Everything Astrology Book: The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes (4th Edition)
The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes (4th Edition)

Everything Astrology Book: The New Astrology: A Unique Synthesis of the World's Two Great Astrological Systems: The Chinese and Western
The New Astrology: A Unique Synthesis of the World's Two Great Astrological Systems: The Chinese and Western

Everything Astrology Book: Larry Sang's Chinese Astrology & Feng Shui Guide 2004: The Year of the Monkey
Larry Sang's Chinese Astrology & Feng Shui Guide 2004: The Year of the Monkey

Everything Astrology Book: The New Chinese Astrology
The New Chinese Astrology

Everything Astrology Book: Chinese Astrology: The Most Comprehensive Study of the Subject Ever Published in the English Language
Chinese Astrology: The Most Comprehensive Study of the Subject Ever Published in the English Language

Everything Astrology Book: Your Chinese Horoscope 2004: What the Year of the Monkeyholds in Store for You (Your Chinese Horoscope, 2004)
Your Chinese Horoscope 2004: What the Year of the Monkeyholds in Store for You (Your Chinese Horoscope, 2004)

Everything Astrology Book: Chinese Astrology
Chinese Astrology

Everything Astrology Book: Chinese Astrology: Forecast Your Future from Your Chinese Horoscope
Chinese Astrology: Forecast Your Future from Your Chinese Horoscope

Everything Astrology Book: Encyclopedia of Chinese astrology
Encyclopedia of Chinese astrology

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Guides: Chinese Astrology - Articles - Five Elements - Wikipedia

Five Elements

(Redirected from Chinese five elements)

In Chinese Taoist thought, things in nature can be classified in five types: metal, wood, earth, water, fire (Chinese: 金 木 土 水 火). These Five Elements (五行 wǔxng) are not just the materials that the names refer to, but rather metaphors and symbols for describing how things interact and relate to each other. The original Taoist reference was about the seasons (or the heavens), and they would then be more accurately described as the five phases. In Taoism, everything we know or think of as reality is a symbol, and a reflection of the heavens, so by understanding the macrocosmic relationship of things we can understand these same relationship on a smaller scale: in the body, in personal astrology, or in politics.

Taoism describes both a production (生 Sheng) cycle and a control (克 Ke) cycle acting upon the elements. In the production cycle, wood produces fire; fire produces earth; earth produces metal; metal produces water; water produces wood. In the control cycle, wood controls earth; earth controls water; water controls fire; fire controls metal; metal controls wood. The production cycle outlines a pentagon and the control chain outlines a five pointed star. These interactions and relationships form a framework for different schools of philosophy. The interaction of five elements becomes a tool that helps Taoist scholars sort out observations and empirical data. Based on observations of how things interact, things are classified into one of the five elements so that they fit into the observed pattern. Then one can draw high level conclusions or predictions based on the element types.

In Chinese medicine, each organ of the human body is associated with an element. The liver, tendon, eyes are of the wood element type; heart, blood vessels, tongue are fire element type; spleen, muscle, mouth are earth element type; lungs, skin, hair, nose are metal element type; kidney, bone, ears are water element type; etc. This classification is followed in diagnosing and adjusting the balance in the body. To further understand this, in Chinese medicine, the organs are not simply anatomical organs we understand in western medicine, but actually refer to phases, system, and energies in the bodies. These include the above mentioned body parts, as well emotions linked to each phase, a sound of voice, a smell, a direction, a food, a taste, etc.

In herbal medicine the properties and effects of each herb are classified according to empirical observations on how the herb affects the body. For example, if one herb causes dry mouth and chapped skin, it would be classified as "fire" type. The element type of the herbs can serve a useful purpose when designing a herbal cocktail remedy because the "fire" ingredient can be controlled by adding some "water" ingredients; or the addition of "metal" ingredients can assist the "water" ingredients to do their job in controlling the "fire". A "water" type herb or food is believed to benefit a "wood" type organ etc. The principle of the five elements is used extensively in Chinese medicine.

While these five elements or phases are used by all branches of Chinese medicine, there is also a branch of Chinese medicine that calls itself Five Element Acupuncture. This branch tends to focus on the psycho-emotional component of health and it treats solely on a constitutional basis, and only uses acupuncture and moxa. The Five-Element School was founded by J.R. Worsley who founded the Worsley Institute of Classical Acupuncture in England and in the US. The practice is still largely an oral tradition in the states, passed down from master to a student already holding an acupuncture degree. However their protocols are becoming mainstream enough among practitioners that they are being included on national board exams.

