Feng Shui has become a well-known term over the last decades, yet there still remains much confusion and a lack of clarity as to what it actually is and what it is not. One can search in Google, Instagram and YouTube to read about decoration and colour principles that display beautiful Interiors and apparently making offers that will change our lives to the better. Is this Feng Shui in our contemporary lives?
Feng Shui is a practice that analyses our surrounding energies and aims to manipulate those energies to our benefit and more specifically to enhance our health, wealth and other life aspects.
Appreciating the above statement, and then acknowledging the potential power it has, it is not surprising that a power such as this might want to be kept secret.
This desire for secrecy is further explained when we look into the discipline of Feng Shui and how it developed over the last 3000 thousand years in China by geomantic scientists (those who study the environmental energy).
These scientists, the Feng Shui Masters, were commissioned and held captive by the emperors of the Chinese dynasties, believing that the practice of Feng Shui would secure their ruling power. The emperors’ Feng Shui Masters were even sentenced to death if they ever chose to spread their knowledge amongst the common people.
Only during Chinas civil wars and cultural revolution in the 20th century when the Feng Shui Masters fled the country, they were able to spread and sell their knowledge among the common people and further abroad in other continents.
Even today, this powerful knowledge is traditionally still passed from Master to disciple. This explains why there is even now very few resources and literature available accurately detailing and teaching authentic Feng Shui. Only a few years back a dear colleagues of mine and Feng Shui Master Jen Stone (Nicomedes) wrote a fantastic "First Guidebook for Feng Shui Enthusiasts" which is one of the very few books on Feng Shui I really recommend reading. It is great for first-timers and professionals alike. I wish I had this book when I started my Feng Shui journey.
In light of this lack of clarity and accurate information in the market, we can now see why there is so much controversary, contradictive and even mythical information that has been created and made available concerning this indeed very effective practice.
The Feng Shui that is accessible to us today through the internet can be explained as a diluted form mixed with Chinese culture, religion, believes, rituals, superstition and myths, and indeed not even a specifically Chinese practice, but rather a universal one, applicable to the entire world although having been secretly developed in China.
When we look deeper into the myths, one common example is that crystals, precious stones, charms and amulets are Feng Shui remedies, while in fact they have no connection with authentic Feng Shui despite their undoubtable healing qualities.
Animal figurines, bamboo sticks and red doors are nothing but culturally rooted lucky charms and symbols in Chinese culture, rather than Feng Shui tools. To quote the famous Feng Shui teacher Joey Yap “You don’t have to turn your place into a Chinese restaurant with tassels and dragons to benefit from Feng Shui”.
Another widespread curiosity lies in explaining the effect of mirrors. While it is pure superstition that mirrors in the bedroom entice adultery, it is simply a fact that mirrors create an active energy by reflecting spaces and amplifying movements and are therefore not suitable for calm and relaxing environments such as sleeping spaces and spas.
Koi carp ponds at the entrance are commonly said to bring financial luck, while it is actually the movement of water, that activates the energy in a space – ideally in a space that really needs the activation of energy.
Colours, shapes and materials, representing the 5 Elements of Feng Shui Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood for example are important pillars in Feng Shui and they are used to introduce specific energy balancing qualities, just like in colour therapy. All colours carry a very specific energy and depending on which energy a space needs, this colour needs then to be applied.
So how do we then know where to place a mirror, where to activate water with a fountain or wind chime and which space benefits of which colour?
In order to apply these and other Feng Shui tools and remedies effectively we first need to understand the existing energies. This is the exercise of a professional Feng Shui practitioner, who has studied the calculation of energies through compass readings and formulas and knows how to address serious and harmful imbalances in health, life and financial matters. Just like a trained physiotherapist who has studied how to unlock our bodies and ease our pain.
As we have now understood that Feng Shui does not follow a “one fits all” formula when it comes to life changing solutions, however there are still universal rules for spaces that can improve the overall energy flow in our homes to support general well-being, without pretending to change our lives.
Decluttering is one of the popular and effective methods to facilitate a smooth energy flow. Ensuring unobstructed walkways both outdoors and indoors will ease the flow of energy. Avoiding sharp edges on furniture, decorating with plants and preferring natural material over man made material can uplift the overall mood of a space. One could compare this approach with the practice of yoga, which might not cure acute pain but generally helps you to stay flexible.