I have a problem.  As you may have noticed, the past few weeks I’ve neglected you, my dear readers.  And would you like to know the reason?  I’ve been daydreaming and watching Netflix because I discovered Doctor Who, specifically the Tenth Doctor.  For those unfamiliar, this is a British TV show, and basically I’m admitting to being a giant nerd right now.

But I intend to make it up to you by examining my favorite relationship on the show within the Five Phase paradigm.  For a while now I’ve wanted to talk about relationships and the Five Phases, but it gets a bit murky because there isn’t one formula for an excellent relationship of course.  This example, though, highlights why one fictitious relationship is so excellent, which I hope will help you take a look at your own relationships and why they work so well…

So we have Rose, and we have The Doctor.  They travel together through time and space, having adventures and regularly saving the world; sometimes it seems almost in passing.  It’s a fictional relationship that’s one of many in a long-running series, and yet I’ve felt totally captivated by it, and here’s why: Rose and The Doctor are examples of a Fire person and a Wood person, respectively, who help balance and bring out the best in one another.

The Doctor is the epitome of the Wood/Pioneer archetype: traveling and exploring through time and space, helping people, fighting injustice, etc.  Look back at the Intro Article, and that’s basically The Doctor.

Now keep that article open, and read about the Fire archetype, the Wizard.  This describes Rose well.  She is almost always laughing and finding a way to have fun in the moment, but at the same time her biggest motivation is empathy: she deeply and intuitively connects not only with The Doctor, but all the suffering people the pair meets (and helps) along the way.

As for how and why this pairing works, let’s look a little deeper.  The Doctor is definitely an Overabundant Wood type: he can be stubborn, angry and arrogant.  And Rose, on the other hand, just feels so much, and can wander off looking for fun and excitement.  She’s a bit of a Depleted Fire type when she meets The Doctor, unable to quite regulate her passionate responses to the world.

A healthy, balanced Wood person will show characteristics of Fire (passion, warmth, humor), and a healthy, balanced Fire person will show characteristics of Earth (loyalty, caring, stability).  When an Overabundant Wood type interacts with a Depleted Fire type, they balance one another out and allow for these healthy expressions.  And as Rose grows more confident in her Earthiness, that Earthiness can stand up to The Doctor’s Wood Phase (see the control cycle relationships).

When The Doctor’s Wood phase is a bit more sedate, his Water phase is able to express itself more clearly (Water feeds Wood, so Overabundant Wood people often drain their Water resources).  He can be more steady and calm, and the audience starts to see some of his deeper layers surface.  This Water expression can also temper Rose’s Fire personality as it becomes stronger, to keep her from going all the way to an Overabundant Fire type.

There’s one Phase left out in this happy little dynamic: Metal.  Both Wood and Fire have control-cycle relationships with Metal, which means the partnership must find a way to balance themselves, as a pair, with the rest of life.  Metal has to do with structure, authority, beauty and refinement.  For this particular couple, they spend their time alternately helping restore and fighting against the inherent structure and authority of society, time and the very universe.  Most Wood/Fire couples, of course, must find their Metal counterpoint in more mundane ways…

I’ll leave you today with these thoughts: each Phase has potentially important, healthy ways to interact with every other Phase.  In your relationships with friends and family, how can you see these relationships providing balance- and what can you do to help make them even more balanced and fulfilling?


Posted in Chinese Medicine, Five Phase Theory, Pop Culture.