Feng Shui, as an integral part of Chinese cosmology, is based on the five elements theory. The five elements theory can bring either positive or negative energies. What does each element signify and how are they represented?
Water is a symbol of freshness, purity and prosperity. It is represented by the color blue and black. Decorations or furniture pieces that represent the water element must be located north of the house. The water element is represented by waves and curves
Fire is a symbol of strength and determination and leads us towards success. Our relationship with our partner is also affected by the warmth of fire. It is represented by the color of the sun - red, orange, pink and yellow. Fire element decorations representing the must be placed South of the house. The fire element is expressed by triangles
Earth is a symbol of nourishment and stability. The earth serves as a strong foundation for man-made structures. It is represented by the colors brown and light yellow. Furniture should be placed in the house in the North-East and South-West areas. The earth element is represented by squares.
Metal is a symbol of accuracy, productivity, competence and promotes peace, simplicity and clarity. It gives us the energy and the motivation to pursue a career. It is represented by neutral colors; gray and white. Furniture should be placed in the house in the West and Noth-West directions. The metal is represented by circles.
Wood is a symbol of abundance and strength. Wood absorbs moisture and fuels fire. It is represented by the color green. Decorations symbolizing the wood element must be positioned at the Eastern and Southeastern part of the house. The wood element is expressed by rectangles.
Interaction among these five elements is complex, with very basic concepts. For example, if you want to succeed in your aspirations, then a fire element must be placed in the Southern part of the house. Since water can be destructive to fire, then it is prohibited to place a water element on the Southern part of the house. The same is true for the rest of the elements. You just have to know which one is constructive or destructive to whom. Basically, the constructive cycle runs this way: water-wood-fire-earth-metal. The destructive cycle, on the other hand, goes this way: water-fire-metal-wood-earth-water.
Aside from the concept of qi and the five elements, Feng Shui also follows the yin and yang principle.
• Yin represents negativity, is a symbol of femininity, passive energy and its color is black.
• Yang represents positivity, a symbol of masculinity, strength and active energy, and it’s shown as color white.
The principles of yin and yang must be applied to each room of the house to promote harmony and happiness. For example, the bedroom is an ideal place for yin. The bedroom is the place for sleep and relaxation, a retreat, and the place where we can clear our mind off worries. Playing soothing music while resting attracts yin energy. On the contrary, all yang items such as television, gadgets and powerful lights should be placed in the living room which is filled with yang energy. The benefits of following the Feng shui principles are reflecting on our good health, successful career, relationships, reputation, skills, knowledge and creativity: in short Feng Shui can help us to achieve a better life.
Different sources of qi in external environment influence our living space. In general, qi is greatly accumulated in the water. When a house is located near the ocean, on the peninsula, it gets too much qi from the ocean. To reduce its exposure to abundant yang without affecting great scenery, we should surround the house with trees.
In case the house is near roads, the movement of traffic on the road is as symbolic as the flow of water in a river. As a water full of qi, qi gathered within transportation can pass by the house or land if we don’t capture it with some trees or shrubs along our boundaries.
The intensity of the qi movement and the size of the trees or shrubs will vary depending on the traffic flow. Another factor in qi flow is whether the road passes straight across the front of the property, curves gently across the property or whether it is aimed directly at the front door.
In short the external environment is the first place to adjust the qi flow, before looking at the internal environment of any place, in order to achieve a harmonious qi flow in and around it.
In order to successfully apply feng shui at home or office, we need to use Bagua 八卦 (eight trigrams), or the main feng shui tools used to analyze the feng shui energy in any given space.
There are two ways of applying to the feng shui bagua, the Traditional school and the Western school.
Traditional application of bagua
In order to use Traditional bagua, we need to take the compass reading at the front door. We only need the compass reading of the house front door (original front door) because that’s the spot where the qi enters the house.
Western application of bagua
Western feng shui school does not take the compass directions into consideration. In this system bagua is defined by aligning the lower end of the basic bagua grid with the wall of the front door of the house.
In general, bagua represents eight trigrams, with a ninth element in the center of the form of the yin/yang symbol of balance and it’s referred to as the tai chi (tai ji) which is focused on all energy. The bagua is a fundamental tool of feng shui. Its divisions of heaven and earth, mountain and lake, fire and water, thunder and wind represent virtually every aspect of life including wealth, fame, marriage or relationships, children or projects, helpful people, career, inner knowledge and family or ancestors. For example, wealth is represented by the trigram for wind and fame is represented by the trigram for fire. Within any place these divisions are all represented, and the shape of any place gives clues as to what is happening in the lives of the people associated with that place. Within feng shui, the external shape of a block of land, a building or a room has a significant effect on the flow of energy and overall balance of that place.
Bagua is defined by implementation of strict rules, for example: southward direction is the best main orientation for a house to be placed in. If a house has a large tree directly in front of the doorway it is considered deflection of the entrance of wealth. Regular or rectangular shape of land represents the best option for the future house. Bedrooms should never be built over either empty spaces, garages, or empty store-rooms as this creates a qi vacuum underneath and affects the occupants adversely, leaving them without support. The gateway of the house should, by the same rule, not be bigger than the entranceway to the house, for it thereby detracts from the qi accumulation of the household. There should be ample room in front of any garage entrance. In the Kitchen rules equate water with yin and fire with yang, and this suggests that they must not confront each other so that a sink or a refrigerator (Water) should not face a stove (Fire). Yang should in each case slightly predominate over yin to obtain a favorable feng shui balance.
There are a number of key points in the house architecture that need to be considered from a feng shui point of view. The gate [or main door] of a building is the house entering point of abundant qi, the direction of which determines the overall benefit or otherwise, for the occupants. The interior courtyard helps to accumulate beneficial qi. Having trees in the courtyard is limited, and shall not be planted in the center of the courtyard because they introduce too much yin, increase the humidity, and, if they grow too big, they might dominate the house. The toilet is one of the points of foul water evacuation in the house. As it is negative, it is ideal to place it in an inauspicious location and to suppress malignant qi. To help lift the mood of your living room and to maintain its vibrancy, it is important that we mix and match the colors and furniture well.
The main entrance of the house represents career and potential for success in general. If the main entrance is too narrow, the flow of qi will be restricted in that part of the house. There should be no piece of furniture standing along the entrance hall because this will block the flow of qi, and might cancel future opportunities. A long entrance hall is considered a bad choice as it might prevent luck and prosperity from reaching you instantaneously. The best thing to do is to keep your main entrance wide. Once you open your front door, a wide-open space should be welcoming you.
Sofas placed at the center of the living room symbolize weakness and unharmonious relationships. The wall symbolizes our source of support. We mustn’t place sofas right in front of doors blocking the main door qi circulation. If we place something along the entrance point, it might keep us from achieving maximum potential and success. If a sofa is well arranged, it might attract power, luck and fortune.
It is considered a bad choice to have two or more doors in the living room because in this way qi can flow from one door out to the other and luck can exit through the other door. If there are two doors, the rule is that we keep those doors closed. We mustn’t place a door directly in front of another, due to energy blockage. Each door can only be accompanied by three windows at most - this means that if you have two doors in the living room, the maximum number of windows that you can install is six.