The Five Elements Of The Wu Xing
The Five Elements Of The Wu Xing
The Wu Xing (Chinese: 五行; pinyin: Wǔ Xíng), also known as the Five Elements, Five Phases, the Five Agents, the Five Movements, Five Processes, or the Five Steps/Stages. It also represents the Five Planets of significant gravity: Jupiter-木, Saturn-土, Mercury-水, Venus-金, Mars-火 The Wu Xing is the short form of "Wǔ zhǒng liúxíng zhī qì" (五種流行之氣) or "the five types of chi dominating at different times" It is a five fold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese fields used to explain a wide array of phenomena, from cosmic cycles to the interaction between internal organs, and from the succession of political regimes to the properties of medicinal drugs.
The Five Phases
The "Five Phases" are Wood (木 mù), Fire (火 huǒ), Earth (土tǔ), Metal (金 jīn), and Water (水 shuǐ). This order of presentation is known as the "mutual generation" (相生 xiāngshēng) sequence. In the order of "mutual overcoming" (相剋/相克 xiāngkè), they are Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, and Metal. The system of five phases was used for describing interactions and relationships between phenomena. After it came to maturity in the second or first century BCE during the Han dynasty, this device was employed in many fields of early Chinese thought, including seemingly disparate fields such as geomancy or Feng shui, astrology, traditional Chinese medicine, music, military strategy, and martial arts. The system is still used as a reference in some forms of complementary and alternative medicine and martial arts. Xing (Chinese: 行) of 'Wu Xing' means moving; a planet is called a 'moving star' (Chinese: 行星) in Chinese. Wu Xing (Chinese: 五行) originally refers to the five major planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Venus, Mars) that create five dimensions of earth life. "Wu Xing" is also widely translated as Five Elements and this is used extensively by many including practitioners of Five Element acupuncture. It should be recognised that the word phase, although commonly preferred, is not perfect. Phase is a better translation for the five seasons (五運 Wǔ Yùn) mentioned below, and so agents or processes might be preferred for the primary term xíng.
The Five Phases of 72 Days Each
The five phases are around 72 days each and are usually used to describe the state in nature: Wood/Spring: a period of growth, which generates abundant wood and vitality Fire/Summer: a period of swelling, flowering, brimming with fire and energy Earth: the in-between transitional seasonal periods, or a separate 'season' known as Late Summer or Long Summer - in the latter case associated with levelling and dampening (moderation) and fruition Metal/Autumn: a period of harvesting and collecting Water/Winter: a period of retreat, where stillness and storage pervades
Two Cycles - Generating Or Overcoming
The doctrine of five phases describes two cycles, a generating or creation (生, shēng) cycle, also known as "mother-son", and an overcoming or destruction (剋/克, kè) cycle, also known as "grandfather-grandson", of interactions between the phases. Within Chinese medicine the effects of these two main relations are further elaborated: Inter-promoting (shēng cycle, mother/son) Inter-acting (grandmother/grandson) Over-acting (kè cycle, grandfather/grandson) Counter-acting (reverse kè) The common memory jogs, which help to remind in what order the phases are generating Wood feeds Fire Fire creates Earth (ash) Earth bears Metal Metal collects Water Water nourishes Wood This cycle might also be called "begets", "engenders" and "mothers". Overcoming Wood parts Earth (such as roots or trees can prevent soil erosion) Earth dams (or muddies or absorbs) Water Water extinguishes Fire Fire melts Metal Metal chops Wood This cycle might also be called "controls", "restrains" or "fathers".
Cosmology and Feng Shui
According to Wu Xing theory, the structure of the cosmos mirrors the five phases. Each phase has a complex series of associations with different aspects of nature, In the ancient Chinese form of geomancy, known as Feng Shui, practitioners all based their art and system on the five phases (Wu Xing). All of these phases are represented within the trigrams. Associated with these phases are colours, seasons and shapes; all of which are interacting with each other. Based on a particular directional energy flow from one phase to the next, the interaction can be expansive, destructive, or exhaustive. A proper knowledge of each aspect of energy flow will enable the Feng Shui practitioner to apply certain cures or rearrangement of energy in a way they believe to be beneficial for the receiver of the Feng Shui Treatment. For More In depth Research Source: Dr Zai, J. "Taoism and Science: Cosmology, Evolution, Morality, Health and more" Nathan Sivin "Science and Medicine in Chinese History,"
Michael J Robey
Psychic Medium | Psychic Investigator