Feng Shui：The Chinese Art of Wind and Water
Feng shui (風水), also known as Chinese geomancy, is a pseudoscientific traditional practice originating from ancient China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. The term feng shui literally translates as "wind-water" in English. This is a cultural shorthand taken from the passage of the now-lost Book of Burial recorded in Guo Pu's commentary.
Feng shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The feng shui practice discusses architecture in terms of "invisible forces" that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi.
Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or the compass.
Feng Shui provides guidelines to enhance the ﬂow of energy through your environment by placing items carefully, to maximize the potential in your life. Just as a plant won’t grow well in the wrong environment, neither will a person. When you feel good in your environment, you will thrive!
Here are some tips to help you improve the Feng Shui of your home!
- Balance is important.
Principles like not too hot or too cold, not too soft or too hard seem obvious, but the principle applies to everything. For example, break up very angular furniture with some curved pieces.
- Clear the clutter.
Too much stuﬀ will prevent the energy ﬂowing freely throughout your home. If it’s hard to do this, pack clutter away in boxes. If you haven’t touched it after 6 months, throw it out.
- Use natural materials, and avoid plastic.
As well as being better for the environment, being around nature and natural items reduces stress. Add a few healthy plants for the same reason (and research how to take care of them properly – dead/dying plants are deﬁnitely not good Feng Shui!).
- It can be as simple or as complicated as you like!
You might like to go a little deeper into Feng Shui and use the cardinal directions to enhance your life. For example, the north area of your home represents your career. In diﬀerent areas, diﬀerent elements can be beneﬁcial or detrimental. For example, in the north you would want to avoid earth (ceramics and glass) and wood. You can add water (a small water feature) and metal (metal shelves, decorations etc) to enhance your career.
- ‘Auspicious objects‘ aren’t needed!
Buying lots of Feng Shui ‘trinkets’ (for example, a coin frog) is only beneﬁcial if you really like them and they don’t become clutter. In and of themselves they will not help improve your Feng Shui. Only your intentions will truly aﬀect your feng shui and therefore your life, so make changes that help you clarify and focus on them.
- Do what’s best for you!
Finally, and most importantly, only make changes if they look good and feel good to you. No matter what you read, or what someone advises you, if you don’t love your space and feel comfortable there, you will never have good Feng Shui! Only you really know what’s best for you. At the end of the day, trust your instincts, and no matter what you do, believe in the power of your own choices!