As feng shui continues to gain energy in North America and other populated areas, many business owners and homeowners are turning to feng shui for advantages to enhance the health, wealth, and relationships within their environments. The good news is that traditional feng shui is a viable solution to assist in leveraging the unique energies of the building to support its inhabitants. However, there is misinformation circulating around what the practice of feng shui entails. The discrepancies are in large part a result of the differences between traditional (sometimes called classical) feng shui and that of the modern new age schools of feng shui.
Traditional feng shui incorporates 6 theories or principles at the heart of its practice. Three of these principles are linked to the I Ching, the Chinese book of divination. They are the Yin Yang principle, the 8 Trigrams theory, and the 5 Elements theory. The remaining three theories are the 8 Mansions theory (East/West theory), Forms School theory, and Time/Space theory (Flying Stars theory). Traditional feng shui is the highest form of feng shui practice.
So, let’s look at what traditional feng shui is through learning what it is not.
Myth #1 – Interior Decorating Style / Staging Technique
Traditional feng shui is not an interior decorating style or staging technique. While traditional feng shui does add color or elemental objects in certain areas of a home, office, or business, there is an intention to the placement. The addition of an object or color is to either harmonize harmful qi relationships, or to enhance positive qi relationships. These remedies only utilize the 5 Chinese Alchemical Elements of feng shui (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water) and are placed in exact locations dependent on complex and precise calculations and formulas. Additionally, furniture placement is dependent on these same calculations according to an individual’s personal directions. In many cases, compromises must occur for everyone to be accommodated.
That being said, traditional feng shui practitioners often work with professional stagers and interior designers to create the most harmonious space for the occupants. Designers work with the visual aesthetics of a space and feng shui practitioners work with the intangible and unseen energies of a space.
Myth #2 – Home Organizing Technique
Traditional feng shui is not a home organizing technique. While it is important that a space be decluttered and organized for qi to move freely throughout, traditional feng shui is not decluttering and organizing. Traditional feng shui is the art and science of harmonizing the building’s qi with the qi of each individual. It is common sense that a tidy environment will allow energy to flow more freely than a cluttered environment. A cluttered and disorganized environment can still be remedied according to its qi blueprint. The benefits, however, are dependent on human’s doing their part. Frequently, practitioners will also consult with professional organizers, as these services compliment each other.
Myth #3 – Fixed Spacial Grid
Traditional feng shui is not a one size fits all practice. There does not exist one qi map or energy grid that is suitable for all buildings. In fact, there are 144 qi grids to one of which every building is classified, again dependent on precise and complex calculations. Traditional feng shui remedies must also be adjusted yearly, on February 4th of each year, to account for the change in the annual energy arriving with the Chinese Solar New Year.
Myth #4 – The Color Red
Traditional feng shui does not advise that the color red be placed on everyone’s front door or in the South sector of all homes. This can be detrimental in many cases. Each building is assessed on its unique qi map, and remedies are recommended based on the unique flow and interaction of qi in a specific building and with its occupants.
Myth #5 – Sleep Facing North
Traditional feng shui does not recommend that everyone sleep with their heads facing North. Much like the blanket recommendation for the color red, this is also a popular myth that can be harmful, causing insomnia, anxiety, etc. for a great many folks. North facing for best sleep only holds true for one of the eight personal trigrams. Folks belonging to the other 7 trigrams may not sleep well if facing North.
Myth #6 – Mirrors, Windchimes, Coins, & Figurines
Traditional feng shui does not recommend mirrors to deflect qi. This stems from a misinterpretation of an ancient Chinese practice of using a bronze sculpture as a metal remedy. The surface was shiny, however, it was not a mirror, but rather metal art utilized as a remedy.
Windchimes are not recommended to be placed indoors, and when placed outdoors, they are to be of metal and used as a metal remedy, with an intentional placement. Placed improperly, windchimes can attract unwanted spirits.
Ancient coins, figurines, etc. are also not traditional remedies. They can be utilized as decoration, or a remedy, if they are pleasing to the individual and placed intentionally, but they do not necessarily remedy or enhance qi, unless they are of the appropriate element and emit the required energy strength.
It is important here to note that all recommended remedies be pleasing to the owner. If an individual does not like Eastern/Asian décor, then placing such items in the home defeats the purpose of feng shui, which is to create harmony in the space. Remedies should blend with the décor and be pleasing to the occupants. It should not be obvious that a certain item is a feng shui remedy.
Myth #7 – The Toilet Lid
Traditional feng shui does not purport that money is flushed down the toilet if the lid is not closed. This myth stems from superstitions. However, if you want to keep this a secret from the individuals sharing your space, be my guest. I’ll not tell! 🙂