As Above; So Below: The Five Element Theory

Somewhere between 476-221 BC, the five element Creation Cycle was introduced in China. Fire melts Metal. Metal chops down Wood. Wood grows through Earth. Earth makes the banks that the Water flows in. Water puts out Fire. These elements describe five different types of energy associated with a pair of organs and different kinds of emotions and to be applied to the human body, to cycles of time, to mental aspects, and even colors.

Wood – sunrise – spring – upward – liver and gallbladder- anger, impatience, activity, positive attitude, enthusiasm. Sour. Food sources include Leafy green vegetables, raw or steamed, sauerkraut, vinegar and lemon.

Fire – midday – summer – outward – heart and small intestine – hysteria, excitement, expressive, outgoing, social. Bitter. Food sources include Fried onions, garlic, ginger, spring onions/scallions, mild spices, coffee, alcohol, oils, nuts, seeds and herbs such as parsley.

Earth – afternoon – late summer – downward – spleen, pancreas and stomach – jealousy, quality of life, practicality, stability, homely. Sweet. Food sources include Sweet root and ground vegetables cooked into a soup or casserole. Stewed fruits, apple juice, syrups.

Metal – evening – autumn – inward – lungs and colon -depression, playfulness, contentment, contained, inner strength. Pungent. Food sources include long cooked grains such as brown rice, wheat, rye, barley, oats or spelt. Pickles.

Water – night – winter – flowing in any direction – kidney and bladder – fear, objective, artistic, original, flexibility. Salty. Food sources include Miso soups, bean soups, stews or casseroles, mild use of sea salt.

The principles of the five elements are fundamental to acupuncture, feng shui, shiatsu, and qi gong. Practitioners use acupressure points and meridian diagnosis to detect imbalances in energy and correct these through stimulating or calming the chi flowing through the body.

With The 5 Element Qi Gong form that I have been studying, the 5 categories are applied to movements, which relate to certain groups of muscles, vessels, and joints. Begin with these questions: What elements were you born with or are represented in your name? Which do you tend to demonstrate in your usual thoughts and actions? What is the condition of your organs? What is missing?

Once you discover which elements are too weak or too strong, you can compensate by bringing in or diminishing elements that feed or restrict weakness or strength by wearing different colors, eating certain foods, or tapping particular meridians. With balanced and harmonious energy, you can flow easily, fully, and softly fostering harmony and balance in your life.

Published by SilkQuilt

Pittsburgh-based fiber artist, Louise Silk, creates art that combines aesthetics and functionality with meaning and memories. From the influence of a 1972 MS Magazine article to the current SILKDENIM label, her quilt experiences culminate in a display of her particular capacity to use her patchwork skills to piece together just about anything into an aesthetic meaningful whole.

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