Feng Shui Wood Element

Feng Shui Wood Element

Being that it is springtime and a time for renewal, the Feng Shui wood element is the ideal place to begin a discussion of the elements. Of the five elements, wood is one of the most refreshing and easily adaptable solutions for one’s home. It is associated with spring, new life, and the directions east and southeast. Wood is used frequently to break the direct flow of Qi into a soft and dispersed flow. So let’s explore how to use wood to bring out the best this spring.

What exactly is the wood element? Wood is living and breathing plants. It can also be the color of green. Can you use tables and chairs made of wood? Of course, but not for the Feng Shui remedy of wood. Wood is a unique element in that it purifies Qi. It redirects Qi. It slows down Qi. Living plants are unique in that they take impure air and freshen it with new oxygen. For those who celebrate Christmas, think about how fresh the house is when there is a tree in your living room. Wood is refreshing.

Solving issues with Feng Shui wood element

First, you can use wood to enhance your environment. A beautiful ficus tree or perhaps a philodendron can be used to resolve several Feng Shui issues. The most common question in Feng Shui is what if I have a front door opposite a rear door? The answer would be to place a large bushy plant in the pathway between the doors to break up the direct flow of Qi.

Another example of the effective utilization of wood is to use a large shrub or small tree to break up the effect of a sharp angle (Metal Sha) from a corner that points directly at you. In one case, a client placed a grove of trees to offset the corner angle of an apartment building that was pointing at his house. Another client inside placed a beautiful ficus tree at the corner of an interior wall that was pointing right at his bed. Use plants (Feng Shui Wood) to soften this harsh projection of Qi.

Feng Shui Wood Colors

Plants are also a great remedy for odors in the house. Today many people recommend air purifiers. We know firsthand that these work well, yet we still prefer the traditional method of using plants and flowers to cleanse and provide a fragrant environment. Used in combination, you can’t go wrong.

feng shui wood elementCan you use the color as a solution in Feng Shui? Yes. The color green is warm and is a popular color in the ’90′s. Homes that have their sitting side (usually the rear of the home opposite the street) to the east or southeast can utilize the color green as an accent on their house trim. These homes are associated with the wood element and adding the color as the trim can assist the Feng Shui of the home. Using green highlights (such as green pillows or perhaps even drapes with some green tones) within a room that is in the east or southeast can also be beneficial.

Remember that everything is to be in balance. Too much of anything is not good. When using the wood element in your home, create beauty, not a jungle environment. Do not decorate a room entirely in green. Use it to accentuate, not overpower. If over used, people who are associated with the earth element can have problems. There is beneficial earth Qi in certain areas that can provide prosperity, but if overpowered by the wood, they might not provide this prosperity. Remember balance. In proper proportion though, wood is always beneficial for providing good Qi in your home or office.

Wood is nourished by water and wood is the source for strength in fire. So next time, we will focus on the Feng Shui element of fire (the summer element).
Images graciously provided by: Darroll Higginbotham &The Palm Farm

Feng Shui Fire Element

Feng Shui Fire Element

Fire is something that has transfixed man for as long as we have had recorded history.  Fire is what keeps us warm. Fire cooks our food. Fire in proportion can be useful.  Fire out of control is devastating. The Chinese looked at fire as being one of the primary elements.  It is the most Yang of the elements. It holds mystery in its flame.  When it comes to Feng Shui, fire is a very potent and strong elemental remedy.  It is not to be used haphazardly.  Not only because of the potential risk inherent in fire, but because fire strengthens the Earth element.   Energetically speaking, the Earth elements can be a very harmful form of qi.   Using fire can strengthen the negative aspects of the earth creating accidents or sickness.  Used correctly though, it can strengthen your wealth qi.

The first question we usually get from people when discussing the five elements is “What is the fire element?” The fire element is the actual application of fire.  A candle or even a red bed spread can be used for the fire element.  As you noticed, the color red can be used too.  Ideally, the actual element should be used.  There are many times though, that the element is too dangerous to use, so we recommend something red.  A good substitute for the actual element would be a red light bulb, or a red lampshade.  These provide a vibrant color and importantly, heat.  These are more effective than a red carpet, although as an alternative a red rug or bed spread works as well.

