Inside the yin and the yang Get your chi on! How Feng shui can help you design and decorate your home.
Feng shui consultants agree on two things: firstly, feng shui is most definitely not an ‘alternative therapy’, but rather an earth science, and secondly, an increasing number of clients are looking for the benefits that feng shui can bring to their homes and their lives.
Developed thousands of years ago in China, feng shui is an ancient science that teaches how to balance the energies in any given space – whether that’s a house or an office – to create harmony and ensure good fortune for those who inhabit it.
It’s a balancing act of yin and yang, two opposing but complementary energies that practitioners believe shape the universe, and of the five elements, i.e. the five types of energy that exist in our universe – fire, earth, metal, water and wood. The aim of feng shui is to create harmony between buildings and occupants.
To do this, a feng shui consultant will take the energies of the inhabitants (based on their dates of birth) and match them to that of the buildings they live and work in (based on the date of construction, whether a past or future date). If the energy in a home is too yin, i.e. too heavy, dark, blocked or cluttered, then the occupants will complain of a lack of opportunities, career stagnation or health issues such as fatigue, possible weight gain and depression.
If, on the other hand, the energy is too yang, i.e. too sharp, fast or direct, then good energy will be misaligned, cut up or lost, thus it cannot be harnessed within the home or workplace to capture good luck, gather money, or optimise well-being and this will lead to health, relationship, career and financial challenges in the lives of the occupants.
Call the doctor!
TV interior design programmes often feature feng shui practitioners advising on changes to a property, such as introducing aquariums to attract prosperity, using plants to revitalise the energy, and strategically placing furniture to attract beneficial energy into homes.
But in reality they are involved in many more aspects, including advising people who are planning to build or move house as well as people who are concerned about their home’s layout. In fact feng shui consultants will very often be called upon by someone concerned about the lack of harmony in the home due to the number of arguments arising, or about well-being following frequent bouts of ill health, or even to stem the flow of money and depletion of wealth.
An appointment will involve a site visit that can last several hours. In feng shui, the sectors of the house are linked to the health, relationships and wealth of the occupants, and are dealt with in that order.
‘Within an existing home, the breadwinner is the most susceptible person to the prevailing energies in the house; if there are two breadwinners, both will be equally affected.’
During the visit the energy in each sector of a building will be evaluated to diagnose what is going on in the lives of the occupants and then will offer solutions to correct taboos, realign the energies in the building to match those of the occupants, and counter the effects of any negative influences. Practitioners can tell occupants exactly what’s needed both outside and inside the house to solve their problems and to bring back positivity and prosperity.
Every house has a story
Feng shui consultants use several schools of practice, the main ones being Landscape and Form, Compass, Eight Mansion and Flying Star. They are also aware of problems with predecessor energy or where certain occurrences or patterns of events happen, as well as identifying feng shui taboos that must be avoided, such as placing a mirror in a hall opposite the front door which will reflect away the good opportunities coming in, or lining up the foot of a bed with an exit door which is known as the coffin position.
Landscape takes into account energy influences such as mountains and rivers surrounding the property, as well as other factors such as plots and house shapes. Ultimately, the aim is to create a protective armchair formation for the house to sit in.
Compass School is concerned with energy that comes from certain directions and which must be aligned with the occupants’ own energies. Practitioners work with an instrument called a Luo Pan compass divided into Twenty-Four Mountains, each measuring fifteen degrees.
This allows the practitioner to be extremely accurate as to the orientation of the house and the specific energy of each direction. Eight Mansion is the non-moving feng shui energy that exists in a building and on a plot, which includes factors such as the five elements, and which affects each member of the household differently.
Flying Stars is the energy that is constantly moving through the different sectors of the house, which determines what will occur in the home and in the lives of occupants over different time cycles that change each month, year, twenty years, 180 years and so on.
House buying and building
For those looking for a new home to buy, the thought of trekking around endless properties listed as ‘perfect for family living’ can be a little daunting. For that reason, feng shui consultants are increasingly being used to assist in the initial decision-making process.
A prospective buyer will bring the specialist to visit each property individually to determine the house’s energy and become acquainted with its fabric and where it sits on the landscape. If many properties are being considered, some practitioners may use GPS coordinates and street view photographs to draw up a shortlist.
Once they have determined ‘external’ factors, such as the house shape and the type of plot on which it sits, the advisor will then look at the interior layout and the design and decoration of each area within the space, taking compass readings of exit doors and concentrating on the most important rooms, such as the hall, kitchen, bedroom, office, sitting room and the location of toilets in relation to these rooms.
No property is perfect but the consultant can advise on the best one, along with any proposed changes to tailor it to them and their family. The house building process is similar; in this case the specialist is involved right from the earliest pre-planning stage, often assisting with the selection of the plot right through the design process, which is more cost effective and more practical than making changes post-construction.
For example if there is a need to balance the energy of a part of the house by introducing metal, this can be incorporated into the build – e.g. with an exposed plinth – instead of availing of an ornament once the house is built.
Nina Kati Interior Design Feng Shui, ninakati.ie, tel. 051 646 273, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tai Shan Feng Shui Consultants, 133 Holywood Road, Belfast, taishanfengshui.co.uk, mobile 07914412123
Feng Shui Design, Dublin, fengshuidesign.ie, mobile 086 2719292
Feng Shui Matters, Corncrake Cottage, Leemount, Cork, fengshuimatters.ie, tel. 021 487 8827, mobile 086 2835 705