We’ve officially entered autumn and our Earth is changing literally right before our eyes in the changing colors. The chlorophyll has left the leaves, the flowers are fading and new colors of the Earth are emerging – the golds, browns, and yellows. In Feng Shui, Earth is one of the Five Elements of energy that are always changing through cycles of Yin and Yang. As we seek balance in our spaces, we try to engage all the Elements. As you may remember from reading earlier columns the Five Elements of Feng Shui are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. They are listed in this order to show how the Elements “feed” and support the next, for example, Fire makes Earth. We know this to be true as we see the ash when the fire cools. Earth, when pressed down, makes Metal. Metal, when molded, holds Water. And, Water, is essential for plant growth, or Wood. What feeds a fire? Wood, of course; and the circle is complete.
How do you add the Earth element to a space to create balance? Like all of the Elements you can do this with shape, with material, with color. The shape associated with the Earth element is the square, or rectangle. The material of this element is anything made from Earth – brick, for example, and or ceramics. And the colors are the myriad colors of the Earth – browns and yellows and tans. And, there are other associations as well – the Earth element relates to the body in the sense of taste and with stabilizing movement. The ch’i qualities of Earth are energy that is solidifying and stable; it’s about being “grounded.” Sometimes you can be too grounded, though – and if you’ve ever felt that way you may have expressed it as feeling “stuck,” like in the mud. In fact, the archetype of the Earth elemental energy is soil.
In our culture we have a lot of Earth energy. Nearly all of the buildings we spend our time in, as well as the shape of our rooms and even our furniture is square or rectangular. This makes sense as we need our buildings to be stable and feel solid around us. Too much Earth though, can make you sluggish and feel smothered. It expresses itself as clutter and in the form of seriousness, or heaviness. Too little Earth energy is “ungrounded;” it can make you feel spacey or be perceived as irresponsible and flighty. Finding the right balance of Earth energy is to be responsible, with integrity in your actions but light enough to be flexible. Earth energy is present-oriented.
Need some Earth energy in your life? Add a plant in a yellow ceramic pot to your room; it will need to be cared for (responsibility) on a daily basis (present-oriented)! Or go for a hike — like I did in our fabulous Rocky Mountain National Park!