Feng Shui – pronounced fung schway – is translated as “wind” (Feng) and “water” (Shui). These two words encompass the main ingredients to help humans thrive on earth, paired with providing deeper insights into how people could choose to interact with their surroundings and self to better align with favorable supportive energy, Qi.
The early beginnings of Feng Shui emerged from shamanic practices in the mountain ranges of China around 6,000 B.C. and is called Yin Feng Shui. Yin Feng Shui, which is still practiced today, locates the best burial sites for the deceased. This approach of Feng Shui says that by honoring the dead respectfully through finding the most auspicious burial plots, descendants will benefit and continue to prosper in life.
Over the years, the practice of Feng Shui evolved into Yang, living Feng Shui. Form and Compass School were the first practices to be modified to help transform the energy of households to benefit the living. In due time a cross-pollination of ideas, cultural practices, and individual as well as group interpretations of Feng Shui gave birth to new approaches. Many refer to newer interpretations as New Age Feng Shui. Whichever method you choose is up to you so long as you feel that it helps you navigate your intentions and participate in transformation with yourself and your surroundings. Each practice starts with similar foundations and building upon them.
The Five Elements – Water, wood, fire, earth and metal provide important insights with each cycle in how they relate to the human mind, body, emotions. They can even be applied to buildings for another added layer of insight for healing.
YinYang – Exploring and understanding constant states of change, moving from one extreme to the other to create equilibrium or universal balance.
Eight Trigrams – Based on the Tai Chi symbol, trigrams are the foundations of Chinese philosophy of the I-Ching and Feng Shui. They help describe how nature works and exhibit to us how to live a naturally balanced life.
Ba Gua – Also known in modern day terms as a ‘life station map’, the Ba Gua provides insights into a macro and micro relationship with your inner and external worlds. There are two different versions, the Early Heavenly Bagua (utilized for burial sites and undeveloped land), and the Later Heavenly Bagua (utilized for buildings).
Compass – The Chinese compass is called a Luo Pan or sometimes, Lo Pan. It helps locate directions and reveal hidden narratives that refer to the union of Heaven and Earth in regard to electromagnetic fields. It is also good to remember that there are variations to this approach which move into the area of astrology for both the person and building in question.
Form School (for the living) – Studies the land formations of mountain ranges and valleys for the best energy flow to establish the ideal sites for homes, plentiful harvests and, healthy livestock, thereby ensuring their own prosperity.
As you can see, Feng Shui does not encompass only one perspective, there are nuances and shades of gray, which is symbolic of having many different paths to choose from to achieve your goals. The teachings have evolved over time due to various influences, and because of that, contradictions will come about from time to time among the various Feng Shui approaches. It is important to remember that by choosing to adopt Feng Shui into your lifestyle and environment, the overall universal intention is to help humans – and animals too – to positively enhance, harmonize, and cultivate peaceful living and working spaces that occupants can thrive in.
Laura Cerrano is a certified Feng Shui Master, president, CEO, and founder of the international consulting firm Feng Shui Manhattan.