The Wood element is in the position of the East, which relates to the morning and the sunrise. The rising sun bursts upon the day and reveals through its light the truth. The change from darkness to light is the birth of Yang and reflects the essence of the Wood.

The Wood is also associated with Wind, which can burst through and overcome obstacles. The wind can be sudden and violent, unpredictable and destructive. At the same time, the wind carries the seeds of life with it and engenders new life and structure. The wind penetrates and overwhelms or gently massages with the breeze.

It is the paradox of the Wood that it both can create and destroy. It is considered the birth of Yang energy. This translates into the function of movement and expansion, engendering warmth, activity, change and connection to the next part of the cycle, the Fire. The Wood provides the propulsion to change and move forward. The Wood is the home of new ideas, new thoughts, transformation, change and hope.

The Wood is what provides us with the sense of renewal, reawakening and rebirth. It gives us the connection to the future and allows us to plan and design in all areas of our lives. The Wood provides us the vision and foresight to move ahead. The Wood allows us to express our true nature and manifest ourselves in the world.

Wood is about growth and balance. The image in nature is the tree which grows with roots solidly planted in the earth and trunk and branches organized into an effective structure. The Wood is split with the roots unseen (yin) and the trunk and the branches reaching towards Heaven (yang). The Wood provides the connection between yin and yang. As we develop, the Wood provides the coordination for successful and orderly growth and expansion, the orderly procession through time into the future.

The image of the stages of life that a tree goes through is helpful in visualizing the force of the Wood in the individual. The seedling which starts within the earth in a dormant state stirs to life. It needs to break though the surface to reach the light necessary for life. Once through the surface, the small plant organizes itself to optimize the sun, water and nutrients that it needs. The manifestation of the plan for growth and expansion reflects the function of the Wood. Throughout the whole process of growth, there needs to be flexibility and the ability to alter direction to ensure survival.

The Wood gives us the sense of flexibility and ability to change necessarily for survival. The coordination and organization to grow from the seedling to the mature tree is dictated by the Wood element. The ability to mature and age appropriately, in a well rooted manner. Evolution, adaptability, balance and order are integral to the Wood. Resilience and the ability to move with the wind are Wood.

In nature, the tree and the forest around it provides a sense of order, though it is not in perfect rows as in planted fields. It is the sense of creating order out of the seeming chaos of nature that represents the Wood. Balance and symmetry is also the Wood. When we see a tree it is rarely perfectly formed, yet there is a sense of balance and symmetry which allows it to thrive.

The Wood is associated with the Spring, a time of renewal and new growth. The Wood provides the power for movement especially upward toward the Fire, the sun. The movement is also outward away from the center to expand like the branches of a tree.


The spiritual aspect stored in the Wood is the Hun. This is translated as the Heavenly soul. It is the aspect of the person that goes on 'to the next life'. This is the essence of the sense of renewal and rebirth which the Wood provides. The sense of the transformation of life into the next phase. The Wood utilizes all the other elements, water taken up by the roots, metal as the trace minerals, earth as the soil to be planted in, and fire, or the sun which generates the chemistry of life.

The Hun is the renewing, transforming, evolving, adapting part of us. It is Heavenly in the sense of expansiveness and the timelessness of life. Hun also allows us to express our emotional self to its fullest. Our emotional life is the most "yang" of our energetic aspects. As the Hun within the Wood allows for movement outwardly from ourselves into the world, it allows for emotional transformation through expression and resolution.

The emotion associated with the Wood is anger. This can be understood by the blocking of the movement of Wood towards the outside and upward. When there is obstruction to any movement, the outcome is frustration and anger. The Wood when healthy, allows us to transform that emotion and express it, which is the appropriate resolution and does not lead to negative health effects if done appropriately.
The overall physical growth of the body is part of the Wood territory. To be well coordinated, well muscled and athletic is Wood. The ability to be well rooted and not easily swayed by the 'winds' of changeóto be well balanced in your life with how time is spent.

The vision of the future, and therefore, the visual system is the Wood. Being able to see the 'big' picture to help one coordinate future activities. The sense of being active in the external world, getting things done, 'a doer'. Having a direction generated from within and purposefulness. Ambition and accomplishment is driven by the Wood.

