East and West
The Chinese ‘Wuxing’ or 5 Elements considerably precede their Western counterparts, associated, for example, with the Yellow Emperor (circa 2,900 BCE). The ‘Four Elements of the Wise’ (Earth, Air, Fire and Water) known to the West have links to Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and other Classical Greek Philosophers, flourishing around 500 BCE. The Six Elements of Indian Vedic tradition, springing from the ‘panchakarma’ (5 Elements linked together by ‘Spirit’ to make 6) similarly have later origination but reflect Chinese influence more clearly in their structure.
These influential Chinese originals prompted other sets’ later creation elsewhere, their influence moving either Westwards via the old Silk-roads into Asia Minor and, ultimately, Europe, or Eastwards into India and beyond.
5 Elements Productive Cycle
In their ‘Productive’ Cycle’: Earth produces Metal, which produces Water, which produces Wood; this produces Fire, when extinguished this produces Earth (ashes) and the cycle begproduces ins anew. Each Element corresponds to one of the 5 major internal organs: Spleen, Lungs, Kidneys, Liver and Heart, in the above sequence, commonly represented via a Pentagon. These are a primary focus of 5 Elements Internal Qigong.
5 Elements Destructive Cycle
The Star-shaped internal inter-relationships of the 5 Elements, represented by the Pentagram, resembling an upright human figure with arms outstretched, depicts their ‘Destructive’ Cycle. Each Element instead of supporting/producing the next destroys/eradicates the next-but-one (1). Wood ‘destroys Earth'(covering/burying it under vegetation and extracting nutrients).Earth destroys Water by limiting/channeling its freedom of movement, et. seq.
Stale ‘shar’ Qi is eliminated at this level, via out-breaths and skin-breathing, for example. External Qigong focuses upon these levels.
Superficial Western encounters with China, to date, lack understanding of Qi, Qigong and related areas like Kung Fu (2) and Feng Shui, inextricably linked to the 5 Element Cycles. Thus the figures of the Pentagon and Pentagram were imported into the West and endowed with ‘Magic’ significance by the Medieval Alchemists (incorporating the Four Elements) in ways entirely unrelated to their original ‘true’ significance. The 5 Element links to these 5-sided figures are obviously original and natural.
Animals and Elements
Each Animal Year of the repeating 12-Year Chinese Ghanzi Cycles is accompanied by one of the 5 as ‘Year Element’, fundamentally moderating its influences. Elements manifests for two consecutive years in Yang then Yin form. This produces a parallel 10-Year Cycle, whose inception is also attributed to the Yellow Emperor-2012 is Year 4710 according to both Cycles. This, incidentally, reveals Chinese historical records and writings’ underlying accuracy-when number, Animal and Element ‘line up’ dates can be certified genuine!
Individuals, with Year Animals according to birth-date, plus elemental attributions derived similarly, are subject to the changing influences of these as time progresses. 5 Elements Qigong, working in harmony with such forces, enables individuals to improve their health and achieve longevity. The ‘Wuxing’ or 5 Elements influence our lives, health, fortune and environment in many ways, as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Feng Shui, Qigong and Chinese Philosophy make clear-5 Elements Qigong offers valuable insights into the workings of such processes.
Notes and References
(1) See ‘Five Elements Magic Matrix-Qigong, Feng Shui, Health and Astrology Insights!’ ( http://www.sheffieldkungfu.com ) for further information.
(2) The 5 Elements are accepted as the progenitors of Shaolin Kung Fu’s 5 Animals-the term ‘Wuxing’ applies to both.