The Five Elements – Part 1 (Everything begins with Water)
Maybe you’re wondering why certain people act certain ways. Maybe you’re trying to get rid of the stress in your life—or smooth the rough patches of a relationship. Or maybe you’re simply trying to understand yourself. Why do you do what you do? Why do you say what you say? Why do you get sick? How do you get well?
The insights from the world’s oldest personality type system, the Five Elements, can help you answer many of these questions. While the Five Elements system stems from ancient Chinese thought, it has powerful applications for modern life. Understand the inner workings of the Five Elements—Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal—and you’ll have more than wisdom; you’ll have a roadmap for better living.
If the Five Elements are so transformative, why haven’t most Westerners heard of them? Well, they have. Sort of. Most Americans are familiar with acupuncture, the Chinese practice of bringing the body back into balance using tiny needles on various parts of the skin to activate certain acupressure points. Many have also heard of feng shui, which is based on the theory that rooms and spaces need a certain balance and flow of energy so that the people living within them feel healthy, peaceful, and happy. Both of these famous Chinese systems are based on one important theory: that of the Five Elements.
Every person embodies all Five Elements. But people default to one element consistently under stress. The Five Elements are not exactly, “What Disney character are you?” They go deep—affecting parts of your body in its ability to get sick and heal. The Five Elements can change the course of your life and they can also help therapists or energy healers make the most of your sessions. Essentially, the Five Elements are the key to understanding people. And for finding compassion for all.
Each of the Five Elements has an organ and an emotion associated with it. In traditional Chinese medicine, strengths, weaknesses, and qualities of physical organs are deeply tied to emotions and wellbeing. Arranged on a wheel, the Five Elements show the organs they are associated with as well as the direction of flow. Water flows to wood, wood to fire, fire to earth, and so on. If one element is out of whack, there are energy exercises you can do with the help of an energy healer to reorient the element and continue its flow.
Not surprisingly, everything begins with Water; Water is the first of the Five Elements. There’s no life without Water—Water is the newborn baby. It represents winter and the embryonic time when we hibernate. So not surprisingly, Waters like to be alone and don’t mind isolation. COVID-19 restrictions that tell us to stay home are probably just fine for Waters.
Are you a Water? Water personalities are old souls and deep thinkers. They’re intuitive and reflective. And they’re highly creative—birthing brilliant ideas are what they do; Water is the baby, after all. If you have Water energy, you also display courage under fire.
But Water—like every element—has a challenge. For Water, that obstacle is fear. People who reflect the Water element have a fear of life, a fear of moving forward, or a fear of being stuck in an unproductive place. They may also demonstrate a fear of making decisions and a general sense of paranoia. If you know someone who is a Water, and they are demonstrating their fear, let them know you’re there for them but be sure to give them their six feet of separation—or more—Waters need undisturbed time alone.
Because Water is associated with the kidney and bladder, unresolved fear issues can cause kidney and bladder problems or diseases—and beyond. In fact, the nervous and reproductive systems, along with the bones, can also be affected. But thanks to the Five Elements, an energy medicine practitioner can understand your personality type on a deep level and also has the ability to test your energy to see where the issue may lie in order to address the problem holistically and truly help you heal.
To find out more about the remaining Elements—Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal, be sure to read Part 2 of this series on The Five Elements. It includes a quiz so you can determine your main Element and use that knowledge to understand yourself and your relationship to others. And it also includes a video that demonstrates energy exercises relevant to all of the elements.