Feng Shui and its History
Feng Shui originated 3000 years ago in China. It is the ancient art of placement in our living spaces (homes, gardens and offices). Feng Shui Masters spent their lives learning about aspects of life and how environments enriched or depleted people's Chi' (energy). They studied how to arrange environments to enhance people's lives. Feng Shui is a combination of art and science. From a Feng Shui perspective, not only are we alive in the world we occupy, but all the things around us are also alive with Chi' (energy). The buildings we live in, the land around us, and the furnishings we choose are connected in a dynamic relationship that shapes the quality of our life.
The school of Feng Shui that I choose to practice is called 'Essential Feng Shui'. This school honors the essence of Feng Shui's eastern heritage, while seeking to adapt it to the needs of western culture. This practical approach makes Essential Feng Shui unique. Feng Shui is one of the most beautiful, simple and affordable techniques you can use to enrich your life and living environment.
What is Chi'? Chi' is a Chinese word that translates to 'energy.' Chi' is in all things. When our Chi' is depleted (or blocked), our physical body is compromised. The same applies to our outer environments (living spaces). Chi' that moves too fast, or Chi' that is blocked in a living space, will cause challenges and feel uncomfortable for the people who live in the home.
The Bagua is an ancient map of the eight treasures of our lives. It retains the same power and wisdom today that it did 3,000 years ago. Using the Bagua is a great privilege. It provides us with a simple checklist for creating our best intentions in any area of our life. There are nine sectors (guas) of the Bagua. The eight surrounding guas represent the outside areas of our life. They are Career, Knowledge and Spirituality, Health and Family, Wealth and Prosperity, Fame and Reputation, Love and Marriage, Children and Creativity, and Helpful People and Travel. The ninth gua is located in the center of the Bagua. This is considered our inner core, or our center. From our center, everything goes outward. From our outer world, everything goes inward.
The Five Elements
The 5 elements that are considered the building blocks of everything in our world are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Feng Shui observes that human beings are made up of the 5 elements. We therefore feel most comfortable when there is a balance of the elements represented in our living environments. In Feng Shui, we seek to create this balance.
Example: Visualize an aquarium. The aquarium is made up of the 5 elements. 1) We have the glass container and the water that represent water. 2) The plants represent the wood element. 3) The pebbles and rock formations represent the metal element. 4) The fish represent fire. 5) Rectangular or square shapes and earth tones represent the earth element. Most of us feel very relaxed and soothed when sitting in front of an aquarium.
Feng Shui vs. Interior design
The disciplines of Feng Shui and Interior Design can both contribute to a beautiful space. Applying Feng Shui principles to a space will naturally make it more aesthetically pleasing. However, Feng Shui includes a functional element that interior design does not. Feng Shui will create a space that is orderly, healthy, and full of energy as well as beautiful. Because of this distinction, spaces that might not be candidates for interior design would benefit immensely from Feng Shui (garages, workrooms, storage spaces).
The Feng Shui practitioner understands that every nook and cranny of a living space is alive and is mirroring back aspects of the occupants’ internal lives. Every area is considered. For example, a practitioner will pay as much attention to your garage as to your bedroom. He or she observes how the Chi’ is circulating in a living space and how much of your personal Chi’ is currently in your environment. He or she asks questions about life intentions and what desires you have for your future. He or she will suggest changes to create the best energy flow for bringing about the desired intentions (clearing clutter, painting walls, adding water features, wind chimes, candles, artwork etc.). Also, it is irrelevant how much money you have or what type of furniture you own. The practitioner can work with current pieces and will often suggest moving pieces from one room to another. He or she may suggest that you give away certain items (furniture with sharp edges, things that have been outgrown, things that do not complement your life goals, etc.).