Feng Shui: An introduction to balancing elements in the home
Spring is here! There’s a feeling we all get - open the windows, pull out the furniture, hot soapy water and new arrangements that spruce up our homes. With ultimate Mari Kondo cleaning happening during the pandemic - may be out of boredom - our homes are ready for their new lease of life as we move back into a more normal way of life.
We all have a strong desire to elevate our space to a new level now, so what is feng shui and what difference can it make?
Feng shui is part of ancient Chinese tradition. Also referred to as Chinese geomancy, this pseudoscientific traditional practice is all about the relationship between us and our surroundings. Feng shui is the practice of harnessing energy sources to harmonise this relationship and is done by moving furniture and introducing certain elements to create a balance in conjunction with our natural world.
The direct translation of feng shui is ‘wind water’. This relationship is regarded highly symbolic and originates from an ancient poem that describes humanity being connected and flowing with it’s environment. Tao is the name for the Asian philosophy which includes principles from feng shui. Translating to mean ‘the way’, Taoism is the way of nature and how these principles are reflected.
Feng shui is a term used across the world about creating a perfectly balanced space to live with and in. With feng shui consultancy a full-time job, understanding these ancient principles is no mean feat. We’ve broken down the 4 essential principles so we can all try making an energetic and harmonious change to our spaces.
The Commanding Position
At the top of the list is finding the command position, the most powerful place within a room. This is the place where we can sit and rest encompassing the most energy from the room. To find this place it’s as simple as choosing the furthest point away from the door without being in a direct line with it. This is where items like sofas, armchairs, office desks and beds should be placed.
To elevate this position further, there should be space on either side of the chosen furniture to encourage the movement of good luck. To remain supported, the back of the chair should be against a wall to remove any vulnerability. To further enhance our luck and allow positive energy to circulate, there should also be space in front of the chair or furniture piece. Although labelled as the commanding position, this is not a place to rain authority over other members of the household but to encourage control and charge with the environment. This space will be unchallenged by any other and be the most desired within the household. When determining this in a room, it should be avoiding any overhead beams and direct lines with doors or pillars as all of these can cut through energy paths.
The Bagua Map
The Bagua map is used in feng shui to determine where the divisions of different energies and themes exist. It contains nine sections with heart and health being in the centre of the home from where all the other sections then stem from.
The different components are often found by starting at the front door or where everyone enters the home. Once the Bagua map has been determined in relation to the home, it informs where the placement of specific items to promote these qualities will go.
The Bagua sections include:
Wealth and Prosperity
Fame and Reputation
Love and Marriage
Health and Ancestors
Health and Center
Children and Creativity
Knowledge and Self-Cultivation
Career and Life Path
Helpful People and Travels
The Five Elements
The natural elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water exist as crucial elements to bringing positives to a home in feng shui. Each element maintains a position within a home to help balance energy and bring often prosperous factors. Many of these are also intertwined with the Bagua map and can be married up to enforce the greatest success in creating feng shui.
Wood signifies vibrancy in health and growth and fire is for fuelling passion in creativity and higher energy levels. These can exist in parts of the home in their literal versions like raw collected wood or furniture and candles or live fireplaces. It’s important to also consider the colouring of these elements, natural earth tones like browns and greens for wood or burnt oranges and fiery yellows for fire.
The metal element works to strengthen both independence and focus whilst water continues to help with the energy flow of prosperity and abundance.
Metal can be brought in from found and repurposed materials but also hold great value with heirlooms. Water is often a more tricky element to include but this can be done both moving and still. Miniature water features and making flower arrangements are both primary options but incorporating the colour black, navy blue and charcoal greys also help.
Earth is the wholesome element that everything else exists from but also is nothing without these things. This element brings knowledge and nourishment with grounding and stability at its core. The earth element is incorporated into the home from the other four elements, but can also be promoted with the inclusion of stones and crystals. Patterns of these will strengthen the energy and other earth tones will help to make the space feel further grounded.
The five elements start incorporating colour usage with evidence of their symbolic importance. Feng shui exists in different forms for every individual and every home, nothing dictates that certain colours or tones must be used but by understanding the layout of our homes we can begin to incorporate promoting colours that effectively fuel the elements.
With these first principles, small differences can be made to elevate the space we have been confined to. We can begin to consider what we are looking to have in our futures and positively express ourselves by upgrading our homes with touches in the right direction.