Based in Taoism and the teachings of Confucius, feng shui (pronounced fung shway) has been practiced in China for more than two millennia. Its objective is to direct the flow of vital energy, known as chi, through the environment in order to create balance and harmony. According to Eastern philosophy, chi is the enlivening force in the universe that animates all life.
Also known as the art of placement, feng shui includes both esoteric and practical aspects. The mystical part involves the use of symbolism to magically produce results. The practical side incorporates the principles of interior design to enhance the beauty and efficiency of your living space. One of the reasons feng shui has become so widely accepted is that you don't need to understand or believe in the mystical facets in order to reap its material rewards.
In the last decade or so, feng shui has gained popularity in the West, and it is now used by many interior designers and architects. Large corporations, including Coca-Cola, Sony, Shell, Procter and Gamble, as well as thousands of small businesses and individual homeowners in the United States have applied feng shui's techniques to attract money, health, success, happiness, and other benefits.
Your Home Is a Magical Environment
Numerous schools of feng shui exist, but the one practiced most often in the West uses a tool called a ba-gua to analyze your home or workplace. The ba-gua divides space into nine sectors called gua, each of which corresponds to an area of your life: money, relationships, health, and so on.
By simply looking at the interior of your home — how you position furniture, your color scheme, where clutter tends to collect, and so on — a feng shui practitioner can discern which areas of your life are in good shape and which are causing difficulties.
Feng shui sees everything in your home as a reflection of you. The goal is to get chi to flow smoothly through your living space so that it energizes your home and the people who live there. By altering certain things in your home, you can literally change your life.
Let's say, for example, the section of your home that's linked to relationships is cluttered. This suggests confusion or obstacles are present in your primary partnership. By cleaning out the clutter, you can actually clear up some of your relationship problems.
Feng Shui's Magical Cures
To remedy imbalances, feng shui recommends using various cures that are largely symbolic but that may have practical sides as well. The ten principal cures are light, moving objects, living things, sound, color, heavy objects, images, scent, and electrical items. Each cure has specific purposes and applications. Moving objects, such as wind chimes and fans, circulate chi and keep it from stagnating in places. Heavy objects, such as stones or statuary, hold down chi and prevent it from moving too quickly through your home.
Many feng shui cures are simple and inexpensive to implement. You can combine two or more to create the effects you desire. Feng shui is extremely flexible. For every problem, you can usually find several cures to correct it. As in other forms of magic, your intention is key to the success of feng shui.