Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy and study of the relationship between human beings and their environment. This science of physics offers one way of understanding why some less-than-desirable conditions in our lives are an example of how we live. By practicing Feng Shui at home, we can create a comfortable environment that can also help enhance our personal and professional lives. Inside this book you will find out how:
· something as simple as painting your front door could help you have a flourishing career
· placing a bowl of fruit and including pictures of loved ones can promote better health and well-being
· placing a money vase, water fountain, or coins and plants could promote and invite increased prosperity
· letting go of old and worn-out items in addition to clearing clutter may help to invite in the perfect love relationship
You will discover easy solutions for making positive and effective changes in your life by changing your home. Included are many real-life examples of how people desired and received the life they wanted by changing how they live in their homes.
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WELCOME HOMECREATING WHAT YOU WANT BY HOW YOU LIVE
By Sybilla Lenz Deborah Courville
Balboa PressCopyright © 2012 Sybilla Lenz
All right reserved.
Chapter OneClassical Feng Shui
History & Symbolism
'FENG SHUI' MEANS 'WIND WATER' and speaks to the fact that the practice of Feng Shui seeks to align and balance people and their buildings with the forces of heaven (wind) and earth (water). Feng Shui is probably more than 5000 years old, but archaeologists have discovered written texts about the discipline from about 600 C.E. during the Tang Dynasty. Builders and carpenters in particular used pamphlets that listed directions and ways to measure and interpret earth formations: this was a very early use of Feng Shui.
In the 1960's during China's Cultural Revolution, the practice of Feng Shui was suppressed. However, since then, it has found a resurgence not only in the East but especially in the West.
Feng Shui grew out of the very ancient Oriental peoples' observation of the skies above them. Like other prehistoric societies, the Ancient Chinese were very much at the mercy of the seasons and the weather, and so sought to codify and perpetuate their observations. Think of Stonehenge in England, or the Great Pyramids in Egypt, or the Incan Pyramid of the Sun, or the Easter Island Monoliths: they all in some way are related to astronomical and seasonal events, such as solstices. In this way, early societies sought to relate themselves to the larger world, and to their place in the cosmos.
The use of the stars, and in particular the North or Pole Star which relative to the rest of the heavenly objects moves very little, makes sense when we realize that the magnetic compass was not invented until the eighth century in Europe. It was likely brought there by traders who went to the Orient, where lodestones had been used to determine the north-south axis for centuries. Just like early navigators who used Sextants and Astrolabes and other tools dependent on the movement and position of celestial bodies, the Ancient Chinese developed their own astronomical hypotheses and practices before they invented the compass, and had their own names for constellations such as the Big Dipper and Orion.
Feng Shui, like ancient Western philosophy and other mystic traditions, established certain 'elements.' Western thought is most familiar with four: earth, air, water and fire, whereas in the Orient and in Feng Shui we have five: metal, earth, fire, water and wood.
Combined with the movements of the stars, planets and our own Sun, these elements and their characteristics influence the physical world in which we live. Feng Shui seeks to take advantage of propitious influences and negate inauspicious ones as much as possible by understanding the elements and the celestial transitions.
The Chinese developed their compass or Luopan, which first used iron oxide (the 'lodestone') to indicate the north-south axis, in the second century C.E. The Luopan, however, differs from the Western compass in several ways. First, a Luopan points to the south magnetic pole; Western compasses point north. Another obvious difference is the intricate Feng Shui formulae on the cover of the Luopan. This is called the Heaven Dial; it sits on the Earth Plate, and rotates freely.
The Luopan has 24 directions, however, not just the usual four or eight on a Western compass. A Luopan allows 15 degrees for each direction; the entire circle, therefore, consists of 360 degrees, just like a Western compass. Interestingly enough, the Sun takes 15.2 days to go through a direction on a Luopan, so each degree on a Luopan equals roughly one day, and an entire circle of the Luopan equals a terrestrial year. Therefore, while the Luopan does measure earthly north-south, it also corresponds to the movement of the Earth around the Sun. This is another example of the way in which Feng Shui combines both earthly and celestial features.
In Classical Feng Shui, there are three major tools or theories practitioners use. First is the concept of Chi, or energy, called in various traditions prana, élan vital, or life force. Chi moves and shifts and fluctuates, it is not always static. This is why in Feng Shui it is important to allow the Chi to move freely, and also to take advantage of areas where the Chi most naturally flows.
The second theory is the concept of yin/yang or polarity. Yin/Yang, also called masculine/feminine, dry/wet, hot/cold is all about balance. The ideal state is a balanced state. Anyone who has ever had dizzy spells because of a fall, or due to substances such as alcohol or some medications will understand how disorienting it is-far from ideal! Feng Shui uses the concept of polarity and yin/yang to balance and align one's dwelling or other space so that all areas are harmonious, and the Chi flows freely through all the elements.
A companion concept to polarity is the theory of the five elements: metal, earth, fire, water and wood. This is called 'wu xing.' In Feng Shui, while these actual substances are used in various areas, it is their force, which is necessary to and inherent in life, which is most important.
