What is Feng Shui?
This is an ancient practice and belief which places great emphasis on Mother Nature, particularly when it comes to the elements ‘water’ and ‘wind’ (the others are metal, wood and earth).
A non-religious belief, Feng Shui looks at how certain elements of nature can affect a person’s life, health, relationships and wealth. The practice is closely related to the Chinese Lunar Calendar and the principles of Astrology. It also takes Yin (passive feminine energy) and Yang (energetic, masculine energy) into account.
It is believed that by structuring (placing objects) in his or her physical world properly, an individual – or company – can live in harmony with their environment and harness good or ‘chi’ energy and fortune (in terms of health, friendship, luck etc rather than just wealth). By improving living conditions, it’s believed the individual gains a self of control over their own life, resulting in feelings of empowerment and self-esteem.
Feng Shui principles can apply to the interior of a building and even the physical location and structure of the property.
Three basic principles define chi:
- Every physical item in the world has energy eg furniture, people, mountains. Some objects provide us with a sense of comfort, others make us feel drained and unhappy
- Everything is connected. If we change one thing in our lives, others will be affected too ie moving an object or changing a colour can affect our mood
- Nothing is static. Seasons, moods, our own bodies – they are dynamic and alter constantly (which is regarded as positive in Feng Shui)
A Feng Shui master will advise on such matters as where a mirror should be placed, how a bed should be sited, how often plants should be trimmed, where water should be sited in a house (not in the bedroom unless it is a glass of water on a bedside table) and what colour of flowers should go in certain rooms.
What to expect
If the consultation is for your home, the Feng Shui expert will visit and look around for themselves. They may also ask questions. He or she will determine the way in which the chi enters your home and assess the placement of important rooms in relation to the central line and central palace (tai chi position) then come up with solutions such as suggesting you move certain furniture or objects around to harness the dynamics of your home and personality. They may also ask you to hang particular objects up to ‘redirect’ the positive chi.
If the meeting is for you as a person the consultant will discuss with you where you feel you need help in your life, taking into account your future goals and priorities.
You’ll be expected to discuss at length with him or her areas of your life such as job, money, relationships etc and where you feel you are succeeding and failing. He or she will then offer solutions. You will be expected to go some way towards implementing these and perhaps a follow-up consultation will be arranged.
Some consultants will ask for dates of birth (of everyone in the home), a floor plan of your house (some charge by square footage rather than the hour) and the year of the property’s construction. They may also take photographs of your home to study in their own time. They will very likely consult charts and at a later date provide a written report.
A Feng Shui consultation can last anything from two to five hours.
Effects and benefits
The main effects should be to improve the individual’s life bringing him or her personal happiness, health and wealth. For a business it is to achieve.
Feng Shui should give the individual a better understanding of the flow of chi in their environment and the relationship between objects and the effect they have on the psyche.
Benefits of the practice according to Feng Shui consultants include:
- Improved health
- Improved relationships
- Reduced stress
- Enhanced career opportunities
- Better sleep
- Higher energy levels
- More creativity
- Improved wealth and prosperity
- Thriving children
- Personal improvement
Fascinating facts about Feng Shui
- US-based worldwide entertainment corporation Disney acknowledged Feng Shui as an important part of Chinese culture when it shifted the main gate to Hong Kong Disneyland by twelve degrees in their building plans
- The term Feng Shui (pronounced fung shway) literally translates as “wind water”
- Principal advisor of the court of the Emperor Hi Tsang (A.D. 888), Yang Yun Sang is believed to have been the founding father of Feng Shui. His books have been preserved and studied for centuries
- The practice is first believed to have been used to orientate tombs of the dead rather than the homes of the living, as far back as 4000 BC.
- The term Feng Shui first appeared in a book called the Book of Burial by Guo Po in the 4th century
- The Chinese named the earth’s vital breath chi and believed it flowed through the earth in the same way blood flows through veins in the human body
- Feng Shui originated in Chinese astronomy and is believed to have been practiced prior to the invention of the magnetic compass (which was invented specially for the practice. Later a special ruler was also used)
- One of the oldest examples of instruments used for Feng Shui are the shi – a lacquered, two-sided board with astronomical sightlines. The earliest examples of these boards were unearthed from tombs that date between 278 BC and 209 BC
- Feng Shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution of the 1960s
- The practice became popular in the United States after Richard Nixon’s visited the People’s Republic of China in 1972
- Qi is often compared to ideas in the West relating to élan vital (vitalism), the yogic notion of prana, meaning vital life or energy, and pranayama, meaning control of breath or energy
- The first European to have written about Feng Shui is believed to have been Matteo Ricci (1552-1610). He was a founding father of Jesuit China missions
- The Roman Catholic Church has referred to Feng Shu as a New Age practice and an occult Chinese method
- Architects study Feng Shui today, regarding it as a uniquely Asian architectural tradition
- Celebrity advocates of Feng Shui include billionaire Donald Trump who hired a Feng Shui master to analyse Trump Towers
- Large corporations such as News Corp in the States, Virgin Airlines in Britain, Hilton Hotels and the United Nations have also looked into Feng Shui while Big Brother embraced it during particular episodes of the popular Channel 4 TV show
- Whole communities in Hong Kong are structured along Feng Shui principles
- Old forests in Asia are known as Feng Shui woods
- Native Americans in the States and Canada also used astronomy and Feng Shui principles for landscaping
- Company and shop owners in Hong Kong and Taiwan will not open for business without first consulting a Feng Shui master on the physical layout of the premises and opening date
- Engineers and Interior Designers in Singapore and New York can take courses in Feng Shui and qualify as Geomancy Consultants
- Today in mainland China only around one third of the population believe in Feng Shui with the practice increasingly growing out of favour amongst the young
- In Chinese astrology the year in which you are born is the biggest indicator in determining your fate
- 2011 is the Year of the Hare
- Most Feng Shui today is taught by Masters from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong or Taiwan
- There are two classical methods of Feng Shui – Eight House and Flying Star
- Numbers are important in Feng Shui because the workings of nature are very exact eg a pinecone has five steep and eight gradual spirals, a pineapple has 21 steep spirals etc
The Feng Shui Society
The professional registration body for Feng Shui consultants and teachers in the UK and Europe. Has a code of ethics members should ascribe to. Provides an ongoing skills development programme to encourage consultants to maintain the highest standards. Formed in 1993, the Society is as a non-profit organisation which promotes Feng Shui on an international basis. Provides information for the public.
Global Feng Shui Alliance
Established in March 2011, the Alliance is a worldwide coalition of professional Feng Shui associations, societies, organisations and guilds. Members actively promote the practice around the world. Holds a register of paying member organisations and shares information between member groups. All members must adhere to a code of practice and ethics.