Feng Shui Tips: Encouraging Adventure And Self Discovery

Feng shui has been used in China for thousands of years to help people change their fortunes.

Feng shui (which literally means wind and water) is an ancient Chinese system dating back as long as 6,000 years. There are many different kinds of feng shui systems, which sometimes to beginners seem to conflict each other. In reality different systems are interested in different aspects of energy flow and directing positive things to you.

The main thing all systems of feng shui are interested in is chi, or energy, which flows through all things and is part of all things. There is positive and negative chi, and the design of homes, offices and structures (as well as the larger environment) can affect the chi of the people who live and work inside.

The elements are also very important in feng shui. The basic creative elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. These elements can be represented by different objects in the home or different colors (green, red, yellow, white and black, respectively). To achieve balance in a room, all of these colors or objects should be represented in some way.

Potted plants emphasize wood and are useful in the living or dining rooms. Candles symbolize fire and are particularly helpful in oddly shaped rooms. Crystals stand for earth; a crystal hung in a window can bring good fortune. Fish bowls bring water into the home and can be used to attract wealth and prosperity. Wind chimes are often hung because the sound is said to attract good chi.

Windows and doors are important in feng shui because they allow energy to flow in and out. Too many windows will make it difficult for positive chi to settle in a room or home, and a window directly across from a door will cause the chi to flow immediately out as soon as it has flown in. Windows in bad locations can be counteracted by covering them with heavy drapes.

Mirrors are also often talked about in feng shui as a way to direct energies into or out of an area. It is good to have a mirror in your entryway because it will expand your chi and thus your opportunities. If a door to a room is next to a wall, you can place a mirror on the wall opposite the mirror (such that you can see your whole head when you enter the room) to direct the energy.

Other general energy guidelines include not having the front door face a staircase or directly into the kitchen, do not place the stove near the sink or facing a door, and do not have the bedroom door face the kitchen or toilet or the bed face a door. You should always place your bed against a wall, and don't have a red couch because it stimulates fire and can emphasize work pressure and troubles in your home.

If you're considering trying feng shi, one interesting way to start is with the configuration of you office space, either at home or in your place of business. The basic rules include never sitting with your back to the door (you should also not sit with your back to a window, especially a west-facing window), to attract money, face south or southeast. You can divide your office into a square as we'll talk about below (keeping your inbox in your wealth section, for instance) and see if you have a happier, more prosperous work environment.

The use of feng shui that has really taken off in the United States is the idea that different parts of the home house energies for different aspects of life (which is what the desk arrangement scenario above is based on). Any space, be it a home, office, or part of a home, can be divided into nine squares of equal size and each square corresponds to a different activity or idea. If you want to try this with your own home, make a drawing or take a copy of a blueprint and draw a grid of nine squares over just the living areas of the home (don't include the garage). If your home is oddly shaped you can use multiple sets of squares, but don't cut off any of the squares. The center square should be in the center of your home.

This square is known as a Lo Shu square and is said to derive from the shapes on the back of a giant tortoise discovered in China some 4,000 years ago. There were different numbers of spots on the turtle's back, and the number of spots added up to 15 in every direction. For this reason, the square, when filled with numbers instead of words, is known as a magic square. (The numbers can be used to determine lucky places in the home and for other astrological purposes.)

The squares are traditionally said to stand for wealth, fame, marriage, family and health, good luck, children, knowledge, career and mentors and travel. This is a left to right, top to bottom listing. The bottom (as listed here) should be where your front door is. Given this layout, you can see that it would be beneficial to have your bedroom in the marriage corner and not have a toilet in the wealth corner, for instance. This can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. With the help of a feng shui professional, you can thoroughly evaluate your home and devise what charms or rearrangement you need to do to bring more prosperity into your life. A water fountain can be placed in the area of the home where you want to attract good fortune, for instance.

Based on your birth date and whether you are male or female, Chinese astrology can be used to determine which parts of your home are lucky or unlucky. There are places online you can find that will do the math for you, or you may be able to find a book that can teach you how to do it yourself. Entering my information into one of these programs, I found that I am a "western" person (people are either eastern or western) so my lucky spots are the whole western side of the house, as well as the northeast corner. I further learned that the northeast is for a prosperous career and wealth and thus a good place for a master bedroom (which happens to be where mine is) and that the northwest is a good place for improving relations between people and would be ideal for a living room (no wonder people always come over and hang out in my kitchen). My husband, on the other hand, is eastern, and is advised to have a living room in the north part of the house and a study in the south part of the house (both of which we have). Our house has some positive and negative aspects for each of us, it seems. The trick is to spend the most time in those places that are luckier for you.

If you really get interested in finding out all that you can about the feng shui of your home, there is another test you can do that is based on your birth date and the orientation of your front door. This is known as the eight house theory, and it's pretty complex, but it divides the home into angles of influence based on cardinal directions. I found a geomancy site that had all the different kinds of homes listed for various birthdates. It showed that my ideal home would be oriented with the front door facing the southwest, and again that my most prosperous sections of the home would be the west and northeast. The trouble is, I actually live in a south house, and all those places that are supposed to be lucky for me are listed as unlucky in the south house. This really brings home the idea that different systems don't always fit together very well.

The possibilities are nearly endless when looking for ways to incorporate feng shui into your life and home d├ęcor. As you delve into the mysteries, you are sure to find out more about yourself and your lived ones and begin to see how little changes really can make a big difference in the way you feel in your home.

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