In ancient China, Taoist scholars and mystics developed a profound understanding of life based on minute observation of nature. They understood that everything in the Universe comes out of the ‘unnamable’ , the TAO, which manifests as the dual principles of Yin and Yang, i.e. heaven and earth, day and night, masculine and feminine energies.
Along with the law of Yin and Yang, the ancient Taoists observed a pattern of expression in nature that they interpreted as and named, the Five Elements or Five Phases.
These elements, or energies, were described as Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water and were understood to be the prime energetic building blocks from which all material substance in the phenomenal world is composed.
The Elements are representations of the transformation that occurs in the world around us; they are metaphors for describing how things interact and relate with each other.
Archetype: The Alchemist and Judge/Organizing
Metal is yin/feminine in character, its motion is inwards and its energy is contracting.Metal represents the minerals, crystals, and gems of the world. The metal aspect is the diamond found within each one of us. It is similar to the Air Element found in western paradigms. The Metal Element is the breath of life. When you are connected to that experience, you know your own self-worth. You respect others and yourself; you are willing to give and receive acknowledgment for the magnificent being that you are.
The qualities associated with metal are unyieldingness, rigidity, persistence, strength and determination. Metal type people like minimalism. They are organized, clean, and contained. They can be controlling, ambitious, forceful and set in their ways as metal is very strong; and they are self-reliant and prefer to handle their problems alone. The negative emotion associated with metal is grief, while the positive emotion is courage.
Those born in years ending in 0 & 1 – Righteousness
Individuals of this element are believers in doing things the correct way. These are people you can trust as they are very principled and structured. In addition, the person born under this element possesses very strong money instincts. If you have the opportunity to work with someone in business who you are aware was born under the element of Metal you should definitely make the time to build this relationship because they are predisposed to making money from their activities. Quality is the creed of their life. They should avoid dry places.
The negative characteristics of people born start with the fact that they are usually outspoken yet undemonstrative. It seems like this is a strange combination but when you consider the fact that they are usually leaders it makes sense because they expect their orders or requests to be fulfilled without question. People born under this element can be both uncompromising and ruthless as some of the best leaders have been shown to be in history. Metal born individuals have no difficulty ending an association with people who do not meet their requirements or have the audacity to express a differing opinion of an issue.
The two zodiac sign animals that fall under the Metal element are the Rooster (Yin) and Monkey (Yang.)
Archetype: The Philosopher and Thinker/Innovation
Water is yin/feminine in character, its energy is downward and its motion is stillness and conserving. In Chinese Taoist thought, water is representative of intelligence and wisdom, flexibility, softness and pliancy; however, an over-abundance of the element is said to cause difficulty in choosing something and sticking to it. In the same way, Water can be fluid and weak, but can also wield great power when it floods and overwhelms the land.
When your Water Element is in balance, you use your resources of energy, time, contacts, and money wisely, neither hoarding nor squandering that which gives you life. Water is also the element of stillness and rest, taking time to rest and rejuvenate yourself. It is in the Water element that all great innovations and ideas are birthed. Water type people appear a bit reserved, yet are often very creative, sometimes even eccentric. They can appear cool and stoic, yet have the capacities to be still and deeply reflect. The negative emotion associated with water is fear, while the positive emotion is calmness.
Those born in years ending in 2 & 3 – Wisdom
Individuals born under this zodiac element are very tactful and knowledgeable individuals. They are detail-oriented individuals who will quickly recover from a setback and are relentless in the pursuit of their goals. They are very understanding of others and their mind possesses an exceptional recollection ability.
They are imaginative philosophers and thinkers. They are clever, scholarly and believe in free lancing. They take up multiple professions. They believe in conferring secrets to themselves only. They should avoid water-laden places
The ability of individuals of this zodiac sign to bounce back from adversity might be part of the reason this individual at times can be viewed as egotistical and greedy. Interestingly, this individual can be passive and prefers to work with others as they are not known for being independent.
Animals which fall under the element of water are the Pig (Yin) and Rat (Yang.)
