The 5 Elements Of Personality: What Does Your Birth Year Say About You?
Are you an excitable Fire person, an upstanding Wood element, or a mentally astute Metal? Maybe you're a nurturing Earth archetype or a dreamy and empathic Water. Your birth year element tells an important story.
In Chinese astrology, every birth year is assigned one of five natural elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. Understanding yours can help you play to your strength and harmonize with your loved ones, co-workers, and friends.
What's your birthday element?
- Metal: Born in a year ending in 0 or 1
- Water: Born in a year ending in 2 or 3
- Wood: Born in a year ending in 4 or 5
- Fire: Born in a year ending in 6 or 7
- Earth: Born in a year ending in 8 or 9
Here's a brief introduction to the qualities of each element: Metal tends to be sharp, decisive, and always seeking clarity. Water is intuitive, creative, and emotional. Wood is masterful, structured, and diligent. Fire is enthusiastic, colorful, and restless. And Earth is nurturing, reliable, and grounding.
This five-phase system, called Wuxing, begins anew at each Lunar New Year in January or February. In the Western astrology system, this falls at the Aquarius new moon. (But heads up, Capricorn and Aquarius Sun Signs: Since the Lunar New Year begins at the Aquarius new moon, the "new" ruling element of a year will start sometime during Aquarius season, roughly January 20 to February 19. If you're a Capricorn born in a year that ends in an even number—0, 2, 4, 6, or 8—your element will be that of the year prior.)
We like to think of this system as feng shui astrology because it blends the five-element system that's used in both feng shui and Chinese astrology.
How your birthday element relates to your home.
When organizing a space by feng shui principles, there's a saying: "A place for everything and everything in its place." The idea is to get energy flowing in the right direction. You want to make sure you're not blocking "chi," or life force energy, with problems like misplaced furniture, sharp corners, leaky faucets, and poor lighting.
But newsflash: Life isn't a perfectly staged Pinterest board. Human beings are involved, and that's where feng shui astrology really comes in.
While designing our new online course Home Reset (check out the free webinar here), we realized that the five elements influence not only the energy of a physical space but also the people that inhabit it. Balancing interpersonal dynamics is as important as properly positioning a bed or desk, for example.
The most divinely appointed home can still turn chaotic depending on the cast of characters that walks through your front door. (Yep, even if you painted it red for good luck!)
Your birth element shapes your personality, the energy you exude, and the way you decorate, dress, and express yourself. How will you resolve conflict? Do you need more privacy to concentrate, or are you an "open-plan" extrovert type who doesn't believe in walls?
Like any ecosystem, all five elements are interconnected. To create harmony in any environment—whether at home or on your Zoom conference calls—they must be balanced.
How your birthday element relates to your personality.
Whether in nature or among people, every element has a job. And when we play to our strengths, households, workgroups, and community can feel beautifully steady.
The archetypes of the five elements:
- Metal: The Organizers
- Water: The Empathizers
- Wood: The Providers
- Fire: The Energizers
- Earth: The Stabilizers
Think about being in a coffee shop (pre-pandemic), when you get into the zone and feel the productive energy all around you. Chances are, there are people of all five elements there, and you’re picking up on the collective good-vibes buzz!
The Water people are listening to music and creatively flowing. The Metals are banging out that proposal spreadsheet they weren't able to focus on at home. The Fire and Earth folks are sipping lattes, trading gossip, and hatching a startup (with the Fire playing evangelist). And the Wood folks are nerding out with the barista about the single-origin coffee beans while waiting for their pour-over brews (no rush!).
How your birthday element relates to your relationships.
There can be "too much of a good thing" when certain elements dominate. And when an element is missing or deficient, things feel askew.
For example, an excess of attention-seeking, competitive Fire energy in a group can be exhausting. Everyone's shouting over each other; nobody's listening. Can we pass the "talking stick," puh-lease?
But on the flip side, a lack of Fire in a group can feel dull and lackluster, devoid of the spark that gets projects and parties started. Your birth element in feng shui astrology can help you find—and embrace—the role you were born to play. Then the next question arises: Do you play well with others?
Understanding the feng shui astrology "life cycle" reveals which elements support yours and which ones you may feel out of sync with.
The five elements have a symbiotic relationship:
- Metal generates Water
- Water feeds Wood
- Wood sustains Fire
- Fire makes Earth (ash)
- Earth (ash) creates Metal
They also have a destructive manifestation:
- Fire melts Metal
- Metal cuts Wood
- Wood breaks Earth
- Earth absorbs Water
- Water puts out Fire
When we accept that each person has a role to play, we can appreciate who they are, even if we don't necessarily want to share close quarters 24/7. And well, if you do happen to be family or close colleagues, you can design a setup that meets everyone's individual needs. So much creativity becomes available when you understand what makes everyone tick.
After all, the goal here is harmony and flow, finding a way to coexist amid our differences. That's something the planet needs more than ever.
Ophira and Tali Edut, known as the AstroTwins, are professional astrologers based out of New York and Seattle. Their work has been featured in The New York Times, Elle, Vogue, and Good Morning America. They have been dubbed “astrologers to the stars” after reading for notable celebrities, including Beyoncé, Emma Roberts and Stevie Wonder. The AstroTwins have collaborated with Nordstrom, Kate Spade and Urban Outfitters, among other major brands. They have authored four print books: AstroStyle, Love Zodiac, Shoestrology, and Momstrology, and have a growing collection of ebooks, including their popular annual horoscope guides.