The third theory or tool is the Bagua, or the energy template. This is based on the Luopan directions and incorporates the elements. It is used as a template and placed over the footprint of the home or building to which Feng Shui principles are being applied.
Classical Feng Shui developed into two major schools: Form and Compass, known as Ti Li and Li Chi. As we have seen above, Feng Shui grew out of ancient Chinese Astronomical study and the analysis of terrestrial features such as mountains, valleys, and bodies of water. As such, it makes sense that the Form or Landscape School of Feng Shui rose up first.
This Form School centers on the importance of choosing a site for building where the Chi is not stagnant or impeded. This school also developed the theory of the celestial animals: red phoenix, green dragon, white tiger, black turtle. It is not surprising that Chi is sometimes called 'Dragon Breath.' Finally, the concepts of yin/yang and the five elements were used to further refine the environment.
The use of animals and animal energies is another common practice among ancient peoples all over the globe; Native Americans are perhaps the best known New World practitioners of animal energy disciplines.
The Compass School of Feng Shui centers on the use of the Luopan or Chinese Compass, and emphasizes the four directions of North, South, East and West. There are many methods within this school including the Dragon Gate Eight Formation and Eight Mansions Methods.
Most Feng Shui practitioners do not adhere strictly to one school or the other, but use a blend of both. They may also incorporate elements from other traditions, particularly more modern schools of Feng Shui. You will most often find, therefore, as you will see in the chapters of this book, that Feng Shui consultants and Masters will use a Luopan, and a Bagua, and a combination of animal, color and element energies.
One fascinating feature of Feng Shui is the symbolic aspect, or the use of items with particular, iconic meaning to enhance various areas of the Bagua. Throughout this book we have talked about colors to use in various guas, and paintings, statues and other design features that are best situated in particular areas. Feng Shui has its own cadre of symbols, but it is most important that the client employ objects that they love, and that speak to them. If someone thinks an 'authentic Feng Shui symbol' is ugly, but uses it anyway, it probably won't work very well for them. The symbolic statues, flowers, paintings and so on speak to one's subconscious and it is vital that the person like, or even love, the object for its influence to make any difference.
Specific symbols bring specific energy and they are very powerful: that is why advertising companies pay millions of dollars to discover which picture, color, or shape will produce the effect they desire from their advertising.
In Feng Shui, a group of specialized items, animals, colors, flowers and so forth has developed to enhance specific aspirations. Since each area of the Bagua corresponds to different parts of a person's existence and aspirations, these Feng Shui symbols are best used in the area where enhancement is desired. Because Feng Shui is an Oriental discipline, most of these symbols are uniquely Oriental. However, Western versions of them are also appropriate, and are just as effective, although some clients enjoy the particular Oriental flavor these items bring to their living and work spaces.
It might be good to point out here that in Asia, the art of flower arranging really is an art: people go to school for years to learn how to do it. And in addition to being pleasing to the eye and to the nose, the specific flowers in bouquets mean particular things. These symbolic meanings add to the subconscious message delivered by the arrangement. A related though much less disciplined practice became popular in the Renaissance, and again in Victorian times, and some gardeners and landscapers use the 'language of flowers' to convey specific messages in their creations.
For career, Feng Shui suggests using paintings, statues or figurines of horses and oxen, which signify success. Feng Shui also points to the narcissus as a symbol of the unveiling of hidden talents.
For wisdom and personal growth, symbols of the Buddha and lotus flowers are ideal.
For health, Feng Shui suggests butterflies, bamboo plants, cranes, and peacocks.
For wealth, Feng Shui suggests koi in an aquarium or pond, or a statue of a koi. Also, Chinese coins, an ox, a gem tree and peonies all symbolize prosperity. The money cat with paw upraised to welcome the flow of abundant Chi is also popular.
For fame or success, Feng Shui employs the chrysanthemum, as well as figurines or artwork depicting frogs and horses, which specifically are said to encourage a good reputation.
For relationship energy, Feng Shui suggests the use of dragon and phoenix together to symbolize unity and balance. Also, mandarin ducks signify pleasant relationships, as do hydrangeas. Here is is important to have pairs of things to boost the 'couple' energy.
For fertility or creativity, Feng Shui uses peaches, apples and other round fruits. Also orchids, which can additionally mean longevity or persistence depending on the aspiration.
For helpful spirits and protection, Feng Shui employs Fu dogs that you may see 'guarding' the entrance to a home. The chrysanthemum is related to good luck and protection. The elephant also signifies prudence and wisdom.
Once Feng Shui became popular in the West, modern Feng Shui Masters developed schools particularly for use by Western practitioners. The BTB or Black Hat Feng Shui is one of the most famous, and this school will be discussed in detail in the following chapter.
Classical and modern or contemporary Feng Shui differ mostly in how they use the Bagua, although there are of course other variations. Contemporary Feng Shui is more likely to incorporate ideas from modern science, psychology and other disciplines than is Classical Feng Shui. And while Classical Feng Shui determines the placement of the Bagua using compass directions and the Luopan, modern Feng Shui in particular BTB Feng Shui always situates the Bagua so the front door of the structure is in the north.
