The Feng Shui Elements of Fire and Water - Supporting Change

Apr 13, 2024
The elements of fire and water are represented by an image of a campfire near the edge of a lake.


Inviting the Passion and Accepting the Flow of Change

This is the 2nd of a series of posts on the 5 elements used in the practice of Feng Shui.

In a previous post, we focused on wood and metal, two of the elements with a definite form or shape. Meaning they are solid objects subject to change only when acted upon.

Fire and Water are not solid objects. They do not take on a definite form or shape (unless you count ice which is a form of water). By their own nature, they change and move with or without us acting upon them.

Many people think of fire and water as extreme opposites. However, the elements of fire and water both symbolize aspects of change and therefore complement each other in many ways.

This is why it is important to find the unique balance between these two elements in your personal living and working space. Let’s take a look at the significance of each element and how they support change and prosperity in our lives.

The Feng Shui Element of Fire

It probably comes as no surprise that the element of fire represents passion and energy. Think of the many movie scenes involving fire. From romantic love scenes taking place in front of a blazing fireplace to a powerful thriller where revenge is taken through the bombing and burning of a building, fire portrays a potent force of action and motivation.

Fire also symbolizes transformation and renewal. It burns away the old to make room for the new. A perfect example of this can be found on many farms and ranches. Each spring the old, dry grass and weed patches in fields and meadows are often burned to make room for new, healthy, nutritious grass to grow.

Of course, the burn is controlled by the farmers and ranchers which is how the use of fire elements should be.

The controlled or monitored use of the fire element embodies leadership qualities like taking initiative, pursuing your goals with determination, and staying motivated. In a world where we are becoming used to quick results or relying on someone else to solve our problems, the element of fire can help us regain the passion and energy we need to go after our dreams.

There is a softer side to the meaning of the fire element in the practice of Feng Shui. If you have ever sat around a campfire visiting with friends or cozied up to woodstove on a cold winter day, you can appreciate the physical and emotional benefits associated with fire. In the right setting, a crackling fire emits feelings of warmth and comfort.

The comfort of a glowing fire ignites our imagination. It opens up a path of creativity as we reflect on the dancing flames. The element of fire stimulates innovative thoughts and encourages us to be bolder in our expressions of that creativity and innovative thinking.

To put it a little more simply, the element of fire is traditionally associated with passion, energy, positive change, and manifesting desires. The most common ways to represent fire are the use of candles and fireplaces. Another manifestation of fire is sunlight which can easily be controlled with the use of curtains or blinds.

The color red can also activate the benefits of the fire element. (More of the use of color in future posts!) Even with the addition of red, this seems like a very limited list of options.

More modern interpretation continues with these beliefs, valuing the fire elements for their energetic qualities. There is more consideration of the safety of fire elements while also balancing its powerful nature.

In a country inspired home, it is easy to incorporate battery-operated candles and rustic type lamps and light fixtures since lighting has also come to signify the element of fire.

Artwork that includes fireplaces, campfires or even blazing sunsets are other safe decorating options.

This goes for fabric patterns as well. If you are looking to add some “fire” to balance out the elements, pillows, blankets, and textile wall hangings can be inexpensive ways to go.

Mirrors and picture frames in the shape of a sunburst symbolize the radiant energy of the sun and can be incorporated into the cozy country feel. Look for objects that remind you of the sun, a sunset, the sunrise, or fire.

Initially it may seem difficult to represent the fire element into all the rooms of your home. Many of us that live in rural areas have fireplaces, woodstoves, or even cook stoves in our homes.

It is not an option for everyone. We aren’t likely to have one in every room of our house. That might be a little overkill, even if we could.

Thankfully, the element of fire is represented in many other safe, inexpensive, and manageable ways.

The Element of Water in the Practice of Feng Shui

Image a lazy river flowing along, navigating the rocks and trees and sandbars with ease. The element of water represents that same idea of flow and adaptability. It encourages us to navigate life’s ups and downs with flexibility and resilience. It reminds us to adapt rather than resist.

In the practice of Feng Shui, water is also associated with our emotions and intuition. It asks us to acknowledge our deepest feelings and use our inner “knowing” to guide us through life.

The hectic pace of modern life often removes or disguises our intuition. But the element of water brings healing, allowing us to wash away negativity and restore balance to our mind and soul.

This restoration of our mind and body brings rejuvenation. It helps us feel safe enough to go with the flow of change, be open to new possibilities, and bounce back from any setbacks or disappointments we may encounter.

