Feng Shui originated in China and has been utilized for over 3000 years. In the western culture we so often associate Feng Shui with its’ cures and remedies for promoting better health, relationships, finances etc. In its’ simplicity, the principles of Feng Shui have also been relied on for years to determine orientation of furniture in a room or to decide the proper location for a business or home. Exactly how Feng Shui works remains a mystery for most individuals. In this article, I will explain how and why the principles of Feng Shui do work. This will be accomplished by discussing the five elements associated with Feng Shui, the Bagua, use of the Bagua, Ch’i and a case study.
The principles are rooted in five elements and how they interact with each other. It is the goal of a Feng Shui Practitioner to recognized what elements are present, how they affect each other and what is required to bring balance and harmony where indicated. The five elements are:
- earth and
Here is an example of what I mean by “how they affect each other”. Picture a beautiful forest where the sun is shining and a small stream is gently flowing. The trees represent the wood element, the dirt of course is earth, the sun represents the fire element while the stream is obviously the water element and the stones in the stream represent the metal element. Everything is in balance. Consider how a storm can change the balance. A lightning bolt ignites a fire in the trees and chaos ensues. What if there is a heavy rain and the stream becomes a ragging rapid eroding the earth away, thereby stripping the trees of their support causing them to collapse. This same chaos can be represented in our everyday lives. Feng Shui can eliminate chaos by re-establishing balance between the five elements. In Feng Shui, it is understood that each of these five elements are represented in your home or work place by various shapes, colors and objects. For example: the element fire can be represented by an actual fire but it can also be represented by pictures or statues of people or animals, candles, feathers, leather the color red or a pyramid shape. The water element can be represented by mirrors, wavy lines, the colors blue or black. These are only a few examples of the many ways each element is represented.
The next step to understanding Feng Shui is to explore the Bagua. The Bagua is a map of sorts. It is a square divided evenly into 9 smaller squares. Each of the smaller squares is assigned one of nine major areas. These areas are:
- travel and support
- love and
Each of the nine squares of the Bagua is associated with an element. For example, the love square (also known as a gua) is associated with the earth element. That does not mean the other elements are not found here rather that the earth element usually is the dominant element. A common situation I have been called in to consult on results from individuals adding too much of the fire element to this area. What usually happens in this case is the love relationships are volatile. A little fire in this area can bring excitement, but too much can create an imbalance and result in chaos. There is always a fine balance that needs to be considered when combining the different elements to achieve the desired results.
Now lets’ talk about how the Bagua is actually used. Think of the Bagua as a floor plan. It can be used to map out land, buildings, homes, offices, communities, individual rooms etc. It is always placed in the orientation of the main entrance, like the front door, the main entrance into a room or office, the top or bottom of a set of stairs etc. Draw a floor plan of your home and then situate yourself at the true front door. I say “true” because many of the homes I have been called in to consult on rarely if ever use the “true” front door. Often the main entrance used is in the garage. Never-the-less, the Bangua was designed to be oriented at the “true” front door or entrance into a home, office, room etc. So, you are now standing at your “true” front door. Lets’ find two of the most common areas of the Bangua individuals ask for assistance with which are the love relationship and prosperity areas. As you stand at the front door the far back right corner of the house is your love relationship area for the house and the far back left corner is your prosperity area. This same principle can be applied to each and every room, your yard, your office space etc.
The last thing to discuss is the flow of Chi (energy). To better understand what I mean by the flow of Chi visualize a wave of water flowing into your home. Where would the water flow freely and where would it slam up against a barrier? The placement of walls, furniture, windows, plants etc. all have an impact on just where and how the water (Chi) would flow. If the water (Chi) moves too quickly it can erode an area making it unstable or possibly move so quickly you feel like you are in rapids. Another situation may be the water is slamming up against a barrier. Consider if the barrier happens to be you. I see this situation quite often in offices where a desk is situated at the end of a long hallway. When the office door is open the Chi rushes down the hallway and right in to the face or back of the individual sitting at their desk. Imagine how you would feel if a huge wave constantly was pushing into you. The flow of Chi is very important in determining how an individual feels in their environment.
Case Study: I was asked to provide a consultation for a home that was L shaped with the right back corner of the Bagua literally outside. The Master bedroom was located in the far, back, left corner of the house with a large garden tub in the back right corner of the bedroom itself. In the bedroom there were pictures of stormy seas and empty beach chairs. The far, right back corner of the house is the love relationship area. When an area of the Bagua is missing, a challenge is normally represented. To further support this finding I look to the Master bedroom. Here I found a large garden tub (representing the water element) in the right back corner of the room. Again, I was looking at the love relationship area, this time for the Master bedroom. This area of the Bagua is associated with the earth element. When there is an imbalance of too much water, the earth element can be eroded and represent instability. The pictures of the stormy seas and empty beach chairs supported the suspicion of a difficult and unstable love relationship between my clients. My findings were confirmed by the couple and recommendations were suggested designed especially for their needs.
I think Valmai Howe Elkins, Director of the Academy of Power Feng Shui™at Santa Fe said it best when she said “…our homes and workplaces contain valuable clues to our true inner selves, and to events and beliefs in our pasts which have prevented us from achieving our full potential. The placement of rooms, the arrangement of furniture, the artwork, the clothes we wear, the colors we choose are a remarkably accurate reflection of the forces which shape our lives.” Learning to recognize where the imbalances are enable each of us to create the balance necessary to achieve our full potential.