The 5 Elements

In feng shui, there are 5 elements that are seen as the building blocks of everything here on earth. They are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. A core feng shui principle is when all 5 elements are present in a space, you achieve balance and harmony. Before you can get started, you will need to develop an "elemental" eye. Here are 5 ways to "see" the elements:

  • THINGS MADE OUT OF THE ELEMENTS: Think of wood furniture (Wood) or a fireplace (Fire)
  • THINGS THAT REPRESENT THE ELEMENTS: Rocks = Metal, Mirrors = Water
  • ARTWORK THAT DEPICTS THE ELEMENTS: Photos = Fire, Landscape Paintings = Wood
  • COLORS AND SHAPES ASSOCIATED WITH THE ELEMENTS: (See the bagua for corresponding colors.) Earth = square, Metal = circle, Water = free form, Fire = triangle, Wood = rectangle 

When beginning, start with a small space, like a shelf or a bedside table. Identify what each "thing" you see represents. If you come across an area that has all 5 elements, how does this space feel to you? Where there are missing elements, try adding them and ask yourself the same question. Play around with this a while — we are barely scratching the surface here, but this is a great exercise to shift you into seeing the environment from a feng shui perspective.