The Wood provides organization and coordination. The Officials of the Liver and Gall Bladder are the Wood organs. They provide the function of planning (Liver) and decision making (Gall Bladder). With these functions, we can move through all levels of activity from the cellular to the social. It allows for normal growth and maturation, an orderly life and a sense of structure. It brings to us maturity, emotionally and physically.

The essence of the Wood is renewal and rebirth. It gives us the ability to feel the freshness of life and the sense of hope. It gives us direction and renewal, and connects us to the future. The Wood allows us to be well rooted in the past, stand tall in the present, and have a vision of the future.

The Wood gives us the ability to initiate thoughts, plans and activities. It helps us coordinate our ideas and feelings into action and change. It smoothes the movement through our lives, where we inevitably run into obstacles. It gives us the vision, the ability to change, the roots and the flexibility to make a new plan and decide what is needed, how to adjust and what to change.

The Wood brings balance physically and emotionally. It is the sense of stability to venture forth into something new and still be well rooted. It provides us the sense of control over ourselves and our destiny which is so important to health. It gives us the ability to survive challenges. It gives us our competitiveness, the image of the tree in the forest competing to get light and reaching out toward the sun.

The scrappiness, to fight to manifest one's desires and the strength to achieve and overcome obstacles is the essence of the Wood. Yet the ability to yield, much as the tree needs to be flexible in a brisk wind, the Wood allows us to recognize when we need to change and initiate the movement in an new direction. The power to start movement is Wood.

The Wood provides for self assertion. It is the ability to project oneself on the world outside. The Wood allows us to have hope and vision. The emotion that the Wood provides is anger. We are always going to have the experience of this emotion, but the key to anger is the ability to express it appropriately. With the Wood element involved with movement and expansion, overcoming the blocking of expressing anger is an unhealthy characteristic. Even more than other emotions, because of the nature of this aspect of ourselves energetically, anger must be expressed and released.

The polar opposite of anger unexpressed is forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself and others for actual or percieved wrongs is critical in keeping the Wood healthy. This is the Virtue that is associated with the Wood element. When we are able to forgive, it allows us to move ahead which is the essence of the Wood element. When we stagnate from retained anger, it blocks our movement forward.


When the Wood is healthy there is a great sense of confidence and the ability to strike out in new directions. There is a vision of the future which is clear and sensible. The person knows their limits and abilities and acts accordingly.

The Wood allows for healthy balance in physical appearance and these are often well muscled individuals. They enjoy movement and exercise and are able to structure their time in a healthy way. There is a sense of purpose when you meet the Wood person.

The level of organization and planning is appropriate. There is good coordination and planning for future activities. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances is evident. There is little rigidity, and flexibility is a strength when needed. The Wood is a survivor, being able to adapt to change.

The Wood person often seeks new challenges and adventures. The challenge of dealing with the unknown is attractive. There is a sense of boldness and confidence in being able to overcome and prevail. They can be non-conformist and risk takers.

Clarity of thought and action exemplifies Wood. Good judgment and decisiveness is seen with the Wood being healthy. Ambition and boldness are a hallmark of an exaggerated Wood response. When a goal is identified then the Wood allows for action clearly directed toward the goal. The careful orchestration and initiating of action is impressive.
Emotionally, when the Wood is healthy there is an evenness, a sense of balance and appropriate expression of all emotions. The response to challenges is even handed and shows confidence and purposefulness. There is a sense of control, even in the most challenging situations. There is a great deal of confidence. There is an innate sense of authority which is expressed in the example of action and leadership.

The healthy Wood qualities are the following:


SPIRIT (Hun) primitive emotion (autonomic nervous system), 'heavenly soul'
COLOR green
SOUND shout
ODOR rancid
EMOTION anger/lack anger/ anxiety
CAPACITY for control
VIRTUE forgiveness
NEED direction
TASTE sour
SEASON spring
ORGANS liver/gall bladder
TIME OF DAY 11 P.M. - 3 A.M.
BODY PARTS muscles, sinews
FLUID tears
LIFE ASPECT STORED spiritual facilities and soul
DREAMS exhaustion, mushrooms, forests, laying under tree, not daring to get up
HERBS sassafras, dandelion root, peppermint




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