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5 Element Feng Shui; Adapting the Principles to Your Home

Updated on November 27, 2015

Traditional Feng Shui Compass


3 Chances to Get it Right

Daoist Master Mantak Chia explained during a seminar on Chinese horoscope that Daoist traditions give us 3 opportunities for success. These are:

  1. Our destiny. Our date and time of birth tell us our innate gifts and challenges. This is our “Heaven luck”.
  2. Our choices. Living a healthy lifestyle, good diet, yoga/taichi/meditation, acupuncture, herbal medicine are all choices we have to improve our health and mental outlook. This also includes the actions we take towards our goals. This is our “Human luck”.
  3. Our environment. How we organize our living and work space can support us in achieving our goals. This is our “Earth luck”. Feng shui is in this category.

Feng shui is the study of our environment and how it can be adapted to improve the lives of those who live there. It has its origins in Chinese prehistory and continues to evolve to this day to meet the needs of the people it serves.

Ba Gua (8 Trigrams)

Schools of Feng Shui

Ancient Daoists understood that our surroundings have a big impact on how we think and feel. Feng shui utilizes placement of furniture, water features, and other design elements to balance out weaknesses in our birth chart or to support our efforts to achieve our goals.

Classical feng shui is divided into the form school, which focused on placement within natural phenomena such as mountains or lakes, and the compass school, which utilized a special compass called a luopan illustrating the 8 cardinal directions. The compass school utilizes complex mathematical systems known as flying star and 8 mansions. Many feng shui practitioners use a combination of both schools along with a client's birth chart and assessment of personal goals to determine areas that are working and those that need to be adjusted.

In the West, feng shui was largely influenced by Thomas Lin Yun. He did away with the luopan compass and incorporated crystals and other objects partial to Westerners.

Though sometimes judged as superstitious, feng shui is quite practical. First and foremost adjustments should be made to the environment to create a sense of peace in those who live and work in a place.

Yin and Yang

Daoism is founded upon the concept of balancing Yin and Yang and the 5 Elements in all aspects of our lives. In Chinese medicine and taichi/qigong, they are balanced within the body. In feng shui, these elements are balanced in the environment.

Yin and Yang are opposites that exist in relation to one another. Yin is cooling, nourishing, subtle, and restful. Yin elements in a home can be dark or muted colors, soothing water features, and soft lines. Yang is warming, protective, loud, and activating. Yang elements in a home can be bright colors, bright lights, and sharp lines.

Combinations of Yin and Yang create 4 Elements: Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire. (The 5th element, Earth is in the center).

Chinese Garden with Penjing

The 5 Elements

The Water element represents the North, coolness, and utmost yin. The nature of Water is fluid, sensual, and deep. It is represented by black or dark blue and water features.

The Metal element represents the West, dryness, and lesser yin. The nature of Metal is sharp, precise, and righteous. It is represented by clean lines, minimalist design, white, and stainless steel.

The Fire element represents the South, heat, and utmost yang. The nature of Fire is scattered, romantic, and easily distracted. It is represented by red and bright colors, bright lights, and things that sparkle.

The Wood element represents the East, wind, and lesser yang. The nature of Wood is expansive, direct, and goal-oriented. It is represented by green, plants, and wood features.

The Earth element represents the center, dampness, and the transition between the other elements. The nature of Earth is grounding, nurturing, and stable. It is represented by yellow and earth tones, and clay or stone features.

Harmonizing Yourself and Your Home

Feng shui practitioners assess the balance of yin and yang and the 5 elements in the environment compared to the needs of the client. For example, if the client is a high-powered career-oriented person but wants more romance, adjustments can be made in the environment to bring in more yin (receptivity) and water (sensuality) and fire (romance). Certain areas of the home can be activated, such as the peach blossom (romance corner calculated using the birth chart).

On the other hand, if the client has a teen who is not applying him/herself in school, clearing clutter, removing distractions, and bringing in more Metal (perfection) and Wood (drive) can help remedy the situation.

Understanding Your 5 Element Makeup

Know Thyself

The more you understand about yourself: your 5 element makeup, your strengths and weaknesses, and what you want out of life, the better you will be able to adapt your home and workspace to your needs. Feng shui is not about imposing a standard style or symbols that hold no meaning for you upon your home. It is about creating the environment that optimize your chances to thrive.

Fountains are a Well Known Feng Shui Tool

Share Your Story

Have you consulted books or feng shui practitioners to help increase wealth, improve family harmony, or find love? What were your results? What worked and what didn't?

What is Your Experience

Have you ever used feng shui in your home?

See results


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    • avorodisa profile image

      Anna Sidorova 

      3 years ago from Russia

      I have tried to apply some feng shui advice. Most of all I was surprised by the support the so-called Tai Sui can give. This energy making part of the school of the flying stars is known to get angry and troublesome when you face it. Vice versa, when you sit your back to it, it gives support. Otherwise I have a fountain that I keep in the east of my home, and I think running it helps me bring more income. I also love to use feng shui crystals, amethyst and clear quartz are my favorite. And that's about body feng shui. Amethyst is in a very good resonance with my personal energy, giving strength and income opportunities, self-esteem and confidence with people. Some people say amethyst doesn't help financially. Well, that's not really true. It does help. That's how I feel it at least. Clear quartz helps to find information I need faster.

    • Kathryn Lane profile image

      Kathryn Lane 

      3 years ago

      This was a really interesting read, thanks for sharing!


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