The Wood Element holds the energy of Spring: “Nature re-emerges from Winter’s stillness, at first tentatively and then with an explosive, upward-thrusting energy that breaks through the warming and softening earth and out into vigorous, green creative growth. Seeds germinate and start the process of growing into the particular plants they are destined to be. The weather is changeable as nature tries to get its motor going again after the damp Winter and unpredictable Spring winds are common.”

Within nature’s endless cycle, Wood is the phase of new beginnings, of youth, of innocence, of exuberant growth and of dynamic, smooth and unimpeded movement of energy (or Qi). Just like in plants, Wood’s energy stimulates our unique seed to germinate and to surge upwards towards the truth contained in it. So is a time for individuation, acting on our childhood dreams, honing our vision, bursting with ideas and creativity, gathering skills and moving dynamically but methodically towards realizing our plans for the future.

As we grow, we remain like a young tree bending in the wind – firmly rooted in our own ‘seed’ truth and strong, pliant and adaptable, responding with ease and conviction to obstacles and challenges. This firmness with flexibility is reflected at every level of our being, such as in our physical structure, in our movement and in our emotional make-up, which is dominated by kindness (towards ourselves and others) coupled with strong boundaries and clear intentions.

When our Wood energy is out of balance, navigating life becomes much more stressful.

Instead of smoothness and ease, we feel stuck. We find ourselves unable to move ahead or to direct our lives towards our truth (if we are even aware of what that is). And Wood’s exuberant, up surging energy does not like to be blocked, so emotions of frustration and irritability build up in us like a pressure cooker. We may become prone to angry outbursts, erratic behavior and mood swings and lose our capacity to flow through life with ease. Instead, we become fixed in our ideas and find even the smallest challenges a source of great stress.

As we disconnect from our ‘seed’ and lose sight of our life vision, we may start flailing around with numerous unfocused plans or perhaps just stop looking to the future at all. We lose faith in our own gifts, feeling aimless, hopeless and worthless as our vigor, creativity and easy optimism fade.

Along with these emotional signs, our physical bodies will also indicate that our Wood energy has lost its smooth and easy flow. We may, for instance, start moving in a jerky, shaky and erratic way and experience cramping pains, intense headaches, lumps or swellings and eye strain.

Our Livers and Gallbladders are associated with the Wood Element, so any tell-tale Wood symptoms indicate that one or both of these organs is under stress. Angry outbursts, for instance, are a sign that our Liver is in need of care and are themselves damaging to our Liver.

Our eyes are Wood’s sense organs. Through them, we can bring harmony or disharmony to this Element and damage or heal the Liver. Bombarding children with visual stimulation – especially from television and computer screens – from the youngest age means that their Livers are overwhelmed and exhausted before they even reach adulthood. But, fortunately, Wood’s dynamic energy and the tissue of the Liver are highly regenerative. Spending time out in nature and ‘breathing in’ its green abundance through our eyes will help.


Some additional Yin energy examples: Sense of being stuck, frustration, irritability, resentment, jealousy, envy, egocentricity, tension, stress, erratic behavior, rash decisions, explosiveness, mood swings, rigidity, fixed ideas, stubbornness, eternal student, numerous unfocused and uncompleted plans, indecision, low self-esteem, easily swayed and discouraged, aimlessness, hopelessness, despair. 


Some additional Yang energy examples: Emergence, innocence, vigor, exuberance, new beginnings, clear vision, sense of direction, holding to dreams, hope, optimism, aspiration, faith, initiative, ideation, creativity, good planning, breaking out, blazing news trails, self-esteem, independence, individuation, originality, spontaneity, flexibility, ease in stressful situations, clemency.

***Text taken from The Five Elements and Our Inner World