I’m back at home after a most memorable trip to Ukraine! The feng shui seminar in Crimea, Ukraine gave me new found life and chi. It feels good to be re-vitalized!
This was my first visit to Eastern Europe and as you could imagine, I was anxious, not knowing what to expect. Although I believe I’m a pretty seasoned traveler, the excitement of going some place new is always special. It’s the little things that I do, like having to check my list of items to bring multiple times, that drive me crazy. What I should bring? Am I over packing? I wonder if I need to bring this or that? Lots of anxiety. This is where meditation and deep breathing should make a difference right? I know, we all get there in the end, with or without everything we think we need. And once I’m on that plane I’m totally fine. Why do I bother getting anxious? Who knows.
Kiev or Kyiv as the locals spell it, is the capital of Ukraine, with a population of 2.8 million. The city is a blend of old, beautiful architecture and modern concrete buildings. But, it’s the old structures that commands the real ambiance of this historical city. The Dnieper River runs through Kiev and flows through to the Black Sea. From a feng shui perspective, the city is blessed with good feng shui.: abundant water, good flat land and a mountain range on the West.
Upon arriving at Keiv airport, organizer Taras and his wife, Dasha, greeted Dr. Hsu and I with a bouquet of fresh flowers! Their warm welcome made me feel right at home. We just dropped our bags and headed out for dinner where we met another fellow feng shui student, Larissa. With the help of great company and large mugs of beer, Dr. Hsu and I blew our jet lag away.
The following day we visited The Museum of Folk Architecture and Everyday Life of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Phew, the name is really that long!
Situated on 150 hectares near Pirogovo Village, about a 30 minute drive from the city, this museum consists of more than 300 unique monuments of folk buildings and constructions of the 16th to 20th centuries of Ukraine. Just because of the enormous size of this museum, we were only able to see a glimpse of what it had to offer. One could spend days here. This is a popular spot for tourists, those interested in history, culture, and architecture, and for school excursions as well.
Blessed with fabulous weather in such a picturesque environment, Dr. Hsu analyzed the old peasant houses, church and parish schools from a feng shui perspective. In the old days, people built homes instinctively, adapting to their weather patterns, lifestyle, and the local material availability. As we learn through Form School Feng Shui, their buildings intuitively follow Natural Principles, which in turn create simple, beautiful and economical structures.
When we follow Natural Principles we are in tune with nature. Take for example the farm house below. As you can see in the photo one side has white plaster and the other has the exposed logs. Once you enter the building you understand why it was designed in this way. The side with the white plaster is the living quarters. The plaster seals the walls from wind, cold and external influences. The other side with the exposed logs is storage area for food storage such as grains, farming equipment and tools. The gaps in the logs allow for natural ventilation and keeping food items cool. Simple yet so effective – true feng shui!
Near the old farm houses, there was a man building a fence out of branches. I managed to film him. It’s really fascinating , well, at least I think so. Sorry about the little wobbly camera, but hope you enjoy it anyway!
The logs with straw roofs are hollowed out logs for bee hives and they dry the wheat on top. I had Taras stand next to one to give you an idea of the scale. The other bee hive is placed up in the tree.
The Church was built in 1742 and is from the village Zarubyntsi, Cherkassy region. The interior of the church was small yet the tower was so tall, reaching to the heavens. The icons were draped with the traditional woven cloths, that acted as frames.
The white building is a parish school. On the hot day, this simple structure was very cool and bright. I imagine it is raised off the ground for comfort level. The teachers desk was in the perfect feng shui position!
With unlimited the open space, the Museum also displayed beautiful wooden windmills. Unfortunately, many were damaged. These windmills could be rotated according to the direction of the wind as they were cleverly designed and built on wood or stone bases. Today, as non-functioning monuments in an open air museum, there is no one to shift them when the wind changes. Inevitably, situated at the top of the hill, they catch the wind going in the wrong direction which causes the damage of the sails. Such a shame! But, hopefully they can be repaired. Feng shui is not only about our homes, it encompasses all aspects of our life. So these windmills are also good feng shui design, as they follow the two pillars of natural principles and chi.
And here are other photos of the Museum. The open area is often used as a concert venue during the summer. The big cheerful and friendly egg sculptures that dot the scenery are decorated Easter eggs.
Heading back to the center of the city, we visited the beautiful St. Sophia Cathedral, built in the 11th century and is on the World Heritage list. It was nearly destroyed by the Soviets during the 1920’s anti-religious campaign. Other photos are of St. Andrews Church and downtown Kyiv. Stay tuned for Crimea, Ukraine!