The five xing refers energy in five different conditions: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Five xing was translated as the five elements, but that is not a correct translation. Wood, fire, earth, metal and water do not mean five different kinds of energies, but it means the energy in five different strength conditions.
For example, in the spring, the energy is getting stronger from winter; we call this energy WOOD. In the summer, the energy is stronger than in the spring and is the strongest condition in a year; so we call it FIRE. In the fall, the energy is getting weaker from its strongest condition, we call it METAL. The energy condition between FIRE and METAL, we call EARTH/SOIL. In the winter, the energy is in a closing/hiding/resting condition, so we call it WATER.
The original meaning of XING is ‘walking’ or ‘moving’; here it means changing while moving.
Originally published February 15, 2007 on http://wutherapy.blogspot.ca