Water Elements

Water ( pinyin: shu?), is the low point of the matter, or the matter's dying or hiding stage. Water is the fifth stage of Wu Xing.

Water is the most yin in character of the Five elements. Its motion is downward and inward and its energy is stillness and conserving. It is associated with the Winter, the North, the planet Mercury, the color black, cold weather, night, and the Black Tortoise (Xuan Wu) in Four Symbols.

It is also associated with the moon, which was believed to cause the dew to fall at night.


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. Water governs the Kidney and Urinary bladder and is associated with the ears and bones. The negative emotion associated with water is fear/anxiety, while the positive emotion is calmness.

Black, Grey and Blue colours also represent Water.


In Chinese Astrology, water is included in the 10 heavenly stems (the five elements in their yin and yang forms), which combine with the 12 earthly branches (or Chinese signs of the zodiac), to form the 60 year cycle. Yang water years end in 2 (e.g. 1992), while Yin years end in 3 (e.g. 1993). Water governs the Chinese zodiac signs Pig, Rat, and Ox. Water usually represents wealth and money luck in Feng Shui, although it might differ in some subjective scenarios.

Cycle of Wu Xing

In the regenerative cycle of the Wu Xing, metal engenders Water, as metal traps falling water from a source; Water begets Wood as "rain or dew makes plant life flourish".

In the conquest cycle, Water overcomes Fire, as "nothing will put out a fire as quickly as water"; Earth overcomes water as earth-built canals direct the flow, as well as soil absorbing water.

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