About the 5 Elements

"The flow or blockage of each of the meridians has a direct impact on the health of our organs. . ."


Thousands of years ago Taoist monks, through diligent contemplation of nature and their own inner landscapes, met the power of the Universe and described it as the Five Elemental Forces of Nature (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal) and saw our part in it as human beings.

Not only are we connected to the Universe and the natural world around us, but the Cosmos expresses its power through us in the form of our very own bodies. According to what the Ancients discovered, each of the Elemental Forces rules one of six pairs of meridians (except for Fire, which controls two), a system of energy rivers that run through our bodies much like our blood or lymphatic systems. The flow or blockage of each of the meridians has a direct impact on the health of our organs and on the different systems and emotions associated with that Element in both the positive and the negative.

The science of the meridians is simple because it follows the patterns of nature. It's rich and complex because it's a dynamic, living system. We all have the Elemental Forces working within us. Their characteristics are consistent, yet they all look different as they shine through us because we are all unique creatures. The examples that follow are by no means a comprehensive explanation of the Five Elemental Forces.

In Water we find our Kidney and Bladder meridians, our DNA, our sadness, our deep fear, our gentleness, and our dreams. In Wood, we find our Liver and Gall Bladder meridians, our nervous system, our generosity, our anger, our need to control, our power to grow. In Fire, we find our Heart and Small Intestine meridians as well as our Pericardium and Triple Warmer meridians, our endocrine system, our spirit, our joy, our impatience, our love and hate. In Earth, we find our Spleen-Pancreas and Stomach meridians, our comfort, our anxiety, our good or poor self esteem, our sympathy, our sense or lack of stability. In Metal, we find our Lung and Large Intestine meridians, our grief, our respect for self and others, our judgement, our ability to reflect, and our ability to process emotions.

We sometimes have the idea that we will be in or out of balance if we do or don't do something like having a perfect yoga practice, diet, or job. However, there will never be perfect balance because just as the Universe is ever evolving, so are we. The Elements are constantly moving into and out of each other, and when they work together harmoniously we feel harmonious and there's more peace, health, and vibrancy in our daily lives and actions. When one is blocked or over active for some reason, all are affected and we feel that, too.

What we can do is accept that we're perfect as we are. Any "inharmonious" feeling in us, our healing crisis, is our body's way of communicating to us that we need to ask more questions about something that's happened or is happening in our lives. There is something that we haven't been able to look at and when there is a build up of emotions we can't deal with, we unintentionally block the way for the Universe to flow through us, and those blocks can form into illness.

We won't always, or even usually, be able to understand with our rational mind (which is governed by Wood and can be very hard to cut through) what needs to be addressed. Happily, we have four other intelligences that love to work together. When we have support to access the unconscious we can address those questions and listen more deeply than when we're trying oh so hard with our minds. Mental intelligence is necessary for things like catching a bus or balancing a bank account, but useless when it comes to healing from wounds inflicted sometimes in childhood, sometimes handed down unwittingly for generations, always beyond the scope of even the most educated mind.

We have support from the Cosmos. Our bodies have the capacity to heal themselves when we respect the wisdom of them and treat them in a holistic manner. "Holistic" is the oneness, the wholeness, of what we so often think of as separate: our bodies, minds, emotions, spirit, ancestors (DNA), and the Universe. What we do to or has been done to one, is done to the whole. When we realize the brilliance of our bodies, we realize our connection to the Whole.