Feng Shui – Form and Compass
There are essentially two schools of Feng Shui which are practiced today in the West, and although practitioners will typically follow only one or the other, both schools have merit and can result in great benefit for clients.
When reduced to its essence, Feng Shui is the management of energy, or ch’i. The frequently prescribed cures – wind chimes, mirrors, crystals, water, chiming clocks, even the rearranging of furniture – are all methods of modifying the flow of energy. This is done in an environment to enhance the flow of natural earth energy to support the natural ch’i energy of the person who lives there. Feng Shui is one of the branches of Oriental Medicine. Acupuncture is used to align and restore the natural energy flow of the body (discomfort/illness is the result of blocked energy) and Feng Shui is used to support the corrections in the client’s body by holistically addressing elements of the environment that will support or block those corrections.
BTB, or Black Hat, Feng Shui, a form that was brought to this country by Professor Lin Yun, features a ‘fixed’ Bagua (the roadmap of Feng Shui) to illustrate where the energies associated with Prosperity, Relationship, Fame, Career, Helpful People, Creativity, Wisdom, Family and Health are found in a room, or home or plot of land. The BTB Bagua is oriented based on the entrance to a space – this is called the ‘mouth of ch’i’ and is where the beneficial earth energy enters. This school is highly linked to the FORM of the environment and has its origins in selection of grave sites in China. The idea was that honoring of the ancestors through selection of the perfect burial site, based on the ‘form’ of the land and resulting energy, would bestow prosperity on all of the descendants. Form can be one of the best indicators of what is going on energetically in a space.
Along with form is symbolism. Symbolism is one of the greatest indicators of connectedness. Every ‘thing’ has the potential to be a symbol for something else. Doors that we have trouble opening in our homes can represent doors that we will have trouble opening in our lives-stuck energy.
Classical Feng Shui, also known as ‘COMPASS’ is driven by the sitting and facing compass directions of a building, and the energy of the building can be determined by these directions. A change to the position of a few degrees can create a major shift in the auspiciousness of the energy that the building will carry. This is why you will read of a Feng Shui Master being called in, for example, when Disney is building a new park, with a recommendation that the entrance be established a few degrees off the original plan. In classical Feng Shui, a Bagua is also used, but its placement is based on the compass readings, rather than the mouth of ch’i.
As in BTB, in Classical Feng Shui the energy of the resident must be matched to the energy of the building. This is done by associating an element (water, earth, fire, wood, metal) to each resident based on their year of birth. Each element carries both auspicious and inauspicious directions, and this knowledge can be very important in maximizing the beneficial ch’i that a person can access within a space, as well as in explaining when things do not seem to be flowing.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate FORM (and symbolism). I have a client who is self-employed. When I went to see her, as I was waiting I noticed a dracaena plant in her dining room that was very healthy, but touching the ceiling. In the BTB Bagua, this was in the Prosperity area of her home. I asked her if she had been feeling like her finances had ‘topped out’. She indicated that a client had written her a bad check – the first she had ever received in 20 years of business, and that her husband, a writer, had noticed that the royalty checks seemed to have stopped. I showed her the plant, and she immediately understood. We move the plant into the foyer where it would have plenty of room to grow, and she got another ‘shorter’ healthy plant for her prosperity area to continue the growth that they had always enjoyed. She contacted me the next week to let me know that the client who wrote the bad check was so embarrassed that he drove over 50 miles to hand her cash in person, and her husband’s checks had resumed.
To illustrate the importance of COMPASS, another client had a minor issue with her son. At age 4, he would still not sleep through the night, but would instead get in bed with his parents. My client would then go get in her son’s bed and they all would sleep soundly through the night. It was determined that his bed headed in his worst direction, which was, coincidentally, his mother’s best direction. She repositioned the bed so that the head pointed in her son’s ‘Health’ direction. A few weeks later she reported that he generally was sleeping through the night in his own bed, although occasionally he would still get in bed with his parents. The problem now was that when she went to get in her son’s bed, she could no longer sleep there because his ‘Health’ direction turned out to be one of her worst directions!
Another client had a hard time focusing when she worked at her desk. It turned out that her desk was in her most inauspicious direction. We moved it around so that she was facing her ‘Prosperity’ direction, and she called the next week to tell me how much better her work had become for her.
It is so important that we pay attention to the world around us. Is there something in your environment that catches your attention, but not in a good way? Are there colors that you just cannot stand to be around and other that completely light you up? Are there things in your home that are broken, but that you haven’t gotten around to fixing? All of these represent energy patterns that in some way affect the way we feel, or even perhaps the way our lives flow. Feng Shui is management of energy, whether it is based on form or compass direction. Feng Shui provides the knowledge and tools to understand how the energy flows (or why it doesn’t flow), and help get us all into perfect alignment with our space.