What is Feng Shui? Feng shui is an ancient and globally respected system of environmental analysis. It's principles are used to maximize the potential of a location or space through the balance of elements within (Fire, Earth, Metal, Water & Wood) to direct the flow of energy within a space in harmony with the area's function and Nature.
Yin and Yang: Life Energy (also known as Chi or Ki) is measured though the balance of opposing forces, Ying and Yang. The qualities of Yin (feminine) energy are slow moving, dark, soft textures, curves and circles while Yang (masculine) energy is fast moving. bright light, hard surfaces and straight lines. Yin energy is more conducive to places for relax and sleep. Yang energy is needed in areas to support work and creative pursuits. Fine tuning the balance of yin and yang improves the efficiency, quality and enjoyment of the activities performed there.
Form School Feng Shui: Form School is the earliest known method of feng shui and dates back over 4000 years. It was originally used to find the most desirable and protected location for the final resting place of family members based on natural land forms and the archetypal spirits of the four directions (The Green Dragon in the East, the Red Phoenix of the South, the White Tiger in the West and the Black Tortoise in the North). It is thought that by honoring one's ancestors in this way, they would be more available to hear the prayers of the living thereby helping them to achieve good health, wealth and happiness. This tradition was extended to select the most auspicious sites for the living by the ruling classes. Basically, site selection meant taking advantage of natural land forms to determine the most strategically defendable location for the royal families to build palaces and create compounds for their armies and government buildings. it's use in Chinese culture expanded through emerging social classes an beyond it's borders into neighboring lands. While Form School is still used in China for site selection for ancestral tombs, it is also widely used in the site selection for major corporations world wide.
Compass School Feng Shui: Compass School evolved from Form School to determine the best site locations in the plains and mesas where easily defendable land forms were less accessible. The compass was invented in China sometime late in the first century AD. The Chinese Compass was oriented to be read from the South due to the importance of the Sun in sustaining life. If we look to the placement of elements in the Pa Kua we can easily understand the logic in their placement: The Red Phoenix is now the element of fire in the south, the Green Dragon is the elements of wood placed in the East and Southeast, the White Tiger is represented in the element of Metal in the West and Northwest, the Black Tortoise is the element of water in the North and the land itself is represented as the element of Earth in the Southwest, Northeast and Center of the Compass. The energy of the four directions has been refined into 5 elements and assigned to 9 areas of the Pa Kua Compass and incorporating the eight trigrams of the I Ching to the eight compass points. The I Ching, also known at The Book Of Changes, is an ancient Chinese philosophical text illustrating a system of cause and effect represented through 8 trigrams (sets of 3 lines) and 64 hexgrams (sets of 6 lines).
Who benefits from Feng Shui? Every living organism's potential for successful life is greatly determined by it's environment. A seedling will thrive or wither based on how it's environment provides for it's needs. Animals in the wild need access to food and a safe haven from those above them in the food chain to survive. While our needs seem vastly more sophisticated than those of the plant and animal kingdoms, our ability to effectively thrive in any space is greatly determined by how safe and comfortable we are within it. If we feel safe and protected, we are better able to focus on the activity at hand and will have greater opportunities for success, whether for work, rest or play. If our environment is stressful, our ability to enjoy a meal, perform our duties or sleep well is compromised. We make a multitude of decisions daily to maximize our potential for comfort and safety, from the lanes we chose to drive on the freeway, where we prefer to sit in a restaurant, how we face another individual during a business meeting, etc. These are not random choices but directly relate to your basic instincts for survival. When a space feels comfortable and inviting, it's because there is harmony and balance within.