As I have been studying feng shui for quite a while now, the other week, a girlfriend asked me to explain feng shui to her and how it really affects her home. Although feng shui is commonly used in conversation about good fortune in homes, many don’t have a clear understanding of what it really is and I don’t blame them. When I first started studying feng shui, most of the information I read was based on astrology.
Astrology means something that relates to time. Based on my birthdate, in Western astrology I am a Virgo and in Asian astrology, I am a Rat. In feng shui, there are various different schools of thought and the most commonly practiced is based on astrology. Now, I have to clarify that I do not practice astrology feng shui, I practice Form School feng shui. Two totally different schools of thought. However, many people don’t know that there are different feng shui schools.
Astrological schools takes your birthdate and relates it to see if it’s a good match to various aspects of the house. Some schools also use your birthdate to see if it matches the birthdate of the house. Okay, by the birthdate of the house, they mean when the house was built. They say this is important to the energy of the house. I just find it hard to understand that the date a house was built affects it’s interior energy. If I understand this correctly, it means the energy of a house differs depending on what year it was built. As a hypothetical example, that means all houses built in 2005 may be good, but 2006 not so good? Hmmm…. That’s like saying, those born in one year are better than another?
Please understand that this is not the only astrological rule, as there are a variety of astrological schools, each with their own set of rules. This is just one example.
Now, it may seem strange to some that while I actually enjoy Western astrology and Asian astrology, I have difficulty associating this with feng shui. I believe in astrology for humans, but I just find it hard to think that a house is affected by astrology. So, we each have to find what we feel comfortable with, just as we each must find our own way of living and our own beliefs.
So, back to the birthdays. Back in the day when I still had no conceptual idea of feng shui, I tried to implement one of their formulas to my home, to see if our house had good feng shui. I plugged in my birthdate to find the most auspicious locations in our house, diligently with paper and pen, did the math to figure it out. I wondered what they had to say. But, even after attempting all those calculations, it still didn’t make it easier to understand. This formula finds your best direction a house should face. But, no book or person explained why this was good for me or even how this system was established. It was just something I had to accept as my good direction, based on faith.
Like I said earlier and throughout my blog, I practice Form School Feng Shui. About eight years ago, I was fortunate to meet my master, Dr. Shan-tung Hsu, who teaches a completely different approach to feng shui called Form School Feng Shui. And after years of studying, I am now a certified consultant for Blue Mountain Feng Shui. It does not incorporate astrological feng shui, so my birthdate is not related to the energy of my house. As the name says, it’s all about form.
As an interior designer, I understand how one space feels different to another just through it’s décor and furnishings. Colors, textures, pictures, and furnishings all add to the feeling of the space. That’s why most of the time, when you go to someone’s home, you feel you get to know them a little better, because our homes reflect who we are. I also understand that sometimes our homes don’t reflect who we are and we want to change it. Often, the reason being not knowing how or a lack of finances.
What to do then? In feng shui, the first and foremost thing we can do, is to work on the floor plan. When we can’t change the walls, we always have the option of moving the furniture. What happens when we move the furniture? Our movements change because things are placed in a different spot. By moving the furniture, what changed? The form of the space changed. And this is what Form School Feng Shui is about. Form. Dr. Hsu’s main concept is Form Defines Energy. So, when the form changes, the energy changes.
Now you can see why I feel comfortable with it’s teachings. It’s based on something concrete, something we can see and we can feel. This is the form of a space.
In Form School, we always begin with the big picture – which is the place you want to live. For any home owner, the first thing we must decide upon is where we want to live. We choose areas that suit our needs whether it be due to the school district reputation, the commute to work, the setting or for family reasons. Once we choose an area, next we must chose the actual location. The first thing to observe is the site of the house. When finding a site to build, first and foremost we must use common sense.
Don’t build in a flood plain, because it may flood. Don’t build on the edge of a cliff even though the view may be wonderful. Don’t build if it’s in the path of a volcano. Don’t build in the middle of an empty field with no protection. Don’t build in the path of a hurricane. You get the picture. This is just common sense. But because we have the ability and technology to build anywhere, sometimes we ignore these things. As Dr. Hsu always teaches us, we can’t control nature, we must learn to work with nature. So, the first rule is to observe. Observe the topography, the surroundings, the weather pattern, the traffic, the light, the neighbors and the whole environment, not just the house. Do your homework to find out more about the site.
You see I’ve come to realize, feng shui is really about relationships. Relationships between all things and how they interact. In the case of the house on a site, it’s the relationship between the house and its environment. Now, you may ask, how does that relate to my prosperity? Isn’t feng shui about bringing good luck?
Yes and no. Feng shui is about bringing prosperity but luck is based on chance. Feng shui really isn’t about chance. Like I said, it’s about relationships. How our living environment, our house, our kitchens, our rooms and all our spaces affect our well-being. And this all depends on the whole environment, not just one thing.
To be continued…