycle when you want to increase the effect of an ele-
ment in a particular space.
Each of the five elements is nourished, supported, or “fed” by one of the
other elements. This forms a sequence called the Creative cycle (also called
the Productive cycle), as shown in the diagram below.
6
WATER
WOOD
FIRE
EARTH
METAL
the
Creative
Cycle
WATER
WOOD
FIRE
EARTH
METAL
THE REDUCING CYCLE
As each element feeds or nourishes the next in the Creative cycle, its own
energy is reduced by the effort. For example, you can counteract the strong
water energy in a bathroom by adding wood energy to the space (green
towels, for example). This gives the water something to do (feeding wood),
reduces its strength, and helps bring things back into balance. Here’s how
the Reducing cycle works:
• Metal reduces earth
• Earth reduces fire
• Fire reduces wood
• Wood reduces water
• Water reduces metal
Use the Reducing cycle when you want a gentle way to bring a situa-
tion into better balance. It’s easy to remember the Reducing cycle if you
know the Creative cycle; just keep in mind that when one element nour-
ishes another one, its own energy is reduced by the effort.
7
the
Reducing
Cycle
WATER
WOOD
FIRE
EARTH
METAL
THE CONTROLLING CYCLE
When one element is very strong, you may need something stronger
than the reducing effect to bring it back into balance. This is where the
Controlling cycle comes in handy. The Controlling cycle works like this:
• Metal chops wood
• Wood breaks up earth (think of a new crop pushing up through
the soil, or of tree roots pushing down into the earth)
• Earth dams or muddies water
• Water puts out fire
• Fire melts metal
Make sure the controlling element is strong and supported. If you try
to put out a bonfire with a tea-cup full of water, the water will evaporate
without having much effect. Keep in mind that:
• Too much metal can overwhelm fire
• Too much fire evaporates water
• Too much water can wash earth away
• Too much earth can smother wood
• Too much wood can take the edge off metal
8
the
Controlling
Cycle
Each element is naturally strong in some guas and weak in others, de-
pending on its relationship to the the element associated with each gua. For
example, since fire controls wood, wood is weak in li gua, which is associ-
ated with the fire element. Wood is strong in kan gua, however, becaues
kan is associated with the water element and water nourishes wood.
Each gua is associated with one of the elements, as shown below. There are
three earth guas (including the tai chi), two wood and two metal guas,
and one gua each for water and fire. The element of each gua determines
the color associated with it.
Jen gua (family) is pale green; darker greens are associated with hsun
gua (wealth). Hsun gua is also associated with the color purple, because
that color is symbolic of wealth. Kun gua, the relationship area, is red, pink,
and white, because it is located between li gua (fame; red) and dui gua (cre-
ativity; white), and because pink is the color of romance. The color of chien
gua, (helpful friends; metal) is grey, because it is located between the pure
white dui gua and the black of kan gua (career; water).
The Elements and the Ba Gua
9
green & purple
green yellow
brown
pink red
white
white & grey black
family
wealth
fame
relationships
health
knowledge
creativity
support career

WOOD
WOOD
FIRE EARTH
EARTH
EARTH WATER METAL
METAL
10
The Elements & the Compass Directions
In ancient times, the ba gua was oriented to the compass directions.* Each
element is therefore also associated with a specific direction:
* Contemporary Western feng shui orients the ba gua to the front entry of a space.
Many practitioners also look at the compass directions when determining areas
of influence.
WATER
WOOD
FIRE
EARTH
METAL
WOOD EARTH
METAL
N
S
E W
NE
SE
NW
SW
Using three elements in this way is more powerful than just using one
or two. Get in the habit of thinking in threes when you work with the ele-
ments, and your feng shui cures will be much more effective.
If you want to decrease the strength of an element, use the Controlling
cycle or the two elements that follow it in the Creative cycle. If fire energy
is too strong, adding earth and metal energy will reduce the energy of
fire:
The key to using the elements successfully is to focus on the desired effect
for a specific space or situation, andto work with elements appropriate to
that gua and/or compass direction.
If you want to increase the strength of an element, add the two ele-
ments that come before it in the Creative cycle. For example, if you want to
increase fire energy, add water and wood to the space. The water will
feed the wood, which will enhance fire. You don’t have to worry about the
water reducing fire, because its energy is being diverted to create wood:
Putting it all Together
WATER
WOOD
FIRE
FIRE
EARTH
METAL

