Secrets of the 5 Elements, Revealed

Updated: Aug 31


Home is where it’s at right now, so how do we use our homes as a practice of self care? The 5 elements are one tool in a Feng Shui self-care toolkit. In Feng Shui each of the 5 elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) are associated with a variety of shapes, colors, materials, objects and symbols. But few recognize the emotions associated with each of the elements. Understanding how to use the elements in your home and wardrobe can support you, giving you a boost.

Secrets of the Wood Element

Wood element is intuitive, open to receiving inner guidance, supporting flexibility and new growth. Too much feels like overwhelm, too little feels like a lack of trust and playing small. If you are feeling overwhelmed add a little white to your home or wardrobe. Feeling inflexible? Look for ways to spend time in green spaces or add a little green or medium blue to your life.


Books are wood element and too many can create a feeling of overwhelm or being stuck in old ideas. Nothing that can’t be balanced with an understanding of the 5 elements, adding a favorite crystal or placing them on a white shelf will help balance their wood energy. Keep them dust free and well loved so they provide you with the guidance of healthy wood element.

Fire Element Secrets

Fire element is emotional, dynamic, creative, transformational. There is plenty of need for the transformative power of righteous anger right now, however too much fire feels like anger gone out of control threatening burnout. Too little feels like apathy and a lack of inspiration. Be careful of too much screen time if you are already feeling the heat, and if you’re lacking motivation try sitting in the sun for 5-10 minutes.


Pets represent the fire element in Feng Shui. It makes sense that we feel more emotionally balanced caring for them. Our rescue black lab-border collie mix is 12, doesn’t do stairs anymore, and prefers a slow gambol to a brisk walk. But the love in her heart still shines out her eyes and she still loves to sneak kisses. She was a puppy when I was pregnant with my boys, and she would climb up on the sofa and curl herself around my bump like a nest as we rested snuggled up together. Well cared for pets warm your heart, and add fire element warmth to your home.

Earth Element

Earth element is associated with stability, sensuality, and feeling grounded. Too much feels like too much discipline and seriousness, too little shows up as feeling disconnected, spacey, and ungrounded.


If you are feeling unmoored and untethered, it’s time for some earth element! Treat yourself to a bouquet of yellow flowers or some time spent with your bare feet touching soil. Earth is physical, so get in touch with your physical body: massage, a walk, a stretch. Engage your senses, or get in touch with your physical surroundings. Feeling too rigid and serious, then consider adding a little flexibility with our friend wood element: walk in the woods, tend to your garden, or show your houseplants a little love.

Metal Element

Metal, the element of 2020, is experienced as mental clarity. In balance, it brings the blessings of perseverance, determination, and brilliance under pressure. It’s moments of clarity or the ability to see something that was previously hidden in plain view. Concentration and discernment, because we cannot change what we cannot see and acknowledge.

Many of us are seeing this moment with new eyes.


If you’re feeling weak or indecisive, or struggling with procrastination, add a little white to your environment: perhaps an open blank page in your journal or fresh white sheets.

Feeling rigid? Too much metal can feel like an inability to compromise or change course. And we all are being asked to change course right now. To support the ability to flow, consider lighting a candle or turning on a few extra lights.


This year I’m asking how I can harness the benefits of metal to see myself and my patterns more clearly, to see how I contribute unnecessarily to my own suffering, and unintentionally to the suffering of others. The blank pages of my journal support me in doing the work.

Water Element

Water element is my home base. I’m a Water Ox, and born on the Pisces-Aries cusp, and with 5 planets in Pisces. It’s a lot of water!


Water is spiritual, relaxed, trusting, and meditative. Like floating in a lake on a warm afternoon (there were a pair of swans in the lake here today). Too much water can feel like not enough structure so that passivity and inconsistency are a challenge. And too little can feel like a lack of flow or trust, that perhaps leads to feeling anxious and stressed, a need to do and dominate.


To balance too much water, add our friend earth element through anything made of clay: a platter, vase, the clay projects your kids brought home from school. Too little water, consider adding some photography or art that depicts water. Your screensaver can be an easy place to start if you need to tap into more flow.


Learn more

I’ve got an easy checklist for all 5 elements that everyone enrolled in the Make Yourself at Home series will receive, making it super simple to assess your home for yourself and see which elements may be out of balance. You'll receive lots of guidance on how to work with imbalances. Click here for more details and registration.

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