Going with the flow means we must trust in the universe, the divine, or God (whatever your beliefs are) to bring in abundance and prosperity. Although this can relate to wealth, it is not limited to money. The element of water also brings in an abundance of blessings and prosperity through opportunities.

As with the element of fire, water as an element seems to have limited ways of being represented. In traditional Feng Shui, water is believed to promote prosperity, harmony, and the smooth flow of positive energy. It symbolizes abundance, intuition, and emotional balance. It is commonly represented by fountains, aquariums, and mirrors.

Thankfully, the more modern approach to representing the water element includes more variety. Glass and mirrors, because of their reflective quality symbolize water. Paintings and photographs which include rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water are acceptable ways of honoring the water element.

The same is true of fish, mermaids, or images of sea life. While you might wonder how sea creatures fit into country décor, think about a small country cottage near the beach. It can be done!

One very popular way to incorporate the water element into your home is to install a rain shower. Actually any shower will do, but there’s something about a rain shower that seems to add potency to the element of water in your bathroom.

Remember, the practice of Feng Shui is only helpful to you if you feel strongly about the choices you make. If a rain shower in the morning rejuvenates you and gets you “flowing” for the day, then that’s what’s most important.

Of course, a small indoor water fountain or water garden are popular choices for many country loving people, provided you have the space for them. If not, consider fabrics with a flowing/way print for your throw pillows and accent throws. Scale-like patterns will do the same.

If budget isn’t an issue, waterfall countertops are an option for evoking the flowing, cascading movement of water. When space and finances won’t allow for such an extravagance, a small, decorative bowl of water will do.

Stagnant or dirty water invites negative energy. To reap the most benefit from your water features, check frequently for leaks and repair quickly to keep the water flowing smoothly.

And make sure the water looks and sounds pleasing. Avoid annoying drips and squealing pipes to gain the most benefit from the element of water.

The last thing I want to mention is the view out your windows. Some of us are fortunate enough to live near a body of water that is clearly visible out a window.

Your view is like a picture or photograph of a water element. It is a clear and visible reminder of the power and symbolism of water in the practice of Feng Shui. Consider the view as you are working on balancing the five elements of Feng Shui.

Too Much or Too Little

As with most things, too much or too little of the elements of fire and water can invite unwanted results.

While fire is associated with passion, strength and determination, too much fire can be destructive. An overabundance of fire energy leads to anger, resentment, and sadness. If you seem exceptionally argumentative, you may have too much fire in your environment.

On the other hand, lack of the fire element may lead to a lack of energy or motivation. You may feel uncomfortable and reluctant to share your ideas.

Too much water can be as destructive as fire. Think of a flood washing through a community wiping out everything in its path. It promotes recklessness and overwhelm as well as emotional instability. And because water is associated with wealth, too much of the water element can encourage overspending.

Lack of the water element may bring in a sense of loneliness and an inability to identify or trust your own feelings. It may induce rigid thinking and the reluctance to accept change or go with the flow. And too little water in your environment could block or interfere with your ability to manifest abundance.

Final Thoughts on the Feng Shui Elements of Fire and Water

One of the main principles of Feng Shui is balance. The use of the five elements (wood, metal, fire, water, and earth) needs to follow this principle. This does not mean having the same number of each element. That would not only be difficult to achieve, but most likely add stress to a practice which is meant to increase positive energy and good feelings in your home.

To achieve the balance you need, the placement, color, size, and shape of the elements must be considered. For instance, placing a water element at the entrance of your home is believed to invite prosperity in. Just as having the appropriate fire element placement in the bedroom encourages passion. However, all those topics are much too much to cover in one blog post.

Consider creating a list of the fire and water elements in each room of your home. Or just start with one room. The list may shine a light on any elements you are missing. It may also make clear what is overly represented.

Finally, it is important to remember that feng shui is a very old practice and over the years has been subject to interpretation and change. There is no scientific evidence to prove or disprove its effectiveness. The principles of feng shui including the use of the five elements is based more on cultural attitudes, philosophical beliefs, and personal preferences. Each one of us has the opportunity to apply and benefit from the practice of Feng Shui when we use it to shape our mindset or in other words, our way of thinking.


 Read the post on the symbolism of Wood and Metal in the Practice of Feng Shui by clicking here.

 Get a checklist of easy to implement tips for inviting positive energy into your home using Feng Shui the Country Way.  Click Here.


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