Learn how to transform your life by energizing
your home with the power of feng shui!
Table of Contents and text excerpts available online at:
http://www.fastfengshui.com/ffs_book.htm
see page 14 for ordering information
This easy, effective approach to contemporary
Western feng shui integrates personality type and
the power of your intention to enhance prosperity, romance, career,
creativity and more. You’ll learn techniques for locating personal
“power spots,” getting rid of clutter, maintaining good chi through-
out the home, and improving your physical vitality. Over 180
affirmations and visualizations make feng shui user-friendly and fun.
Along the way, you’ll discover feng shui as a path to self-transforma-
tion and personal growth.
“Fast Feng Shui is a fabulous, fun, smart, effective way
to empower yourself and your environment and ... at-
tract and create the life you really want. It makes the
mystical easy and accessible. Stephanie Roberts is bril-
liant!”
SONIA CHOQUETTE, PhD, author of Your Heart’s Desire,
True Balance, and The Pyschic Pathway
“Fast Feng Shui is a breath of fresh air. Stephanie Roberts takes ancient con-
cepts and makes them applicable to modern life in a way that is fun, valu-
able, and fast.”
DENISE LINN,author of Feng Shui for the Soul, Sacred Space, and Space
Clearing
“Fast Feng Shui is a delightful book ... good for beginners and for advanced
students. You can open it at any page and find useful information. I love
this book!”
LOUISE L. HAY, author of You Can Heal Your Life and Empowering Women
Now you can use the Creative Cycle of the
elements to transform your love life with
the magic of feng shui!
By tailoring contemporary feng shui strategies
to the specific challenges of each stage of the
Relationship Cycle, Fast Feng Shui for Singles
provides a unique and highly effective program
for shaking off the disappointments of the past
and finally getting Cupid on your side.
The Fast Feng Shui Relation Cycle matches
each of five relationship stages to the Creative
Cycle of the elements: working with the energy
of metal helps you to heal old heartache and rediscover a sense of
self; water energy brings in new opportunities and jump-starts
your social life; once you’ve connected with a special someone,
wood energy nurtures your budding relationship; fire energy fans
the flames of passion, and earth energy help establish a commit-
ted partnership.
As you explore the step-by-step guidelines presented in this
book, you’ll find a wealth of journaling exercises, meditations and
rituals for healing and renewal, and feng shui tips for activating
your social life and overcoming barriers to intimacy, communica-
tion, and commitment.
Fast Feng Shui for Singles is a must-read for anyone looking
for ways to jump-start their love life. It will prepare and inspire
you to transform your home and heart into environments that wel-
come romance and support a lasting, loving relationship with the
man or woman of your dreams!
Table of Contents and text excerpts available online at:
http://www.fastfengshui.com/singles.htm
see next page for ordering information ...
Hawaii residents,
please add 4.16% tax ($.91 per copy) to your order.
isbn 1-931383-03-0
6”x9” softcover
240 pages
In bookstores and at
www.fastfengshui.com
or call 1-800-431-1579
LOTUS POND PRESS
415 Dairy Road, Suite E-144
Kahului, HI 96732
To order by mail,
send a check or money order—payable to Lotus Pond
Press—for $16.95 + $4.95 s/h per copy to:
isbn 1-931383-04-9
6”x9” softcover
240 pages

