The Wu Xing (Chinese: 五行; pinyin: Wǔ Xíng), also known as the Five Elements, Five Phases, the Five Agents, the Five Movements, Five Processes, and the Five Steps/Stages, is a fivefold conceptual scheme that many traditional Chinese fields used to explain a wide array of phenomena, from cosmic cycles to the interaction between internal organs, and from the succession of political regimes to the properties of medicinal drugs.
The five elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.
Below is an equivalence of the states of matter found in physics and chemistry:
These five types of qi (life force) also have their yin and yang attributes. Each element is expressed once in its negative, feminine yin form, and once in it's positive, masculine yang form. Yin is more subtle, and Yang is more active.
Each element is produced and subsequently destroyed by another element in a delicate yet perfectly balanced cycle:
The producing, enhancing cycle:
Water > Wood > Fire > Earth > Metal
The controlling cycle:
Water > Fire > Metal > Wood > Earth
The weakening cycle:
Water > Metal > Earth > Fire > Wood
Memory jogs, which help to remind in what order the phases are: