What is Feng Shui?

What is Feng Shui?

Phoenix fountain


Feng and shui translate as wind and water, two forms of naturally occurring moving energy.  In its essence, feng shui is simply the management of energy, or chi.  All of the commonly prescribed cures – wind chimes, mirrors, water fountains, and crystals – are simply means of modifying the flow of energy in a space so that it more closely aligns with that of the resident.  Ancient cultures have long understood the importance of the relationship between a person and their space, and the power that managing this energetic support can have on the success and well-being of the person.  Additionally, they understood the symbiotic nature of this relationship – the energy of the space affects the person in much the same way that the energy of the person affects the space.

But wind and water can be both positive and negative.  Wind and water in the form of a gentle breeze or babbling brook represent positive supportive energy. Wind and water in the form of a hurricane or tidal wave represent out-of-control destructive energy.  Understandably, the management or modification of the energy in a space must also involve controlling the speed of the energy.  When chi moves to quickly, holding on to resources, especially financial ones, becomes difficult since opportunities move past too rapidly to catch.  When chi moves too slowly, the energy can deteriorate causing less attractive opportunities to appear.

Energy can be categorized into three forms.

First, is the natural energy of the land itself.  All land has energy.  Mountains have very high intense energy making habitation on very high mountains difficult for most of us. Deserts have very low energy making habitation difficult without significant alterations.

Second, is the energy created by the physical form of the environment, either natural or man-made.  Sidewalks are a great example, with the goal being to bring positive supporting chi into the home.  On straight sidewalks the chi moves too fast – making it less beneficial when it arrives [too quickly] at the door  .   Curving sidewalks tend to slow down the chi, making the resulting energy all the more beneficial .  What is interesting about the physical form, is learning to ‘read’ it.  If you enter a space and something catches your attention, there is a message for you.  Sometimes it is very obvious, but sometimes it is not.  Feng shui provides the tools for identifying the source of the energy and if necessary, understanding how to change it!

Third, is the energy created by activity.  You can understand how the energy created by a slaughter house would traumatize the space and degrade the energy.  On the other hand, joyous events and activities can raise the energy in a space.  But it is always of critical importance to understand what has happened in the space before – negative energetic events like bankruptcies can affect the success of the next people who occupy the space.

Again, feng shui is simply the management of energy, or chi.  When we consider that every thing is made of molecules, which are made of atoms comprised of moving particles, it is easy to accept that everything is ‘alive’ with its own energy field.  Understanding how energy moves in a space is the best place to start creating opportunities for the residents.

About the Author


Kevin Walters

Mr. Walters is a graduate of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program at Virginia Commonwealth University, where his thesis subject was Feng Shui and Neighborhood Development. He has studied Essential Feng Shui with the Western School of Feng Shui and Classical Feng Shui at the Golden Gate Feng Shui School. Since 1999, Mr. Walters’ consulting business has focused on improvements with affordable and homeless housing providers, including the Better Housing Coalition and Virginia Supportive Housing in Richmond Virginia. He is a member of the Home and Community Design Committee of Habitat for Humanity Tucson and has contributed to Community Renaissance’s Do Happy Today Program. With Do Happy Today, Mr. Walters assisted the Limberlost Neighborhood Association and the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation in the design of feng shui elements for the walking path at the Limberlost Family Park. He has presented Feng Shui programs at Planning and Housing Conferences in Arizona and Virginia, and most recently at the National Environmental Health Association Conference in San Antonio, Texas.



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