Five Elements and Flying Star Feng Shui [Master Class Lesson 13]

Five Elements

I bet most people who study Feng Shui should have heard of Five Elements (五行), a.k.a. Wu Xing.  These five elements, namely Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, are critical to examining the Feng Shui of a living space.

The Flying Star Feng Shui theory is heavily based on the theory of Five Elements.  The promotion of good effects of good Flying Stars and the dilution of the bad effects of bad Flying Stars require your understanding of the Five Elements.  This is why in this second lesson of Flying Star Feng Shui, we shall study Five Elements in details.

I know that many of you may have learnt Five Elements from various sources, such as this Five Elements page on Wikipedia.  Here in this lesson, we shall learn not only what Five Elements are, we would also know exactly how they could be applied in Flying Star Feng Shui.  You would also see examples showing the actual application of the theories.


The Five Elements

The Five Elements are Wood (木), Fire (火), Earth (土), Metal (金) and Water (水).  The colors, shapes and Flying Stars of these Five Elements are:


  • Green
  • Long rectangular / Stripes / Linear
  • Flying Stars 3 and 4


  • Red / Orange / Purple
  • Triangle / Irregular and pointed shape
  • Flying Star 9


  • Yellow / Brown
  • Square
  • Flying Stars 2, 5 and 8


  • White / Golden / Silver
  • Round
  • Flying Stars 6 and 7


  • Black / Blue
  • Curve / Wave
  • Flying Star 1


The Interactions between Five Elements

The Five Elements are not standalone substances.  They have interactions among them.  There are two basic types of interactions, generating (生) and overcoming (剋).



Generating means the creation of one substance by using another substance.  Below are the generating rules:

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

Try drawing out the generating path by pointing an arrow from the original substance to the substance being generated.  You would find out that you have drawn a circle.  Yes, the generation of substances is a cycle without end.  In the list above, the Wood being generated could further generates Fire.  In fact, there is no beginning as well.  I started the list in Wood simply because this is how I memorize the Five Elements.  You can start drawing out the cycle by Fire, Earth, Metal or Water first, and the cycle will be the same.

Some people find it difficult to memorize the generating cycle.  You can visualize the cycle by using the following analogy:

  • You drill Wood to make Fire
  • When you burn something to generate Fire, there would be ashes (Earth) produced
  • Earth (underground) is where Metal ore is hidden and created
  • When Metal melts it turns into liquid form (or Metal is where water is condensed on)
  • Water feeds vegetation (Wood)



On the other hand, the overcoming interaction means the consumption / reduction / destruction of a substance by another.  The overcoming interactions are:

  • Wood overcomes Earth
  • Earth overcomes Water
  • Water overcomes Fire
  • Fire overcomes Metal
  • Metal overcomes Wood

Again, the overcoming interactions could be drawn in an endless cycle.  However, the cycle is not a simply reversal of the generating cycle.  If you draw out the overcoming arrows right on the generating cycle graph, you would result in a star shaped cycle.  Below is a graph I downloaded from Wikipedia showing the situation:

Five Elements To memorize the overcoming interactions, you could use analogies as well:

  • The roots of Wood penetrates (and damage the integrity) the Earth
  • We create dam using soil (Earth) to block the flow of Water
  • Water could put out Fire
  • Fire melts Metal
  • Axe (Metal) could cut Wood


Application of Five Elements in Flying Star Feng Shui

Now we begin the most critical part of this lesson.  The Five Element Theory itself is a complete philosophical system, but when it is applied to Feng Shui, we need to know how to use it in the Feng Shui context.

I’ll devote the whole of the following section to explaining how to use Five Elements to d Flying Star Feng Shui.  After reading this, you would fully understand why in my free Feng Shui 2013 guide I would ask you to do this or that in a particular direction (in other words, you can do Feng Shui yourself and know why so).  In brief, we use the generating / overcoming interactions to maximize the good effects and minimize the bad effects.

Ready to learn this powerful skill?  Read on!

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Leveraging the Good Flying Stars

In the beginning of this lesson I have listed out the Five-element characteristics of the nine Flying Stars.  To maximize your use of the good Flying Stars and to enjoy the good effects they bring, we certainly want more of them.  But there are only the limited Flying Stars.  We cannot practically create a new Flying Star.  So our strategy is to strengthen and enhance the good Flying Star effects.

We do this by “generating”.  Remember you just learnt how to generate an element using another?  Now if we know the Five-element characteristic of a given Flying Star, we can increase the magnitude of this characteristic.

For example, to bring better interpersonal relationship, we want to use the Flying Star 1 according to the last lesson.  Flying Star 1 belongs to “Water”.  To strengthen the power of Flying Star 1, the best thing to do is to add “Water” elements.  This could mean something white, of curved shape, a real water feature (e.g. a fountain), in “one” quantity or a mixture of all these (e.g. a water fountain with a white base).

Let’s look at another example.  For wedding/new baby, we need to trigger the good effects of Flying Star 9.  This star belongs to “Fire”.  We could add something in red/orange color and of fire characteristic in a Flying Star 9 direction.  A good choice is a fireplace.

Wait… I live in the tropical zone, how could I install a fireplace in my house?  In this case, you can choose to paint the wall this part of your house in red or hang a big red picture here.

