Spring into Life with the Wood Element and Feng Shui
By Deborah Redfern, Feng Shui Practitioner ©
Did you know that each of the Five Elements used in feng shui are related to a season? The season for the Wood element is spring. Spring is the time of growth and movement. With the return of longer hours of daylight and warmer temperatures, seeds begin to sprout, sap fills the trees and leaves begin to grow. In other words, after a period of dormant energy, there is a lot of action! What does it mean for people? We are affected by longer daylight hours and warmth. We become more active, spend more time outdoors, make plans and begin new projects. The sun brings optimism with it and dreams that have been growing deep roots over the winter begin to blossom. We get busy with those projects, ideas and plans.
Wood Element Symbols
One of the ways you can work with the seasons and elements is by using feng shui symbols (or enhancements) in your surroundings. And why would you want to? Working with the elements helps to bring balance into your life; to bring forth certain qualities or to tone down any qualities that have been less than helpful. As an example, imagine three trees:
- The first one is a healthy tree with abundant growth. It is well proportioned with a strong trunk and the leaves are a vibrant shade of green. It represents balanced Wood element energy.
- The second tree has stunted growth. It has a strong trunk but it never seems to get any larger and it never blooms. It represents under-active Wood element energy.
- The third tree has out of control growth. Although it looks like it is doing well at first glance, the roots and trunk are weak and can’t hold the weight of the tree. The branches are numerous but spindly where they are reaching too far to find the light and the growth is pale. It represents over-active Wood element energy.
We can have the same emotional states: healthy growth is when we are well balanced. Stunted growth can show up as resistance, fear, depression. It is a general inability to act – sometimes not even having the energy to dream. Out of control growth can manifest as scattered energy. The dreams are there but the roots and foundation are not in place to help them blossom. There may be too many dreams without a clear focus, or perhaps a certain staying power is lacking: just when the dream is about to mature some obstacle gets in the way halting all growth. Emotional states can, and often do overlap. Well thank goodness for that! It means we are strong and balanced in some respects but perhaps have under-active or over-active energy in certain situations or particular facets of life.
So we use the symbols of the elements as reminders of how to expend our energy. Out of control growth? Pull your energy back. Concentrate on the basics – a solid foundation and organization. A Zen-style garden might settle your energy more than an overflowing English cottage garden. For someone with under-active Wood energy, I would give the opposite advice. No minimalist Zen gardens for this person, which could represent control and stunted growth! I’d advise them to surround themselves with light and images of things coming to fruition.
As you can imagine, the strongest symbol for Wood element are plants and flowers which are symbols of growth: healthy green plants, potted trees, flowering plants and vases of flowers.
Some plants and flowers are considered better than others: the number one criteria to look for are healthy plants and flowers. Silk foliage and flowers are an alternative if the area you want to put the greenery in does not receive enough light to maintain a healthy plant. It is a better feng shui practice to use silk plants than to try to nurse sickly plants in the locations you want them, but you could also use fresh cut flowers in these locations and replace them as needed.
Other symbols that are really great to bring in Wood element energy are shapes that look like the trunk of a tree: tall rectangular shapes, long narrow stripes (wall paper or a long wall hanging – even a scarf hung on the wall), columns and tall lamps (especially uplights).
The colors for the Wood element are green for foliage of course, but also blue and purple are considered appropriate symbols for the Wood Element. The patterns we use in feng shui to represent the Wood element are stripes and floral patterns.
There is another level of symbols which will be uniquely personal to you and represent your own personal story. There is no “rule” that the only feng shui enhancements you can use in your home must be the ones from the traditional Chinese culture of feng shui and I believe that in feng shui “one size does not fit all”. I encourage you to find and use Wood element symbols which have personal meaning for you and fit where you are in your life right now. The trick with the all the elements is in: 1) figuring out where you are, 2) what your challenges are, and 3) to take a look at what you have in your surroundings. Are they helping to balance your energy or holding you in the status quo?
Copyright © Deborah Redfern. All rights reserved.