Saturday, 31 January 2009

Classic Feng Shui lesson from a Beijing Professor

When Professor Zhao gave a lecture about Feng Shui at the Chinese Culture Club (CCC) in Beijing (see my post about Feng Shui in Beijing) he distinguished between the Feng Shui for exterior settings and for interiors.

This post is about Feng Shui for interiors and will be the third and last part about Prof. Zhao's lecture. Please remember that this lecture was about classic feng shui as it is still practiced in China.

He started by listing some general hints:

1) A good floor plan or layout has to have a square or rectangular shape to ensure the free flow of qi. (remark: if the layout of a floor or a room has a different shape, e.g. a L-shape, some area of the bagua map will miss.)

2) The amount and size of rooms should be in an adequate ratio to the the amount of people living in.

3) Try to get as much sunshine as possible into the rooms (best of course when facing south).

4) The rooms should be placed according importance (e.g. bathroom in the back)

5) Balance the influences of yin & yang (shadow and light, high and low, 'water and fire')

6) Avoid sharp corners (less 90 degree)

7) Avoid 'hasty wind' (draft) that could attack the good qi.

How to enhance feng shui in special areas / rooms :

Main Door / Gate
- the main door is equivalent to the face of a person
- free passage for wind and people
- door best in South-East corner
(for courtyards: then turn left and have 2nd door in the middle - or have a fish bowl or statue or screen between the 1st and the 2nd door to walk around - because evil ghosts (only) go straight)
- it is not good to see the kitchen right away (kitchen is related to fire)
- it is not good to face the toilet right away (no good smell)
- avoid to see a mirror (it can reflect both, good and bad qi which goes away, out of the house)
- avoid wooden beam above the entrance (could be 'bone-crushing')
- avoid arch shape of your door (in China it is associated with tombs)
- the door should not face a road or an elevator as bad qi can blow into your home

Living Room / Main Room
- emphasize elegance or your taste
- should reflect harmony and peace (of a family)
- should be easy to access (not to walk long ways), best in center
- should have lots of light or bright lamps
- try to avoid to see other doors, egg. to bedroom
- no wooden beam (symbolize that somebody is riding on you, also dangerous during earthquakes)
- appropriate number of furniture, not too less, not too much
- sofa should be place against wall or other furniture (console)
- but not a fish tank (water) should be behind or in front of the sofa
- no mirror behind the sofa (head is reflected and gives disturbance to the person like 'you lost your spirit, attention')
- no passage behind the sofa (no person or wind should be able to pass behind)

Corridor / Stairs
- a corridor should not run in the middle of a house and separate the rooms like a sword
- also not good if a stairways is in the living room, if stairs are necessary then better spiral stairs (in clockwise direction)

- should be peaceful and comfortable
- no mirror in front or beside the bed !
- 2 bedrooms should not face each other, doors should not be opposite to ensure privacy
- no glass window straight down to the floor (in case make bottom part not see-through)
- toilet should not face bedroom (in case keep door closed)
- bedroom door should not face kitchen door
- no sharp things (eg. sword, ventilator) --> no ventilator over bed !
- bed should not face the door

- clean
- tools should be placed for convenience
- not in the center of the house
- not facing south (kitchen = fire, South = fire, when kitchen on fire --> too much fire!)
- should not face the gate / main door, bedroom or toilet (smell)
- oven should not face the window or door (wind could extinguish fire, if cooking with gas)
- also separate water (sink, fridge) and fire (oven)

- clean (of course... well, not always in China...)
- dry (dto.)
- privacy (dto.)
- worst location (egg. South-West part of courtyard, or any hidden corner, but not in center)
- not at the end of a corridor
- should have good ventilation (best is window)
- close toilet seat (yes!!) --> to prevent loss (of money)

Common Errors

1) a common error is to paint the walls in these colors (of the 5 elements), better to choose a color according to your feelings or your birth date (how to calculate your bagua number and finding the suitable colour go here)
2) the Western interpretation of the 8 patterns is different or often not correct (in which way I did not get it, too bad)
3) the number theory is also often miss used (egg. with floors)... did he mean the '4' phobia that includes '14', '24' etc. ?)
4) the exaggeration of inner and outer screen walls (this is more useful for courtyards)
5) some beasts (statues) or magic writing to fear off evil is exaggerated.

Well, I hope this was a bit different from the usual Feng Shui reads in the West. It has some amusing parts. It cannot always be applied to modern Western homes. But what I learned is that you have to follow your intuition and pick for yourself what feels best for you, also what symbols work best for you. I am not the crystal ball type. BUT I have heard a story about a quartz / rock crystal under a bed that must have fulfilled its purpose.

Any interesting Feng Shui experience to share?

Feng Shui label on Beijing Notebook

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