I had to have her back! In this episode, Caitlin (acupuncturist, herbalist, Chinese Medicine practitioner) tells us all about Face Reading (something we only had a few minutes to talk about in our first chat on Episode 57: Energy Flows and Chinese Medicine). She teaches us about the 5 Elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water and what each element says about our natural tendencies. Much like the Ayurvedic Constitutions, Myers Briggs, DISC or any other personality test, this system helps us learn more about ourselves. The intriguing thing about this system is that it uses your own facial features to determine the dominant element within you!
Thick bushy eyebrows? That means that you have a lot of wood element in which case means that you’re probably competitive in nature and love movement. Wouldn’t be surprising if you have done or aspire to do an Ironman. Full lips? You might veer toward the Earth element which means that you probably love hosting parties for friends and family, and having comfort is very important to you (forget the skirts that you can’t breathe in, an airy free flowing silk skirt will do). Of course there’s more of a skill to identifying the elements than that and Caitlin takes the time to explain in this episode.
It’s so much fun to identify our elements but what’s more important is learning how to use them. Caitlin explains how to use our dominant elements to live a more aligned and balanced life. An understanding of this system can help bring harmony to your relationships as you learn how you’re meant to relate to others; understand your own natural strengths; and ultimately understand how to use this knowledge so that you can fulfill your life’s purpose “Golden Path”.
SO MANY NUGGETS IN THIS ONE! Plug in those earbuds and get ready!
Face reading stems from Chinese culture and was used for fortune telling, match making but also as part of medical diagnosis.
With her background in Chinese Medicine,the most important part of face reading for Caitlin is the diagnostic tool. A lot of Chinese Medicine uses tongues and wrist pulses to determine diagnosis. When Caitlin does online sessions, the tongue doesn’t show up correctly and of course she can feel people’s wrists so she relies on Face Reading. She also uses it:
For self care (ex. if you know that you’re fire then what feeds fire is wood then that means you should go spend time with wood type people, in the forest with trees, have images and surroundings that are wood based like flowers….) to balance out. Know what your fuel is.
If you’re too firey then you need to put it out with water ex. Hop in the bath, find water
Help people gain clarity and let go of blame in their relationships (work or personal). Reset expectations.
Ex. metal vs earth differences (if metal needs that sock drawer color coded, they may need to do it themselves b/c earth may never get there)
With face reading you can even look at wrinkles to determine most commonly felt emotions and when in your life you had your most intense (good or bad) experiences.
Short example of how to use your elements to improve relationships:
Metal: needs space, neat, organized (probably has a sock drawer organized by color)
Earth: accumulates more, looks for ease, definitely wouldn’t color code a sock drawer.
Implications: if you had a metal mother and an earth based child, the mother’s natural tendency would be to set high expectations for order and achievement. This could put a huge amount on an earth child whose natural tendency is to find ease. In knowing this information about themselves perhaps the metal mother can give her earth child more space to find ease.
In understanding your element, know that you are what you are and if you can learn to work with them well, you can give yourself and the people around you more space
Like any other personality test, Face Reading is another component here to help you better understand yourself and others (partners, loved ones…). Can help you change the course of what you’re doing if your’re stuck somewhere. Oftentimes you’re working off a template that doesn’t quite belong to you – easier if you understand what does work for you and align to that.
How you use the informatio is the most important thing – understanding how you work with others in relation to yourself. How are you meant to interact with others?
In doing this, we give everyone more space to be themselves in the world
Here’s how the 5 ELEMENT SYSTEM goes (used for Chinese medicine and face reading)
The idea behind this is that everybody as their own natural strengths. If you learn to tune into them and use them properly and you know yourself and the other elements well enough then everyone can inhabit a space where everyone are allowed to act as themselves. Ultimately to fulfill your destiny (Golden Path).
You’re a little bit of each but it’s a matter of how balanced in each element you are. Oftentimes we have one or more that’s more intense than the others.
The basic rule in determining your facial features is that if somebody did a caricature of you, what features would they exaggerate on you?
Compare facial features to everything else on your face (not compared to somebody else or the average person)
Your elements actually changes if you get plastic surgery. This system reinforces the fact that Your features on your face is perfect the way they are
Most important need is to do.
