By Elisheba Akalawu
I’ve always thought of Feng Shui as a fancy home design technique all about making the placement of beautiful things look even more beautiful. Although this is an aesthetically pleasing part about it, the practice, also known as Chinese Geomancy, actually uses the invisible energy forces in the room to create harmony and balance between your physical environment and the flow of nature. The concept of ‘living in flow’ is called Tao, which translates to “the way” – in short, balancing Tao is to be in accordance with the way of nature.
By observing nature and the natural world Feng Shui uses three main principles to create balance and harmony:
Commanding Positions – based on how you position yourself and the furniture in a room so that you take on a level of power wherever you a situated.
The Bagua – the feng shui energy map which is the 8 areas centred around one main principle, Qi.
The Five Elements – wood, fire, water, earth and metal; these come from the Taoist tradition and define all aspects of life into categories that are interrelated and interdependent.
Each of these principles has an extensive history and purpose behind it and it’s encouraged to do in-depth research of how each principle can help you. However, if you are curious, here is a brief overview of how you can start incorporating these practices into your everyday lifestyle.
The Commanding Position
By placing furniture intentionally within your space you put yourself and energy in the best position to deal with whatever might be coming through the door and into your life. This practice can be applied in every room within your space.
Try not to overwhelm yourself by tackling all areas of the home at once. To figure out which rooms need more attention start by going around each one; stand in the middle and imagine the surrounding energy as a wave of water. Are there areas that would never get wet? Is there clutter blocking parts of the room? Take note of where in your home feels most blocked and start from there.
For example, one place to start is your bedroom; the bed in Feng Shui represents you and your desk (if you have one in your room) is your career. It’s most important to take on the commanding position while in bed and sitting at your desk. Your back should never be toward the door, you’ll want to be facing it without being directly in line with it – placing furniture diagonally is usually recommended.
Translating into “eight areas” the Bagua is the energy map that is concerned with the floor plan of your home. The different areas represent different life circumstances surrounding the centre (Qi) which represents overall health and wellness. It’s a complex practice that should be applied to 1-3 key areas of your home that need the most focus.
Each gua has a meaning, shape, colour, season, element and number attached to it. These indicators should be used in the corresponding positions of your home to activate and work with the energy in that particular gua. For example, items of specific shapes and colours should be placed in the Bagua zone corresponding to the area of life you wish to enhance; These objects are a reminder to you of the energy you wish to attract.
The Five Elements
Wood, Fire, Water, Earth and Metal in the Taoist tradition define all areas of life into categories that are interrelated and interdependent. It creates a complete system meaning a singular element does not stand alone, encouraging balance and harmony. These elements work specifically in accordance with gua and each gua can be enhanced by considering the connected element. For example, if you need to work on your wealth and abundance you can activate the Xun position of your home by adding something that embodies earth energy such as a large, flat square, brown-toned rug.
Qualities: grounded, self-care, stable
Shape: flat, square
Colours: Brown, orange and yellow
Qualities: efficient, precise, beauty
Colour: White, metallics
Qualities: downward, flowing, shifting
Shape: wavy, curvy, abstract
Qualities: expansive, vitality, upward
Shape: columnar, rectangular
Colours: green and blues
Qualities: passion, illuminating, brilliant
Shape: triangle, pointy