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Wood (classical element)

Classical Elements
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Water Aether Fire



Water Space Fire


Hinduism (Tattva) and
Buddhism (Mahābhūta)

Prithvi / Bhumi — Earth
Ap / JalaWater
Vayu / PavanAir / Wind
Agni / TejasFire
AkashaAether .

Japanese (Godai)
Earth (地)
Water (水)
Air / Wind (風)
Fire (火)
Void / Sky / Heaven (空) .

Life Force / Electricity

Chinese (Wu Xing)

  Water (水)  
Metal (金) Earth (土) Wood (木)
  Fire (火)  

In traditional Chinese philosophy, Wood is classified as one of the Wu xing (Chinese: 五行; pinyin: wǔxíng), or the Five Elements, also translated as five phases, five movements or five steps, by which all natural phenomena can be explained. The system of five elements was used for describing interactions and relationships between phenomena. It was employed in many fields of early Chinese thought, including seemingly disparate fields such as geomancy and Feng shui, astrology, traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese alchemy, music, military strategy and martial arts. The original foundation for the idea is based on the concept of the Five Cardinal Points.

Wood is yang or masculine in character, it is associated with springtime, the east, the planet Jupiter, the colors brown or green, and with windy conditions. Its Primal Spirit is represented by a Green Dragon.



In Chinese thought Wood attributes are considered to be strength and flexibility, as with bamboo. It is also associated with qualities of warmth, generosity, co-operation and idealism. The Wood person will be expansive, outgoing and socially conscious. The wood element is one that seeks always to grow and expand. Wood heralds the beginning of life, springtime and buds, sensuality and fecundity. Wood needs moisture to thrive.

In Chinese medicine, wood is associated with negative feelings of anger or depression, and positive feelings of patience and altruism. Organs associated with this element are the liver (yin) and the gall bladder (yang), the eyes and the tendons.

In Chinese astrology wood is included in the 10 heavenly stems (the five elements in their yin and yang forms), which combine with the 12 earthly branches (or Chinese signs of the zodiac), to form the 60 year cycle. Yang wood years end in 4 (eg 1974), while Yin years end in 5 (eg 1975). Wood governs the Chinese zodiac signs Tiger, Rabbit and Dragon.

Although it traditionally is not included in the Western scheme of elements, some western astrologers have suggested that wood should be recognised as a 'combined element' or 'material' derived from Fire and Water; just as Jupiter rules the Fire sign of Sagittarius and the Water sign of Pisces.

Cycle of the elements

In the regenerative cycle of the elements, Water engenders Wood, as rain or dew makes plant life flourish; and Wood begets Fire as fire is generated by rubbing together two pieces of wood. In the conquest cycle, Wood overcomes Earth by binding it together with the roots of trees; and Metal overcomes Wood, as the metal ax can fell even the largest tree. [1]

See also

  • Plants
  • Tree


  1. ^ Theodora Lau, The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, pxxix-xxx, Souvenir Press, London, 2005
  • Chinese Astrology - The Wood Element
  • Different versions of the classical elements
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Wood_(classical_element)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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