Feng Shui – Basic Principles

Feng Shui tells the story of a legacy that could be traced back to almost 35 centuries of harmony and balance. In a world where everything is made of atoms and molecules, Feng Shui solidifies the notion that everything is indeed connected to each other. It’s like dropping a stone into calm waters. The ripples go a much longer way than we anticipate.

At its most basic, Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Shway) is an art which aims to bring our surroundings in line with the elements of nature around us, its literal translation being wind and water. It revolves around the principles of Qi and the yin and yang. Just take a peek into the past and see how humankind first selected his cave systems.

Analysts have confirmed that a place of residence was chosen based on the availability of water, the fertility of the soil and the direction in which the mouth of the cave faces. Even then the man was subconsciously aware that some sync with nature is very essential.

The Story of How Feng Shui began

Feng Shui

Proof of the presence of Feng Shui can be traced back to many millennia. It makes an appearance in how the graves were aligned to the placement of the villages by shamans. Safe dwelling places were decided upon using the principles of Feng Shui by our ancestors. Even whole cities have been found to be designed hinged on the Feng Shui concepts.

People were able to make themselves more compatible with nature simple by making sure that their surroundings are in accordance with the flow of energy around them. A hindrance in the flow is fodder to the generation of disharmony. It has always been about the use of some philosophical ideas for definite practical purposes.

Feng Shui has its roots in remote antiquity. The Form School is the oldest school of Feng Shui. It considers five celestial animals, five traditional elements, and the yin-yang concept. The Compass School, which is a more recent collection, is based on the eight cardinal directions, each with a unique Qi.

Skeptics and cynics believe that Feng Shui is pseudoscience, but this begs to question the survival of this tradition over the centuries superseding wars and revolutions. Before delving into how to use Feng Shui in our lives, we need to know what it is based upon.


The Vital Energy

Qi is a concept most used in Chinese medicine. However, references to Qi can be seen pretty much everywhere in Chinese culture. All their traditions and beliefs are hinged on the two principles of Qi and yin and yang.  Everything in the system of this universe is believed to be interconnected with this vital energy called Qi. If each segment of the system is in consensus with the other, the whole system is at peace. Qi is universal, inhabiting everything from the smallest atom to the biggest galaxy. It embraces all forms, both material and immaterial. Concepts derived from Qi can be found in many other cultures like Hinduism, Hawaiian, Tibetan Buddhism, and in a few Jewish traditions. It is something you can control, awaken or simulate. There are simple ways to harness and channel your inner Qi. It is primarily linked to breath, an essence ensuring a peaceful living.

The Balance of Everything

Yin and Yang, the feminine and the masculine, created from chaos, are believed to have merged to form the perfect balance in everything that was created. Achieving the correct balance between the two poles brings congruity. Yin is feminine, black, north, water, cold, earth, poor, soft, valleys, old, and even numbers. It provides spirit to all living things.

The peak of its influence is seen during the winter solstice. Yang is Masculine, white, light, active, sun, fire, south, heaven, warm, young, rich, mountain, hard, and odd numbers and provides a form to all living things. It is most influential at the summer solstice. The dynamic relationship between these two forces gives life to the universe, and too big an imbalance between them is believed to be the cause of disasters.


The Universal Connection

Wood, fire, earth, metal and water – these are the five elements in Chinese culture that represent the connection between everything in the universe. This bond is forged on the basis that, at its core, everything in the world is composed of one of these. Other than Feng Shui this concept is also used in medicine, fortune-telling, and martial arts. The elements form cycles of creation and destruction. Wood feeds fire; fire forms earth; earth contains metal; metal carries water and water feeds wood – this is the cycle of creation. In the cycle of destruction, fire melts metal; metal penetrates wood, wood separates earth, the earth absorbs water and water quenches fire.

Houtian Bagua

Houtian Bagua

Bagua represents the fundamental principles of reality, which are presented as a set of eight complementary concepts. They have a tripartite structure and so are often called “trigrams.” Houtian Bagua or the later heaven Bagua is used in Feng Shui to analyze the movement of the Qi. This Bagua is dynamic where there is a constant flow of energy. The use of the Bagua of eight aspirations has simplified Feng Shui and made it accessible to a greater part of the world. Each triagram corresponds to one of the eight directions which correlate to an aspect of life.

This is further divided into two, one which uses the compass and cardinal directions and another simpler version which uses the main door.  Modern Feng Shui uses as Bagua map as a guideline to see how different segments of the room corresponds to the different parts of an individual’s life. This helps to keep track of the good and bad Qi pretty simple. For example, if the map shows that the kitchen or bathroom is placed in areas of wealth/ blessing, it would mess with the positive Qi and be a reason for why the money keeps draining.

The nine major areas on the Bagua grid are:

  • Power, Wealth, and Abundance.
  • Fame, Future, and Reputation.
  • Love, Relationship, and Marriage.
  • Creativity, Children, and Legacy.
  • Compassion, Travel and Helpful people.
  • Self, Career, and Work.
  • Knowledge, Wisdom, and Harmony.
  • Family, Health, and Community.
  • Well- Being and Balance.

