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Fire, Water, Earth? For centuries mystics have used a special system to define your true nature

Many of us feel uncertain, even lost, in these turbulent times. And, when everything seems to be in upheaval, one route through is to turn to the wisdom of the ancients.

Throughout lockdown, many of us have been seeking guidance from astrologers.Tarot practitioners are also reporting more interest from people seeking readings.

That wish to find the right path is why, over thousands of years, people have relied on traditional Chinese medicine, not just for physical health but to discover exactly who they are and their route to happiness.

For nearly 40 years, Jean Haner has studied the spiritual side of Chinese medicine. After marrying into a Chinese family in her 20s, she began to learn about it from her mother-in-law, going on to study its principles with teachers all over the world. Since then, she has used it in thousands of personal consultations, translating it into practical solutions.

She does so by identifying which of the Five Elements, or personality types, people belong to, then setting out ways to support their energy.

Here, in our exclusive extract from her new book, Jean explains how to find out which Element you are — and then harness your potential in life-changing ways …

Jean Haner who has studied the spiritual side of Chinese medicine for nearly 40 years, shares her advice for changing your life with the Elements in a new book (file image)


You will almost certainly relate to some characteristics of each of the Five Elements, but there will be one or two where your immediate response will be ‘That’s me!’ Just answer yes or no to the following questions:


1. You love to stay up late at night and feel that is your most creative time.

2. You feel things more deeply than others do, but rarely talk about your inner feelings.

3. You don’t like brightly lit environments.

4. You sometimes feel alone in the world or very different from other people.

5. You can feel constrained if you have to watch the clock or have regimented work hours.

6. Sometimes when you’re around people, you feel as if you are on the outside looking in.


1. As soon as you finish one thing, you think, what’s next?

2. You have little patience for people who wallow in their emotions.

3. Anxious people who nitpick about every tiny detail can make you frustrated.

4. You are a lifelong student, always looking for ways to develop yourself.

5. You have had experiences where another person tried to cut you down.

6. You believe that no one can get ahead in life without an action plan.


1. It’s not unusual for you to be thinking of someone just a few moments before they call, text, or email you.

2. You often base a decision on a flash of inspiration rather than on logical analysis.

3. You manage to use a lot of exclamation points when you write to people!!!

4. You easily cry at movies or even television commercials.

5. You have a tendency to be nervous and may even have had a panic attack.

6. You tend to talk with your hands, waving them around when you speak. 


1. Relationships are the most important things in your life.

2. You love to decorate for the holiday seasons and enjoy all the associated foods.

3. You sometimes feel as if you’re there for others but you don’t get much support from them in return.

4. You tend to worry a lot, which can keep you from sleeping.

5. You sometimes get loaded with so many responsibilities that you wear yourself out.

6. If people argue, it can be very distressing — you just want everyone to get along.


1. You crave time alone at the end of each day.

2. You are sensitive to the feel of fabrics and scratchy labels.

3. You tend to notice details most others miss, such as a picture that’s hanging crooked.

4. You don’t like having to make small talk.

5. You have been criticised for being too picky.

6. You plan things farther in advance than other people do.

Answer for each element — how many times you said yes’

  • Once or twice: You have this Element in your nature but it’s not your primary Element.
  • 3-4 times: This Element is a substantial part of who you are.
  •  5+ times: This Element is a major aspect of your nature.



If you got a high score in the Water category, you prefer to ‘flow’ through life and think and feel more deeply than others.

Because of your inner depth, you don’t make snap decisions. You can be a dreamer and are drawn to downtime, creating a nice ebb and flow to your day. But Water people often feel different from others and this can create fear or trust issues.

Dress fluid: Each Element resonates with a specific colour and yours is black — little touches will have an effect. Or dress in unstructured clothes and sensual fabrics such as velvet.

Live among the waves: Add artwork to your space that has fluid, wavy lines — or a bowl of water with a flower floating in it. Experiment with candlelight.

Dream a little: Water Element relates to night-time, when we are not in touch with the real world. To boost Water energy, read fiction and watch films rather than focusing on documentaries or reality TV.

Water your intuition: When your Water is out of balance, you may not be listening to messages from your soul. Trust your intuition in little ways.

Drink your meals: To boost the energy of Water in your diet, have more soup. It’s full of natural salts and minerals that vibrate at the Water frequency.

As your Water Element heals, you will regain trust in life and feel yourself moving forward.


Jean said people with a Wood personality value logic and practicality, revealing the Element benefits from a 'clean' diet (file image)

Jean said people with a Wood personality value logic and practicality, revealing the Element benefits from a ‘clean’ diet (file image)

You value logic, practicality and common sense. You want to stay organised to get things done, and don’t like to sit still for long.

