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Earliest origin of feng shui five-element was from a book call 五行大义 by 隋萧吉. Unknown to many it was not written for feng shui or bazi purposes. It covers extensive topics such as birth stems, seasons, medicinal care, forecasting, fortune telling etc. The system was incorporated into feng shui and Bazi formulas much later.
Interpretation from 5 Elements
Take for example “wood” the commonly heard version is it conquers Earth because it “uproots” the soil. Authentic interpretation “wood” is concentrated 专 thus win over Earth which is loose 散.
Five-element production cycle is NOT ABSOLUTE
You probably heard of constructive and destructive five-element chain. The chart beside shows the production cycle (black arrow) and destruction cycle (red arrow). Again using “wood” as an example, water is a necessary source to produce wood. One little known fact is that this five element production chain CAN BE REVERSED! Using the same example, no doubt water helps the wood to grow BUT having too much water the wood will rot and float aimlessly 木赖水生, 水多木漂!
Here we refer to excessive level of an element has a NEGATIVE impact thereby destroys the production chain. Which makes this study complex but interesting.
Five elements imbalance – Unhealthy level
In bazi reading earth represent trust. Fire politeness, water intelligence, metal righteousness and wood kindness. When the element is excessive or insufficient it is at an unhealthy level.
It may sound paradoxical but your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness. For instance, your unstoppable enthusiasm in work can lead to peers boycott. The key is to operate at “optimum” not “maximum” level of your strengths.
Having too much metal make you a “marvel comic ironman” hero 金主义 trying to save the the world and overstepping lawful boundaries. An overly trusting person due to excess Earth is gullible and usually victims of scam or fraud.
5 elements at home or office
Feng shui is about balance and harmony. Ideally, all 5 elements are present. For e.g. over indulgent with electronic gadgets at home causes agitation and bad tempers. It is bad for the heart, blood and cardiovascular system.
Other Five Element representations
In addition five elements represents body parts, characteristics, colors, smell, shapes and tastes. Assume an office with an elongated or protruded North sector representing excessive water. This will result in over-thinking leading to inaction and missed business opportunities.
See 5 elements business types
Article was publish in feng shui for modern living extended to include architecture