Wood (Wu Xing)

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Wood (Chinese: ; pinyin: ), sometimes translated as Tree, is the growing of the matter, or the matter's growing stage.[1] Wood is the first phase of Wu Xing. Wood is yang in character. It stands for springtime, the east, the planet Jupiter, the color blue, green, wind, and the Azure Dragon (Qing Long) in Four Symbols.

The Wu Xing are chiefly an ancient mnemonic device for systems with 5 stages; hence the preferred translation of "tree" over "wood".[citation needed]


In Chinese Taoist thought, Wood attributes are considered to be strength and flexibility, as with bamboo. It is also associated with qualities of warmth, generosity, co-operation and idealism. The Wood person will be expansive, outgoing and socially conscious. The wood element is one that seeks ways to grow and expand. Wood heralds the beginning of life, springtime and buds, sensuality and fecundity. Wood needs moisture to thrive.

In Chinese medicine, wood is associated with negative feelings of anger, positive feelings of patience, and altruism.

Organs associated with this element are the liver (yin), gall bladder (yang), eyes, and tendons.


In Chinese astrology, wood is included in the 10 heavenly stems (the five elements in their yin and yang forms), which combine with the 12 Earthly Branches (or Chinese signs of the zodiac), to form the 60 year cycle.

Yang WOOD years end in 4 (e.g. 1974).

Yin WOOD years end in 5 (e.g. 1975).

Wood governs the Chinese zodiac signs Tiger, Rabbit and Dragon.

Some Western astrologers have argued for an association between wood and the element Ether, on the grounds that ether is associated with Jupiter in Vedic Astrology.[2]

Cycle of Wu Xing

In the regenerative cycle of the Wu Xing, water engenders Wood, "as rain or dew makes plant life flourish"; Wood begets fire as "fire is generated by rubbing together two pieces of wood" and it must be fueled by burning wood.

In the conquest cycle:

Wood overcomes earth by binding it together with the roots of trees and drawing sustenance from the soil;

Metal overcomes Wood, as the metal axe can topple the largest trees.[3]


  1. 千古中医之张仲景. Lecture Room, CCTV-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. http://www.findyourfate.com/indianastro/grahas.htm
  3. Theodora Lau, The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes, pxxix-xxx, Souvenir Press, London, 2005