The Five Elements — How to diagnose and remedy common life problems

Bamboo_1The five elements are the five building blocks of feng shui. The elements are made up of water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. If your home or office feels “off” or uncomfortable, it might be out of balance. Just taking a quick look around your home or office will help you to diagnose if there is too much or too little of an element.

In a perfect feng shui world, you’ll find all five elements present in a room. This helps to keep the room feeling comfortable, harmonious and balanced – and thus making you more productive, effective, and successful.

The checklist below has some of the most common problems associated with missing or excess elements. The list will help you determine what element is out of balance and the Element List will help you balance the energies in your home correctly.

Don’t forget to look at all important rooms, such as your living room, bedroom, office, and even your garden to make sure your surroundings are in good feng shui shape.

Common Problems

__Lethargy, depression, excess weight – too little fire or too much water

__Instability, clouded thinking, hyperactivity, unhappy relationships – too little earth

__Lack of opportunity, low career growth, feeling spiritually disconnected – too little water

__Poor health, lack of growth, low vitality, family disharmony – too little wood

__Nervous exhaustion, scattered thinking, busy for busy sake, disorganized – too much metal

__Impulsiveness, anger, frustration, anxiety – too much fire

__Lack of creativity, initiative, ability to analyze – too little metal

__No fun, little enjoyment or zest for life – too little fire

__Financial problems, too many bills, too little income – too little water and/or wood

__Stuck or smothering relationships, boredom, overly serious – too little earth

Element List

_____Water Element. The water element relates to business, career, and opportunities. It also has an effect on emotions, feelings and intuition. When the water element is correctly placed, career and business function more smoothly and there is progression in the climb up the corporate ladder. Water can also help create insights, make you feel inspired and spiritually connected and refreshed.

When there is too much water, there is depression, lethargy, weight gain, and isolation. Look for dark colors, blues, black, purple and wave shapes. When there’s not enough water, add water using color or shape. You can also add water figures such as shells or figurines of fish or a real aquarium.

_____Wood Element. The wood element relates to health, growth, and advancement. It is the element that relates to the family, the feet and the oldest son. When wood is correctly placed, the family is happy, growing and health is vibrant. Too much wood can cause arguments and fiery tempers.

When wood is lacking there is little expansion, life feels stalled, stuck. The shape is rectangular, similar to the tall shape of a tree trunk. To add wood energy, use brown and green colors and rectangular shapes. Dried flowers, bonsai trees and cactus are negative wood symbols and should not be used in the house.

____ Fire Element. The element of fire is the one element that is not naturally present in the earth and has to be created. It is powerful and spreads rapidly. It can keep you warm or burn down the house. Fire represents sociability, the family name, good friends, happiness and its presence indicates the success that comes with fame or public recognition.

Too much fire energy can create a home that is overly-stimulated, nerves frayed, anger and irritability rampant, not enough rest. Too little fire creates remote feelings and a lack of ambition or vision, low self-esteem, little happiness or zest for life.

The fire element is symbolized by triangle shapes, lamps, and candles. It’s also associated with the color red. Add red colors or triangle shapes or more lighting to brighten up your home and give it a punch of color and energy! Do be careful with the fire element. Too much of it can overwhelm your space.

_____Earth Element. The earth element is an element of caring, stability and calm reserve. When earth is lacking there is a lack of focus and mental clarity. The shape is square. Earth elements help make relationships strong and enduring. Too much earth can create a home that is sluggish and ineffectual. This can manifest with low motivation and apathy.

The earth element is symbolized by square shapes, stones, ceramic and crystal elements. It’s associated with the color of ochre, beige, tan, and yellow. To boost the earth element add stone or earth-related objects and golden colors. To reduce the earth element in your home add metal objects as these exhaust the earth energy.

_____Metal Element. The metal element is an element of creativity and represents the manifestation of inward flowing movement, which includes wealth. Adding metallic objects such as Chinese coins, metallic bowls and windchimes brings more metal energy to a home. Arching, oval and round shapes are associated with the metal element. Metal energy helps bring logic, precise thinking and ability to think analytically. Ceiling fans, white colors, televisions, stereos and computers are associated with metal energy.

Too much metal can cause too much movement, speaking before thinking, and being hasty. Too little metal brings mental dullness and inability to manifest because metal is a conductor and its presence in a home helps manifest quick thought, decisiveness, and movement. When you want to activate the metal element choose gold, silver, white or gray colors. If metal is too prominent, add water colors of blue and black or water elements such as fish or fountains.


Kathryn Weber is the publisher of the Red Lotus Letter Feng Shui E-zine and certified feng shui consultant in classical Chinese feng shui. Kathryn helps her readers improve their lives and generate more wealth with feng shui. For more information and to receive her FREE Ebook “Easy Money – 3 Steps to Building Massive Wealth with Feng Shui” visit and learn the fast and fun way how feng shui can make your life more prosperous and abundant!

Copyright Kathryn Weber. All rights reserved.

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