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The Roots of Feng Shui: Geomancy
All traditional cultures have their own systems of geomancy. Feng Shui is the Chinese interpretation of geomancy. The term geomancy combines the Greek words Gaea, meaning "the Mother Earth" and manteia, meaning "a system of divination or knowledge." Geomancy is, therefore, a way of knowing the earth. The word entered the English language in about 1569 and first referred to particular forms of divination, and its meaning broadened to include special forms of skillfulness that have to do with uniting people and places in harmony.
For modern society, Feng Shui addresses practical questions--such as where to put a bed or desk or how to site and arrange a home or business--to benefit career, health, marriage, or fame. Both Feng Shui and geomancy can also be used on a larger scale, from community and urban planning to planetary and local healing, balance, and attunement.
The Nature of the Home
How we live in and think about our home reflects our understanding of comfort. Being at home and feeling at home is important and should give one a similar feeling to the home-team advantage of sports.
Our home environment is a perfect expression of our psychological and spiritual state. It is a wonderful tool to understanding ourselves, and a powerful way to catalyze greater harmony within us to make changes to the home. The material environment does not lie. If we block our movement path or prevent our doors from fully opening or block physical progress through the house, we are providing the universe with a message that we are not ready for complete access to life's bounty. Normal maintenance, cleanliness, beauty, and space have both mundane and transcendental meanings.
The First Sight Upon Entering: The Feeling and Tone of Your Home
Houses, like people, have definite personalities and this place is positively ghoulish.
--Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes Faces Death
In the practice of Feng Shui, your first impression as you enter a home or room is very important. By crossing a threshold you enter a new environment or another world. You experience particular qualities, moods, and presences, both visible and invisible, that condition our homes and workplaces and influence our lives. For this reason be in a state of unity with Divine Mind and Universal being. Step across the threshold with your left foot if a man, right foot if a woman. Use the dispelling evil mudra and the speech secret from the Three Secret Reinforcements. Open your heart and mind. What do you notice and feel?
Levels of influence begin before we enter. The way we come home or go to work has its significance. If the walkway to the front door is smooth and easy, or difficult, with twists, turns, and blockages, our chi, in either case, is affected. Find a creative way, employing methods suggested herein and your own solutions, to make the path to the front door and entrance into the house a positive experience.
When we enter, the first sight that comes into our view and the movement path we follow is significant. Our chi is drawn by the first things we see and by how we proceed into the home or workplace. The first sight upon entering principle takes these factors into account and elaborates on their meaning. In the Feng Shui community of knowledge, this unique point of view was developed by Professor Lin. What we see, and where we go, strongly determines the lives we lead. I once asked Professor Lin if we could call this idea "the what you see is what you get" principle. He replied that perhaps this term might not be completely accurate, for otherwise, if it were strictly so, many of us might spend our time hanging out at the bank.
Edith Wharton pointed out that while "the main purpose of a door is to admit, its secondary purpose is to exclude." An entry area, foyer, or vestibule is a transitional place. Ideally it should be spacious, bright, and able to assist the transition from the outer world to the inner sanctum of the home. It should provide a sense of scope, promise, and safety.
Thomas Jefferson had a marvelous sense of the importance of the entry area at Monticello, because he used this space to instruct and enlighten a visitor. A visitor saw a museum of clocks, fossils, paintings of historical subjects, sculptures, maps of the world, and Native American artifacts.
You may hang a metal wind chime or a multifaceted spherical glass crystal from the ceiling in the entry area to encourage clarity, focus, and mental acuity. Place a personally inspiring image, according to your own system of belief, as a spiritual reminder, which you will see as you enter or leave your home to recall and motivate you to your highest purpose.
The Method of Minor Additions
The Method of Minor Additions, Xie Zi Fa (pronounced SHYEH TZI FAH), is the technique of adding an object to adjust the flow of chi in a site. The principle is very simple. In a missing area or an area to be enhanced, place something that will adjust the chi appropriately. While the principle of 4 ounces (the minor addition) overcoming 800 pounds (the bad influence) is connected with the martial arts, its roots are in Feng Shui. The essence of this "small conquering large" methodology is how to use a little bit to achieve a great deal. For example, a spotlight may overcome the influence of a steep slope. A mirror may open a hundred doors.
Mirrors have been called the "aspirin of Feng Shui." My associate, Barry Gordon, and I joke that if someone calls us late at night with a Feng Shui problem we may advise the caller to "Take two mirrors and call us in the morning!" Mirrors control, create space, counteract negative factors, and allow good things--like a beautiful view--to enter.
Here are a few ways mirrors can help:
1. Counteract or cancel out a bad influence. If as you enter a home there is a feeling of pressure, close quarters, or darkness, a mirror on the wall facing the entrance can alleviate and remove the difficult influence.
2. Attract or bring in auspicious chi. Mirrors can be used to attach, attract, or pull in a positive energy from outside the home. On a wall opposite a view of natural beauty, place a mirror. What you see in the mirror will be the beautiful scene. Attaching a beautiful ocean view in your line of sight may enhance your ability to think or write. If you can't see the street from your front door, mirrors can disclose that view from a window and allow you to avoid missing opportunities.
3. Enable the chi to flow. If you have a door that is never opened, or one you have deliberately blocked, it is called a "dead door." Perhaps in a room with four doors you would like to seal off two of them. Placing a mirror on such doors will allow the chi to flow through and not be blocked. Mirrors in this way can prevent stagnant chi and allow chi to circulate smoothly. Even a relatively small mirror will negate the bad feeling of stuck chi.
4. Expand. Mirrors create a feeling of space. For this reason, if a mirror is placed on a wall where a trigram area is missing, it can have the effect of filling in what is missing and thus complete and expand that space.
5. Others. In Black Sect Feng Shui mirrors are not avoided in the bedroom. A large round mirror behind the master bed can relax the eyes, diffuse tension, and help improve the marriage. Combined with a mirror near the foot of the bed, an infinite doubling of the mirror image can instill a feeling of joyful expansion, completion, and advancement. Mirrors can also be placed to the left and right of a bed. This same principle can also be used in the office.
Mirror Feng Shui for Babies
Mirrors enhance development. After the period of extreme nearsightedness, infants, helped by mirrors, develop more rapidly, expanding their horizons and increasing both socialization and integration with the world. Infants are fixated on the face; it is their first experience of associating themselves and the world. Note how a newborn will respond to seeing tongue movement by moving its own tongue.