The study of Feng Shui focuses on how the five elements within people, objects and the landscape, affect the harmony of the environment. Even Chinese astrology is based on the five elements. The five visible astrological planets are associated with the five elements: Venus is metal; Jupiter is wood; Mercury is water; Mars is fire; Saturn is earth.

It appears that there may have been cultural transmission between Egypt and China at a very early time, because the sequence given immediately above, which first occurs in the Bo Hu Tong, is the reverse of the sequence of the five visible planets used to name the five days of the week exclusive of Sunday and Monday. The Western sequence is Saturn, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, and Venus, whereas the Chinese sequence is Venus Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and Saturn. The arrangement in nature (whether one examines distance from the sun or how fast the planets move across the nighttime sky from day to day) is Mercury, Venus, (Earth), Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. It is well known how the Egyptian sequence was obtained, the sequence that eventually passed into Western calendars. Information regarding the formative process in China appears to have been lost, but applying a simple variant of the Egyptian rule provides the Chinese sequence. See the details at this site.

Table of contents
1 Correlations Among the Five Elements and Other Categories
2 Note:
2.1 See Also:
2.2 Links;

Correlations Among the Five Elements and Other Categories

The Yue Ling (Monthly Commands) and the Huai Nan Zi make the following correlations:

Correspondences
ElementDirectionColorMusical Note
1Woodeastgreenjiao (mi)
2Firesouthredzhi (sol)
3Metalwestwhiteshang (re)
4Waternorthblackyü (la)
5Earthcenteryellowgong (do)
(See A History of Chinese Philosophy, Feng Yu-lan, Vol. II, p. 13)

Joseph Needham, in Science and Civilization in China, volume 2, pp. 262-23, adds many other sets of five that have been arranged to parallel the five so-called elements. Some of them are recorded below:

Correspondences
ElementTastesSmellsViscera
1Woodsourgoatishspleen
2Firebitterburninglungs
3Metalacridrankkidney
4Watersaltyrottenliver
5Earthsweetfragrantheart

Note:

Western parallels and contrasts, revolving instead around only four elements, called the "temperaments" or the four humours in Western physiology, psychology and pre-scientific medicine, from the time of the pre-Classical Greeks until the 18th century Enlightenment, also informed the historical study called alchemy that led to chemistry.

See Also:

Links;


Classical Elements

Western
Air
Fire | Aether | Water
Earth


Eastern
Metal (金) | Wood (木) | Earth (土) | Water (水) | Fire (火)
See also: Quintessence

Everything Astrology Book: The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes (4th Edition)
The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes (4th Edition)
  Everything Astrology Book: The New Astrology: A Unique Synthesis of the World's Two Great Astrological Systems: The Chinese and Western
The New Astrology: A Unique Synthesis of the World's Two Great Astrological Systems: The Chinese and Western
  Everything Astrology Book: Larry Sang's Chinese Astrology & Feng Shui Guide 2004: The Year of the Monkey
Larry Sang's Chinese Astrology & Feng Shui Guide 2004: The Year of the Monkey
  Everything Astrology Book: The New Chinese Astrology
The New Chinese Astrology
 
Everything Astrology Book: Chinese Astrology: The Most Comprehensive Study of the Subject Ever Published in the English Language
Chinese Astrology: The Most Comprehensive Study of the Subject Ever Published in the English Language
  Everything Astrology Book: Your Chinese Horoscope 2004: What the Year of the Monkeyholds in Store for You (Your Chinese Horoscope, 2004)
Your Chinese Horoscope 2004: What the Year of the Monkeyholds in Store for You (Your Chinese Horoscope, 2004)
  Everything Astrology Book: Chinese Astrology
Chinese Astrology
  Everything Astrology Book: Chinese Astrology: Forecast Your Future from Your Chinese Horoscope
Chinese Astrology: Forecast Your Future from Your Chinese Horoscope
 
Everything Astrology Book: Encyclopedia of Chinese astrology
Encyclopedia of Chinese astrology
   
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_five_elements
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