How does it interact with the earth element?  As mentioned above, the fire element provides strength to the earth element.  This can be negative or positive.  In the eight trigrams, there are two trigrams of earth and the center, which is also earth.  When calculating the Qi of a building or house, we look for either the number 2 (the Kun trigram) or the number 5 (the center). These two trigrams, during this time period, are less favorable and can create sickness or accidents.  The Ken trigram (8) on the other hand, can bring prosperity and wealth. It is also good for children.  This is the one case where fire can be used beneficially to strengthen earth.

Fire can also be used to reduce negative wood qi.  In some cases wood qi can bring gossip arguments, and lawsuits.  This is unlike using the element of wood as mentioned in an earlier article, but rather here we are referring to the qi within a building.  Qi is a form of energy and can take on aspects of any of the elements. When it is a wood qi, it can have the effects mentioned above, or it can bring the flowering of a new relationship.

How can it be applied?  The fire element can be used in a variety of ways.  You can use a candle.  The color of the candle does not really matter so much as long as you are burning it.  If you are not burning the candle, then try to use red or purple candles.  Here it is the color, not the candle itself that is providing the remedy.  As previously mentioned, using a red lampshade or a red nightlight is an effective solution for the fire remedy. Hurricane lamps are also effective because they are safer than exposed candles.  Lastly, anything that is vibrant red can be used.  The actual element of fire is preferred though.

Fire, as a Feng Shui remedy is very potent.  It does take some understanding though on how to properly use it. Used incorrectly and it can bring sickness and separation.  Use this element safely, as it can be dangerous in a practical sense
as well.  Kids, dogs, and candles usually do not mix.  When used correctly though, it can bring money and help with relationships.  It takes a trained Feng Shui pracitioner to determine where best to apply the fire element.  Lastly, use all of the five elements judiciously and in balance. Too much of anything is not good.

Images graciously provided by “The Candleshoppe”

Feng Shui Metal Element

Feng Shui Metal Element

Have you ever held a compass close to something metal, such as an automobile or even a metal table? Metal can effect
the compass needle, skewing it to one side or another by several degrees. Because of this strong effect, one of the
primary Feng Shui solutions that is recommended more times than not, is something made of metal. In Feng Shui Metal is a strong remedy and can be used to prevent illnesses, money delays, and even loneliness. It needs to be properly applied in the correct area to be effective. Since it is one of the key elements and is very commonly available, the metal element has a lot of ways in which it can be applied in Feng Shui.

Metal can be used in a lot of forms in Feng Shui. A metal solution can be gold, silver, brass, bronze, or even steel. The main consideration is that it fits nicely into the environment. For example, a nice brass wall hanging looks nice in a living room. A set of weight lifter plates in the living room does not. However, if you need metal and you have workout weights that you do not use, then the weights can be placed at the bottom of a brass pot, then covered with a small plant, then it makes an effective metal solution because the pot with a plant looks attractive. (The metal is much stronger than the small plant so this is not a wood solution) The idea here is to create a beautiful solution while getting substantial feng shui metal effect. The effect needs to be proportional though. Having a lot of metal in a small room or having too little metal in a large room does not fit proportionally. Try to get a solution that works for the area you are working with.

There are a lot of other creative metal elements that can be used. Some of our clients use brass statues of deer or even a bronze horse bust. A couple of very strong metal solutions include a metal chiming clock and wind chimes. Both of these need to be used carefully and upon the advice of a trained practitioner. Mainly because they are audible, the sound strengthens the effect of the metal dramatically. Used properly though, they can render assistance to areas that are prone to accidents, money delays, and illnesses. Just like Yin and Yang, there needs to be a balance, so too much metal can be detrimental and too little can be ineffective.

One tip about wind chimes; this year (until February 2000) if you plan to do any gardening, or construction in the South, adding a metal wind chime outside can prevent construction delays or accidents. Next year (2/2000 until 2/2001) it will be the North. Again, consider the time cycles, not all Feng Shui recommendations as permanent.

Many of our students ask “Why is metal the primary remedy in Feng Shui?” Well, the answer is because of the time aspect. Since time and space are always undergoing change, so is qi. During this time period, certain earth qi is not favorable and the solution is to use metal to correct it. Because of this, more times than not, the recommendation will be something made of metal. This does not mean to replace everything in your house with something metal, but in a lot
of cases, metal accents in the home can assist in improved health and a reduction of delays. Ideally though, you should seek out a qualified Feng Shui practitioner to assist you in determining whether you need to add metal in your home.

