In this article we are going to delve more into the five elements and also to have a look at other important concepts.

The Yin and Yang.

The Yin and Yang notions are fundamental to understand Chinese metaphysics, but even more Chinese culture in general. They are basically two opposite forces that animate everything in our physical world. Here is a summary of some of their attributes:


• Masculine
• Active
• Fast
• Hot
• Dry
• Hard
• Odd numbers
• Day
• the sun…


• Feminine
• Passive
• Slow
• Cold
• Wet
• Soft
• Even numbers
• night
• the moon…

The important thing when considering Yin and Yang is to detach ourselves from “moral” ideas. It would be easy to think of Yin as a “negative” or “dark” side, and Yang as a “positive” or “light” side. However that would be introducing a dichotomy, a moral opposition that is not originally here.

In Chinese culture those two forces are seen as necessary for the Qi to exist and circulate; they cannot exist one without the other. Try to imagine a coin with one side only… It simply cannot exist in our physical world!
Yin and Yang complete each other, and are active forces. They should not be understood as static forces but in contrary as in movement, transforming endlessly into one another. In the most extreme Yang Qi there is the seed of Yin, and vice-versa. This is what the Tai Qi symbol perfectly summarizes.

What about Yin and Yang when it comes to Feng Shui?
The first aspect to consider is the external environment. A real Feng Shui expert will always check the surrounding to see if they send more of a Ying or Yang energy. This is an important factor to take into account in order to balance the Qi in the premises.

The second aspect is that the Yin or Yang energy can change according to time. In Feng Shui we use periods of time (upper/middle and lower period) of twenty years each. We are currently in a lower period until 2024 (period 9).
Depending on the period, a large body of water can enhance a location, or will actually bring problems to it. This is called “direct and indirect spirit formula”, and it is very useful to choose a place – either for business or living. The fate of a whole city can actually be seen in relation with this formula – the economic boom or slowdown of a city like Chicago fits the pattern brought to the city by the proximity of the great lakes.

Likewise, some mountain shapes will have a positive or negative influence depending on the period of time. So timing will bring more of a Yin or a Yang side to natural formations, and it must be taken into account.
Last but not least, the location of some rooms or items in premises - a bedroom, a cash machine or the main entrance in a business etc. – should try to follow a slightly more Yin (quiet) or Yang (active) placement, depending on the floor plan and on their function.

Back to the Elements

Now that we have a good grasp of the Yin and Yang aspects, it is interesting to have a look back at the five elements, and to see some aspects we did not cover yet.

The five elements can be Yin and Yang too! Therefore, we have a Yin and Yang metal, water, wood, fire and earth elements. Those concepts are seen in the stems and branches used in BaZi, on the Luo Pan (Chinese geomantic compass) and in the Chinese calendar. This notion is helpful in Feng Shui to tailor the solution for a person in relation with their chart – one might need to sleep under a more Yin or a more Yang sector of their favourable element.

Another aspect we haven’t seen with the elements is their association with numbers. The He Tu numbers are important numbers used in Feng Shui. He Tu means river map. The name comes from the legend that a turtle, or a mythical Dragon-horse, was seen by the emperor Fuxi coming out of the Yellow River with a representation of this map on her shell, or side. From this “river map” comes the association elements/numbers, as follow:

1 and 6 are associated with the water element
2 and 7 with the Fire element
3 and 8 with the wood element
4 and 9 with the metal element
5 and 10 with the earth

Those numbers can be used for mundane applications (like choosing an auspicious car plate), but also in Feng Shui. For example if we want to enhance the Fire element in a sector, putting an elongated light with 3 or 8 bulbs will create a conversion wood-fire that will strengthen it even further.

By now we have covered the colours, shapes, directions and numbers associated with the 5 elements, and their Yin and Yang aspects. Those are the foundation to every good Feng Shui practise.

Author's Bio: 

Laurent Langlais is an accredited expert in Feng Shui, Chinese astrology(Bazi) and date selection. He was trained by a Chinese lineage in Asia and use both classical Feng Shui and an advanced form of Chinese astrology (Bazi) to achieve great results.
He has helped countless businesses and home owners to improve their lives and invite prosperity for good. Struggling businesses of all types are one of his speciality.
He is based in London UK and Vancouver BC, Canada and consults internationally.

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