Feng shui is the ancient 5,000 year old Chinese art and science of creating harmony in a person’s environment by balancing and directing energy in space. It operates on the basis that everything in life is energy; therefore, if energy in your home is not flowing properly, things in other areas of your life will not flow smoothly either because the energy of your home will affect your own.
There are many different schools of feng shui such as Compass, Flying Stars, and Western among others. I practice BTB feng shui which stands for Black Sect Tantric Buddhist feng shui. In the BTB school the bagua map is used to conduct consultations (as opposed to the compass) and it operates on two levels, sying and yi. Sying is the tangible aspect of the practice, the physical manipulation of the space, the placement of furniture, and the flow of qi (chi). Yi is the intangible aspect of the practice, which is the use of transcendental solutions to reinforce feng shui cures, the power of intention, and self-cultivation through meditation for the feng shui consultant.
There are five elements used in feng shui and those are water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Every area of the home has an element that it corresponds to, and harmonizing these elements throughout the home achieves balance. This picture is a simplified version of the Bagua map which is overlayed on top of your house plan:
Feng shui professionals also utilize two main cycles to perform cures, the Creative (productive) and Destructive cycles. These cycles are used in conjunction with the bagua map to determine which types of cures to place where. I’m not going to expand on this too much since it can get a little complex, and could be a post on its own. In essence, the Creative cycle is: Fire creates Earth creates Metal creates Water creates Wood creates Fire. The Destructive cycle is: Fire melts Metal chops Wood destroys Earth dams Water extinguishes Fire. For an explanation of how the cycles are used with the areas of the bagua map click on this link.
There are a variety of feng shui cures used to achieve balance as well. According to the International Feng Shui Guild, a Cure is an object, talisman ritual, prayer, action or intention used to achieve the greatest balance, harmony, and the most beneficial chi in a space, or to suppress, neutralize or dissipate negative or stagnant energies or qi. In other words, it is the action a feng shui practitioner asks you to do or does him/herself in your home to “fix” the space.
In the picture above, the main door opens directly into stairs going up. This creates an unfavorable condition because the energy, or chi, going into the house will rush upstairs instead of meandering downstairs first in a balanced way. A cure for this would be to hang a crystal from the ceiling above the stairs (to dissipate the energy around) and direct the focus to the main floor by strategically placing art, plants, or specific pieces of furniture there. The main entrance is considered the mouth of chi and should always be clean and clutter free.
In BTB feng shui, all cures are sealed with the three secrets, which “sets” the cure you just performed.
The three secrets are:
1. Mudra (hands in prayer)
2. Mantra (chant Om Mani Pad Me Hum 9 times or, say a prayer thanking for the positive outcome of the cure)
3. Visualization (visualize your intended outcome for that cure).
Om Mani Padme Hum is a sacred Tibetan Buddhist mantra meaning “Hail the jewel in the lotus.” The lotus is a symbol of higher consciousness and reciting the mantra dissolves all negative energy and can purify negative karma.
Using the three secrets to seal a cure is important because you are sending the intention out into the universe of why you did the action you did. For example, anybody could place a vase of flowers on a nightstand, but when you set that vase of pink flowers down in your love corner with the intention of attracting love in your life, you are doing it for a very specific and different purpose than to just make your room look pretty, and you must visualize what you want to happen and send that energy out into the universe. That’s why the three secrets is important.
There are many more elements that encompass feng shui, these are some of the basic ones and a good starting point to start your feng shui journey with.
I recommend the books Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter and Feng Shui For Dummies by David Daniel Kennedy to get a more in-depth understanding of feng shui and for cures to use.