Five Elements: The bridge between the natural world and human life.
The Five Elements theory was developed independently and yet almost in parallel by both Chinese and ancient Greek philosophers, as a multi-dimensional view of human life as it relates to the natural world.
They separated nature into five categories (elements) each with distinctive characteristics, which, they concluded, are reflected in patterns of human health and behaviour. Certain individuals will associate more closely with certain elements as per their particular physical functioning and psychological qualities.
Five Elements: The relevance of the seasons
On top of this the ancient philosophers associated different elements with different seasons, and understood that just as nature follows a cycle so does the human condition both annually and across a lifespan.
According this Five Element framework – we could even call it a universal order underlying all things in our world – the cycle of human life and the cycle of nature, as related to the seasons, follows the cycle of the elements:
WATER: (Greek: Ydor), winter, time of incubation
WOOD: (Greek: Air), spring, time of growth
FIRE: (Greek: Pyr), summer, time of full bloom
EARTH: (Greek: Gaia), Indian summer, time of harvest
METAL: (Greek: Aether), autumn, time of letting go
Greek and Chinese philosophy differs in relation to the fifth element. Hippocrates referred only to four while Aristotle, Plato and Pythagoras termed the fifth element Aether, the lightest element of all offering alchemical potential to Metal. This difference reflects the ancient Greek belief that once a cycle is complete we have the greatest potential to transform in readiness for positive change as we begin a new cycle. Our potential to transform is at the heart of everything we offer at Euphoria Retreat.
Five Elements: Archetypes and contemporary psychology
Just as the Five Elements embody the energy of the seasons that influences our collective behaviour, so they also relate to different organs, functions and meridians, and offer a system for physical healing for returning balance and flow to the body.
Yet they also embody different personality types and behavioural traits, offering a system for understanding and healing on an emotional and spiritual level too.
Here is where see another link between Chinese and ancient Hellenic philosophy because an understanding of the Five Element personality types is closely aligned to an understanding of the classical Greek Archetypes.
Throughout Greek history, Archetypes have served as superhuman role models inspiring a higher moral ethos to guide people to their greater life potential. They are characterized in the Greek legends in such heroes as Ulysses and Hercules, in the 12 Olympian deities such as Apollo and Athena and in ancient Greek philosophers themselves such as Pythagoras and Hippocrates.
The Archetypes of ancient Greece also represent a template from which modern psychology was born, starting with Carl Jung who based his clinical approach on the study of the Greek Archetypes. Emotional and spiritual healing is an important part of what we offer here.
Five Elements: Symoblised throughout Euphoria Retreat
This brief description of the Five Elements – as born from both Chinese and Ancient Greek philosophies - serves to give context to the DNA that runs throughout Euphoria Retreat. Our signature treatment offerings, our Signature retreats and the therapeutic basis of our design and architectural schemes are all born from our belief in the Five Elements as a potent, holistic approach to understanding, healing and offering the greatest life potential to all of us.