The Relations between the Elements

In nature, tlie elements come together and either harmonize or fight, according to their affinities. Prom these relations arise the natural cycles ot transformation. In astrologv, these interactions must be known perfectly: they constitute the basis of all calculations and predictions in the Jungtsi system.

We may reier here to the '1 ibetan text, which says: "The relations between elements are those ot mother- son, friend, or enemy. The mother of Wood is Vi-vttci; the mother ol Water is Metal; the mother ot Metal ts Farih: the mother of Earth is Fire: and the mother of Fire i>. Wood,"

The maternal relationship is also known as "the *.vck ot die production of the elements." This is the best tvpe oi relationship: the mother element engenders, protects, and nurtures the son-element,

The correlative ot the mother relationship is the son relationship: "The son oi Wood is Fire, the son ot Fhe is link the son of Earth is Met.il; the son oi Metal is «'afer; and the >ort of Water is Wood." , , , k

It ■will be hoi ft) that in the cycle of ci^ctovr, the order ft» the

son-relationships follows the seasons (Spring/Wood, Summer/ Fire, etc.). II Wood go es birth to Fire, this means that the potential of Fire is contained within Wood itself; in the same way, if Fire engenders Earth, the latter is latent in Fire. The five element? are therefore not different and distinct energies, but a single cosmic force that has five modes in the world ol appearances.

Another approach to this cycle is based on analogy: wood is inflammable, and when is burns (Fire) it leaves ashes (Earth). Froxn earth, metal (Metal) is extracted. The vapor of cold metal can be condensed into water (Water), which is necessary for vegetable growth (Wood).

"The enemy of W'bod is Metal; the enemy of Metal is Fire; the enemy of Fire is Water; the enemy of Water is Earth; the enemy of Earth is Wood." This is the cycle of defeat: the enemy-elements dominate, use, and destroy the weaker elements. Thus the cutting property of nietal enables it to cut and chop wood; while fire can make metal malleable and even melt it. Water extinguishes fire; earth absorbs water; and wood feeds on earth,

Converse!v, the defeated element is the servant of the conqueror because it benefits it. This is the relationship of friendship: "The friend of Wood is Earth; the friend of Earth is Water; the friend of Water is Fire; the friend of Fire is Metal; the friend of Metal i.s Wood.''

These relations are summarized in table 2. These relations are binary, but if a third element is present it can intervene to modify the process. For example, Fire attacks Metal, but Water extinguishes Fire—it therefore comes to the aid of Metal. Water extinguishes Fire, but Earth absorbs Water, thus helping Fire, and so on. This i.s the relationship of control, in accordance with the logic "My enemy's enemies are my friends."

Again, by reinforcing another element, the son of a particular clemern prevents it from defeating that other element: Water attacks Fiit, bur Wood .engenders Fire arid therefore reinforces it, and the process is thus arrested, fot Water can do nothing against Wi>&d, its son. This is the prou:ss of interruption.

ihese '"feedback" effects can he summarized as in table 3.

wmmmmmmmm:m^ :y relations between elements

Element

Mftlber

Son j

Friend

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