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feng shui basics

Feng Shui is a system for arranging your surroundings in harmony and balance with the natural world around you. In Chinese, the words Feng Shui mean "wind and water." Feng Shui For Real Life is a contemporary, practical approach that allows you to use what you already have and what you want to acquire to bring good things into your life.

In the current economic downturn, more people are turning to practical uses of Feng Shui to help them through tough times.

Three Power Principles of Feng Shui
  • Chi
  • Chi is energy. It is the constantly moving and changing life force that we feel around us making us feel either good or bad in a certain location. Chi can accumulate in the objects around you. In your home or office, the chi will flow in through the door and out through the windows. The goal of Feng Shui improvements (or "cures") is to keep the chi flowing gently throughout your environment rather than running straight through it. Chi can have a negative effect on your surroundings when it gets stuck or blocked.

  • The Five Elements
  • The Five Elements is the collective name used to describe the colors, shapes, and textures around you. The Elements are: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Each Element is distinguished by a characteristic shape, colors, and set of attributes. Feng Shui improvements for homes and offices balance all of these Elements in your interior environment.

Fire FireTriangleRed, Orange, PurplePassion, Emotion
Earth EarthSquareBrown, YellowGrounding, Stability
Metal MetalCircleWhite, MetallicStrength, Independence
Water WaterCurvyBlack, BlueRelaxation, Inspiration
WoodWoodRectangleGreen, TealGrowth, Expansion

  • The Bagua
  • The Bagua is the chart used to map the areas of a home or office and determine where to locate the objects and colors that represent the Five Elements. The traditional bagua is an octagon (the word bagua means "8-sided" in Chinese). Modern approaches to Feng Shui use a grid-shaped chart to map nine areas of your life (see Bagua Map):
    1. Power/Wealth/Abundance
    2. Fame/Future/Reputation
    3. Love/Relationships/Marriage
    4. Creativity/Children/Legacy
    5. Compassion/Travel/Helpful People
    6. Self/Career/Work
    7. Knowledge/Wisdom/Harmony
    8. Family/Health/Community
    9. Well-Being/Balance


Use either a horizontal or a vertical bagua, depending on the shape of your house:
Vertical (townhouse, row house) - Click here for printable PDF version.
Horizontal (colonial, ranch, split level) - Click here for printable PDF version.

The Basic Tools of Feng Shui

A variety of tools are available to the Feng Shui practitioner, and any one may be more effective than another for a particular situation. The following tools are especially helpful to unblock energy and balance a home or business:
  • Color adds emotional, physiological, and cultural content to our lives. We associate certain things with color, such as holidays, cultural events, and emotions. In Feng Shui, color is primarily used to represent and balance the Five Elements.
  • Sound is used to connect us to others in our environment. Music is a powerful way to uplift the chi in any environment and can sooth stressful home or office situations.
  • Lighting is a simple way to bring more chi into your environment, especially full-spectrum light bulbs that simulate natural light. Fireplaces are also a source of light.
  • Art can enhance the chi, whether it is a painting, sculpture, or textile. The selection and placement of art depends on the area of the bagua you need to activate. Art should reflect positive images and feelings.
  • Growing Things like healthy plants and flowers connect you with the natural world. They can be chosen for a specific shape and color to correspond to a particular element and area of the bagua. Silk plants can be used where light is too limited to grow healthy plants.
  • Water Features such as fountains and aquariums stimulate the movement of chi in and around your home or business.
  • Wind Sensitive Objects such as wind chimes, mobiles, whirligigs, banners, flags, and weather vanes attract the chi into your environment.
  • Mirrors & Crystals can be used when there are structural flaws or where there is no space for any other "cure."

© Copyright 2010, Carol Olmstead