Archetype: The Pioneer and Strategist/Directing
The predominant attributes are considered to be strength and flexibility, as with bamboo. It is also associated with qualities of generosity and idealism. One quality of the Wood element is leadership. It is the leader within us, that can take charge and determine a plan of action. The wood is one that seeks always to grow and expand. Wood heralds the beginning of life, springtime and buds, sensuality and fecundity.
Those born in years ending in 4 & 5 - Benevolence
They are high class artists or artisans and perform their work diligently and remain committed to their work and are adept in their profession. They wish to remain busy, and believe in the sort of life which is hardwork oriented. They indulge in wasteful expenditure. They should avoid such places where strong wind blows. A person who is born under the wood sign are willing learners who are self-assured and fearless. A Wood element individual is a planner and is very malleable to different conditions and situations. This individual handles change very well.
However, while a person born under the Wood Element is a willing learner they are not a resilient or persistent individual. If they are confronted with a challenging situation they are not averse to quitting. This individual is not great with money, is very tentative and constantly will get involved in things that are beyond their capabilities.
Wood type people are often aggressive or assertive, direct, and can have a strong temper and a lot of drive. They are usually outgoing and socially conscious and can be insensitive.
The Rabbit (Yin) and Tiger (Yang) are the two animals that fall under the wood element.
Archetype: The Wizard and Socializer/Marketing
Fire is yang/masculine in character, its direction is upward and its energy is expansive. In Chinese thought Fire is associated with the qualities of dynamism, strength and persistence; however, it is also connected to restlessness. The fire element provides, warmth, enthusiasm and creativity, however an excess of it can bring aggression, impatience and impulsive behavior. In the same way, fire provides heat and warmth, however an excess can also burn.
Fire is the Element responsible for the passionate resonance when you are following your life's calling. It is the joy and laughter associated with playfulness. Fire type people are charming, fun, mischievous, easily excitable, and change emotional states rapidly. They love change, bright colorsand environments that stimulate. The negative emotion is hate, while its positive emotion is joy.
Those born in years ending in 6 &7 – Propriety
Those individuals who are born under this element possess a magnetic appeal that results in them becoming the center of attention wherever they go without seemingly having to try. This individual is an excellent speaker who possesses a brilliant, creative mind. They possesses innate boss characteristics that people notice just from the way the individual conducts themselves in public. Someone who is born under this element is usually optimistic and always motivated toward the achievement of some goal. They should avoid places where there is too much heat.
The weakness of this person is that they do not enjoy their own solitude.
This individual prefers to have company and can be restless and temperamental in various situations. Fire individuals are used to being leaders and thus can be seen controlling, selfish and rude. This individual is very combative and can become belligerent and hostile when challenged. They wish to remain bound in love and that of their relatives, as they despise seclusion. They are hypersensitive and quick messengers.
The animals under the Chinese Zodiac of Fire are the Snake (Yin) and Horse (Yang.)
Archetype: The Mediator and Peacemaker
Earth is a balance of both yin and yang, the feminine and masculine together. Its motion is inward and centering, and its energy is stabilizing and conserving. It is associated with the turn of each of the seasons and with damp. In Chinese thought, Earth is associated with the qualities of patience, thoughtfulness, practicality, hard work and stability. The earth element is also nurturing and seeks to draw all things together with itself, in order to bring harmony, rootedness and stability. Other attributes of the earth element include ambition, stubbornness, responsibility and long-term planning.
On the shadow side, the earth element can represent selfishness and self-centeredness. Earth type people are usually warm, kind and supportive. They can be overprotective and tend to merge with their environment, having difficulties with boundaries. The negative emotion of the Earth element is worry and its positive emotion is empathy.
Those born in years ending in 8 & 9 – Fidelity/Honesty
They are a diligent worker who does not exaggerate anything and possess an idealistic character but are highly ambitious. These persons have a dual character. These types of people enjoy starting companies and being their own boss. They are skilled in money management and are deemed by many to be trustworthy. They should avoid and stay away from moisture and marshy lands.
They are very traditional. They can be miserable and they cannot fathom taking a risk or being creative. One aspect of this individual can be extremely positive or negative depending on the situation. They will argue or defend themselves to a far greater extent than necessary.
Ox/Sheep (Yin) and Dragon/Dog (Yang) happen to fall under the Earth element of the Chinese Zodiac.