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What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui (pronounced Foong Shway or Fung Shoy) is the ancient Chinese art of luck management, which works by maximising the flow of energy (known as 'Chi') in your environment. Every object, inanimate or living, possesses its own energy field and also has an affect on the flow of Chi in your environment.

The orientation and layout of your home, garden or business and its contents can impact your career, personal relationships, health and wealth. Whilse observing the basic rules of Feng Shui can greatly enhance your lifestyle, ignoring its principles can similarly bring misfortune and sorrow.

Feng Shui is a complex art which, when studied in-depth, uses birth dates, colour and numerology when assessing how best to organise your home or office. However, there are simple rules that everyone can observe to help bring harmony into their lives by increasing the flow of positive energy in their environment.


I am a firm believer in intuition, which also plays a part in Feng Shui. How often, for example, have you instinctively chosen a house or positioned a piece of furniture just because it 'felt right'. How often have you sensed an atmosphere of happiness or discontent, simply by walking into a room or judged a person on your initial meeting? In general, first impressions are always right. Even if you go against those feelings, they will eventually prove to be correct. So, the first rule of Feng Shui is:

Always trust your intuitive feelings. Your inner voice is probably the most important tool you possess.

Remove Clutter

Perhaps one of the most important rules of Feng Shui is to remove clutter from your life and that also means negative people who only serve to surround you and your family with negative emotions. Clutter and dirt create stagnant Chi and impede the flow of positive energy. Therefore, the first step is to be ruthless and go through cupboards and drawers and clear out everything that is no longer of use, as well as cleaning everything as you go. Too much furniture in confined spaces can also block the path of beneficial Chi, so minimalism is the key. The actual process of cleaning and clearing can also be very beneficial as you are symbolically removing unwanted elements in your life and creating order out of chaos.

Assessing your Home or Business

There are several different schools of Feng Shui, but here we will concentrate on the compass method.

The Ba Gua

The Ba Gua, an octagonal, nine-sectioned diagram is at the core of Feng Shui. Each section corresponds to a different aspect of life such as Marriage/Relationships, Career and Wealth, the central point containing the Yin and Yang symbol being the centre of your life force, your personal energy. The idea is to draw up a floor plan of your house and place the Ba Gua diagram over the plan, which will indicate which room falls into which sector. Enhancing the flow of positive energy in any sector can improve that particular area of your life.

The Ba Gua is always aligned with the wall containing the front door or main entrance to the premises, with the compass points corresponding to those of the house directions. For example, if your front door faces South West, then you should place the Ba Gua diagram on a plan of your property with the South West sector (the Marriage sector) aligned with the front door.

An irregular-shaped property, such as an L-shaped one, for example, would have a sector missing, meaning that depending on the compass direction and the sector to which it corresponds e.g. marriage, the owner could experience problems in that area of their life. Steps would have to be taken, therefore, to employ one of the Feng Shui cures to help overcome any ill fortune caused by the missing area.

The Five Elements

Feng Shui is based upon the relationship between the Five Elements: Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. There is a productive and destructive sequence of these elements and it is important to place objects together that are in harmony with each other and in harmony with the sector in which they are placed. For example, it would not be a good idea to have a water element, e.g. a sink or fish tank, in the Southern sector of your home, which relates to Fire, since water extinguishes fire.

Poison Arrows

Sharp angles in any form are very damaging and are known in Feng Shui circles as 'Poison Arrows.' They can appear in all guises such as corners of pillars, furniture, sharp leaved plants, roofs of buildings, church spires and so on. Again, the negative effects of a poison arrow can be neutralised by, for example, strategically placing a soft-leafed plant to conceal the corners of a sharp-angled pillar.


Again, each sector corresponds to a particular colour and ideally that colour should be followed as closely as possible. However, everyone obviously has their own personal choice and it can be just as damaging to your personal energy to go against your natural choice, just because a Feng Shui practitioner told you to employ a different colour scheme! The alternative would be to place a small ornament in the 'correct' colour, which is far less intrusive than painting the entire room in a colour that you dislike.

Feng Shui is all about balance and harmony, equal measures of yin and yang, and each colour has yin (calming) or yang (stimulating) properties. Red, for example, is a yang colour whilst blue is a yin colour, so again, it is a question of finding that balance whilst keeping in line with your personal taste.

Feng Shui 'Cures'

For every Feng Shui 'problem' there is generally a Feng Shui 'cure'. These include:

* Wind Chimes, Crystals and Bells: These attract and invigorate 'Chi' and help to dispel negative energy

* Plants and Flowers: Preferably round-leaved, since spiky leaves and plants e.g. cacti, Yucca Palms, can create a 'spiky' atmosphere. Remove dead flowers or plants and avoid dried flowers as these emanate negative energy. However silk or plastic flowers are fine

* Mirrors: Mirrors have the effect of 'doubling' up whatever it is they are reflecting. Therefore, care has to be taken when placing them. You should never, for example, place a mirror so that it reflects a toilet. On the other hand, placing a mirror opposite a cash till symbolically doubles up the money! Mirrors should also not reflect your bed, particularly if you might see your reflection upon waking. This can lead to sleeping difficulties and also symbolically doubles up the number of people, which can signify infidelity

* Water Features: A fish tank or fountain in the Water (North) or Wood (East & South East) sectors of a property are superb good fortune enhancers


* Two of Everything: Keep objects such as ornaments of animals in pairs, particularly if you wish to enhance relationship success. Single items, especially photos of yourself on your own, could signify loneliness

* Position of Bed: When you are lying in bed, your feet should not directly face the door, since this is known as the 'coffin' position and is very inauspicious

* Regular Shapes: Regular shapes such as squares, circles and rectangles are preferable to irregular shapes such as triangles. This rule applies also when designing a company logo

* T-Junctions and Straight Roads: Try and avoid purchasing a house or business premises that lie opposite a T-junction or at the end of a long straight road. If this is not possible, try blocking the negative energy by planting a row of trees, building a wall or some placing some other barrier between the end of the road and your property

* Fireplaces: The best position for a fireplace is along the south wall of your home. The East, Northeast, Southeast and Southwest are also good locations. The worst position for a fireplace is in the northwest and in this case, it would be best to close it up or re-position it

* Family Pictures: Place happy family portraits on the Southwest wall. Alternatively, they can be placed in South, Southeast or Northwest

* Cramped Areas: Any area of your home that is cramped or narrow, such as long, tight corridors or rarely used corners, should be well lit and preferably painted white to prevent 'Chi' from becoming stagnant and potentially causing harm

* Sitting: In the office, always sit with the wall behind you if you seek co-operation and support of colleagues. Sitting with your back to people or a door can signify 'back stabbing', betrayal and lack of support

* Lucky & Unlucky Numbers: The most auspicious numbers are 8 (becoming rich) and 9 (longevity). Other lucky numbers are 2 (easy), 5 (in harmony), 6 (wealth) and 10 (certainty). These numbers can be used in combination with one another to create a positive meaning. For example, the number 26 would mean 'easy wealth'. The numbers 1 and 3 are neutral and the only number that is considered to be unlucky is 4 (death)

Seeking Advice

If you are not sure that the changes you are making are correct, then you would be well advised to seek the guidance of a professional Feng Shui practitioner. In theory, anyone can call himself a Feng Shui expert, so it is important to contact a reputable organisation such as the Feng Shui Society (in the UK) who can direct you to a genuine, fully qualified practitioner.

Excellent Reading

Lillian Too's Complete Guide to Feng Shui
Sacred Space by Denise Linn (Enhancing the energy of your home and office with Feng Shui)