Feng Shui (风水) is the ancient Chinese art and science of harmonizing your living space with the energies in your living environment. Feng Shui rules developed out of a systematic study of the cyclical movements of nature and the effects of those movements on human beings. Modern physics is finally catching up on what the Eastern traditions realized thousands of years ago: we are interconnected not only with each other, but also with the entire world of being which surrounds us. Feng Shui translates into “wind water” and the Chinese see these as the two natural elements which direct qi to a settlement, dwelling, or burial site. You can learn how to promote prosperity, abundance, better health, and improved relationships using Feng Shui to harness the positive forces of nature and to correct or deflect the negative forces. Feng Shui is based on three fundamental principles of nature: ying and yang, five phases, and eight trigrams (Bagua).
Qi: The Universal Life Force
In Feng Shui, qi is recognized as the universal ground of all being, a force of existence which permeates, interconnects, and moves all things. Qi, or the universal life force, is known by many names across all cultures: pneuma, spiritus, prana, and ruah to name only a few.
Like the quantum field, qi is conceived as a tenuous and non-perceptible form of matter which is present throughout space and can condense into solid material objects. The field, or qi, is not only the underlying essence of all material objects, but also carries their mutual interactions in the form of waves.
The Tao of Physics
For the Chinese, three primal forces of qi sustain existence: human qi, earth qi, and heaven qi. All of these forces effect our lives in various ways – both positively and negatively. According to the principles of Feng Shui, by learning how each of these primal forces interact with the other, you can better understand what to do in order to bring yourself into accord with our surroundings.
Heaven qi is considered the first force of nature. It is the energy that spirals down from the heavens – the sun, the moon, and the stars. If you do not accept the metaphysical implications of heavenly qi, then consider the factual implications. The sun is our life force and its power to support life on earth goes without saying. But the sun also has effects on our temperament, for example the lack of sunlight in winter can cause seasonal affective disorder. The moon’s cycles not only have a direct effect on the tides of the oceans, but they also have an effect on the tides of the human personality. We have all heard the term “Full Moon Madness” and we can see the effects of it in hospitals and police stations every time there is a full moon. And not to mention, it was through the observation and recording of the movement of the stars that human’s began to understand the workings of the universe. Two other components of Heavenly qi to consider are the effects of weather and time.
Earth qi describes the forces which shape the structures of our planet. Earth qi is carried by the flowing rivers, the rising mountains, the deep seas, deserts, valleys, and plains, and each of these structures will have a different energetic effect on our temperament, our health, and our relationships with others. Anyone who loves natures can attest to the power of specific places. Just recall you feel when you are in the mountains or by the seaside.
Similar to astrology, according to Feng Shui principles, the time and place of your birth is an important element in the make-up of your personal qi. No matter what you call it, surely you have experienced some sense of a person’s energy before. Some people are easier for you to connect with than others. Some people “rub you the wrong way” or “have bad vibes.” All of these subtle sensations we feel emanating from others, the Chinese would call human qi.
So, the idea behind Feng Shui is to take into account all of these forces, Heavenly Qi, Earth Qi, and Human Qi and then try to establish a sense of harmony in one’s dwelling, office, or any other place where people spend time.
Positive and Negative Qi
Sheng qi is positively charged. Positively charged qi carries auspicious currents of energy – energy that makes you feel good. Sheng qi is carried through the sense of sight, in beautifully manicured gardens, elegantly designed buildings, or in people with pleasing dispositions. It can also be received through the sense of hearing – in the sound a beautiful bird song, the flow of waves, or in a cat’s purring. Sheng qi can be carried through any of your senses – even your sixth sense. Sheng qi is anything which brings you comfort, pleasure, or peace.
Sha qi is negative energy, what the Chinese call inauspicious energy. Sha qi is anything that antagonizes you. It could bright, glaring lights or dark and gloomy places. Anywhere there is clutter, chaos, bad smells, sharp points, rough edges, bad food, or offensive sounds.
Poison arrow qi is that which comes directly at us through sharp points or hard, straight lines. Imagine if your front door opened outside to a road where the traffic came straight at you, or, if your front door opened inside to the point of a sharp corner. You can virtually feel the sensation of the poison arrow hitting you.
