what is feng shui?
Feng shui is a traditional Chinese practice of maximizing the flow of energy, specifically qi. Qi (sometimes written “chi”) is a type of energy believed to be part of all living things in traditional Chinese culture. The meaning of “feng shui” in English is “wind-water”.
The goal of feng shui is to cultivate the flow of qi in and around people’s living spaces. modern feng shui is most often used as an interior design philosophy. helps people maximize the benefits of the qi flowing through their homes.
Reading: Feng shui elements directions
Feng Shui harnesses the regenerative and destructive cycles of the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. keeping these elements in balance is key to good feng shui (more on that later on the page).
History of feng shui
Feng shui dates back to China’s Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), or even earlier. some of the philosophies behind it have been around for five or six thousand years! it was originally used to select burial sites or safe places for settlement. as the practice evolved, it came to inform the locations of great palaces and monuments, and even the layouts of entire cities.
The People’s Republic of China banned feng shui in 1949 as superstition. Although it is still technically illegal in China, many Chinese people practice Feng Shui, though not necessarily by name. feng shui has a strong following in hong kong, where it influences some of the city’s most prominent structures.
There are several different schools of feng shui. the oldest dates from the 19th century, when yang yun-sang compiled the first feng shui manual. this manual became the school of forms, which interprets the flow of energy by analyzing the surrounding landscape.
One hundred years later, scholars in northern China formed the compass school, which uses the points of a compass to analyze the qi of an area.
The most widely used school today is the Black Hat School, founded in the 1980s. Black Hat Feng Shui is much easier for novices to follow, hence its worldwide popularity.
what are the benefits of feng shui?
Good feng shui claims to have many benefits. By balancing the five elements and bringing your home’s qi in order, you can:
- attract wealth
- find love
- keep your relationship stable
- achieve professional success
- improve your health
- increases your vitality
- protects against misfortune
… and many other things.
Of course, it’s not as simple as “good feng shui equals a perfect life”; each of the desired benefits is in harmony with a different element and a separate area of the home.
This is where feng shui gets a bit complex.
what are feng shui map and compass?
In addition to the five elements, feng shui is also based on the compass. traditional schools of feng shui use the compass directions we are familiar with: north, south, east, west. the direction of the house on the compass determines which areas of the house correspond to which element.
the black hat school takes a different approach that even novices can apply at home.
still using familiar compass directions. however, instead of treating north as true north, this method treats the entrance to the house as north. everything else is aligned accordingly.
each feng shui direction (or area of the house) corresponds to a different element and result. there are nine areas in total. These nine areas are arranged in a 3-by-3 grid, which works like the feng shui energy map. it is sometimes represented as a compass and its proper name is bagua.
The feng shui compass is usually displayed backwards from what we are used to: North is at the bottom.
You will notice that the different areas of the bagua are color coded; that’s not just for looks. having specific colored furniture or objects is key to influencing the elements of each bagua area. colors are a big part of feng shui.
once you know how your home corresponds to the feng shui map, there is still the question of how to apply the knowledge.
again, this is the tricky part of feng shui.
The five elements interact with each other like advanced rock, paper, scissors. the elements and their cycles are known as wuxing. There are two types of loops:
- regenerative, where one element strengthens another.
- overcoming, where one element weakens or controls another.
is best expressed visually:
So, Wood regenerates Fire, Fire regenerates Earth, Earth controls Water and regenerates Metal, and so forth.
With the knowledge of bagua and wuxing, we can finally start applying feng shui in the home.