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The Five Elements and its Associations

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The principle of the Five Elements is pervasive in Chinese metaphysics.

It is felt in Feng Shui, Chinese Astrology, medicine and even in Chinese music!

The five elements are associated with the seasons, colours, taste, behaviour, organs in the body etc.

In the chart below, I have listed out the various associations of the Five Elements and the meaning of each element:-

Yin OrgansLungLiverKidneyHeartSpleen
Yang OrgansLarge
Music NotesReMiLaSoDo
Numbers4 & 93 & 81 & 62 & 75 & 10

Five Elements or Wu Xing

In the article, “What is Chi?”, we learnt that matter and energy are interchangeable.

The ancient Chinese further believe that this energy or Qi manifest itself in five different forms call ‘Wu Xing’ which refers to the five different energies of Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth and the interaction between them. Many Feng Shui authors refer to Wu Xing as the Feng Shui Five elements.


Actually the term Feng Shui Five Elements is not correct as the principle of the Five Elements is not the sole domain of Feng Shui. It is also used in many other Chinese meta-physical discipline such as Chinese medicine, face reading, martial arts etc.

For example, in Chinese Medicine, the heart is Fire while the liver is Wood. As you might have already guess Wood produces Fire. Therefore if the heart is weak you can strengthen it by strengthening the liver!

The Five Elements are also associated with many other things such as emotion, climate, favour etc. It is also associated with colours. For example Fire is red, metal is white, wood is green, water is blue or black while earth is yellow.

The Five Elements interact with each other in a few ways. The first sequence of interaction is called the promotive or productive cycle where the elements produce one another.

The second sequence is the controlling or more commonly referred to as the destructive cycle. In this sequence the elements control one another. Finally there is the exhaustive cycle. In this sequence the elements reduces the energy of the others hence exhaustive.

In my article, I will explain the interaction of the Feng Shui five elements and give examples of how to apply them.

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The Five Elements & Internal Organs

One of the many things that an astrologer can tell about from your birth chart is your general health condition and the health challenges that you can expect as you go through life.

Acupuncture Points
Acupuncture Points

For example in Zi Wei Dou Shu the astrologer can do this by looking at the Health Palace and to a lesser extent, the Fu De or Mental palace and the stars within. Each star has a yin or yang property as well as one of the Five Element and an experienced astrologer can make an educated guess about your health condition and the disease that you may suffer from.

But how do they do it?

internal organs In Chinese medicine the internal organs are classified into the Five Zang and Six Fu organs. The five Zang organs are the heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidney. They are yin in nature. The six Fu organs on the other hand are yang in nature and they consist of the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, gallbladder, bladder and the pericardium.

Each of these is also associated with one of the Five Element as shown in the table below:-

Internal Organs and the Five Elements
Zang (Yin)LiverHeartSpleenLungKidney
Fu (Yang)GallbladderSmall

Let’s suppose you have the Qi Sha star in your health court. A star by itself does not mean much but let’s say that there are other factors present that indicate a weakness. Qi Sha is yin metal which means the lung. From this an astrologer will infer that you are likely to have a problem related to the lungs!

An experience astrologer can also verify his analysis by observation. For example he detects a weakness in the heart in the chart. He will normally look at your face. If it is pale, then it is likely that your heart is weak. Other the other hand if it is rosy, it may not be!

Similarly a liver deficiency is indicated by thin, soft and pale nails while a spleen deficiency is indicated by pale lips. The skin is also associated with the lung and the metal element. Therefore a healthy skin indicated good lung function. Finally thick and glossy hair indicated healthy kidney while hair loss reflects (but not necessarily) weak kidneys!

As you can see, the Five Elements is not just used in Feng Shui and Chinese Astrology but also in Chinese Medicine and other Chinese disciplines.

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