Five Elements theory: How the 5 Elements govern your life

In today’s post, I will go back to the Five Elements theory and further explore this Eastern philosophy. As mentioned in the Five Elements in Taoism and Eastern Medicine, the Five Elements are generated by the interaction between Yin and Yang.

Together with the principle of Yin and Yang, the Five Elements theory constitutes the cornerstone of traditional Korean, Chinese, and Japanese philosophy. In my past posts, I already introduced the basic Five Elements theory, going over each of the Five Elements, which are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. This time, I will explain how the Five Elements manifest in human life cycle from conception to death based on the Five Elements theory.


The Water Elemental Phase 

water people

The Water Element holds the secret of life and has a limitless potential. In fact, it is the Water Element that constitutes the basis of our physical existence, as our life begins with the Water Element. According to the Five Elements theory, the Water Elemental phase corresponds to the time between our conception and our birth into the world. When we are at this phase of life, we are akin to a tiny seed that will blossom into a tree.


The Wood Elemental Phase

five elements theory

After ten months’ waiting period in our mother’s womb, we bring our bodies out into the world and thereby, the Wood Elemental phase begins. In our lives, the Wood Element corresponds to our early years all the way to early adolescence, when we undergo phenomenal physical, mental and emotional developments. When we are at this phase of life, there is a rise of Wood energy in our system.

Thanks to the rise of this energy, our bodies rapidly develop muscles and we quickly adopt the behavioral patterns of society through observation and interaction. In a way, the process of growth is akin to metamorphosis. A newborn baby is transformed into a child and then an adolescent who is capable of walking, speaking and reasoning.


The Fire Elemental Phase  

Fire Element

According to the Five Elements theory, the Fire Elemental phase corresponds to our young adulthood. When we are in our youth, there is a rise of Fire energy in our system and we naturally become energetic and lively. This is the time when our interest in the opposite sex mounts. However, the intense passion we taste during this phase tends to be short-lived, since this element does not bring us much depth to our relationships. Like a flame that can be easily set ablaze and quenched, the fleeting sensation of passionate love frequently comes and goes during this phase of life.

The Earth Elemental Phase

five elements theory

According to the Five Elements theory, the Earth Element corresponds to our middle age years when Earth energy rises in our system. With the rise of Earth energy, we tend to become increasingly more responsible, mature and dependable. The Earth Element’s tendency to accumulate could physically manifest in us when many of us gain weight in the middle age. It could also mentally manifest in our desire to stock up material possessions.

However, it is the time of maturity, responsibility, and stability. Instead of focusing only on our own needs, we tend to seek to create a better environment for our families. As we approach the middle age, we also become more interested in practical matters and desire warm companionship, reflecting qualities of Earth. Some of us could also exhibit stubborn, narrow-minded, miserly or meddlesome qualities, which are negative qualities of this element.

The Metal Elemental Phase

metal people

According to the Five Elements theory, the Metal Elemental phase corresponds to our old age. When we are at this phase of life, Metal energy rises in our system, and with the rise of Metal energy, certain qualities of the Metal Element tend to manifest in our later years. For example, our bodies become smaller in size and we also tend to seek organization and order when we are at this phase of life. Given that the Metal Element is Yin, some of the Yin qualities are also manifested in our old days as we become more conservative, inactive, contemplative and slow. During this phase of life, some of us could embody certain negative traits of the Metal Element by becoming cold, domineering, cynical, pessimistic, and stubborn.

The Water Elemental Phase

water element

After undergoing the Five Elemental cycle of human life, we return to the Water Elemental phase. According to the Five Elements theory, our life begins in the Water Elemental phase when we spend ten months in our mother’s womb. According to the Five Elements theory, our life also ends in the Water Elemental phase as we part with our physical existence and enter the unknown territory called death.

However, our death signifies a new beginning for our soul. In that sense, our death in the Water Elemental phase could be seen as the beginning of another Five Elemental cycle. Given that death is considered to be the ultimate mystery that most of us fear, it would be interesting to note that mystery is an expression of the Water Element and fear is the emotion of the Element, according to the Five Elements theory. 

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