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Elements of the Chinese Zodiac

Inter-relationship and interaction between the elements

The elements – Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth – are an integral part of the Chinese Zodiac which define a universal balance. All things arise from and return to the earth – when we study the Zodiac, it’s important for us to bear the elements in mind, as every one of us are made up of these elements and are deeply connected to them.

Since the 5 elements are components of the Earth, they are all interdependent. Each element is controlled by another, while at the same time, each element brings about another. This indicates that each element has its own equal strength and weakness, and they have equal influence over each other.

 

The Generating Cycle: How One Element Creates Another

From Metal we get Water, from Water we get Wood, from Wood we get Fire, from Fire we get Earth and from Earth we get Metal:

 

Metal (in the form of a container) holds Water

Water (as a nourishing element), helps to grows Wood

Wood is burnt to create Fire

Fire burns every other element down into Earth

Metal is extracted from the Earth

 

The Controlling Cycle: How One Element Controls Another

Fire controls Metal, Water controls Fire, Earth controls Water, Wood controls Earth and Metal controls Wood:

 

Fire melts Metal into liquid

Water extinguishes a Fire

Earth absorbs and directs the flow of Water

Wood (as roots of a tree) holds the Earth together or breaks it apart

Metal, as axes, cuts down trees into Wood.

 

THE 5 ELEMENTS

The Animals and the Elements

Each of the 12 animal signs within the Chinese zodiac is associated with one of the five elements. This is known as the fixed element of the sign:

 

Metal Earth Fire Wood Water
Monkey

Rooster

Ox

Sheep

Dog

Snake

Horse

Tiger

Rabbit

Dragon

Rat

Pig

 

Then, each animal sign is further divided into the five elements, depending on the year that the sign occurs. E.g.:

 

Each of the five elements occurs within each animal sign occurs once every 12 years. Therefore, each specific animal-element combination – e.g. the Fire Ox – repeats once every 60 years.

A person’s characteristics are determined both by the ruling element of their sign as well as the element of that particular year that they are born. E.g. A Water Rooster will be controlled by both Water and Metal.

Click here to read each of the 12 Lunar Animals influenced by each of the 5 elements:

Rat
Ox
Tiger
Rabbit
Dragon
Snake
Horse
Sheep
Monkey
Rooster
Dog
Pig

Or read by element type:

Metal
Earth
Fire
Wood
Water

 

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