Yin and Yang: A Balance of Opposites
The concept of Yin and Yang is fundamental to Feng Shui. The words describe two essential principles of energy: passive (Yin) and active (Yang). Yin is an Earth force. It is associated with feminine qualities such as intuition, imagination, rest, quiet, receptivity, moonlight, and darkness. Its shadow side is selfishness, sadness, greed, lethargy, fatigue, and depression. These are not qualities of women per se, but rather they are qualities traditionally associated with feminine energy. Yang is a heaven force and it is associated with masculine qualities of action. It is hot, motion, speed, exuberance, aggression, sunlight, analytical thinking, detail-oriented, and outwardly focused. Its shadow qualities include hyper-aggression, fanaticism, and compulsivity.
In Feng Shui, the forces of Yin and Yang are brought into balance. For example, if you tend to feel too tired and drained, then maybe you need to add a little Yang energy to your household. If you have trouble slowing down and relaxing, then you might want to bring in some Yin energy.
Five Elements in Feng Shui
In Feng Shui there are five elements, or phases, in nature: fire, earth, water, metal, and wood. Each of these represents a different manifestation of qi. Rather than considering the qualities of the particular element itself, Feng Shui studies the movement, transformation, and interaction of each phase.
Fire qi radiates, earth qi compacts, metal qi contracts, water qi falls, and wood qi grows upward. How the five phases interact with one another determines the balance of qi in nature, in our living/working space, and in our beings.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Feng Shui
Everything that exists on earth, from trees and rocks, plants and animals, to human beings is a combination of these phases interacting with each other. Each element is associated with a cardinal direction, a season, a weather condition, a color, a number, and a trigram. The art of Feng Shui will bring all these together in association with your space and personality to find the correct remedy for promoting balance in your home or other space.
Here are some examples of remedies for each of the five elements or phases:
Fire remedies a wood-earth domination:
- Burning a candle in a working fire place.
- Lamps with red shades or bulbs.
- The colors red, purple, dark orange or pink
Earth remedies for fire-metal domination:
- Rocks or crystals
- Ceramics, clay, cement, sculpture
- Earthy colors such as brown, brick reds, or deep yellows
Metal remedies for earth-water domination:
- Anything metal such as brass, iron, steel, bronze, or even filing cabinets
- Chiming clocks, pianos, wind chimes
- Metallic color such as gold, silver, copper, bronze, and white
Water remedies for metal-wood domination
- Water decorations such as bubbling fountains or aquariums, both of which must be kept clean.
- The colors black and blue
Wood remedies for water-fire domination:
- Living plants or trees
- The color green
Qi is constantly moving, transforming and evolving, both through cycles of yin and yang and through the five elements. The ancient Chinese recognized specific patterns in this movement, which they then correlated into a “symmetrical model representing all possible natural and human situations”. This model is known as the principle of the eight trigrams, or the Bagua. Depending on the layout and location of your household and your personal qi, you use the Bagua to determine how you arrange your home, what colors to use, and what symbols to bring into the space you are working with.
Putting It All Together
According to the principles of Feng Shui, everything around you has an effect on you. From structures such as roads and buildings, to natural formations such as rivers, mountains, or trees, all the way down to the height of your ceiling and furniture placement. By learning the art of Feng Shui, you will learn to distinguish that which attracts auspicious qi from that which attracts inauspicious qi. You will also learn how to remedy inauspicious environmental conditions. To start attracting better relationships, more wealth, and good health into your life you can make little adjustments to your surroundings. Here are some simple things you can do to direct positive, Sheng qi into your home:
- Protect your front door from poison arrow qi, such as that which comes from T-intersections and Y-junctions or anything pointed or sharp that aims at your front door.
According to Lillian Too, “An excellent method of deﬂecting such a poison arrow is to use a Pa Kua mirror, the eight-sided Feng Shui symbol with a small, round mirror in the center. Use a Pa Kua with a concave mirror to absorb all the negative energy.
- Keep your main entrance warm and inviting. Have a winding path leading up to the door rather than a straight line. d
- Don’t keep dead plants or garbage on porch.
- Keeping your front porch well-lit will bring better health, wealth, and happiness into your home.
- The foot of your bed should not face the door and your bed should not be on the same wall as your door.
- Don’t position your bed under a window.
- In your office, don’t have your back facing the door or a window.
You can even use Feng Shui principles to create more sex, passion, and love in your life. Give it a try and see what happens!