pick up a copy of: Fast Feng Shui: 9 Simple Principles for Transforming Your Life by Energizing Your Home For ordering information. Based on information originally published in the book Fast Feng Shui: 9 Simple Principles for Transforming Your Life by Energizing Your Home by Stephanie Roberts (Lotus Pond Press.com copyright © 2002 Stephanie Roberts All rights reserved.com is clearly stated as the source of the document A hyerlink to that web site is provided in any accompanying message or documentation For more information on how to use the five elements as an essential tool in feng shui. providing the following conditions are met: • • • The document remains intact and entire. .lotuspondpress. including cover and copyright pages The web site www. HI 96732 www.A Quick Guide to the Five Elements published by Lotus Pond Press 415 Dairy Road. see page 14 of this booklet.fastfengshui. Permission is granted to share the complete. 2001). Suite E-144. Kahului. unedited digital version of this booklet with others.

sluggishness. making connections. which you can use to enhance. focus. its inward focus helps you clear your head and cope with details. metal energy can make you sharp-tongued and critical Water—the quality of flowing. Water is helpful when things have been stuck for a while (think of ice melting). nurturing. too much leads to depression. control. When you understand the relationships between the five elements. depending on your needs: Metal—the quality of contraction. lacking compassion Fire—the quality of excitement. or balance a space. It is also associated with cash flow and opportunities. or if your are dealing with issues of commitment. too much water energy can make you “wishy-washy” and indecisive Wood—the quality of easy growth and progress. and is the energy to use when you want to increase passion and intensity in any area of your life. Earth energy is good when things are chaotic and you need more stability. 3 . and it can help you make smooth progress in the projects you undertake.The Five Elements: Essential Qualities of Chi The five elements describe five essential qualities of chi (life force energy). too much wood energy makes you aggressive or impatient. they become a powerful tool in your feng shui tool kit. and how they can affect your space and your energy. or receptivity. too much fire energy can leave you stressed out and anxious Earth—the quality of settling down. Metal helps you concentrate and get things done. expansion. quickness. when too strong. being receptive. Fire creates heat and action. and for improving communication. feeling stuck or weighed down Each element can help shift your energy and/or the energy of your space. Wood energy is associated with new beginnings. sharpness.

sinuous. silver. triangles. Similarly. pink. add more fire energy: lights. grey. you can add metal. purple. Water energy is good for enhancing kan gua (career) and for improving communication. or things that are red. For example. or to enhance your reputation by activating li gua. find images of the ocean or rivers. purples. gold. round and oval shapes. low. cool or muted oranges. arches Water—black and dark blues. if you can’t use a water fountain. wood. and that have a predominantly blue or black color scheme. or choose home accessories that feature curvy and/or wavelike shapes. curvy. and/or triangular in shape. bright oranges. to spice up your relationship areas. candles. yellows. flame shapes and other pointed or angular shapes Earth—browns. irregular. square shapes This is the basic information that you can use to adjust the energy of specific rooms and areas of your home. or earth energy by working with the colors and shapes listed above.Element Shapes and Colors Each element is associated with specific shapes and colors: Metal—white. tall narrow shapes Fire—reds. 4 . flat. and wavelike shapes Wood—greens and light blues.

) 5 . it has more earth energy than wood energy. and the shape and color of the table are associated with earth. so you will need to use your best judgment about how much of what kind of influence it will have on your space. for example. If you aren’t sure what element it represents. and (unless it’s been painted) brown in color. then chances are good it combines several different qualities and will not have as strong an impact on your space. it has good chi for you. and your own intention are important. then. and use that to help you determine where to place it in your home. and fun. but if it is a tall green candle it also has wood energy because of its shape and color. is made out of wood. too.Elements and Objects The material that something is made of is important. (For more information on the impact of the symbolic meaning of artwork and objects. In energetic terms. you’re trying too hard! Feng shui should be easy. as well. Keep in mind that function. focus instead on the symbolic meaning of its imagery. Some obvious examples are: • • • • • Brass clock—metal Fish tank—water Houseplants and flowers—wood Electric lights—fire Pottery bowl—earth Others are not so obvious. A mahogany dining table. A candle is a good example of the fire element. If you love something. because the wood is no longer vital and growing. flat. If it’s not clear right away. but it is square. placement. please read Fast Feng Shui: 9 Simple Principles for Transforming Your Life by Energizing Your Home. If you worry so much about choosing the right elements that you no longer enjoy your possessions. Many items have a combination of qualities. graceful. Try not to go nuts puzzling over what element something represents.

