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

The Fish Factor – Feng Shui Fish Falacies

The Fish Factor – Feng Shui Fish Falacies

We frequently get questions about fish and their effect in Feng Shui. This is a Feng Shui topic that has a lot of misunderstanding, primarily because there is some basis for what is discussed, but also there is a lot of misunderstanding. There is no such thing specifically as a feng shui fish, although people tend to associate them with gold fish or with carp.

In traditional Chinese Feng Shui, the only recommended solutions are the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water element strengthens wood qi. Fish have been confused to be a Feng Shui remedy, but this is not in itself true. What it is, is a combination of superstition and misunderstanding. In Feng Shui, the number 6 and 7 are used in the calculations of the trigrams and are representative of metal, and 7= Dui or soft metal). Five Element theory says that metal strengthens water. Chinese folklore says that adding 6 gold fish and one black fish makes the water stronger. What this is trying to do is to strengthen the water effect with metal. Actually, the fish only add decoration to the tank. To really strengthen the water element, the tank should have the real metal element with the water.

Fish do add a couple of things though. One is beauty and the other is to add circulation to the water. Further, they are living creatures and they bring life to the environment. This is good Feng Shui, but it is not needed in a strict sense for the Water element to be effective. Personally, I like fish and if I were to add water to an area, I might add the fish, but for the beauty and serenity they bring, but not for the reason of strengthening the Water element. That is environmental Feng Shui, but not elemental Feng Shui. The water element will work with or without the fish, so long as it is kept clean and circulating. Avoid stagnant water. This becomes a “sha” (negative influence) and is not helpful.

Let me give you an example of how people apply fish to Feng Shui. There is a restaurant near our school that was “Feng Shui’d” by someone who knew only the folklore beliefs. All their remedies blatantly stood out. They have a giant (8 foot) fish tank at the entrance with 6 gold fish and 1 black fish. Nothing else in the tank! First, the poor gold fish have no environment to interact with and it appears very stark. This in itself is poorly applied Feng Shui. Second, all the other remedies stand out so much that they feel out of place. This is a not the way to resolve Feng Shui issues. Feng Shui is a natural science. Everything should appear natural. Properly applied, Feng Shui should be so natural that you don’t even notice that a Feng Shui master has been there, except for the feeling that the building is very comfortable. As an example, perhaps you need the Metal element in a room. By putting a beautiful bronze statue of a horse or perhaps a brass plate on the wall, you get the metal influence without it appearing out of place.

Lastly, everything in Feng Shui has an explanation. Feng Shui is based on logic and practical application. If in doubt about the information presented, question “why?” Also remember that Feng Shui properly applied, should appear natural and comfortable, both to people and to fish.

The Five Elements

The Five Elements

It seems that many people today who have heard about Feng Shui have heard about the Five Elements. These elements; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water are the foundation theory for Feng Shui balance. There also seems to be some confusion about just what these elements really are and how they work. Actually, it is fairly simple and based on common sense. It is easy to understand the elements and their significance. Using them properly and in the correct proportion is what separates a master from a student. The following is a brief description of each of these elements and how they might be applied.

Wood

We start with the wood element since it is the beginning of new life. Just as spring brings new plants and new life, wood is the originator of the five elemental cycle. Many people mistakenly use wood furniture as a Feng Shui solution. The problem with wood furniture is that it is lifeless. To harness the qi (chi) of wood, it is essential you use live wood! A shrub or bushy plant is ideal since it emits live qi and is also an excellent method of retaining qi. Plants recycle the air we breath and can provide a natural filter for the air. A common Feng Shui problem is the staircase that empties into a doorway. A bushy plant can retain some of that qi, when it is placed either on the landing, or more ideally, at the bottom of the staircase. Remember that you want a live plant, so maintain it. A dead plant holds no qi and is actually a “Sha” (unsightly or bad influence).

Wood can be represented by the color green. We find that the colors are not nearly effective though as the actual element. When it comes to the wood element, there is rarely an occasion when you need to substitute the color for a living plant.

Wood represents the directions of East and the Zhen Trigram (3). It also represents the South East and the Xun Trigram (4).

Fire

The Fire Element is the most “Yang” of the elements. It is the hot summer or a blast of heat. In Feng Shui, we usually use a candle or the color of red. 168 Feng Shui Advisors recommends the color red more than a candle as we do not want our clients to risk the possibility of a house fire. Being that Fire is so yang, this is the one example where color does work well. If it is hot, it is even better. A red night light or a table lamp with a red shade make excellent Fire remedies.

Fire represents the South and the Li Trigram (9).

Earth

Earth is an interesting element despite the rather commonplace conception of dirt. Many times Earth is recommended for a larger environmental solution. In this case large granite boulders, or a beautiful clay statue can be used. Terracotta pots filled with potting soil make a great Earth remedy. Earth also represents the Mountain.

Earth tone colors can be used, but they are not nearly as effective as the actual element.

Earth represents the North East or the Gen Trigram (8). It also represents the South West or the Kun Trigram (2). Additionally, it represents the “Center” of the Master Trigram (5). Energetically speaking, Kun – Earth (2) and the center representation (also called a star) of “5″ can have negative influences, whereas the Gen Trigram (North East – 8 – also referred to as the Mountain) can have a very prosperous influence.

Metal

The most common solution, Metal can be found in all forms. Copper, Silver, Gold, and Bronze are a few variations of the Metal Element. Using the Metal Element can take on all sorts of creative ideas. A cast silver deer is one idea. A bronze plate hung on the wall is another. Even iron weightlifter plates can be utilized as a metal solution. Weightlifter plates? Yes, when done properly. This can be done by stacking a few, then placing a brass pot upside down on top and creating a pedestal for a small plant or a perhaps a metal statue. The quantity of the element is definitely there! The key thing to remember is that Feng Shui is about creating a beautiful environment. When utilizing the Metal Element, ensure that it is rounded and pleasing, not sharp and pointed. Metal is the most commonly used remedy for the negative Earth energies as mentioned above. Ideally, the goal is to introduce Feng Shui elemental solutions that are not identifiable as Feng Shui remedies. Feng Shui objects that are unsightly or easily identified as a “Feng Shui Cure” are not recommended. It should blend into the environment and be beautiful.

The colors of White, Silver, or Gold can be used.

Metal represents the Dui Trigram (7) in the West. Dui is a soft metal such as gold. It is also the Qian Trigram (6) in the North West. Qian is a hard metal like steel.

Water

Water is the what give life on our planet. Without it, we would not exist. Our bodies are mostly water. In Feng Shui, Water is a very useful element. Water, when needed, should be clear and flowing. Stagnant water can create more problems than it solves. A simple aquarium, or even a small “metal” fountain can be used. Do not use ceramic or other earthen fountains. This is a common mistake. The Earth element blocks water and neutralizes the positive effect of the Water. Outside, a metal trough, a fountain, or even a fish pond can act as an environmental solution.

Water has always been synonymous with power. Water has been used as an elemental solution by the emperors in the form of moats and by placing their palaces near bodies of Water. If you look at most capital cities today, they are either located near the water or have large lakes or rivers nearby. Most ocean-side and lake-side homes are sought after and usually more expensive.

Water can be represented by the colors blue or black.

Water represents the Kan Trigram (1) in the North.

To conclude, it must be said that you should not use any of these elements haphazardly. Ideally, a proper Feng Shui analysis should be performed by a qualified practitioner. Used incorrectly, the elements can cause harm to relationships, health, or money prosperity. When used correctly, they can strengthen relationships, health, and money.

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.