Overview of Fengshui
Fengshui is a form of Chinese Metaphysics and philosophical method of harmonizing everything with the surrounding environment. In English, the word fengshui plainly means, “wind-water”. Fengshui is part of the 5 Arts of Chinese Metaphysics categorized as physiognomy. The practice of fungshui discusses architectures in metaphorical terms of invisible energies that bind the humanity, earth and the universe in unison known as qi.
Before, fengshui is largely used to position building, dwellings, tombs and other structures in an auspicious site. This is done by determining the orientation of the local features like stars, body of water or compass. In layman’s term, fengshui can be best described as a method to improve luck.
A lot of people have wrong impression about luck. They believe that luck is completely random and that, it is useless to use fengshui to hit good luck. However, there are two types of luck – the strategic and the random luck. Fengshui is intended to tap the strategic aspect of luck and not the other type, which is random in nature.
So how does fungshui work? It strives to deliver the right environment that is suitable to one’s talent and undertakings. The characteristics of the environment that suits with fungshui considerations are clean environment, peaceful, conducive temperature, good air quality and good lighting. Clean, organize and peaceful environments are great for living as it would eventually translate into better personal performance of the occupants.
Moreover, aside from the obvious physical environment considerations, fengshui also considers the non-physical and less apparent aspect of the building or structures. Such consideration includes the landforms around the building and their position.
Also, you may want to note that the physical landforms have similar fengshui effect on different people living in the same household and units of the same block facing it. However, the effect on each people affected will be different from one another, as it would depend on the person’s birth and astrological influence.
Feng Shui may be defined as a system of philosophy that shows us how to order our lives and environment, to live in harmony with ourselves and each other as well as all of nature. It is concerned with the unimpeded flow of chi or life force energy within our living space as well as outside of our homes. When chi moves freely, a space can seem more serene and refreshing, lighter and more pleasant. Chi in Chinese, Ki in Japanese or Prana in India is an invisible life force energy that emanates from the Universe to animate all living things, including animals, all of life. Chi also affects the quality of our environment, the sun and moon and weather systems. Feng Shui is concerned with Yin and Yang, Yin=the female energy, Yang= the masculine energy. These two forces must be balanced in order to have harmony. These forces are in continuous motion and each attempting to gain dominance. But what is Yin and what is Yang? The following may be of help:
Moon=Yin, Sun= Yang
Winter=Yin, Summer= Yang
Interior= Yin, Exterior=Yang
Low= Yin, High= Yang
Stillness= Yin, Motion= Yang
Passive= Yin, Active= Yang
Odd numbers= Yin, Even numbers= Yang
Earth= Yin, Heaven= Yang
Cold= Yin, Heat= Yang
Soft= Yin, Hard= Yang
Valleys= Yin, Mountains= Yang
Gardens= Yin, Houses= Yang
Sleep= Yin, Wakefulness= Yang
T’ai Chi, which is a slow, controlled, meditative use of martial arts movements to help move chi through the body for optimum health, works in a similar way to Chi Kung, which also deals with the circulation of life force energy through the body. Both require study and concentration but yield many benefits. Feng Shui also helps energy to flow between us and through our living and working spaces to help promote harmony and happiness.
According to Feng Shui, there are five types of elements that affect us:
Wood= Springtime, growth, plant life, supple, pliable in Yin form. In Yang form= sturdy oak trees, or wood used to create a walking stick (positive), or a spear (negative use). People with the personalities of wood are public spirited, energetic, outgoing, artistic. Color=green, shape=columns
Fire= Summer, fire and heat brings light, warmth and happiness (positive) or it can erupt into violence, explode, destroy with great violence (negative). People with a Fire personality are often leaders, they crave action, inspire others to follow, they are often in trouble as they resent rules and fail to see consequences, they can be impatient, and exploit others with little thought to their feelings. In the positive- they are innovative, and humorous and passionate. Color= Red, candles, lights, the sun
Earth= Symbolizes the nurturing environment that causes seeds to grow, and from which all living things emanate. Supports and interacts with all of the other elements. It denotes wisdom. In the Negative- It can cause worry about problems that do not exist as yet. Earth people are supportive, practical and persevering. They are a tower of strength in a crisis. In the negative- They can be obsessive and are prone to nit-picking. Color=clay, terra cotta, cement, stone, yellow, orange and brown shape=square
Metal= Autumn, strength, represents solidity, and the ability to contain objects. Metal is also a conductor. Metal people are good communicators, and have brilliant ideas and are just. Negatively- they can represent destruction, danger or sadness. Metal can be beautiful, a precious commodity, or it can be the blade of a weapon. Metal people are dogmatic, resolute, ambitious, focused, independent and good organizers. They are strong and intuitive. Negatively- inflexible, serious, depressed. Shape= Round, Colors= white, gray, silver and gold, domes, doors, door steps, kitchenware, coins, clocks.
Water= Winter , gentle rain or a storm, This suggests the inner self, art and beauty. Winter people are nurturers, and are supportive and understanding. Negatively- They can be worn down and exhausted, leading to nervousness and fear. Water people communicate well. They are diplomatic, persuasive, and sensitive to the moods of others. They are intuitive and make excellent negotiators. They are flexible, adaptable, and they view things holistically. Negatively- they can be intrusive, fickle, and sensitive.
