Wu Xing (“five elements”, or rather “five phases”) is an ancient Chinese model for describing nature or ‘the way the world works’. Wu Xing is an integral part of Taoistic philosophy and explains the ever-changing interactions and relationships between phenomena of nature. It is not a static concept, but emphasizes processes. The idea of the 5 phases still traceable in modern Chinese society and it is omnipresent in traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, in Feng Shui, and in martial arts such as Tai Chi Quan or Qi Gong.
The five elements and their ascribed phases are:
|Wood (mu) - Rising, Ascension|
Fire (huo) - Activity, Action
Earth (tu - Change, Alteration
Metal (jin) - Maturity, Decay
Water (shui) - Calm, Contemplation
Each of the elements is associated with various aspects of nature such as colors, directions, forms of energy, climates, seasons, planets, the 5 tones of the pentatonic scale, or even livestock. As shown in the diagram below, they are usually depicted in a circle, which forms two cycles of which one is attributed as ‘generating’, the other as ‘overcoming’. The ‘generating cycle’ (black) is like this: wood feeds fire, fire produces earth (ash), earth bears metal, metal carries water (for example in buckets), water nourishes wood. The ‘overcoming cycle’: wood (roots) parts earth, earth absorbs water, water quenches fire, fire melts metal, metal chops wood.
The concept of Wu Xing is a wide field. There are countless associations between the elements and their attributed phenomena. We decided to let you choose yourself from the plentiful of information which is available on the internet.
Here are some links from the English Wikipedia, which you can also search
in your own language.
General overview of the topic:
More disciplines that apply the Wu Xing concept:
The Five Elements
According to the ancient Indian knowledge, the Five Elements - or the f
Planets, animals, rocks, fauna, humans, and even our thoughts are composed of the Five Elements.
Every particle of Creation is made of these building blocks. How is this possible? And what does it really mean by ‘the Five Elements'?
The Five Elements encompass all that is needed to survive in this Creation. Without any one of the five, the universe would cease to exist. The Five Elements are basic, but the knowledge surrounding them runs deep. It is our job as humans to balance our individual elements and those of the planet.
When the elements are out of balance, disease, stress, violence, depression, lack of clarity, and unhappiness can occur. There are ways to balance the elements in ourselves which we will discuss as we take a look at the specific qualities of each.
When the Five Elements are in balance, we are able to function at our highest level as human beings. To create this balance, there are ancient Indian mantras - sacred vibrations - for each element, as well as practical easy-to-use techniques that we can use daily. We can learn how to build homes and create spaces in alignment with the Five Elements through the ancient Indian science of ‘Vaastu'. When we follow correct Vaastu principles, we are living physically in harmony with nature and, in turn, our lives will be filled with happiness and success. Knowledge of the Five Elements is essential in order to lead happy and healthy lives. By understanding the positive and negative aspects of each element, we can tune our minds, heart and souls to use each element in the most effective way. The first rule of thumb is that we cannot dominate the Five Elements; instead, we have to surrender to the elements and respect them.
The Earth element is the most powerful of all the elements. The Earth is our source of stability, yet a large Earthquake can destabilise us in a matter of seconds. The Earth gives and takes away just like all the elements. If there is a positive, there is a negative - that is a law of nature. However, we can align ourselves to focus on the positive qualities of each element, optimising their strengths.
The Earth has a commanding nature, and at the same time is connected with our heart. The Earth is also home to material wealth and abundance. When we are in alignment with the Earth, we feel peaceful and happy. When we chant the Earth mantras, we become relaxed because we are sending all our stress and negative feelings into the Earth. The Earth can handle this energy. The Earth not only sucks our negative energy, but also radiates positive energy back to us. When we walk in a forest or in the beautiful nature, we naturally release stress and negativity, and recharge our souls with pure nature energy. If you experience strong anxiety, walk barefoot on the Earth or hold a black river stone and consciously send your stress there.
Fire - or the sun - is the great generator for all creation to happen. The early morning sun can heal many diseases and depression. If you have east-facing windows in your home, open them at sunrise, letting in as much of the early morning light as possible.
If the sunrise rays can touch your body, you are a very lucky person!
Witnessing a sacred Fire ceremony can also bring your soul huge blessings and protection. When we chant the Fire mantra, we are purifying our body and soul from negative karmas.
The Fire can bring the highest positive energy, prosperity and fulfill our heart’s desires.
