Image Maat-Natural Five Elements
House of the Five Elements is a website gateway to an understanding and appreciation of the five elements: how our body and the global environment interact in their recycling, how cultures have advocated for their integrity, how their roles in human culture have surpassed physicality to become vocabulary and templates for science, literature and value systems.

House of the Five Elements has a dual mission. The first part of the mission is to build a case for the natural elements as a ubiguitous (globally accepted) template of knowledge to explain and support "Vitalism". Vitalism, which includes philosophic materialism, is the universal practice and belief that nature includes unseen forces which work through the five elements, and that everything is in some sense "alive" and vital to the web of life.
The second part of the mission is to demonstrate the effectiveness of configuring related information in mandalic clusters. Such clusters can then be grouped into families of related content or themes. I believe that this method not only stimulates both hemispheres of the brain, but it also facilitates the creation of webs of significance or semantic networks. As I examine the five elements in the arts and sciences of various cultures, I will be highlighting the elements in the three senses by which they are often understood : as content in a physical sense (e.g. the natural elements), as model in a process sense (e.g. Chinese medicine), and as metaphor in a metaphysical sense (e.g. ancient cosomology). This approach or aspect of the House of the Five Elements is the Space aspect, a Consciousness which empowers equality and broadmindedness.

Image Maat
(above) - Natural Five Elements

Image Graphic- Earth Icon
The modern dilemma is that the physical elements are in short supply in their pure natural forms in the geo-physical environment. How this happened, and continues to happen, is documented daily by ecological scientific institutions around the globe. Ironically, many people now recognize that the human body is itself a house of the five elements. And as the planetary sources of needed elements themselves are compromised, and as the planetary processes of element cleansing move closer to collapse, few can now ignore that the Earth, our home and the mother of the five elements, is in danger. Starting in the late 18th century, conscious capitalisms and socialisms attempted to place limits on the greed of predatory economic cartels looking for cheaper labor and "resources", but such measures were fundamentally flawed; as a result, the cumulative effect of colonialisms and consumerisms have ravaged the planet. A Global Bill of Rights is in now order, one which recognizes the bodily needs of humans, the planetary needs of other life forms, and the ecology of the planet itself. At this site and the many sites like it, personal and social health activism will hopefully join hands with ecological activism to make a case for the preservation of the integrity of the five elements as the basic gift of our times to the future of the planet. It is my belief that web technology has laid and is laying the foundation for a globlization of proactive "Vitalism," where science and spirituality can work together in the village and in the city. It is also my belief that the model and metaphor of the five elements holds great promise in our endeavor to protect the natural five elements. This aspect of the House of the Five Elements is the Earth aspect, a Body which empowers patience and love.

Image Graphic (above) - Earth Icon

Image Maat-Five Bodies
Those who view the cosmos as a vital and living environment filled with the mystery of power and love have encouraged the growth of the human family toward its highest potential through five element teachings.Their contributions have appeared in many parts of the world in many different eras. Some are ongoing, with sources in the mists of prehistory and guarded by traditions, and some are original and modern and very accessible. Readers can return to this site periodically, via RSS technology, to view my interpretation of this global community of "Vitalists". House of the Five Elements is my attempt to bring this five element community of vitalists into greater public view-- a "honor museum" so to speak, of their words and images. I trust that readers will find encouragement in knowing more about these individuals and their contributions. This aspect of the House of the Five Elements is the Water aspect, a Heart which impowers purity and natural order.

Image Maat (above) - Five Bodies

Image Maat-Five Element Vital HealthWheel
How do we communicate our inherited understandings, both material and subtle, to present and future generations? One model of explanation appears consistently in world literature, science, and art : the five element cluster or, as I like to call it, the "Vital Wheel." The Vital Wheel has a long history of providing a user friendly interface for community members to access community resources and "databases" of cultural wisdom. And even today, the Vital Wheel supports strategies for multi-culturalists to integrate global Modernism with local indigenous life. Simply expressed, with the Vital Wheel, the image of the message and message of the image are one. As I highlight this ancient wonder of information design in its uses for modern day concerns, I will examine other artifacts of information design along the timeline of history. This aspect of the House of the Five Elements is the Air aspect, a Mind that empowers clarity and liberty.

Image Maat (above) - Five Element Vital HealthWheel

Image Photo-Mary Magdaleen-GraceChurch-SF
Lessons from depth psychology as well as from indigenous wisdom traditions inform us that the person who starts a spiritual quest is not the same person who finishes it. In my case, my layman's attempt in the 1970's to continually generate and organize child daycare curriculum for a parent-run daycare opened me to a quickening of being that to this day functions intermittently in the background of my everyday life. Insightful words and images and ideas often tumble out in such a fashion that I sometimes think that my consciousness is rented software from some Self beyond the senses. So many people testify to this kind of phenomena that we now have a field of study for it : Transpersonal Psychology. But despite a person's heightened sense of permeability to the Cosmos, deeper intellectual and emotional challenges persist, and mine lead to various gurus, trainers, studies, and the history and mystery of the Three and the Seven, all of which influenced my self-published manuscript "Schwaterra's Song". Years and many jobs and relationships later, my evolving insights required that I subsume Schwaterra into the five element "view" so that, now, "the Vital Wheel" encapsulates everything that preceded. This 35 year trek ends with this web site, which aims not only to do all the above but also to sketch out a rough theory about how all this five element stuff works. "Synergy," which no one can understand, is what R.Buckminster Fuller called his rough theory. "Structural Engentropy" is what I call mine. This aspect of the House of the Five Elements is the Fire aspect, a Soul which empowers warmth and courage.

Image Photo (above) - "St. Mary Magdalene" courtesy of and © Robert Lentz.


Given sun,soil,air,and water, a plant does not need to be told how to grow.
-Urie Bronfenbrenner


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Since new insights emerge in unexpected and delightful ways and human errors surface all the time, this site will be under constant construction. Unless otherwise noted, all narratives, photos, and art work at this site are the work of Clay Moldenhauer, or are public domain objects. No copies are permissible except for personal use or educational use as accepted under fair use doctrine of copyright law. Staff at this site follow the same fair use principle, but if you have concerns, please contact us. If there are materials or graphics that you would find useful in your work, feel free to contact Clay Moldenhauer, the webmaster of this site. Use the email address at the bottom of this page, without the term "SPAM".

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