The 5 elements of Nature
The 5 elements symbolize the cyclic energies of the Universe in Chinese cosmology
Tip: Use our free calculator to discover your main Chinese element (on the right column if you are on a computer or lower on the page if you are on mobile).
Chinese zodiac elements: Meaning and influence on personality
The 5 elements of Chinese Cosmology (Wu Xing) are important components of traditional Chinese astrology and philosophy, in relation with your own Chinese zodiac sign.
According to the theory of the five elements, each element of Nature has Yin and Yang components. The 5 elements (or movements) are in constant interaction and relationship; they follow, oppose and give birth to one another.
Contrary and opposite forces are equally connected with complementary forces, summarized below in our illustration of the combined creative and destructive cycles of the 5 elements.
The same elements Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood are also used in Feng Shui (home and office interior design, logo design), Ba Gua, Chinese medicine, art, music, cooking, acupuncture, military strategy and martial arts.
Each Chinese zodiac element is attached to a year of birth, in its Yang or Yin form. The elements follow each other in pairs, with a Yang and Yin polarity, and this on a cycle of 10 years.
Traditionally, Yang is associated with the day, even numbers, white color, masculinity and an extraverted temperament, while Yin is associated with the night, odd numbers, black, femininity, and an introverted temperament.
☯ Learn more about the Yin and Yang
The Chinese element of your year of birth is attached to one of the 5 elements. Below, you will find the specific characteristics of each of the 5 elements of Chinese cosmology, and what is the element of your Chinese zodiac sign, in correspondence with your date of birth. Also, the description of the 5 elements' influence on the personality in the case of deficiency or excess.
5 elements - Graphic charts for Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water
Relationship, interaction between the 5 elements
|Element||Born of||Breeds||Dominated by||Dominates|
Main intrinsic element of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs - What element is my sign?
|Element||Chinese zodiac sign|
|🗿||Earth||Ox, Dragon, Goat, Dog|
Matching Feng Shui colors for the 5 elements
|🌳||Wood||Green, Apple Green, Acid Green, Caribbean Green, Emerald, Artic Lime, French Lime|
|🔥||Fire||Red, Carmine Red, Cadmium Red, Vermilion Red, Fuschsia, Coquelicot, Pink, Classic Rose, Orange, Purple|
|🗿||Earth||Brown, Beige, Ocher, Yellow, Lemon Yellow, American Butter, Amber, Almond, Chocolate|
|🛠||Metal||White, Grey, Bright Grey, Silver, Chinese Silver, Christmas Silver, Aluminium, Gold, Bronze|
|💧||Water||Blue, Black, Navy Blue, Aquamarine, Cobalt Blue, Cyan, Prussian Blue, Bright Turquoise, Amazonite|
🌳 The Wood element
Wood is the element of birth, creativity, longevity and wisdom. The people whose element Wood is predominant in their Chinese astrological chart have a generous and animated nature. They are persons of integrity and honesty, whose great moral value is only equaled by their strength of conviction. Innovation is second nature to them, and their creative talent often exceeds the average. Nature lovers and great pet friends, Wood Individuals appreciate quiet places that allow them to find their inner balance.
The vitality and open-mindedness of Wood people often lead them to practice several activities at once, because their interests are manifold. Even though Wood individuals tend to develop many projects with great enthusiasm during their youth, without necessarily reaching the end of things, it nevertheless improves with age and maturity.
In their work, Wood individuals are organized, ingenious and inventive. In business, they are more productive when teamwork is well planned and serene. Nothing is more counter-productive for a Wood individual than to be confronted in his daily life with a petty project manager, expert in micro-management, who will only succeed in bringing down the quality of his work and make him flee elsewhere.
If Wood individuals love the fun of life, they have the unfortunate tendency to sometimes let themselves go a little adrift. It can't be said either that they're naturally elegant or well-cared for, unless they're born a year of the Rooster or a year of the Pig.