Just as spring is about new growth, if you are a Wood type, you will be a lifelong student. However, sometimes your desire to get going leads to impulsive decisions and you become frustrated if you are not making progress.

Add Wood to your wardrobe: To dress in a way that’s more aligned with Wood energy, wear more green and practical clothing that you don’t have to fuss with.

Ditch the doilies: Houseplants (but not flowers) support Wood energy. Wood decor has a rustic feel — no fussy knick-knacks.

Get moving: Wood likes to be active, so try not to skip more than one day of exercise (and try to do this outdoors).

Overhaul your to-do list: Create a new list every day. Each time you complete something, be sure to cross it off.

Eat clean: This Element benefits the most from a ‘clean’ diet, so reduce your intake of sugar, processed food and alcohol.

As the Element regains power, you will find a sense of direction.


Jean revealed Fire personalities think fast, learn fast and light up with activities such as playing with pets and children (file image)

Jean revealed Fire personalities think fast, learn fast and light up with activities such as playing with pets and children (file image)

You are naturally warm and affectionate but your feelings can flare up too easily.

You can react emotionally or take things too personally.

Fire people think fast, learn fast and usually talk quickly. But your attention can flicker. You work best in short spurts. Your energy comes from your heart but there is a corresponding need for you to feel loved, and you can struggle with a fear of rejection.

Wired to seek stimulation, you can start to feel scattered. But you model for the rest of us how to live with joy.

Dress hot: Red is the main colour associated with Fire but animal prints or sparkly jewellery would also qualify — and as Fire is about passion as well, try clothes that make you feel sexy.

Heat up your surroundings: Shapes that are peaked or pointed promote this energy, such as art featuring the Sun or hearts. Hanging crystals or prisms in the windows adds Fire to the room, as do flowers.

Have fun: Fire activities make you light up. Take a few minutes each day to play with your pet or goof around with your children or grandchildren, for example.

Jean advises Fire personalities to compliment others for the joy of making others light up (file image)

Jean advises Fire personalities to compliment others for the joy of making others light up (file image)

Compliment others: This is the energy that causes us to feel joy in making others light up. So, hand out compliments like sweets.

Fire up your diet: Have fun with food. Make an entire meal of starters or eat dessert first. Choose cooked meals over cold.

As your Fire Element heals, you will be better able to reclaim your sense of joy.


Earth people need a sense of connection. You are caring but can have a hard time saying no and tend to worry too much.

Earth wants to nurture, just as Water needs to dream, Wood is driven to act and Fire has to spread love. The point for each Element is to manage those energies. Earth people can tend to feel unsatisfied or unsupported. Learn to mother yourself as you mother others.

Ditch the suit: Your main colour is yellow but also beige, brown, gold, soft pink, peach and warm pastels. Or dress in a more Earthy way, with comfort a priority.

Jean said people with an Earth personality can benefit from sitting for their meals instead of eating on the run (file image)

Jean said people with an Earth personality can benefit from sitting for their meals instead of eating on the run (file image)

Feel cosy: Family photos match this nurturing energy. Earth has to do with receptivity, so include ‘receptacles’ in your surroundings such as baskets or bowls.

Accept a helping hand: Soften toward offers of help and your Earth will start to transform.

Eat your roots: Add more root vegetables to your diet, especially yellow or orange ones.

Cultivate contentment: Sit down for your meals instead of eating on the run. And as you work, practise pausing after you finish each task with satisfaction that it’s done.

As your Earth Element heals, life will start to feel more stable.


You have strong principles but Metal people often set the bar too high for themselves, anguished if they haven’t found their calling.

You are quite particular in relationships and can be a perfectionist. You often need time alone to recover.

The gift of Metal is to help us live in accordance with our ideals.

Jean said those with a Metal personality should take a good deep breath, when they're feeling anxious (file image)

Jean said those with a Metal personality should take a good deep breath, when they’re feeling anxious (file image)

Wear your best jewellery: Your colours are white, grey and metallics such as gold and silver.

Keep a sacred space: Metal is affected by clutter, so simplify what is on display to reduce stress. Designate an area of your home for special purposes. It could be a chair you sit in to read inspirational books or write your diary.

Embrace predictability: Set times for bedtime, waking and meals. Get tomorrow’s outfit ready the night before.

Breathe easy: In Chinese medicine, Metal relates to the lungs. When you are anxious, take a good deep breath.

Decorate your dinner table: Quality is essential for you, so choose the best ingredients and use the good china.

As your Metal Element heals, you will connect with your sacred sense of purpose.

The Five-Element Solution, by Jean Haner, is published by Hay House and out now, £13.99. Order a copy from