or “fed” by one of the other elements. think of a volcano becoming a mountain) Earth produces metal (metal is extracted from the earth) Use the Creative cycle when you want to increase the effect of an element in a particular space. it produces a pile of ashes. FIRE WOOD the Creative Cycle EARTH WATER Here’s how it works: • • • • • METAL Metal produces water (think of moisture condensing on a cold can of soda on a hot day) Water nourishes wood (without water. fire cannot burn) Fire creates earth (as the fire burns. 6 . wood will die) Wood feeds fire (without fuel. supported.THE CREATIVE CYCLE Each of the five elements is nourished. as shown in the diagram below. This forms a sequence called the Creative cycle (also called the Productive cycle).

its own energy is reduced by the effort. 7 . reduces its strength. Here’s how the Reducing cycle works: • • • • • Metal reduces earth Earth reduces fire Fire reduces wood Wood reduces water Water reduces metal FIRE WOOD the Reducing Cycle EARTH WATER METAL Use the Reducing cycle when you want a gentle way to bring a situation into better balance. This gives the water something to do (feeding wood). and helps bring things back into balance.THE REDUCING CYCLE As each element feeds or nourishes the next in the Creative cycle. its own energy is reduced by the effort. It’s easy to remember the Reducing cycle if you know the Creative cycle. you can counteract the strong water energy in a bathroom by adding wood energy to the space (green towels. for example). For example. just keep in mind that when one element nourishes another one.

The Controlling cycle works like this: • • • • • Metal chops wood Wood breaks up earth (think of a new crop pushing up through the soil. If you try to put out a bonfire with a tea-cup full of water. or of tree roots pushing down into the earth) Earth dams or muddies water Water puts out fire Fire melts metal FIRE WOOD EARTH the Controlling Cycle WATER METAL Make sure the controlling element is strong and supported. This is where the Controlling cycle comes in handy. Keep in mind that: • • • • • Too much metal can overwhelm fire Too much fire evaporates water Too much water can wash earth away Too much earth can smother wood Too much wood can take the edge off metal 8 .THE CONTROLLING CYCLE When one element is very strong. you may need something stronger than the reducing effect to bring it back into balance. the water will evaporate without having much effect.

because it is located between li gua (fame. Jen gua (family) is pale green. because that color is symbolic of wealth. because it is located between the pure white dui gua and the black of kan gua (career.The Elements and the Ba Gua Each gua is associated with one of the elements. There are three earth guas (including the tai chi). wealth WOOD green & purple fame FIRE red relationships EARTH pink family WOOD green health EARTH yellow creativity METAL white knowledge career support EARTH brown WATER black white & grey METAL Each element is naturally strong in some guas and weak in others. depending on its relationship to the the element associated with each gua. (helpful friends. Wood is strong in kan gua. and white. For example. The element of each gua determines the color associated with it. two wood and two metal guas. however. Hsun gua is also associated with the color purple. and because pink is the color of romance. since fire controls wood. white). wood is weak in li gua. darker greens are associated with hsun gua (wealth). red) and dui gua (creativity. The color of chien gua. Kun gua. is red. as shown below. water). and one gua each for water and fire. metal) is grey. the relationship area. pink. 9 . becaues kan is associated with the water element and water nourishes wood. which is associated with the fire element.

The Elements & the Compass Directions In ancient times. the ba gua was oriented to the compass directions.* Each element is therefore also associated with a specific direction: N NW NE WATER METAL EARTH W METAL WOOD E EARTH FIRE SW WOOD SE S * Contemporary Western feng shui orients the ba gua to the front entry of a space. 10 . Many practitioners also look at the compass directions when determining areas of influence.

