An example of the Wu Xing
Beyond the concept of yin and yang, there is another model that is very important to Chinese Medicine. Different schools place more and less emphasis on it but you will find it reflected throughout the ancient and
modern texts and in the language used to describe the channels (or meridians), the points and the actions of herbs. Where yin and yang are timeless and ever-present, the Five Phases may be seen as representing the evolution of a being, the climate of
a planet or the wheel of the year, for example.
Many images can be found that explicate - and sometimes confuse - this system. Let's look at a few together.
first image is a simple and straightforward as it gets. You'll see Wood on the top with bluegreen, a simplified character for wood and the Pinyin translation. This symbol goes clockwise in what is called the generating or creative cycle around
the tips of the star. So Wood gives rise to Fire which engenders Earth which begets Metal which nourishes Water.
The controlling or inhibitory cycle follows the internal star thus: Wood controls Earth
which inhibits Water which tames Fire which smelts Metal which keeps Wood in check.