The Sky is unlimited. By chanting the Sky mantra, we can develop our 6th sense, connect to the angels and receive the highest self-healing power.
Through the Sky mantra, we can heal our addictions, heartbreak, and depression. We can make our soul like a magnet to attract the highest healing vibrations.
Through the Sky mantra, we can also connect to all of Creation because it encompasses all.
The Water element is a huge force of life. There are perfect cycles of Water flowing throughout the planet. Water is of a nurturing energy, but when out of balance, tsunamis, hurricanes, and floods can occur. When we take a bath, or go swimming, our body naturally relaxes very quickly. Water pulls out negativity, balances our emotions, and makes our minds calm and focused. Water easily holds energy. For example, if we recite the Water mantra while drinking water, the water becomes charged with the highest healing vibrations. The delicacy of nature can be observed through water’s sensitivity to people’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. The Water element can be used for helping people with all types of psychiatric problems, body pains and depression.
The Air element is our most basic connection to life. Our body can only survive if we breathe. Through the air, we can receive powerful cosmic energy. Wind can be soft and gentle or wild and destructive. Generally, the winds in the high mountains are very powerful to our soul, whereas the desert winds have a negative quality. If there is no plant life, the wind can bring destructive energies. Where there is life, the winds can be healing, bringing angelic energy and light, especially to those meditating in the nature. When we have the Air element under our control, our minds are peaceful and controlled. By mastering the mind, we gain the capacity to handle all the other elements and use those energies to the best advantage. In this western world, controlling our thoughts is the most difficult thing, and yet the most important, to our well-being.
To stay balanced, it is important to spend some time every week with nature and maintain a place of inner silence. We can use the power of our thoughts and minds to heal ourselves and others. Chanting the sacred element mantras is like tuning into perfect radio frequencies, purifying our souls and opening us up to the divine rhythm of nature.
If you would like to know more about the Five Element mantras or about the ancient science of Vaastu, please visit:
Chinese Medicine and Cosmology
|Zang (yin organs)||liver||heart/pericardium||spleen/pancreas||lung||kidney|
|Fu (yang organs)||gall bladder||small intestine/San Jiao||stomach||large intestine||urinary bladder|
|Emotion||anger, frustration||over-excitation||worry, anxiety||grief, sadness||fear, lack of will|
|Finger||index finger||middle finger||thumb||ring finger||little finger|
|Heavenly creature||Azure Dragon||Vermilion Bird||Yellow Dragon or Yellow Qilin||White Tiger||Black Tortoise|
|Season||Spring||Summer||Change of seasons (Every third month)||Autumn||Winter|
Tai Chi is a common sight every morning in the parks and gardens of the Chinese speaking world, where these graceful flowing exercises are practiced by groups and individuals. The Tai Chi form is a dance-like sequence of moves and postures looking sometimes like slow motion martial arts with an invisible opponent, which is what it actually is or at least was originally meant to be.
Why Tai Chi and Martial Arts?
Tai Chi is indeed derived from Chinese Martial arts and still is a system for self defence. All martial artists recognise the need to remain calm and focused. We will also talk about finding our root or being grounded, put simply remaining on our feet and not getting pushed over, which is some thing everyone wants, literally and metaphorically, Tai Ch does precisely this, which is why it has been shown to reduced falls and slips, in older civilians and alleviate arthritic conditions, whilst at the same time is practised by more athletic martial artists looking to hone their fighting skills. Push Hands (Tui Shou) >>
What does it mean?
The phrase T'ai C'hi Chüan or Taijiquan depending of systems of transliteration, means, starting with the "T'ai C'hi" bit, literally the supreme or grand ultimate and figuratively meaning the cosmos. The familiar Ying-Yang circle symbol is also known as the Tai Chi symbol, as it sums up the cosmos with the contrasting yet complimentary yin and yang aspects of all things. The chüan part refers to a method or balancing and usually relates to the use of the fist, and therefore can be translated as pugilism or boxing. So Cosmic fists, yin-yang boxing, the fists of the supreme ultimate, take your pick. Chinese Philosophy >>
The origins of Tai Chi Chuan
The story told of Tai Chi's origin, is usual the one regarding the hermit and alchemist Zhang San Feng, in about 1300 AD. He retired to a life of seclusion and contemplation on Wudang Mountain, here he witness or dreamt a fight between a snake and a crane or sparrow or magpie (the stories vary). Zhang was apparently a master of Shoalin Kung fu and the graceful movement of the sna