5 Elemental Theory + Qi: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water


Qi (pronounced 'chee') is known as vital energy, your body’s innate intelligence. According to Chinese medicine, it guides your physical and mental-emotional processes and maintains equilibrium. Each element is connected, and we all have bits and pieces of each within us. Still, she says if an element is dominant in a person, it may influence personality traits. 

A Universal Theory + Template for Natural Law 

Classical Chinese Medicine's (CCM) Five Element framework is universal in what it embodies and organizes all natural phenomena into five master groups or patterns in nature. The Five Elements reflect a deep understanding of natural law, the Universal order underlying all things in our world. It's a sort of master blueprint that diagrams how nature interacts with the body and how the different dimensions of our being impact each other and identify where there are imbalances in our bodies.

Chinese Philosophy + Framework

The five elements are metal (金), wood (木), water (水), fire (火), and earth (土). Chinese people use this five elements theory to balance the interactions between internal organs and Chinese medicine. Honeyopathy balances our elements and strengthens our Qi using this framework blending raw honey, botanicals and gemstones.

All things are said to be composed of some combination of these elements and according to our health and well-being, the five elements play a role in the balance of energies in the body, contributing to everything from personality traits to health and well-being.

Metal Element (金)
Associated with the season of Autumn which is the time of letting go and preparing to return to the essence. When in balance, we advance forward with the prospects of new growth and birth with 
a spark of life and inspiration. The Metal Element helps us to value others and see our own value in the world and the power is balance. When out of balance, a lack-luster appear or self value can be misplaced because it's connected to self worth. 

Wood Element (木)
Associated with the season of Spring, when in balance, we have a good vision—physically, mentally and spiritually. The spiritual emotion of the Wood Element is the promise of fruition and its energy is associated with activity referring to movement which has purpose, especially the upward and forward movement of new and vital growth which goes beyond existing boundaries. When out of balance one wallows in self-judgment and worrying that things having to be just right and lacking direction in life. 

Water Element (水)
Associated with the season of Winter, when in balance, we can go with the flow of life, taking different turns and different directions. Some of the attributes associated with the water element are trust, will and determination and is also associated with our Jing Qi or ancestral Qi or Essence. When out of balance, we can appear frozen, terrified of life, and constantly seeking reassurance.

Fire Element (火)
Associated with the season of Summer, when in balance, 
love bathes every part of our lives and one might exhibit the following traits: communication, vulnerability, making friends easily, gregarious, humorous, delighting in intimacy, generosity, love, compassion, lightness, freedom, joy and liveliness. When the Fire Element is out of balance, those with a Fire imbalance might seem cold hearted.

Earth Element (土)
Associated with the season of late Summer, when in balance, there exists the balance of yin and yang, nourishing of self and nourishing of others with the strength to move out into the world. Earth feeds us physically, mentally and spiritually. In relationships, we are fed by our connection, and it must be fulfilling. Out of balance, Earth can seem like a bottomless pit for nourishment and love and can become obsessive with anxiety and worry.

How the five elements work

Chinese's medicine's five-element theory mirrors the energy present in nature and there are two cycles connecting each element where each element generates energy and gives way to the next. In this positive cycle:

Fire generates Earth
Earth generates Metal
Metal generates Water
Water generates Wood
Wood generates Fire

Likewise, In the controlling (or destructive) cycle, one element can control or be controlled by another element. In this negative cycle:

Water controls Fire
Fire controls Metal
Metal controls Wood
Wood controls Earth
Earth controls Water

The five elements and personality

The five elements are also part of the lunar year with the 12 zodiac signs and animals that go along with them. Each animal represents 1 year and has unique characteristics. For example, 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. Each 12-year cycle also corresponds to an element. Oxen are considered earth creatures, but the years 2020 to 2031 are considered “metal” years.

That means that someone who is born during 2022 will have the influence of water even though oxen are an earth creature so you'll see both elements in one person (one being primary and the other secondary). 

Each dominant element have personal qualities and you can make generalizations.

  • Wood personalities may be energetic and adventurous but also rigid or uptight.
  • Metal characteristics include being responsible and meticulous though sometimes unbending and cutting.
  • Fire types can be passionate and authoritative but also quick to anger.
  • Earth types are typically introverted and may be thoughtful and giving but can also be self destructive or overbearing.
  • Water personalities can be charismatic, adventurous yet self contained and overly critical.

The Chinese say that the mind lives in the heart and the brain holds knowledge and intellect. In our physical state, it's our job to let our heart connect the soul and the body so that we can exist within humanity, wholly.

When we embark on this path to wellness, we can experience something wonderful and fabulous, HUMANITY and its universal source energy or Qi. The soul is at one with this source energy and the physical body is merely the container for our soul to experience this life.


Wendy Boucher

Wendy Boucher is the Founder and Chief Pollinator of Honeyopathy. After spending 25+ years building brands in high tech B2B companies, she's transitioned into more meaningful work tapping into her love of honeybees and their survival. As an aspiring beekeeper herself, she is committed to building an ecosystem founded in humanity and the symbiotic relationship we have with bees through spiritual growth.

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