Lastly, remember that Feng Shui is about balance and harmony. Do not overdo it. Any Feng Shui solution applied should fit naturally into your environment and should not appear awkward or out of place. Remember too, if something doesn’t feel right to you, then it is not good Feng Shui. Always use common sense and proper aesthetics.

Feng Shui Mirrors

Feng Shui Mirrors

Frequently, Feng Shui practitioners in America utilize mirrors as a cure. We consistently see mirrors being used upon the recommendation of a prior “master.” According to one web site, “Mirrors are known to be the aspirin of Feng Shui” (Although I tend to think of them as placebos). What do these mirrors do and how do they affect the Feng Shui in a house or business?

Let me first start out with saying that 168 Feng Shui Advisors recommends the use of mirrors as a bathroom tool to comb your hair by. Beyond that, mirrors only serve a visual or artistic effect. Mirrors have been misrepresented as a Feng Shui “cure” by a lot of practitioners. Here in this country, these practitioners claim that feng shui mirrors will reflect negative Chi and spirits. Have you ever tried to reflect heat with a mirror, or perhaps x-rays? Mirrors only reflect light, a narrow area of the energetic spectrum. Chi, defined as “life energy,” flows around and through each of us, is not diverted by a four inch, eight edged mirror.

Using Feng Shui Mirrors

Mirrors have a useful nature. They can be used to hide pillars, to expand the appearance of a room, and to be used in a piece of art. A small restaurant in Monterey Park, California, which we frequent, uses mirrors to hide the support pillars of the restaurant. Without the mirrors, the pillars would divide the room and make the restaurant appear smaller. While this is an architectural remedy, but has nothing to do with the chi of the building. It can be said that from a Feng Shui perspective, it does create a better environment. After all, Feng Shui is about creating a more comfortable and supportive environment. Let me clarify, while mirrors might be recommended as a visual change, they are not a remedy against bad chi.

Traditional Feng Shui utilizes only the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water as remedies to energetic issues in a house or building. Mirrors do not play any part as a remedy. Often you will see mirrored baguas opposing each other on two houses that face each other. Sometimes there will be a bagua feud – the bigger bagua wins. This is not Feng Shui, but rather superstition mixed with egotism. Traditional Feng Shui does not subscribe to mysticism, superstition, or religion.

Clearing up the mystery of Feng Shui Mirrors

So how did mirrors get mixed into Feng Shui concepts? It is very likely that one of two things (or perhaps both) created this belief in mirrors. First, in the Middle Ages, mirrors were made of polished brass. A master would suggest that you need a mirror in a certain area. It was not the mirror, but rather the brass (metal element) that would create the remedy.

Another very likely misunderstanding is a very well known Feng Shui book title: “Eight House Mirror Theory.” This book says nothing about mirrors as a remedy, but rather, it infers that after performing calculations based on the eight directions, you will have the answer before you as clear as a mirror. Again, people who knew about this book, but did not know or understand its contents probably took the title as a literal recommendation.

Mirrors as stated above, can create an architectural or artistic effect, but are not to be mixed with Feng Shui remedies. If you are looking for a Feng Shui practitioner, be wary of those who prescribe mirrors as a solution to your Feng Shui woes.

Common Sense Feng Shui

There are many aspects to Feng Shui. One can use the analogy of comparing Feng Shui to an onion. As you peel the skin away, there are deeper and deeper layers to be discovered. One of the topmost layers is environmental Feng Shui. Many practitioners go only as deep as this level. Despite only hitting the surface of the science of Feng Shui, they do have some limited success. Anyone who takes the time can apply these environmental Feng Shui principles to their offices and living space. Although much is said about these factors, they bear repeating as questions abound about the “common sense” environmental aspects of Feng Shui.

One of the most basic principles of environmental Feng Shui is that you do not sit with your back to an entrance. It is amazing how many modern offices have cubicles or office furniture arrangements that place a person facing away from either the entrance to their cubicle or the door of the office. Placing a person like that is both unproductive and creates a suspicious feeling in the person who consistently has to turn around to see who is behind them. One company had a worker, who knew nothing about Feng Shui, with a mirror next to him to see who was approaching from the rear. While we do not recommend mirrors as a Feng Shui remedy, (see the article on mirrors) this was one case where it did come in handy to make the person aware of his surroundings. People can be much more productive if they are comfortable. A desk that is aligned in such a way as to protect the backside of the worker is a much more comfortable situation.