Feng Shui translates as “wind-water” in English. It is not known exactly when it was created and first used. It is regarded as one of the” Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics”, classified as “physiognomy” or the observation of appearances by formulas and calculations. The position of the stars were used along with astronomy and astrology, until the compass was invented. There is evidence that Feng Shui was in use as far back as 4000 B.C. The magnetic compass was invented for Feng Shui, and has been used by practitioners ever since.
There are two main schools of Feng Shui .”The Form School” is the oldest. It was concerned with the location and orientation of tombs (Lin House Feng Shui), which was of great importance. As time went on, they eventually branched out into the consideration of public buildings and homes (Yang House Feng Shui). This school considers the shape of the land, such as mountains, rivers and plateaus. It uses the “Five Celestial Animals”(constellations) and Sifang or the Four Directions:
EAST- The Azure Dragon (Spring Equinox)
SOUTH- The Vermilion Bird ( Summer Equinox)
WEST- The White Tiger (Autumn Equinox)
NORTH- The Black Tortoise ( Winter Equinox)
The Form School also used the Yin-Yang concept and the Traditional Five Elements. The second school is the Compass School. This is a grouping of more recent Feng Shui techniques. It uses the Eight Cardinal Directions, with each having a different frequency of Chi. It uses a Luopan, which is a disc marked with formulas in concentric circles, around a compass. This instrument has been likened to a computer, because it is powerful and accurate in the hands of a skilled practitioner. Western and modern Feng Shui tends to take information and techniques from both schools and rely more on the use of the Bagua. The Eight Life Aspirations Method of Feng Shui is a simple system that places each of the eight directions with a life aspiration such as “family, or wealth”, which comes from the Bagua of the eight aspirations. This is not a true geomantic system. Astronomical and geomantic calculations are plotted on the Loupan. This vast amount of information has been reduced and is incorporated in a “magic square”. The energies represented on the magic square always move in a fixed pattern. These patterns are repeated over time, and they can indicate the fortunes of a person or a building. The energies within each of the eight directions are shown on the diagram of the Bagua. The Eight Directions are as follows:
North-Water, Tortoise, no. 1- water sign, winter
North East– Earth, no.8,
North-West, Metal, no.6
South- Fire, Phoenix, no. 9
South-West– Earth, No.2, Late Summer, methodical and adaptable
South-East– Wood, no.4, Late Spring
East– Wood, Tiger, no.3, Spring, Thunder
West– Metal, Dragon, no.7, Autumn, flexible
Yin/Yang center of Bagua, no.5, Earth, Central Force, Assertive
Black Sect Tantric Buddhism Feng Shui was brought to America by Thomas Lin Yun in the 1970s. This religion goes beyond Feng Shui, by combining elements of Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, as well as Transcendentalism. It mainly addresses the interior of a building, and the Bagua is oriented to the entryway of a dwelling instead of the compass. Each of eight sectors represents an area of ones life. Today, some Feng Shui practitioners use only the male or yang numbers in their calculations. Others use both male and female numbers- Yang numbers representing the self that the client shows to others, and Yin being the inner self. The traditional stereotypes no longer are valid as more men and women have interchangeable roles, such as women in the work force instead of working at home. Because of this, they tend to have both Yin and Yang traits steering their destiny.
Ancient people once regarded the heavens, earth, and themselves as parts of the same whole. This holistic view of life has continued in some cultures. They see health, medicine, food, and lifestyle as all connected. In the west, most of us see these as being separate things. The Tao- or the way of Feng Shui teaches us that we are all a thread in the tapestry of life. When one thread is gone, the whole of life, that beautiful tapestry is diminished, less than before. When we in the west buy a house, we look at the neighborhood; we check the price, how far it is from work. We look inside and see if it has enough room. Here is a list of things to be considered before building a house or picking a good location, according to Feng Shui:
Flood Prone areas
Height above sea level
Local amenities, Trees, Street lights
Good street maintenance, good schools
Proposed Road development
Proposed building development
Are there Pubs or Clubs nearby?
Gas Stations, police stations, airports
There are some important things to be aware of in your environment. Chi, which is one type of unseen energy. Our world gives off electromagnetic energy and is “wrapped” in a grid of electro-magnetic lines called Ley Lines. These can be negative or positive, and they can in turn attract positive and negative people and circumstances to them. For instance, it is possible that a church or a charity business would do very poorly if located on a negative Ley Line. On these lines, there will tend to be more violence and imprints of violence from the past. On a positive Ley Line, charities and holistic practitioners may find their business doing well. Subtle energies are unseen but felt by all of us.
The book “The Practical Encyclopedia of Feng Shui” by Gill Hale, Anness Publishing, INC. gives us a quote- “First luck, Second, Destiny; Third, Feng Shui; Fourth Virtues, Fifth, Education”. Feng Shui is a system for those who are proactive in changing their lives for the better, who want to create a safe, relaxed and beautiful environment for themselves and others. This is but an introduction to this ancient practice. The rest is up to you. Namaste’.