(Dear Readers: This is the final “oldie but goodie” post from the first year of our blog. It addresses several key relationship dynamics between the elements and makes a good final summation in our review. Enjoy!)
Dear Vicki: I’m a Wood married to a wonderful guy, but I’m having a hard time nailing down his element. A well-known Five Elements lecturer told me that my husband was “parched Earth, all dried up and just not there.” That made sense to me because I don’t see him as overly nurturing; in fact, at times he seems rather sharp. He is thin and strong (even at 62), he’s been an engineer and is now a doctor, and often calls himself the machine (he keeps working on whatever has to get done). His weak system is his gut in a way that affects his ability to eat most foods, and he was raised in a military family. In general, he’s usually intense, but I do sometimes see a softness to him that is such a contradiction, especially when he makes me treats like my favorite tea and snacks or does the dishes. He helps the neighbors a lot and will not harm a living creature. Can he be a parched Earth, and what does that mean? Signed, Very Confused
Dear Very Confused: Calling your husband a parched Earth that is “dried up” and “just not there” implies that your husband doesn’t have enough Earth available to him to access on a regular basis. There are many reasons someone won’t manifest much of a particular element, but the most basic options are:
- The missing element could be their fifth element; the one they have the least of in their makeup.
- The element could be lacking for them, meaning they were born with it and something about their life made it impossible for them to express it safely.
- The element could be depleted, meaning that their overall energy system is deficient in that specific element. This could be because that element is: a) over-controlled by an element on the Controlling Cycle (for Earth, it would be Wood), b) underfed by the element in front of it on the Nurturing Cycle (in this case, Fire), c) used up by the element that follows it on the Nurturing Cycle (in this case, Metal), or d) overworked from trying to control an abundance of the element it controls on the Controlling Cycle (for Earth that would be Water).
The concept of “parched Earth” implies that the Earth is there but has been impacted in a way that makes it unable to manifest. This rules out Option 1 (that it’s his fifth element) and leaves us with Option 2 (Earth lacking) or Option 3 (Earth depleted).
Being raised in a military family certainly might make it challenging for a little boy to fully express his Earth, so it’s possible that Option 2 is correct and your husband’s Earth is lacking. For Option 3 to be valid, we would need to see in him or his family too much Wood over-controlling his Earth, too much Fire starving his Earth, too much Metal drawing from his Earth, or too much Water in need of control by his Earth. Any of these four scenarios could create a condition of depleted Earth in your husband. You haven’t shared enough about his family to say for sure which of these it might be, but it really doesn’t sound to me like he’s Earth lacking: He does manifest Earth in the kind things he does for you and others around him, so I think we can scratch Option 2.
What remains is Option 3, that his Earth is depleted. If this is the case, it means that his Earth has been negatively affected by an environment with too much Fire, Wood, Water, or Metal. And based on his background, I’m inclined to suspect too much Metal as the cause. Metal is usually very abundant in military families, plus your husband’s occupation as an engineer and then a physician suggests that he has a good amount of Metal, himself. Calling himself a machine speaks to Metal, as well.
As I mentioned earlier, I see a significant amount of Earth in they way you describe your husband. He cares about the neighbors, fixes you treats, and does the dishes; these are very Earthy expressions. He is also a doctor deeply involved in caring for people and someone who “will not harm a living creature.” Plus, his physical weaknesses sit in Earth (stomach issues). As surprising as this may sound to you, I’d like to suggest that your husband’s Earth is not depleted. He is a fully functioning and present Earth, but one shaped by Metal. This means he could be either a Metal/Earth or an Earth/Metal, but in our patriarchal culture men often manifest the more structured element even if it’s not their primary.
Finally, it’s important to remember that you and your husband relate on the Controlling Cycle. Your Wood controls his Earth, and his Metal controls your Wood. This can be a perfect set up for the two of you, too, as long as you remain aware of the dynamic. The risk will be that he ends up with too much Metal, as this will negatively affect your Wood and his Earth. If that happens, you can step into whatever Fire you have and balance out his Metal (Fire controls Metal). You can also increase the presence of Fire energy in his environment by using any of the methods we’ve described previously in this blog (surrounding him in red, using rosemary essential oil, lighting candles, etc.).
The bottom line is that your husband appears to have plenty of Earth, but it’s “sharpened” by his Metal in a way that can feel a bit uncomfortable for your Wood. And remember, when you want more Earth from him, you can step into your own Earth. Nothing draws Earth out like connecting with the Earth in someone else. So I think you can put away the idea that his Earth is parched. If we look at the big picture, it just isn’t true. Blessings to you!