Another common sense Feng Shui axiom is that curves are much more pleasing than angles. In art, a smooth curving brush stroke is much more pleasing to the eye than a sharp angle. The same is true in buildings. It seems that much is written about angles pointing at you. They are referred to as Metal Sha, Qi Arrows, etc. From a common sense perspective they do not look pleasing, nor do they provide comfort. They create on on-rush of direct chi from two directions with a focus directly at you. The objective then is to break up that on-rush of energy. Ideally a curved corner is much more desirable. Many architects and builders are now building homes with no angles at all. Every corner is rounded. If it is a building near your home or office, consider putting a tall bush or shrub in front of the angle to break up the qi force.

Clutter – this has to be the most popular “cure all” solution for your basic Feng Shui practitioner. Feng Shui is about pleasing and comfortable environments. While some people thrive on clutter, it is not a way of improving one’s prosperity or well being. So even though it is basic advice, it is still good advice. Take care of the clutter. You may have seen this solution on TV, but it works for assisting in clearing out the clutter.

Looking at environmental “Sha” (evil influence), freeways and roads are the most predominant in today’s world. Some suggestions about these environmental influences are to avoid living right next to a freeway. This is true for railroad tracks as well. While people can become accustom to the noise Sha, it does not provide a harmonious environment. There is too much fast moving qi and noise Sha. If you have this situation, try to put some barriers between you and the Sha. A hedge or a wall can deflect some of the noise. Another situation to avoid is living in a house or building on the outside edge of a curved road. This is like a sickle of qi slicing through the house. From a common sense perspective, it is more likely that a car will lose control and end up in your yard. Again, the solution would be to create a barrier such as a hedge or wall that is protective. While these can be protective, ensure that they fit with the environment around, are beautiful, and are not isolating.

Another problem in today’s cities is the problem of proportion. Many times a high rise is built next to a small building or apartment complex or even a single home. A high-rise by itself is unprotected and exposed. A small building surrounded by high-rises is overwhelmed and the occupants have a similar feeling. The solution here is to avoid situations like these. This is true if you are planning a building or if you are looking for homes.

Modern environmental influences can also include electrical lines. Although the debate about high-tension power lines continues, Feng Shui considers this Fire Sha. Too much Fire Sha is not good. If there are power lines near your house, consider adding earth element to ground this fire.

A more traditional environmental Sha are cemeteries. Cemeteries are the resting-places for the yin spirits. Too much yin chi can be overwhelming. There is another study of Feng Shui known as “Yin House Feng Shui.” This is the study of the Feng Shui of the dead. Traditional Chinese culture believes that the siting of the grave can affect the generations to follow. Cemeteries are places to mourn and have separation associated with them. This is even more yin qi. Yang house (homes for the living) should not be near cemeteries.

Good Feng Shui standards follow the concept of “being plugged in.” This is applicable to bedrooms, houses and apartments. In the bedroom, keep your bed “plugged in” to a wall. Do not have the bed at an angle to the walls, nor away from a solid wall. This leads to uncomfortable sleeping patterns and a generally poor rest. The bedroom is where you regenerate and absorb the most chi of the day. Most people spend at least six to eight hours sleeping. During this time you are absorbing the qi of the room. When a proper Feng Shui analysis is performed, the focus should be on the bedrooms and the entrance (where the qi circulates into your house). The most important part of Feng Shui is creating a balanced environment for the people. A supportive bedroom is a must.

Houses and other buildings should be plugged into the ground. Stilt houses are not considered to have good Feng Shui since they are not “plugged into” the ground. This can lead to instability and stomach problems. When looking for a place on a hill, try to find one that is grounded.

Lastly, always remember to keep a balance. The fundamental theory of Feng Shui is the concept of Yin and Yang. This is about balance. If a room is too bright, put up curtains. If a room is too dark, consider adding a skylight. If it is too cold, turn on the heater. Too much of anything is not healthy. 168 Feng Shui Advisors uses the philosophy of “Bringing traditional balance to modern living.” There are a lot of modern environmental problems around, but there are as many traditional solutions. Thousands of years ago, things were much simpler which allowed the time to examine solutions in depth. The answers to today’s environmental issues are still to be found in traditional Feng Shui.