Needs a lot of exercise otherwise they’d have hard time to regulate emotions (helps alleviate natural tendency of irritation)
Usually turn out to be athletes or ends up doing ironmans.
Natural philanthropists but also irritable so need to find balance there. “I want to help you but you’re annoying me”
React best when challenged
Tall and sinewy or short and stalky. Either way muscular body structure
Super thick eyebrows
Very square jawline – perfect 90 degree jaw that you can definitely see (not covered or softened by fat)
Tend toward irritation and frustration
Prone to high blood pressure or headaches
Loves talking, talks fast
Move around a lot
Loves joking, makes people laugh.
Loves being center of attention.
Easily meets people.. A lot of times people are drawn in by the eyes.
Enjoys fleeting connections but have harder time maintaining deeper relationships.
You notice a sparkle in their eyes right away
May look a bit mischievous
Looks like they can make you laugh at any moment. Quite charismatic
Big eyes – the bigger the eyes, the more fire
Red hair = automatic fire
Natural emotional tendency is anxiety
Heavy thinking (not even worried about anything, just a lot of thought)
Prone to autoimmune diseases and inflammation
Most important thing is friends and family
Love having their people around and close to them
Really needs comfort. Smooth and comfortable
Tends to accumulate things (including weight. Very easy for them to gain weight)
Loves ingestion (food, knowledge, learning…)
Doesn’t react well to being challenged. Better when given nourishing support.
Strong sign of fire are women who can’t buy knee high boots b/c their calves are too big
Big mouth and full lips (like Angelina Jolie…but remember to compare your features to your own face)
More than anything, they love order
Keep things clean
Prefer to not see anything on counters that don’t have to be there
They’re home would most likely have white counter tops and stainless steel appliances (so clean)
Has an eye for beauty
When you’re in their space, you feel spacious
Good working in the arts, galleries
The bigger the nose, the more the metal
If the nose is thin and pointy (aqualine), then even more so. The most metally of the noses
Loves thinking – deep thinkers (ie. Ponders about the origins of life0
Loves being – that’s where the sense of life is.
Wonderful people to hangout with b/c their thoughts are so well thought out
Tend to prefer to be alone though. They’re the friend at parties that seems like they might not be having a good time b/c they’re not talking to anybody but they’re happy to just observe
Size of ears =more water
Bigger forehead = more water
Bigger chin = more water
You can use this information to help when having conflict with another person. Help people understand in the context of their elements. Caitlin teaches clients to communicate in a way in which they can be understood.
It costs you the least amount of energy to survive when you’re acting within your element. It’s all about energy management.
How to balance the elements: THE CREATION CYCLE + THE DESTRUCTIVE (CONTROLLING) CYCLE
Creation Cycle: A circular structure where the element that comes before always enhance the one that comes after
If you’re over using an element that doesn’t really belong to you, it’s best to enhance the element before it. Ex. If you add more Earth then it’ll be easier to be more metal
Destructive Cycle: Forms a start between the elements. Utilize if you need to tone down a certain element.
Bring in element by adding physical things to environment, foods you eat and even personality traits (ex. If you need more metal go organize something).
The order of elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water
Water creates wood (trees and plants need water to grow)
Add more water if you need more wood
Add metal to diffuse wood (ex. Wear metal jewelery)
Wood creates Fire (need wood to build fire)
Add more wood if you need more fire
Add water to diffuse fire
Fire creates Earth (Fire produces ash which turns into earth)
Add more fire if you need more earth
Add wood to diffuse earth (Wood takes space of the earth as it grows)
Ex. If you’re gaining a lot of weight or worrying a lot, more wood in your life will help keep balanced
Earth creates Metal (When earth is compounded it turns into metal (which we dig out of the ground to use))
Add more earth if you need more metal
Add fire to diffuse metal (Ex. Light a few candles)
Metal creates Earth (Imagine condensation on the outside of a metal glass)
Add more metal to be more water
Ex. Water ppl have easier time to meditate. If you’re struggling to meditate, add more metal (like a metal candle holder or mala) so that you can enhance the water state
Add earth to diffuse water
Links & Resources:
If you have any questions for Caitlin Donovan or want to learn more, connect with her through:
Caitlin recommended this book if you’d like to learn more about Face Reading: Face Reading and Chinese Mediciine by Lillian Bridges