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SIGNIFICANCE: METAL The need to feel important, achieved, respected, special, needed, wanted, and unique in our lives

CERTAINTY: WATER The need to feel safe, comfortable, secure, stable, protected, and have predictability in our lives.

VARIETY: WATER The need to feel different, challenged, risk, change, excitement, surprise and entertained in our lives.

GROWTH /FREEDOM: WOOD The need to feel like we are developing, learning, strengthening, expanding, and cultivating ourselves.

CONNECTION / LOVE: FIRE The need to feel togetherness, passion, unity, warmth, desire, and love in our lives.

CONTRIBUTION: EARTH The need to feel like we are giving, donating, leaving our mark, serving, offering and contributing to others.

Abraham Maslow - Maslow's hierarchy of needs

The 6 Human needs expressed outwardly are the personality doing its best to self-actualize and the belief that if it does self-actualize peace and a sense of completion will come.

This is partially true because if we self-actualize from our essential essence and not mental ideas of who we are, then we start to complete, what in my tradition they call MING or worldly destiny.

To feel these needs are met inwardly and continually by you connecting with your soul is what Self-Realization and the Inner Alchemical Formulas that are taught every year at The Wu Ji Alchemy School

Self-Actualization is the life force expressing out into the world, Self-Realization is the life force moving back towards what originally birthed it.

A simple way to say this is, the more significance we feel on the inside from our connection to our soul and the greater collective, the less need for it on the outside.

Then our choices and actions are more in alignment with the whole and not filtered through the need for significance.

When the personality seeks significance, outwardly it can feel like, that this need can never be met outwardly, no matter how much affirmation is received by others and external achievements. We remain an empty cup!


It’s often experienced as if the outer affirmation does not enter and is not received by the personality and the search outwardly continues. This is especially so if this is a deep soul memory and the feeling of the need for significance has a compulsiveness around it.

Many souls born with Pluto in Leo or Pluto in the 5th house, or Pluto in aspect to the Sun can carry this deep need for significance and the compulsiveness around personal significance.

In Internal Alchemy terms, this human need is related to the phase of Qi that we call the Metal element/phase. In other words, the underlying operating system quality of Qi that creates this need for significance at the personality level is streaming in as a Soul pattern, for the Soul to evolve through the Metal archetype.

ts extremely important to name these elements as phases otherwise we will objectify it as a fixed thing when in fact it’s a flowing aspect of the life force. In nature, we can experience this energy as related to the autumn season when life is letting go and preparing to enter the depth of winter.

The leaves are falling in autumn, so the Soul is learning through this archetype that endings and perceived loss are not trauma, but part of the natural flow of life, integrity and strength result from this acceptance.

The Soul virtue of Metal is integrity and a sense of internal strength, strength, and integrity that is felt internally as being connected to the source of all. What can be more significant than that?




But, our personality does not perceive it this way, it perceives it as an essential lack and there is a projection out into the world for more and more significance.

It takes great honesty to see this and to have soul compassion for our personality’s need and understand it from a far wider perspective.

Often souls with this evolutionary intent may in childhood and in later development cycles have felt a deep sense of separation, isolation and loss, often with the father but that is not a strict rule.

This sense of loss and separation from life and others is the underlying wound and souls evolutionary intent that drives the personality’s need for significance.

What’s so beautiful about these wounds is they always initiate the journey home and what the souls intent is, what it is developing in this case, is a deep sense of inner strength, integrity and what the Taoists call Righteousness.

Not to be confused with self-righteousness, which can be an expression of the metal types search for significance, but the righteousness of knowing we are always connected to the whole and acknowleding our right relationship with the whole.

Lonny Jarrett a very experienced Taoist acupuncturist and herbalist, defines Righteousness like this

“Righteousness, the soul virtue of the metal element, translates as, “not my will but thine”. In righteousness we surrender our will to the will of heaven recognizing the natural hierarchy between us and the absolute. Hence, the Chinese character yi, for righteousness, depicts the character for “self” under that for “king”

The King here means in alchemical terms, the Yuan Shen the original spirit in all of us.

This human need for significance, we can say that the soul is learning about its integrity and connection to all of life. This is why when we breathe we are breathing literally the same air that every human that ever lived also breathed. and all the creatures that ever lived. This ability to feel your connection with the whole and your own place within it, that is a metal archetype.

Once you can deeply connect human needs with the 5 Phases/Elements of the life force, this in my experience always opens up a much deeper understanding of the Alchemical formula known as the Fusion of the 5 Elements or Soul forces. Making the elements very related to how you fulfill basic human needs makes it much clearer to connect and relate with with the 5 soul forces flowing into the personality.