Educational Information – Elemental Personality Type

Our physical and psychological processes reflect the energy and movement unique to each season. The processes found in ourselves and in nature—birth, maturation, fruition, harvest (release) and death (regeneration)—symbolize the seasons in their circular, constant movement. We, like the earth, experience the phases of the seasons and their changing energies. For us, each season offers a corresponding and opportune time for personal development in life themes.

The Five Phase Model from traditional Chinese medicine and Qigong presents a theory that encourages personal harmony with the movement of the seasons. It defines personality with a description of the evolution of our being and places it into a framework for healing, for understanding ourselves and others. This model forms the basis for the seminars presented in this series.

As a model of personality typing, the five phases or five elements describe personality orientations or types. Elemental metaphors–fire, earth, metal, water and wood–describe each of the types of personalities and aspects of our being, including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual functions as well as principles for living and qualities of being.

For self-development it is vital to understand our strengths and limitations in each of these phases as well as our predisposition towards our preferred personality type and our secondary and tertiary preferences. Our main predisposition manifests as both an imbalance and a strength as it helps shape personality characteristics, emotional preferences, protective mechanisms, beliefs and behaviors; and it impacts our health.

For example, the wood phase represents all the qualities of spring : growth and development, direction and carrying out purpose in light of a natural plan that corresponds to conscious wishes. For us it involves making plans and setting goals, acting on our choices and timing our actions. Behind these actions are positive expectations, the capacity to perceive and build structure, and the wisdom to carry out our purposes.

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This phase, wood (spring), is centered on life strivings and the expression of potential.
Basic concepts are assertion/anger, judgment, planning, purpose, hope, vision, discrimination, correctness, fairness and seeking justice. This phase is also associated with organizing the smooth flow of emotions and our resources for purposeful action, and it includes protecting boundaries against violations (warrior mentality). At base are concerns about strength, assertion of being, will and justice, and about being controlled or abused, and balance of self-denial and self-indulgence. In balance, this aspect of our personality manifests as assertion of being and serenity accompanied by clear vision and commanding, courageous and natural leadership.