For example. add water and wood to the space. If fire energy is too strong. . if you want to increase fire energy.Putting it all Together The key to using the elements successfully is to focus on the desired effect for a specific space or situation. and your feng shui cures will be much more effective. The water will feed the wood. You don’t have to worry about the water reducing fire. use the Controlling cycle or the two elements that follow it in the Creative cycle. Get in the habit of thinking in threes when you work with the elements. andto work with elements appropriate to that gua and/or compass direction. If you want to increase the strength of an element. add the two elements that come before it in the Creative cycle. adding earth and metal energy will reduce the energy of fire: EARTH FIRE METAL Using three elements in this way is more powerful than just using one or two. which will enhance fire. because its energy is being diverted to create wood: WOOD WATER FIRE If you want to decrease the strength of an element.

” DENISE LINN. You can open it at any page and find useful information... It makes the mystical easy and accessible. PhD. author of Feng Shui for the Soul. attract and create the life you really want. and The Pyschic Pathway This easy. valuable. Over 180 affirmations and visualizations make feng shui user-friendly and fun. smart. you’ll discover feng shui as a path to self-transformation and personal growth.Learn how to transform your life by energizing your home with the power of feng shui! “Fast Feng Shui is a fabulous. Sacred Space.fastfengshui. You’ll learn techniques for locating personal “power spots. Along the way. and Space Clearing “Fast Feng Shui is a delightful book . and fast. good for beginners and for advanced students. and improving your physical vitality. effective approach to contemporary Western feng shui integrates personality type and the power of your intention to enhance prosperity. HAY. career. maintaining good chi throughout the home. “Fast Feng Shui is a breath of fresh air. Stephanie Roberts is brilliant!” SONIA CHOQUETTE. Stephanie Roberts takes ancient concepts and makes them applicable to modern life in a way that is fun.” getting rid of clutter. creativity and more. author of You Can Heal Your Life and Empowering Women Table of Contents and text excerpts available online at: http://www. effective way to empower yourself and your environment and . author of Your Heart’s Desire.htm see page 14 for ordering information . True Balance. I love this book!” LOUISE L. romance.. fun.com/ffs_book..

The Fast Feng Shui Relation Cycle matches each of five relationship stages to the Creative Cycle of the elements: working with the energy of metal helps you to heal old heartache and rediscover a sense of self. loving relationship with the man or woman of your dreams! Table of Contents and text excerpts available online at: http://www. As you explore the step-by-step guidelines presented in this book. fire energy fans the flames of passion.fastfengshui. Fast Feng Shui for Singles is a must-read for anyone looking for ways to jump-start their love life.htm see next page for ordering information .. once you’ve connected with a special someone.Now you can use the Creative Cycle of the elements to transform your love life with the magic of feng shui! By tailoring contemporary feng shui strategies to the specific challenges of each stage of the Relationship Cycle. and feng shui tips for activating your social life and overcoming barriers to intimacy. you’ll find a wealth of journaling exercises. meditations and rituals for healing and renewal. water energy brings in new opportunities and jump-starts your social life.com/singles.. and commitment. communication. . It will prepare and inspire you to transform your home and heart into environments that welcome romance and support a lasting. wood energy nurtures your budding relationship. and earth energy help establish a committed partnership. Fast Feng Shui for Singles provides a unique and highly effective program for shaking off the disappointments of the past and finally getting Cupid on your side.

isbn 1-931383-03-0 6”x9” softcover 240 pages isbn 1-931383-04-9 6”x9” softcover 240 pages In bookstores and at www.com or call 1-800-431-1579 To order by mail. . please add 4.16% tax ($.91 per copy) to your order.95 + $4.95 s/h per copy to: LOTUS POND PRESS 415 Dairy Road. HI 96732 Hawaii residents. Suite E-144 Kahului. send a check or money order—payable to Lotus Pond Press—for $16.fastfengshui.

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