The Relationships of Five Elements

The five elements include: metal, wood, water, fire, earth.
The five elements have their own internal orders and patterns. Every element can be supported or weakened by another element.

The generation relationships of five elements can be memorized as follows: Water enables Wood to grow, Wood enables Fire to burn resulting in ashes or Earth, in which forms Metal, which in liquid forms resembles water.

Another cycle is Water extinguishes Fire, and water or flood is controlled by the dam or river bank which belongs to Earth. Earth is depleted of energy by Wood in the form of trees, which can be chopped or destroyed by Metal tools.

Mutual generation cycle

The creative,helpful or productive Five Elements cycle is as follows: Metal generates water, water generates wood, wood generates fire, fire generates earth, and earth generates metal.

Metal generates water: most metals can be melted into liquid at high temperature. Or imagine the metal as a metal tool, digging ditches to divert water, or dee into the ground to dig a well to produce water.

Water generates Wood: Trees or plants need water to grow and thrive.

Wood generates Fire: Lighting firewood can make a fire for heating, cooking, etc. So wood makes fire.

Fire generates earth: After the fire burns, there will be a lot of ashes left, generating fertile soil, or turned into earth.

Earth generates metal: Earth includes soil and ore. Metals can be mined from ore. Metal ores come from the earth.

Mutual restriction cycle

The restriction between the five elements is called “ke” in Chinese word, which means inhibition, harm, weaken, or overcome.

The five elements restrict each other: metal controls wood, wood controls earth, Earth controls water, water controls fire, and fire controls metal.

Metal restricts wood: You can still think of metal as a metal tool, such as an axe, which can be used for Chopping wood.

Wood restricts earth: We know that if there is no trees, flowers and plants on the land, it will easily become barren. The main means of controlling desertification is planting trees. With tress and other plants, you can restrain the soil and sand change.

earth restricts water: As we know, dams are constructed for the purpose of flood control. Dams protect against flooding by collecting and holding waters when they reach a certain level.

Water restricts fire: This is very easy to understand. After a fire occurs, it is necessary to use a lot of water to put out the fire when fighting the fire.

Fire restricts metal: Although there is a saying that “real gold do not fear the fire”, but, in fact, even if It is real gold, but it is also afraid of fire. Otherwise, how to make all kinds of gold jewelry? Gold is one of the least reactive substances and it will not burn in air at any temperature. That doesn’t mean that you can ignore heat on gold entirely at high temperature. Gold melts at a temperature of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit (or 1064 degrees Centigrade).

What’s more, gold here can refer to all metals. Fire can refine and melt metal.

Reverse restriction

If one element is too strong, the controlling element itself becomes controlled in a reverse manner. For example, when the flood is too strong, the dam can’t prevent the water flow. When wood is too strong and metal axe is too blunt, the axe cannot cut the wood and may be broken if you try to chop the strong wood with it. This is called reverse restriction because the wood is able to restrict metal.

interaction table

Each element is under the influence of the other four elements in some way. These relationships are shown in “The Relationships of the Five Elements” table.

ElementProduced byRestricted byProducesRestricts

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