No… This does not fit the design of my house.  Any other choice?  Yes.  Remember the “generating” interactions?  We can apply this principle to “generate” more “Fire” characteristic.  Wood generates Fire, so if you really do not want to put something red in your house, try green.  The effect may not be as good as using red, but still it works because you adds “Fire” indirectly by supplying the fuel to generate “Fire”.

So let’s have a look at how we could use all good Flying Star effects:


Interpersonal Relationship / Love

As mentioned above, the governing Flying Star is 1.  The best strategy to apply is to add the “Water” element by putting something of water nature, in white color, in curve shape and in one quantity.  A water fountain would be a good choice, even as simple as a class of water would do.  An alternative choice is to put something of the “Metal” characteristic here.

Sometimes we would recommend people to put a vase with one colorful flower here.  Why?  The reason is that relationship / love means Tao Hua (桃花) in Chinese.  It is a kind of flower.  So if you put a real flower here it is also good.


Job Promotion / Study

Job promotion and study are governed by Fling Star 4, which has a “Wood” characteristic.  Your task is to put something green, of four quantity, in long or rectangular shape and of wooden nature. A good choice that most Feng Shui masters us is a vase with four lucky bamboos or green plants.  We usually suggest water-grown plant because it also matches the “Water generates Wood” theory, making this Feng Shui setting more powerful.

Specifically for study, sometimes Feng Shui masters would ask you to put four Chinese writing brushes (毛筆) here.  The reason is that the brushes are made of bamboo (wood) and “writing” is essential to examination.  Although the color is not green, this setting is also good for boosting luck in examination.


Change / Wealth

Flying Star 6 is related to change (in job, place of residence, etc.) and wealth (mainly originated from irregular income such as investment and gambling).  Quantity six, metallic and shiny objects are the best ornaments to be placed here.  A metallic wind chime with six tubes is a good choice.

Do we use “Earth” to generate “Metal” here?  Yes, you could, but usually we won’t, because “Earth” is also the characteristic of all sickness Flying Stars.  If South is the Flying Star 6 direction in a year, but for certain months the sickness Flying Stars come to this direction, the “Earth” ornament would adversely affect the health of the occupants in the house during these particular months.  Sometimes we would choose to put eight white pebbles in a glass of water, because eight is the quantity of “Earth” while the water in the glass and the white color are of “Water” nature.  This could reduce the possible bad effect of the “Earth” element here.



The governing Flying Star is 8.  Again, since this Flying Star has an “Earth” characteristic, we do not prefer directly using “Earth” elements here.  Instead, we put a glass of water here.  Why?  This is an exception because according to Feng Shui theories “Water” means wealth.  So instead of using the “Earth” characteristic we can simply put water here to boost the effects of the Flying Star 8.


Happiness (Wedding, New Baby, etc.)

Flying Star 9 brings happiness.  To trigger the good effects of this Flying Star, we use the colors red, orange or purple, the quantity 9 and “Fire” related elements like a fireplace.


Suppressing the Bad Flying Stars

Now we come to the bad Flying Stars.  To tackle the bad effects, we certainly want to reduce the characteristics of these Flying Stars, and any other characteristics that could “generate” that Flying Star.

Then should we use the “overcoming” interactions?  No, this is not our best choice.  For example, the sickness Flying Star 2 has an Earth characteristic.  We do not suggest using Wood elements (three or four in quantity, green, wooden nature) here, because to “overcome” a bad Flying Star means to hit it directly.  It is equivalent to hitting a truck load of gasoline.  Instead of reducing the choice to catch fire, you may even initiate an explosion.

What you actually need to do is to use the “generating” rule.  You should put something of “Metal” here.  Since “Earth generates Metal”, you actually induce the conversion of “Earth” into “Metal”, in this process you are like “using up” the “Earth”.  Practically you have reduced the quantity/magnitude of the “Earth” element.  Got it?



The relevant Flying Stars are 2 and 5, both are of “Earth” characteristic.  The first thing to do is to remove all “Earth” elements here such as yellow and brown furniture.  Besides, do not put anything red or related to “Fire” here so as not to provide the “raw materials” to produce “Earth”.

Then we put Metallic elements here to use up the “Earth” element.  The simplest method is to put a wind chime or ring here.  If this is where the main entrance locates, you can also put a white carpet here because white is of “Metal” characteristic.



Disputes are related to Flying Star 3.  To reduce its effects, we put “Fire” element here because “Wood generates Fire”.  A big red rug or wall painting would do.  If you wish, you can also paint the whole wall in this direction in red or orange.


Loss of Property/Wealth

The Flying Star 7 means loss of property and wealth.  If this Flying Star comes to your house’s main entrance in a year, you would experience more loss in investment market, bad debts and losing the cell phone or wallet on the street, etc.

The solution is to put a glass of water here.  On one hand “Metal generates Water”, you can reduce the bad effects of the Flying Star 7.  On the other hand, Water also brings wealth as mentioned previously.  So you not only alleviate the bad effects but also enhances the luck in investment.

These are about all I have to explain in this lesson.  This is not a short lesson, while the theories are not easy to understand and memorize.  Please try to stuff everything taught in this lesson in your brain.  As I mentioned, Five Elements Theory is critical to Flying Star Feng Shui.  Only if you could fully grasp these concepts you could do Flying Star Feng Shui.  Re-read this article again if you do not understand.  See you next week!

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