I am currently reading the Idiot's Guide to Feng Shui and addressing the concepts presented in the book in series of blog posts. This post is the second in that series.
Feng Shui it seems is all about energy or Qi and balancing energy is paramount to its practice. Practitioners of Feng Shui believe that an environmental imbalance in Yin and Yang in can lead to both physical and emotional disturbances. Of the history of Feng Shui the Idiot's Guide says:
"Initially yin and yang meant the shady (yin) and sunny (yang) sides of a hill, an idea ascribed to Zhou ancestor Gong Liu when he set about selecting an auspicious site for his people. Some five centuries later during the mid to late Zhou dynasty (c. 770-481 BCE), yin and yang were described as the two primal forces of qi."
While Yin and Yang are commonly thought of as opposites, the relationship between the two is not so much oppositional as dynamic as represented by fluid S curve of the taiji, the familiar symbol of light and dark.
In the Taiji the dark area represents Yin or the feminine principle. The light, Yang or masculine. Yin is dark and cool. It is associated with the moon, night, winter, earth and water. It is imaginative, intuition, creative and is linked with both religion and philosophy. It may be inactive with the potential negatives of sadness, selfishness and greed. Colors associated with Yin include black, brown, blue and green. Its direction is north.
Yang is light, hot and dry. It is associated with the sun, daytime, summer, heat, and light. It is active, firm, logical and fast and is linked to mathematics, science and finance. It may be aggressive or exuberant. Its colors are white, yellow and red. Its direction is south.
A second important principle in Feng Shui is what is called the Five Phases. These phases are identified as fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Each is a manifestation of Qi and has its own Qi character (Fire Qi radiates for example while Earth compacts). Each interacts with other phases in different ways. A domination of one phase creates imbalance which negatively affects Qi.
Each of the Five Phases is associated with a season, direction, weather condition, color, number and trigram which makes it possible to balance Qi in a variety of ways. A room dominated by fire-metal for example may be remedied by earth. Strategies for balancing with earth might include the placement of rocks or crystals, ceramic or clay sculptures or the colors brown and yellow. Water remedies a metal-wood domination which might be accomplished by the inclusion of table fountains, aquariums or the colors blue and black. Wood remedies water-fire. This phase could be introduced by the inclusion of a living plant or tree or the color green.
This is not the sum total of the practice of Feng Shui of course. It is in many ways, an applied science complete with its own symbolism, rules and calculations. I have a great deal more to learn about Feng Shui before putting it into practice in my own home. When this is accomplished, however, I will do a third Feng Shui post, including before and after pics and an evaluation of its affect on my environment.
Before starting this series it occurred to me that the topic of Feng Shui might not be considered mystical in the way of Kabbalah or Tarot. Because its application however was suggested to me by my guides and because I find the underlying spiritual principal of Qi fascinating. I am and have always been extremely sensitive to energy and I find the idea of a systematic approach to balancing the energetic influences in my own environment exciting. I highly recommend the Idiot's Guide to Feng Shui to anyone interested in learning more about this very promising practice.