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The Five Element Cycle in I Ching Astrology


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Jon Sandifer explains how the classic transformation of elements underlies the relationships of the Birth Stars in I Ching Astrology.

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The Five Element Cycle in I Ching Astrology

  1. 1. The Five Element Cycle in I Ching AstrologyThe Five Elements Theory has been used in China since the Song Dynasty, dating back 1500 years, and hasbeen widely used in Chinese Medicine, Feng Shui, and Astrology.The Five Elements were initially born out of an obvious and simple overview of time – in terms of thepassing of a day and the seasons – as well as how structures or even symptoms begin to manifest.The Five Elements & I Ching AstrologyEach of the 9 Stars in I Ching Astrology is associated with one of these Five Elements. The connectionsare as follows:9 – Fire2, 5, 8 – Earth6, 7 – Metal1 – Water3, 4 – WoodBy looking at the table below it is possible to see how both the Five Elements and indeed the 9 differentStars can interact.The Same ElementAs far as relationships are concerned in I Ching Astrology, if two individuals share the same element (e.g.Metal) then they will generally get on well together and the relationship can be considered as one of a morebrotherly/sisterly nature. They simply get on well together without too much clash.The Mother Child CycleEach element ‘supports’ or ‘mothers’ the next element within the cycle. Earth supports Metal, Metalsupports Water, Water supports Wood, Wood supports Fire, and Fire supports Earth.The element that is giving the support is known as the Mother and the element receiving the support isknown as the Child.Therefore in a Mother/Child relationship there is a giver and a receiver. For the giver it is often tiring andsometimes draining – a little bit like having children! Similarly, by being the Child and receiving supportfrom the Mother, this can be pleasant, beneficial and easy!
  2. 2. The Controlling ElementEach of the Five Elements, and then indeed each of the 9 Stars, has an element opposite them within theFive Elements system that keeps them in check. The literal translation is control. I prefer to see it as amore positive trait – namely, that of protection, nurturing and making sure they do not get out of order. Ina relationship the element that does the ‘controlling’, keeps a check on the other. However, on thereceiving end it does feel from time to time as if the ‘controller’ is being a bit too full-on! Finding the rightbalance is the solution!Here are these different relationships:9 Fire Star controls the 6 Heaven & 7 Lake Stars2 Earth, 5 T’ai Chi & 8 Mountain Stars all control 1 Water Star6 Heaven & 7 Lake Stars both control the 3 Thunder & 4 Wind Stars1 Water Star controls the 9 Fire Star3 Thunder & 4 Wood Stars control the 2 Earth, 5 T’ai Chi & 8 Mountain StarsWhen Metal (6 & 7) gets too cold, brittle or inflexible, a little bit of Fire makes them more malleable.When Water – as in a river or a lake – runs wildly out of control, it actually needs the Earth to formriverbanks and boundaries for the Water.When Fire gets out of control, then Water is helpful in dampening it down.When plants (from the Wood element of Thunder and Wind) get out of control, they need a little bit ofMetal to trim them to keep them in shape (6 & 7 Metal Stars).The Earth itself – represented by 2, 5 & 8 Stars – will simply become denuded or turn to dust if it doesn’thave the roots of plant life to hold it together (3 & 4 Wood Stars).I Ching Astrology ProfilesA deeper cut into the I Ching Astrology system reveals that all of us have three different Stars within ourmakeup. It then becomes fascinating when we look at how this Birth Star, Inner Star & Outer Star (andtheir allotted Five Elements) interact with another profile – a family member, a lover, or a work colleague.The permutations are endless, fascinating and profoundly insightful.