Like the western witchcraft, there are the Chinese work with five different elements. However, unlike the Pagan elements, the Chinese equivalent isn’t entirely based on nature with the replacement of two elements – Wood and Metal (replacing Air and Spirit). The philosophy surrounding the five Chinese elements (or 五行; pinyin: wǔxíng) is different to the five Pagan elements.

With Pagan elements, the belief is that every natural being has at least one of the five elements whether it be Earth, Fire, Air, Water or Spirit. In Chinese philosophy, the concept is slightly different. It is believed that  everyone and everything must interact with each Element. They each have a creative relationship, a destructive relationship and a hostile relationship to the other Elements.

The creative relationships are as follows:

  • Water generates Wood;
  • Wood generates Fire;
  • Fire generates Earth;
  • Earth generates Metal;
  • Metal generates Water.


The destructive relationships are as follows:

  • Water puts out Fire;
  • Fire melts Metal;
  • Metal cuts Wood;
  • Wood breaks Earth
  • Earth swallows Water.


The hostile relationships are as follows:

  • Water hates Fire;
  • Fire hates Metal;
  • Metal hates Wood;
  • Wood hates Earth
  • Earth hates Water.


The five Chinese Elements also feature prominently in Chinese Astrology which will be discussed on another page.