Naturally open to the world, tolerant, faithful and protective in love, the Wood individual has on the other hand difficulty in conforming to the norms and traditional customs of societies where moral judgment is omnipresent. If the Wood individual feels frustrated in his actions, or if an obstacle gets in his way, risking to jeopardize the realization of his ambitions, he can then be carried away by great memorable angers. As long as no one tries to appropriate for oneself the work of the Wood individual, success and progress can be at the rendezvous.
Deficiency or excess of the Wood element
Individuals lacking the Wood element in their Chinese horoscope may be subject to loneliness or excessive introversion, double personality and sometimes tics.
Individuals who have the Wood element in excess in their Chinese horoscope may be subject to phobia, anger and may have an absent or unconventional sexuality. The artistic activities likely to drain and transform their energy reserve in a constructive and beneficial way are: decoration, graphic design, musical composition.
🔥 The Fire element
Individuals whose element Fire is predominant in their Chinese astral chart are courageous, open-minded and open to others. They are often funny and passionate beings, looking great and brimming with vitality. Generous, adventurous and enthusiastic, Fire individuals are charismatic leaders, gifted for communication. They're generally focused on action, while their ambition and thirst for success seems limitless.
Positive, dynamic and dominating, Fire individuals are natural leaders who spontaneously encourage confidence. Yet, while they seem open to dialogue, deep down within themselves, they only trust their own perception of things.
One of their specific talent is to start, improve or give new life to ambitious projects. On the other hand, they can also be stubborn, and throw themselves headlong into activities requiring sustained and intense work, while neglecting the details essential to the success of their business.
For if they are good and persuasive speakers, Fire individuals are always bubbling with ideas, and their thirst for innovation is so great that they often take unreasonable risks, to the point of endangering their own well-being. Their need for recognition being almost unlimited, even if they suffer several failures as a result, Fire individuals always find the strength to start afresh.
Their tendency to impose their ideas at all costs, combined with their unwavering determination, can sometimes exasperate their entourage. But in spite of everything, their unwavering enthusiasm always succeeds in making the most rigid of oppositions fold.
In a negative aspect, the people marked by the Fire element may be violent, or at least show authoritarian tendencies. Indeed, in moments of conflict, they can either indulge in destructive anger, or else leave the stage after having lit it, leaving room for a darkness and a consternating cold.
Deficiency or excess of the Fire element
Individuals lacking the Fire element in their Chinese horoscope are subject to attention disorders. They are not noticed at first sight, and they struggle to arouse spontaneous interest. They may also have problems with verbal expression, or have an erased personality.
Individuals who have the Fire element in excess in their Chinese horoscope may be subject to hysteria, bad temper or even despotic temperament. Artistic activities likely to drain and transform their energy reserves in a constructive and beneficial way are: music, especially singing and writing, but also comedy and drama.
🗿 The Earth element
Individuals marked by the Earth element are generally more receptive and sensitive to their environment. The Earth is the element of solidity, stability, and nourishing support essential to fertility.The Earth is a dense and deep receptacle, which also symbolizes seriousness and introspection. Created by the element Fire, the element Earth signifies, in its negative aspect, cumbersomeness, obstination and materialism.
The Earth, thanks to its balanced and stable characteristics, brings to the Earth individual his qualities of insight, reasoning and foresight. Pragmatic, the individual whose Chinese astral theme is dominated by the Earth element is endowed with remarkable strength and unparalleled strength of character. Reassuring his entourage by his wisdom, the Earth individual tends however to be conservative, and he doesn't like to be bumped into his habits.
Sure of himself in his choices, the Earth individual is nevertheless a real timid. He acts and progresses in life through a series of reasoned instructions that he fixes himself and follows to the letter, which generally enables him to achieve his goals. Interested above all by concrete actions realizable in the long term, one can sometimes suspect, often wrongly, the Earth individual of possessing a stubborn or obstinate spirit.
Among his qualities, foresight, combined with perseverance, make the Earth personality either very generous and directed towards spirituality, or on the contrary a very miserly and materialistic being, according to the other elements that accompany his date of birth. Moreover, since anxiety is his second nature, it may be noted that he will tend to express an exaggerated pessimism in difficult times. The Earth individual has a calculating mind, is surprisingly gifted for organization and has the memory of an elephant.
