Staying Tough: The Metal Element
ASIAN Geographic|AG 05/2020 144
Valued for their strength, durability, versatility and electrical conductivity, metals make up an important part of our society. The material of protective shields and the sharpest of swords, metal represents solidity, strength, persistence but also rigidity. Yet unbeknown to many, metals are intricately entwined within our bodies and more than just being the material of products, metal is the element of life.
Elizabeth Lim
As the fourth phase of the Chinese philosophy of wu xing, metal represents the force of gravity, the minerals found within the Earth, patterns of heavenly bodies and the power of electrical conductivity and magnetism. It is known to have structure, but it allows for the moulding and changing of form when worked with.

Autumn is the season of metal, and it is the period of harvesting and collecting, representing a moving away from the outward yang just like the elements of wood and fire. Known as being a nurturing and organising element, this is the time where the containing warmth of earth fades and a slightly colder, sharper and crisper energy comes through.

In Chinese Taoist belief, the metal element denotes the attributes firm, rigid, persistent, strong and determined. Like the edge of a masterfully crafted sword, metal is able to cut through the clutter and mess of one’s life, separating what is worth retaining and refining from what is spent and impure, though sometimes, may be brutally sharp when doing so.

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