Getting Started

Now that you have a basic idea of what Feng Shui is all about, let’s restore the balance in our life. The most important detail is that the solution presented by Feng Shui is unique for each scenario. It is about using the tools presented to us in such a way that all negative energy is eliminated. There are nine tools of Feng Shui that makes up its foundation. It is the simplest way to ensure that your dwelling place is promoting good Qi. Using these tools slight adjustments can be made with a very little effort to improve the energy flux.

The Nine Tools of Feng Shui

Feng Shui Wind Chimes

Color: It represents the balance of the elements. We associate color with events in our life. Colour is something that adds depth and context to our daily lives.

Sound: Some say that life is empty without music. Music and Qis are closely connected. It is a direct channel soothing stress and dialing up the positive energy. Wind chimes are also known to attract Qi to your environment.

Lighting: Natural light is the best link to your Qi. Fireplaces or candles are encouraged as well. Missing Bagua areas are anchored using garden lighting.

Art: Positive art builds positive Qi in all forms. Paintings, sculptures, and tapestries depicting and giving off positive vibes are placed in the areas directed by the Bagua map.

Living Things: Yes, other than you, it includes plants, flowers, and pets. Dried flowers are not recommended since they denote dead energy. Pets are amazing in raising good Qi as long as their living spaces are kept clean.

Water: Fluidity and movement of Qi are ensured by water. Fountains, miniature waterfalls, and fish tanks all fall into this category. The pleasant sound of moving water is also extremely soothing to the mind and body.

Wind-Sensitive Objects: Wind chimes, flags, and banners outside, can attract positive Qi into your home. They can also mark the missing areas of the Bagua.

Mirror: inside – we use them to reflect a pleasant view or correct the shape of a wall. Outside – they can deflect unpleasant structures or objects.

Crystals: These help us forge a connection with the earth to keep us grounded. Colour and sparkle can be added very cleverly by hanging a clear faceted crystal near your window, where the sun can shine upon it.

Common Concepts

Feng Shui

The following are some basic ways in which you can ensure the proper flow of Qi in your home.

  • Qi enters and leaves through doorways. So doorways facing each other are a big no. These will create a rapid movement of Qi which has no particular benefit. The most effective movement of Qi is encouraged by the placement of doors in adjoining walls. This ensures a circular movement of the Qi.
  • Chairs, beds, and sofas should not be placed with their back facing doors or windows. The fact that this leaves us vulnerable to attack is also of grave importance.
  • Homes near spiritual centers, ends of bridges or near freeways have either too fast or not enough energy flow, rendering them highly undesirable.
  • An ideal location would be on top of a hill, with open space in front of the home.
  • The size of the door matters. It must be in proportion to the size of the house, to promote proper flow of Qi through the house.
  • Mirrors, under no circumstance, should be placed facing beds or chairs.
  • Windows should always open to pleasant views. If the view is not pretty, you can always have window plantations to feed the Qi.

However, even with all these changes, it cannot be expected the Qi will flow if you live in clutter. Cleanliness and a neat environment is a must for the effectiveness of Feng Shui. Clutter generates dead energy.

The Other Side of the Coin

Feng Shui has been subjected to heavy criticism because many phonies have taken it upon themselves to use Feng Shui to create an income source – overpriced renovations in the name of energy flow have seen several innocent people fooled into losing their money.  In such a scenario the importance of being disillusioned about Feng Shui is necessary before you take a decision.

  • It does not amp up the cash flow.
  • Does not give magical solutions to real life problems.
  • It is not easy or simple to get done.
  • It is not outrageously expensive.

Will Feng Shui help you?

Feng Shui is about the merging of the spiritual and the physical plane on a level that will positively affect our lives. The things done here are simply lost traditions that we failed to follow – things that were common sense and a way of life for our ancestors. This art was lost and later revived as something new only because the love for convenience overshadowed what we were taught.

People of olden times knew that it was bad to live in clutter; they never built homes without a close by access of water and a free flow of wind. The furniture inside the house was placed in a way that utmost safety was ensured. Backs of chairs never faced windows or mirrors. Doors were always proportionate to the size and hanging wind chimes, and spiritual banners were extremely common – both for aesthetic appeal and for serving a higher spiritual purpose.

Contemporary uses of Feng Shui include an intensive study by landscape ecologists, research by environmental scientists, architects and detailed analyses by geographers. The fact that the only remaining patches of forest in Asia are “Feng Shui Woods,” support the claim that the environmental components of the ancient Feng Shui must not be ignored.

Feng Shui is practiced all over the world today, even if it is recognized as a uniquely Asian architectural tradition. A little care and importance given for your next redecoration can help with the flow of energy in your house, a little less stress, a little less stagnancy and a lot more of bliss. Let Feng Shui work its magic in your life.

To determine your zodiac, See Chinese Zodiac Signs.


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