Deficiency or excess of the Earth element
Individuals lacking the Earth element in their Chinese horoscope are rather subject to carelessness, excess weight, extreme fear of illness, anxiety and psychological fragility. It can also be disordered, have difficulty integrating into social groups, to the point of becoming indifferent to the feelings of others and choose to live in an emotional desert of its own free will.
Individuals who have the Earth element in excess in their Chinese horoscope have a marked tendency for conservatism, or an exaggerated mistrust towards those around them. By staying away from any social event, they take the risk of locking themselves into paranoia. Artistic activities likely to drain and transform their energy reserves in a constructive and beneficial way are: architecture, painting, sculpture, ceramics and craftsmanship.
🛠 The Metal element
Metal, the material of the protective shield and the sharp sword, is the representative element of solidity, brilliance, loyalty, but also rigidity. Metal individuals are meticulous and precise in their discourse, they have a purposeful and calculating mind, and they're never reluctant to carry out actions requiring a long term investment. When they have a goal in mind, they tend to act without hesitation, according to their own plan of action, refusing any concessions or compromises. The Metal individuals are generally dominated by a quasi-instinctual psychic force, which makes them tend towards action.
Whatever the sign of the Chinese zodiac to which they are attached, Metal individuals are ambitious beings who love money and the power that is associated with it. Their ideas are decided, and they only understand concrete actions. Tireless, they struggle to moderate their efforts, but also their language in conflictual situations.
Much more individual than collective, Metal people seldom solicit the help of others, preferring to solve their problems on their own. Lucid, determined and sometimes radical, they generally prefer to trust their own judgment and personal analysis. They may also be subject to a constant back and forth between a moderate mistrust, which is naturally part of their temperament, and an acute paranoia of others, which is quite difficult to live for their loved ones.
Deficiency or excess of the Metal element
Individuals who have a Metal element defect in their Chinese horoscope are generally subject to hesitation, procrastination and a lack of foresight in their concrete approach to existence.
In case of excess of the Metal element in their Chinese horoscope, Metal individuals may develop a tendency to paranoia or austere stiffness. An ill-digested betrayal can also make their rejection of others chronic in the long run. The artistic activities likely to drain and transform their energy reserve in a constructive and beneficial way are: dance, choreography, fashion, styling or even jewelery and gold-smithery.
💧 The Water element
People whose Chinese astral theme is dominated by the Water element have a sensitive and intuitive temperament. Their great ability to listen and analyze others allows them to develop extraordinary communication gifts. Water individuals can flourish in writing rather than business, as they're not at all made for competition.
Of a great sociability, the Water people have a penetrating and clairvoyant spirit, supported by a gift of observation which makes them sometimes able to anticipate the events before they are realized. It's also the reason why they're very gifted in the trades which accompany others in a choice of life or a professional field, such as the professions of therapist, psychologist, or counselor in Human resources.
Water individuals also have an inclined mind to influence others indirectly, especially when it comes to applying their analysis and vision. Of a serene sweetness in their affective relationships when all goes well, wear and patience are their assets in case of conflict. Their discretion and sense of diplomacy allows them to easily interfere with the source of the problems they face, in order to better solve them. It's their way of preparing the ground, while waiting for the right moment and the right place before taking action.
Yet, like water that sleeps, passive, never in direct confrontation and with remarkable adaptability, Water individuals sometimes tend to be too tolerant with their surroundings, to the point of sometimes being overcome by the situation. Water being otherwise of a secret and enigmatic nature, the Water individual also has a propensity to depression. He may also be inconstant and lack firmness and determination, especially when an unexpected and disturbing event disrupts his mental tranquility.
Deficiency or excess of the Water element
Individuals who have a Water element defect in their Chinese horoscope may be subject to a lack of will and a tendency to give up at the first difficulty, or laziness.
Individuals with the Water element in excess in their Chinese horoscope may be subject to maniaquerie, obsessive fits, phobia, inhibitions or hidden fears. They can also very badly bear the fact of being criticized. The artistic activities likely to drain and transform their energy reserve in a constructive and beneficial way are: the writing of novels or scenarios, illusionist, conjurer or astrologer.
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