As you can see from the outside circle of the diagram, each element is nourished by one other element, and each element nourishes one other element. This means that when you want to enhance, say, the fire element in a certain room, you’ll want to add both representations of fire and wood (since wood feeds fire).
At first, this might seem complicated, but when you take a moment to analyze and assess any given indoor environment, or even anything visual such as a piece of artwork, a photo, or an outside environment, you’ll begin to see this nourishing cycle in action. Below, we’ll talk about each of the 5 nourishing relationships.
Wood Feeds Fire
In this photo, notice how the barn has powerful fire element associations: it’s red and its roof goes up to a triangular point (both red and triangles bring in the fire element). Additionally, notice how the wood material of the barn, along with the surrounding greenery, really fuels the warm, fiery feeling of the fire element. If the barn were made of metal and surrounded by a barren dessert, the whole thing would feel much cooler. As it stands, visually and energetically, it feels almost as warm and as blazing as a crackling fire.
Fire Makes Earth
Recall from yesterday’s post that animals and people (or images thereof) bring in the fire element. In the elemental system, fire makes earth in the way that a raging fire turns everything into ash, and in the way that people and animals digest food and transform it into manure. In this photo, notice how the earthly colors of tan and brown, as well as the actual earth, is made earthier by the presence of the elephant. Without the elephant, the feeling would still be earthy (and also woody), but without the elementally anchoring element of fire, it would be less so.
Earth Creates Metal
Remember how the earth is represented by a flat expanse of horizontal space, such as the extremely level airport pavement in this photo? As you can see, this flatness enhances and clarifies the feeling of mechanical precision (the metal element) brought in by the airplane. In the natural world, earth creates metal in that metals and crystals (also a representation of the metal element) naturally form within the earth.
Metal Holds Water
The metal element – represented by granite, stone, marble, and crystals as much as actual metal – holds the water element, as literally illustrated in this picture. Energetically, as well, please notice how the presence of the rocks and cliffs gives this water more of a potent, concentrated appearance than it would have if it were surrounded by dirt or grass. This elemental association (metal nourishing water) is also said to be true in the way that water condenses on the sides of metal containers when cool water is placed within them.
Water Nourishes Wood
Water obviously nourishes wood by providing needed sustenance and moisture to green and growing things. Imagine this same picture without the water: wouldn’t the greenery feel more parched and less potent? Additionally, notice how the presence of water has covered even the rocks (representations of the metal element) with lush green moss (a representation of the wood element). In our homes, similarly, water pieces (such as mirrors, glass, fountains, and pictures of water) lend visual and energetic strength to representations of wood (such as plants, wood furniture, flower prints, and pictures of plants).
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