Some homes feel good. The minute you walk in the door, you feel better. More relaxed, happier. There is a sense of harmony.

Feng Shui, an ancient system based on the Chinese Five Element theory, is a tool you can use to create harmony in your space.

Why are there Different Schools of Feng Shui?

There are two main kinds of Feng Shui, the Form School and the Compass School.

The Form School is the oldest and most commonly known and practiced in China; its name comes from the study of forms.

In northern China, which bordered on the Gobi desert, direction became very important (if your doorway faced the desert, blowing sand was a problem) and the Compass School of Feng Shui developed. So, according to the Compass School, a north-facing entrance is inauspicious. Certain numbers, colors, and flowers are considered unlucky. Many westerners consider Compass School Feng Shui superstitious.

Although the Form School is the most commonly practiced in China, in the US there are more Compass Schools, so there are many Feng Shui consultants who might tell you to change your street address or move to a house that faces a luckier direction.

What Kind of Feng Shui Do You Use?

I do what I call Instinctive Feng Shui. I teach my students and clients to use the common-sense life-space design principles that Form School Feng Shui is based on, so that they can partner with their space.

  • Feng Shui doesn’t have to be a one-time event that you pay someone else to do for you. Feng Shui should be an on-going process. I teach my students and clients how to update their Feng Shui as their life evolves.
  • I do not advise clients to hang bamboo flutes from red cords or anything else that would be out of place in their homes. The goal is not to make your home look Chinese; the goal of Instinctive Feng Shui is to create the kind of beauty that inspires you!
  • I work with each client to find items that will anchor their own intentions for transformation.

I do not use words like ‘cure’ when referring to items that can bring balance and harmony into your space. Feng Shui is not magic! It’s an empowering way of partnering with your space.

Harmony: the right balance of Yin and Yang

Yin energy is nurturing, tranquil, passive. Yang energy is dynamic, busy, active. Our spaces need the right balance of yin and yang energy. We can create that balance by using furnishings with the correct yin/yang attributes.

Yin attributes

  • curved, flowing shapes
  • dark, muted colors
  • soft, absorbing textures
  • soft lighting
  • rich, full window and floor treatments
  • the more furniture, the more yin

Yang attributes

  • straight, vertical lines
  • warm, bright colors
  • firm, smooth textures
  • natural and bright light
  • open, clean windows/floor
  • fewer items open the space

Think of your home in terms of Yin/Yang energy. Look at your design and furniture placement choices according to how they move energy.

Do these furnishings speed up or slow down the energy in this room?

Do these furnishings expand or contract the energy in this space?

Do these furnishings move the energy higher or lower?

What is the Five Element Theory?

The Five Element Theory (the basis of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, as well as Feng Shui) is the indigenous Chinese explanation of how yin and yang manifest different energy patterns: water, wood, fire, earth and metal.

WATER
Water energy has two aspects: still and moving. Moving water moves energy from high to low (picture a waterfall) and is good for relaxing and equalizing the energy of the surrounding forces. Still water recreates a womb-like safety and quiet for those times when we need to rebirth ourselves.
WOOD
Wood energy is about growth (think springtime!). Wood colors and furnishings are energizing and evoke growth.
FIRE
Fire expands and speeds up energy. Fire energy is dynamic!
EARTH
Earth energy grounds and supports, creating stability. Earth colors are muted, darker. Furniture is soft and comfortable.
METAL
Metal energy creates mental power. To create mental focus, use the left-brain metal colors white, silver and gray. To boost creativity, use the right-brain stimulation of all seven colors of the rainbow.

The Water and Earth elements tend to be yin. Wood, Fire, and Metal are yang. Check each room in your home for the different elements. Look at your furniture, color choices, accessories, natural and artificial lighting. and use the cycles below to bring balance:

Constructive Cycle

  • Water nourishes Wood
  • Wood feeds Fire
  • Fire generates (ash) Earth
  • Earth forms (ore) Metal
  • Condensation on Metal = Water

Destructive Cycle

  • Water drowns Fire
  • Wood breaks up Earth
  • Fire melts Metal
  • Earth muddies Water
  • Metal Chops Wood

What is the Bagua?

Just as we have an energy grid over our physical body (acupuncturists call it the meridian system), the Feng Shui Bagua is an energy grid, or template, for your home.

Like the reflexology chart that provides us with a map to see which areas of the foot are connected to which areas of the body, each area of your home has a particular quality.

The Chinese depict the Bagua as an octagon; it is shown here as a square.

How do I use the Bagua?

  1. Align the Bagua with the front entrance to your home at the bottom of the page (your front door will either be in Wisdom, Career, or Helpful Friends).
  2. The Bagua can be elongated or widened to fit the dimensions of your home.
  3. Draw your floor plan over this Bagua to determine the inherent energy of the areas in your home.
  4. Then choose one or two areas of your life which need an increased flow of abundance, and make changes in that part of your home!

I need help applying Feng Shui priniciples to my home and work space!

You could hire a feng shui consultant to come to your home and/or work space. Rates range from $50 to $300 an hour, depending on your area and the experience of the consultant. I charge $150 an hour. Be sure that your values are aligned with the values of the consultant. (see Different Kinds of Feng Shui)

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