Pronounced “fung shway,” it was formalized over 3,000 years ago in China, though some elements of feng shui practice date back at least 6,000 years. It has been called a pseudo-science (it contains various elements of astronomy, astrology, philosophy and physics), but is perhaps more accurately described as art-and-science…science is objective and is a system of acquiring knowledge, while art is subjective and expresses knowledge.
Literally translated, “feng” means “wind” and “shui” means “water.” Wind and water are associated with good health in Chinese culture; hence, feng shui came to mean “good fortune.” It is closely related to the Taoist understanding of nature, that the land is alive and filled with qi, or chi (pronounced “chee”), meaning energy. While feng shui is sometimes considered an art of placement, that is, how objects – and ourselves – can exist within a specific place in a way that affects our experiences in life, it is really a system of knowledge that teaches how to balance and harmonize energy within a space, as when what we think, say and do are all in harmony and alignment.
The founding principles of feng shui include the concept of (1) yin and yang, basically the idea of duality – they are opposites that are dependent on each other; they must always be balanced. Unlike the concept of “good vs. evil,” the Taoist system maintains that equilibrium between opposites is the desirable state; (2) the theory of the 5 elements: wood, fire, water, metal and earth, which contain their own specific characteristics and properties. In order to reproduce the potency of chi and promote health and vitality indoors, these elements must be present.
The main tools used to analyse the feng shui of any space are the feng shui compass and the “Bagua” (“bah-gwah”), meaning “8 areas,” plus the centre. The following is the breakdown, because we know you’re curious [this is the Classical/Traditional energy blueprint (physical), there is also Modern 3-Gate (mental) and Modern Virtual (energetic/spiritual)]:
- Southeast: Wealth/Abundance; Wood: Green/Brown
- South: Fame/Recognition; Fire: Red/Strong Yellow/Orange/Purple/Pink
- Southwest: Relationships; Earth: Light Yellow/Sandy/Light Brown
- East: Health/Family; Wood: Green/Brown
- Centre: Balance/Self
- West: Creativity/Children; Metal: White/Grey
- Northeast: Wisdom/Knowledge; Earth: Light Yellow/Sandy/Light Brown
- North: Career/Future; Water: Blue/Black
- Northwest: Helpful People/Travel; Metal: White/Grey
There is no need for a deep understanding of feng shui principles to start to create more peace and harmony in your home/office. Believe in universal energy flowing through everything, view your house/office as a whole and do not neglect any areas…and here are some tips to get you started:
- Remove clutter for positive chi; clear the entryway to your home
- Position furniture to face the door, especially your desk and your bed (a “commanding position”)
- Fix broken objects
- Use mirrors at end of hallways (dead ends are not good for chi flow); do not have one facing your bed; elsewhere, make sure it reflects light, a calming view, or a spacious part of a room
- Bring in lots of green plants to create a positive flow of energy; add more life by having an aquarium
- Create a calm and tranquil environment; use neutral colours and soothing textures as much as possible
- Keep the bathroom door closed, the toilet lid down – water is related to wealth, you don’t want it being flushed away
Check out the following issues:
– Low self-esteem: make sure your mirrors aren’t too high so you can never measure up
– Trouble getting clarity: check that all your surfaces aren’t cluttered with stuff
– Single and not wanting to be: look for too much single imagery in your home (a single chair, a single person in photo)
– Feeling unlucky: don’t wear fringe/bangs, the forehead is a potential magnet for attracting good luck, don’t obscure it
If you have more than just a passing interest in the subject, please do a little research to see what “school” (Classical vs. Modern) resonates the most with you – trying to do both might get confusing, which is certainly opposite the objective!