Feng Shui elements (the five elements) are not literally physical elements. Each element of Feng Shui relates to variations of Qi (Ch-ee). Just as energy exists everywhere, regardless of where we live, work, and play, some form and quality of Qi exists.
Qi is an invisible force with unique characteristics which include moving with the wind and collecting by the waters edge. The quality of effects of Qi exists in one or more forms within the five elements. One environment does not affect every person the same, but we say each environment has dominating characteristics.
Each element is a basic variation of the relationship between Yin and Yang. Yin is very subtle, dark, and nurturing. As we sleep, we are in a Yin quality or state of being. Yang is very active, warm, and bright. When we are active, we are in a state of Yang. Yin and Yang are in constant movement with one another. Sometimes, Yin is more than Yang, and other times Yang is more than Yin. However, Yin is always present with Yang and vice versa.
Yin and Yang are the basic properties of everything that exists whether we think of the seasons, the earth (plants, mountains, water ways), or conditions (environment, people, places, etc.) for our birth. As Yin and Yang interact, time passes, and change occurs because everything interconnects. Change produces the condition of five different variations of Qi we think of as the Five Elements in Feng Shui. Elements can also be Yin or Yang, necessary for growth and harmony. Sometimes the elements and their variations of Yin and Yang can cause disharmony depending on time, place, and even people.
The reason we want to understand the different variations of the elements and their characteristics comes from our desire or even our need to contribute to achieving harmony within our personal life (environment, career, relationship, etc.) just as Yin and Yang work together to bring about harmony everywhere. This reminds me of the polarity of molecules. Molecules are either polar or non-polar meaning when a molecule’s nature is polar, the molecule seeks to bond with other molecules to find balance. If two molecules combine and non-polar, the molecules are stable. Finally, humans make up what is thought as part of a three-part luck (one system) from which everything exists. Earth and Heaven luck complete the system—Human (Man), Earth, and Heaven Luck.
Introduction to The Fire Element
The Fire element can be the most Yang of all the elements, but the fire element can also be Yin in nature. If we think of the real element of fire, we know that there are times fire in the forest leads to new growth because of enriching the soil. The fire element is useful but can also be destructive when it is too Yang. So, we need to sometimes ensure harmony between yang properties of the fire element and other elements for true harmony to exist. At the most beneficial level, we can think of the fire element equivalent to the Sun bathing plant life with warmth and nutrients.
A life cycle for everything in the Universe exists according to the principles of Classical Feng Shui. We think of the cycle as either being in regeneration or decline mode. The effects of regeneration and decline of the elements (effects of the stars) depend on the relationship between Yin and Yang. Even the energy we think of as stars in Classical Feng Shui have a life cycle. In Chinese metaphysics, the main focus is about discovering or knowing the quality, state, and cycles of Qi (Ch-ee). The nature and characteristic of the fire element is that Qi in this state radiates in all directions. Some consider the triangle as representative of the nature of the fire element quality of Qi.
The natural areas that benefit from the fire element are the South, Southwest, and Northeast. The reason fire is beneficial in these areas is due to the nature and characteristics of residual Qi in these areas based on star alignment and transitioning of time. We will discuss later about the production, weakening, and controlling relationships between the elements, but for now know that these areas when appropriately maintained consist of mostly the earth element. When the fire element is harmonious, we know the conditions for fame and fortune are possible. When the fire element is not harmonious, we see the opposite of fame and fortune prevailng instead as villainous and evil. The outcome of the influence of untimely qi of the fire element produces fame and fortune just not in a productive, healthy way.