The Four Elements of Life describe a thing's energy composition. It is the static descriptor, the noun of a sentence. The Five Phases describe a thing's energy's current behavior. It is the dynamic descriptor, the verb of a sentence. The four elements describe what is while the five phases describe what it is doing.

The five phases of energy are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.

Each of the five phases associates with each other in specific ways, which is diagrammatically represented as a pentacle.


When the phases are arranged in this order, energy moving clockwise will enhance the energy in the next phase, making it stronger. Energy crossing the pentacle to the phase's left will overcome the energy in that phase, making it weaker.

The origin of the five phases is East Asia and historically documented in Chinese. The Five Phases are called Wuxing which is short for "wǔ zhǒng liúxíng zhī qì" (五種流行之氣) or "the five types of chi dominating at different times".