These days, the term feng shui usually evokes vague images of oriental new-age looking trinkets, a simplified map of life aspiration corners and lots of positive energy wrapped in lucky red envelopes. The new age approach to feng shui is a feel-good way to inspire positive thoughts and intentions, thus appealing to an individual’s ‘Mankind Luck’ (ie the luck you make for yourself via personal choice and attitude).
New Age feng shui encompasses the use of a Bagwa Map which has set life aspiration corners depending on where the doorway into a house or room is located, or a simplified octagonal map showing the 8 compass directions which are then linked to various set life aspiration areas. New age feng shui (which originated around the 1970’s and 1980’s) has basically borrowed some generalised Trigram associations from the ancient practice of feng shui (originally known as Kan Yu) and has then invented and superimposed additional life aspiration names and associated symbols to various corners or compass sectors of your home via a map which is then used to target key areas in one’s life (eg wealth corner, love corner, health corner etc).
This psychological and symbolic approach is simple, fun and helps focus the individual’s intentions on specific aspirations and goals in life. It also has very little to do with the ancient practice of authentic feng shui, which encompasses 2 main compass-based methodologies known as San He (the study of mountains, natural water courses and landform) and San Yuan (the study of space according to cycles of time and magnetic orientation). Both the San He and San Yuan methods of feng shui incorporate the use of a Luo Pan Compass which measures the effects of chi (unseen energy) in and around a building in relation to the surrounding landform.
Feng Shui literally translates as ‘wind / water’ and relates directly to the concept that chi (unseen energy) rides the wind (ie travels via magnetic pathways in the air) and can be dispersed by the wind, and retained by water. So, the feng shui ideal has always been to attract positive chi via magnetic orientation, supportive landform and the careful placement of water and yang activity. When examining a modern-day approach to the ancient practice of feng shui, I believe a ‘current-age’ methodology would be to combine the ancient study of Xuan Kong Fei Xing Pai (time space flying stars school) feng shui and San He Landform & Water Methods analysis with a greater understanding and appreciation for sustainable development. The whole underlying principle behind feng shui is, after all, to live in harmony with one’s surroundings.
When planning a house site, one should approach the project with respect and acknowledgment of the land’s natural contours, climate, habitat and resources. Prerequisites for a home should include that it lets in enough natural light, that it is well insulated, well ventilated, energy efficient, secure and supportive of the occupants and designed for the climate and terrain in which it is built. Ultimately, your home should feel like a sanctuary – somewhere to rest and recharge your internal energy reserves.
“Humans require natural views of plants and animals for mental and emotional health. Studies also suggest we need nature around us as a restorative and to stimulate our higher creative functions.” (p115, “Architect’s Guide to Feng Shui’ by Cate Bramble, 2003, Architectural Press). Xuan Kong Fei
Xing feng shui addresses the unseen energy fields around us and helps orientate the occupants within a dwelling so they are sleeping in a positively energised location with favourable chor sin (mountain energy) in the wall behind their bedhead, thus benefiting the health and relationship harmony of the household, while also attracting positive siang sin (water energy) to exterior doorways, windows and active living areas in conjunction with water features placed in precise magnetic locations which benefit the occupant’s abundance potential.
Electromagnetic radiation is a current phenomenon which should also be addressed in each household. I once came across a client whose bedhead was so close to a large transformer and electricity meter box servicing the block of units in which she lived, that she could actually hear the electricity humming in the wall behind her while sleeping in bed at night. It was literally placed just on the other side of the wall, directly in line with her head while sleeping. Many people don’t realise EMR (electromagnetic radiation) can easily travel through a brick wall unless there is some sort of magnetic shielding in place. This client had a metal frame bed, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to hypothesize her continued headaches and inability to sleep might just have a connection to the high level of EMR around her bedhead. She innocently asked me if hanging a crystal above the bed would help. Apparently she’d read this bit of advice in a new age book. I recommended she completely move the bed to another room or at least to the opposite side of the room.
Dr Bill Wolverton is a retired NASA scientist who discovered certain indoor plants can be used to help clear the air of toxins such as trichloroethylene, xylene, formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia – all chemicals found in common household cleaning agents and/or emitted from photocopiers and various other appliances frequently used in offices. Of course, the first objective is to live and/or work in an environment where you can actually open the windows and allow fresh air to circulate throughout the space via cross ventilation on a regular basis. A house with closed windows and doors due to continual air conditioning can lead to health problems due to lack of fresh air (esp if the air conditioning unit is not properly maintained with the filters being cleaned regularly).
It is more difficult to energise positive siang sin energy from a feng shui perspective if all the doors and windows are regularly kept closed, because siang sin/water energy literally needs an open exterior door or window to initially flow into your home on a regular basis. It can gradually enter your home via travelling through glass, brick and mortar etc, however the energy is greatly depleted via this route and by the time it then enters your home, it is not nearly as potent and useable as it could otherwise be.
So, back to the ‘new age’ versus ‘current age’ concept. Rather than simply placing a 3 legged toad near your doorway or in the far left hand corner of the room or the Southeast sector to represent money luck, (as per new age symbolic feng shui guidelines), why not try placing an exterior doorway or window that is frequently opened and located in your lucky 8 siang sin /water energy abundance location according to the xuan kong natal chart of your home? This location also responds particularly well to a body of active water, thus retaining the positive chi. You could even tie in your mankind luck with the actual feng shui of the building by placing your positive aspiration object (ie the 3 legged toad or whatever else represents abundance to you) in your lucky 8 siang sin/water energy location.
And as for the concept of ‘decluttering’ which appears in many new age feng shui books, my approach is to be practical, and to stop obsessing about continual tidiness. Obviously, it is better to avoid having a house full of decomposing mess that can contribute to allergies, mould and mildew, and from a psychological point of view, a chronically cluttered and disorganised interior will often signal occupants who are not coping well with life in general. My home is not always tidy – with 3 kids that’s impossible! But it is welcoming, warm and comfortable. From a decluttering perspective, it is advisable to make sure favourable siang sin abundance energy is not blocked from entering the building via external or internal clutter or closed rooms that are unused, yet contain the most beneficial and as yet wasted energy.
I regularly encourage clients to create a positive internal pathway of energy within their home or office by first walking to the siang sin 8 abundance location of the building, opening an exterior doorway or window in that favourable sector and absorbing the positive chi, before then walking throughout the home or office, thus carrying and distributing the positive energy throughout the building. The more you do this, the more you can positively energise your living or work environment.
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