Today, science is recognizing many of the patterns older disciplines based their lore on, if with severe qualifications. But the Chinese yearly zodiac also corresponds to a cycle of the five categories of earth, fire, water, wood, metal. It’s not just, say, the year of the ox, it’s the year of the fire ox. They saw everything in the world as fitting into the five categories, because they reflected the five ways energy behaved.
I’m a wood lamb. Ah, then according to wuxing you are a huge nurturer with a trait of authoritarianism mixed in. Wood is the category most directly connected to what we might consider the living realm, and the word we translate as wood might more accurately be called tree. Wood people are known for being principled and logical. I am water ox.
How do we know the elemental sign? They track it in their writings. Books on Chinese astrology, if they are well developed, include it.
I’m an earth pig. Which is a good sign. It symbolizes a very creative and resourceful person. They admired pigs in Chinese culture. They saw them as symbols of faith and prosperity.
So an example of how the forces of wuxing interact. I am water, though that is not the only force in my chi-DNA, if you will. My wife is wood. In wuxing, wood exhausts water, absorbs it, which means despite my mutable nature my presence and expression is strengthening for her.
I guess water and earth make mud. Water and earth don’t clash, no.
And wood and earth? Earth creates wood, meaning it’s very supportive, and the behaviour of wood people shifts others more to align with earth chi. It brings them down to earth.
They adapt the five categories into a whole system of natural philosophy. It’s what wuxing is.
I am a metal pig. Another strictly logical sign that would be adversely affected by me, if only mildly. This category would be metal. The seemingly adverse categories, those that westerners see as just clashing, don’t really work like that in wuxing. Intent is everything, and there is a great deal of meditation behind wuxing practice. But yes, I am water, my friend is metal. Using these bits of information I can perhaps describe how my classes affect him.
Duality always resolves according to the balance of chi between the two apparent opposites. Water can rust metal, but it can also cleanse it and help it to be stronger like a swordsmith tempering the blade in a water bucket. Water, by appearing to damage metal, can remove its impurities making it truer to its nature for the contrast rather than despite it.
So yes, to make it human, my friend isn’t likely radically swayed by the things I say, but instead comes to see things more clearly as he would by his nature. Basically, his mirror gets polished, and he notices more details and depth.
Human chi is a composite of many different patterns of chi, literally all five categories, or you could not live. But they do balance differently in different people, and people have individual needs for a specific pattern of chi. So although I was born in the year of the ox, many other people were also and my own chi balance is different than theirs. We share a broad pattern in common, but we all take it differently. So to use wuxing in medicine, just because I am the age I am, doesn’t mean I can be healed by the same treatment as other people my age.
It’s a really broad practice and I have captured it in the nutshell.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.