QUIZ: Earth Woman or Fire Goddess? What nature element is strongest in you – and how to balance the 5 Elements to feel more resilient, find stillness and let go

April 22, 2022

by Richard Brook


One of the things I love about Chinese Medicine is it provides a vast framework for identifying and validating characteristics in us and understanding that we are naturally different from one another. A primary means of this is by identifying we each have 5 different elements (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water) and we all have them in a different ratio – some people are naturally more Fiery, some more Earthy, and so on!


And then personal development is in fine tuning your natural elemental profile and understanding it comes with corresponding strengths and weaknesses, which are also often relative to the context and choices you make in your life.


For example, I’ve a lot of Fire, which relates to the heart, and it can make me very sensitive to other people. This is great now I’m a therapist, but when I was a manager of a busy supermarket years ago it was a disaster as I felt constantly overwhelmed and overstimulated.


But on the other hand, my Earth element, which relates to my stomach and spleen is balanced in me in a way that means I’m not so strong at some of the basics of looking after myself, creating a ‘nest’ or for example preparing food. So, while I’m ideally poised as a therapist, you probably wouldn’t want me organising and preparing your dinner party!


Understanding our innate strengths and weaknesses can help us to find a greater sense of inner peace and stillness, but also to build a sense of resilience from knowing what your key qualities.


To reiterate, you have all five elements, but we identify that you have one that is predominant. Sometimes this predominant element is distinct, other times subtle. We often liken the characteristics of the elements to the seasons as they have the same core qualities, as we detail later.


Elements Corresponding season Corresponding organs
Wood Spring Liver & gall bladder
Fire Summer Heart, small intestine, pericardium, triple heater*
Earth Late summer Spleen & stomach
Metal Autumn Lung & large intestine
Water Winter Kidney & bladder


*As an exception, the Fire Element, rather than having two organs, contains four organs one of which, the triple heater, is a function of the heart without having a physical structure as such.




The qualities and functions of an Element can be seen across a broad spectrum, from our behavioural traits, thoughts, and feelings through to a pair of ‘organs’ within the body. For example, when your Earth Element – connected to nourishment – is predominant you might be concerned with making sure your body is well fed but equally that your spirit is also well fed and appetised by your life generally! But it can also be the opposite, if your Earth is deficient, then you may not feel bothered about the food on your plate or being nourished by your life generally.

Each Element also expresses through sensory signals that we call Colour, Sound, Odour and Emotion. For example, the CSOE of Wood are green, shouting, rancid and anger. This means that a Wood Element in excess could present with a green hue on the face, a shouting voice, a smell of rancidity and emotion of anger. Or conversely a deficient Wood could see a distinct lack or absence of all these qualities.


Quiz: Which Element Are You?


Check through the following and identify which Element fits you best!

1)      Wood Element


Behaviourally and emotionally


You are generally concerned with vision for the future and being able to assert yourself and make plans. If you have an excess, you may be overassertive and rigid at times or if deficient you may lack clarity and vision, struggle to assert and make decisions.


You will be nourished by asserting your life path into the world, being flexible where necessary (and not overloading your liver with toxicity – from substances or people).




You experience lots of thoughts on a spectrum between having or lacking vision for the future, plans, decision making and growth. Depending on the balance within you, it can sound like you have a sergeant major in your head shouting, or a very timid voice!


Associated colour, sound, odour and emotion (these can be prominent or diminished depending on the balance of the element)


Colour – Green

Sound – Shout

Odour – Rancid

Emotion – Anger/assertion


Supportive season – spring


You may feel a strong relationship with Spring! Enjoy making plans in this season and creating the structure for the growth that’s coming, just as nature creates new growth at this time.


2)      Fire Element


Behaviourally and emotionally


Depending on the balance of the element, you may be focused or conversely nonplussed about your passions, relationships and sense of joy and joviality, since the Heart and these qualities are so connected. Fire also expresses through how animated you are, and a lack of animation can be a sign of depleted Fire.


You will find yourself being nourished by connection to your passions in life, healthy relationships, joy, connection to your soul or higher consciousness (as it resides in the heart).




You experience lots of thoughts, or a deficiency of thoughts around loved ones, things you are passionate about, joy, sex, connection, and intimacy.


Associated colour, sound, odour, and emotion


Colour – Red

Sound – Laugh

Odour – Scorched

Emotion – Joy


Supportive season – summer


You may find yourself reaching out to connect with others more in the summer, shedding layers of both your physical clothing and the layers you place around your heart as the sun draws you out.


3)      Earth Element


Behaviourally and Emotionally


You may find yourself more strongly focused, or not very interested in the securities of life – a settled home, eating well, looking after yourself and others. You may have or lack a sense of compassion. If the element is deficient, you may worry a great deal.


You will find yourself being nourished by home and family life, sustenance, stability.




You experience thoughts (again on a spectrum between abundance of or lack of) around nourishment, food, home, creature comforts, sympathy for others and the environment. Worry or abundance!


Associated colour, sound, odour, and emotion


Colour – Yellow

Sound – Sing

Odour – Fragrant

Emotion – Sympathy


Supportive season – late summer


You may find yourself feeling satisfied in reaping the benefits of what you have created so far this year, enjoying the fruits of your labour!


4)      Metal Element


Behaviourally and emotionally


You may find yourself more strongly focused on connection to the whole (as air binds through everything), feeling inspired (or lack of), maintaining a broader perspective, clarity and tidiness, needing to let go of things, and grief (or lack of).


You are nourished by time in an expansive environment (out of your normal routine) to facilitate perspective, removing clutter and keeping things in order.




You experience thoughts or deficiency of thoughts around inspiration or clutter, needing to let go of things, and obsession with being clear.


Associated colour, sound, odour and emotion


Colour – White

Sound – Weep

Odour – Rotten

Emotion – Grief


Supportive season – autumn


You find yourself with a new sense of clarity and space and inspiration at this time of year, as old memories from the past begin to fall away, much as the trees start to shed their old growth.


5)      Water Element


Behaviourally and emotionally


You may find yourself being ‘driven’ or having a lack of ‘drive’ in life, having tendencies towards fear or lack of fear and being reflective. You may have an aura of wisdom (or lack of) or be strong and robust or withdrawn to conserve energy.


You are nourished by rest, reflection, flowing with your sense of destiny – applying your willpower to what’s in your heart.




You experience thoughts (again on a spectrum between abundance of or lack of) around wisdom building, pushing out into the world, tiredness or resting deeply within. When the element is depleted, you may have lots of thoughts around fear!


Associated colour, sound, odour, and emotion


Colour – Blue

Sound – Groan

Odour – Putrid

Emotion – Fear


Supportive and resonant season – winter


You feel a strong connection with heading ‘inwards’ into introspection and reflection in the same way the growth in nature at this time of year is happening deep under the surface, with a sense of stillness on the surface.




Use the signs and signals above to work out your natural elemental disposition and celebrate it! Cultivate the activities that support and nourish your main element and it will help to fine tune you and your life.


About the author:

Richard Brook is a holistic expert, wellness coach and founder of Creative Wellness. His new book, Understanding Human Nature: A User’s Guide to Life, is published by Matador, priced at £12.99.

Posted by: Gwen Jones