What is your Elemental Archetype?

We live in a world of five elements – Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. In Chinese Medicine, we also call them five movements, for everything is fluid and in flux. Knowing our Elemental Archetype can reveal our patterns, propensities, strengths, and vulnerabilities. In this way, we can delve deeper into the wondrous mystery of who we are, living more aligned and authentic in the world. What element are you?

We all have a pattern. We may have inherited certain genes and ancestral memories. Also we have adopted, or absorbed like a sponge before age 2, all kinds of behaviours, beliefs, coping mechanisms, and preferences. We are a constellation of elements, stardust, and microbiome. Whether it is to express our soul or to grow through soul lessons (same thing?), we choose this identity, with its unique lessons, tools, and gifts.

How do we know? We can look for clues at our astrological chart. We can also take our sleuthing skills to decode ourselves. What is our MO when facing adversity and opportunities? What activities do we enjoy or abhor? How do our relationships look like? Who surrounds us? What kind of daily rhythms do we have? When we push, what gives? What body systems are most vulnerable? How are we when we are happy in flow? What about when we are stressed and triggered? Look to your vocabulary and language. Witness yourself in interactions. Feel into your body and watch the energy flow.

We may be prepping to colonize Mars – how well do we know ourselves? The greater unsolved mystery – and the more delicious one – is ourselves.

Three Ways to Determine Your Elemental Archetype

Face Reading

We are reading faces all the time. People’s expressions, unspoken words, their glow, their fears….

While we may look at the mirror to check our hair is in place or we don’t have food on our face, are we really truly looking at ourselves? Granted, face reading is an art and a science, with a whole set of vocabulary still to learn and become consciously adept.

Face reading is fascinating. The Chinese may be known for it, mostly because of Chinese Medicine, it’s an ancient practice found throughout the world. When we can read using the language of the Five Elements, we can help decode our dominant Elemental Archetype.


– rectangular face shape, prominent eyebrows, strong jaw, wider shoulders, intense gaze

“The Wood woman exudes power. She is a warrior and leader; a force to be reckoned with.” – Lia Andrews [source]

Examples – Jessica Chastain, Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, and Jennifer Garner


– oval/heart-shaped face, more pointed features, freckles, dimples, wider set sparkling eyes, long legs, brilliant smiles

“The Fire woman sparkles. She is naturally charismatic with a child-like vulnerability which comes from viewing the world from the heart.” – Lia Andrews [source]

Examples – Halle Berry, Reece Witherspoon, Lucy Lu, and Ryan Gosling


– rounded, plump cheeks and fuller features, long torso

“The Earth woman is naturally both earth mother and sex goddess.” – Lia Andrews [source]

Examples – Marilyn Munroe, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Lawrence, and Zac Efron


– rounded face, angular and chiseled features, wide forehead, even toned skin that’s radiant, long narrow nose, high eyebrows, thin, small-boned

“The Metal woman is sophisticated and idealistic.” – Lia Andrews [source]

Examples- Audrey Hepburn, Tilda Swinton, Olivia Wilde, and Kate Moss


– rounded forehead, large dreamy or sultry eyes, may have dark circles under the eyes, prominent chin, energy in lower cheeks

“The Water woman exudes drama and mystery.” – Lia Andrews [source]

Examples – Sophie Loren, Oprah Winfrey, and Gigi Hadid


Check out these features to look out for from Lia Andrews.

elemental archetype elemental personality photo by laurenz-kleinheider

Elemental Personality

We can also look at our personality to determine what our dominant element is.

The archetype for each of the five elements are:

Stay Busy
Seek Excitement
Seek Comfort
Follow Higher Order
Seek Solitude
reference : The Point Denver Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. [source]


The elemental systems do differ in Western and Chinese Astrology and makes for an interesting investigation. Grab your free chart at a website such as astro.com. On the birth chart they generate for you, you’ll find information on the left, including one for the elements. You’ll see the letters F, A, E, W for Fire, Air, Earth, and Water. Count the number of sigils to see what your most dominant element is.

New to Chinese Astrology? Check out this intro on Gaia. What element you are depends on your hour, day, month, and year of birth. On a high level, you can use this shorthand – look at the last digit of your birth year. If your birthday falls around Chinese New Year (January and February), you’ll need to know which year you fall into.

Here’s an example – Chinese New Year in 2019 is February 5. If you are born before February 5 2019, your digit is 8, rather than 9. In this case, it makes no difference since both are of the Earth element.

Last Digit of Your Birth Year
0 or 1
2 or 3
4 or 5
6 or 7
8 or 9

Getting a chart reading from a professional astrologer is highly recommended. You will get so much more insight.

elemental archetype photo by benjamin-davies

Isn’t it fun unravelling these mysteries that are you and me? Discovering what our dominant Elemental Archetype is can provide us with a plethora of clues to why we hold the patterns we do and how to develop health-enhancing habits and self-care practices.

These are intro-level sharing of three different ways to determine your Elemental Archetype. Look at this as part of your blueprint, rather than more boxes and labels. Enjoy!


The Mien Shiang Institute [source]

Lia Andrews [source]

Personality and the 5 Elements. Which one are you? [source]