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.

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.