Chapter TwoBlack Sect Tantric Buddhist Feng Shui (BTB)
History & Symbolism
BTB, OR BLACK SECT TANTRIC BUDDHIST FENG SHUI, has evolved from centuries of use in Tibet, China and even India, and was brought to the Western world by Professor Lin Yun. His teachings have been studied and used here since the early 1970's, with many variations developing of his original work.
BTB has roots in the Bon religion, which pre-dates the conversion of the majority of Tibet to Buddhism. In the ninth and tenth centuries when this conversion occurred, many elements of the older Bon religion were incorporated into the Buddhism practiced in Tibet; now Bon is considered a branch of Tibetan Buddhism. This particular branch is called 'Black Sect,' and that is where the name Black Sect Tantric Buddhist Feng Shui comes from.
BTB embraces the old religion of Bon, yin/yang theory and the five element theory that covers the physical and metaphysical aspects of Feng Shui; this is similar to the way in which Native American shamans work with both physical and spiritual energies. In India, Vastu Shastra has been used for more than a millennium in the construction of buildings and homes and is quite similar to Classical and BTB Feng Shui with regard to the yin/yang theory and the five element theory.
All of these disciplines seek to encourage the best flow of Chi for the occupants of homes and buildings, and create environments that are beneficial.
There are three basic tenets in BTB Feng Shui and they echo those of Classical Feng Shui. But first it should be understood that BTB is not a religion, and it is not magic. BTB follows the principles of science and physics and incorporates these into Classical Feng Shui practices.
The first tenet is understanding the presence of Chi, or life force energy, which is present in all things. It is in the air we breathe, the homes we live in, the businesses we work in. It is in the animals and plants and all living things around us, both seen and unseen. Chi can be manipulated to move more slowly or more quickly, just as water in a stream can be dammed up, allowed to flow rapidly or diverted by gravel bars to create a meandering stream.
Unlike Classical Feng Shui, which uses a Luopan or Feng Shui compass, and also employs very intricate calculations, BTB uses a Bagua and studies physical shapes, colors and movement. Along with these analyses, BTB adjusts and manipulates Chi by using various enhancements or 'cures.'
The second tenet in BTB is to understand the way in which the yin /yang theory is present in our lives. Yin means the feminine aspect and is generally speaking light, flowing, soft, gentle, pale in color, soft in tone or voice. Yang means male and is generally speaking heavy, strong, darker in color, louder in tone. Some Feng Shui masters say there are seven dimensions of energy and the physical dimension is the one we are most accustomed to seeing. Therefore it is the one we most consider as a candidate for change. The yin/yang concept is crucial to examining and interpreting the environment correctly.
The physical dimension is more yang because three dimensional existence is dense; however, an object can become less yang and more yin if its color or weight changes, or even if it is moved.
BTB Feng Shui establishes multiple causes on many dimensions that are responsible to what a client or subject is experiencing. Thus, BTB Feng Shui is not only environmental, but spiritual and emotional as well. Many 'cures' are suggested for physical change, but many are also suggested for spiritual or causal change since BTB practitioners believe that a person's experience can be changed by using both physical and metaphysical cures.
In Classical Feng Shui, practitioners use visible, tangible factors to effect change. They use the Luopan, and utilize birth data to determine the change or alteration needed to produce the outcome desired. In BTB Feng Shui, practitioners use both physical and metaphysical approaches to effect change, but lean more heavily to the metaphysical.
When the Chi is adjusted so it is more abundant and balanced with yin/yang theory it can energize us in ways that allow us to be healthier and more productive. Other examples of yin/yang are: sweet/sour, passive/aggressive, cold/hot, down/up, light/ dark, back/front, below/above, soft/firm. Some questions to ask yourself about your environment to analyze the yin/yang balance might be: is the lighting too dim or bright? Is the color of the room pretty and soft or heavy and dark? Are the sounds you hear pleasant? Do you feel heavy or light and uplifted? The Chi of an individual can be changed by changing the yin/yang balance of the environment's energy. Good Chi can aid life aspirations and enhance and attract loving relationships. It can improve good fortune and create better health, encouraging deeper sleep. Sleep deprivation is rampant in our culture, and causes many health issues.
The third tenet in BTB Feng Shui is understanding the five element theory. Again, the five elements are found in both Classical Feng Shui and BTB Feng Shui.
The five elements are fire, earth, metal, water and wood; they are found all around us, both inside and outside.
Wood energy is expansive and growing energy. Think of how wood relates to springtime, sunrise in the east, and the colors of green, blue and brown. This energy also resonates in rectangles, and of course in living plants and flowers. Its position is the east and southeast areas of the Bagua and Luopan.
Fire energy is that of the sun; it moves rapidly, like a fire. It is represented by the color red and resonates with pyramidal or triangular shapes. It is found in the south area of the Bagua and Luopan.
Excerpted from WELCOME HOME by Sybilla Lenz Deborah Courville Copyright © 2012 by Sybilla Lenz. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Classical Feng Shui History & Symbolism....................1
Chapter 2. Black Sect Tantric Buddhist Feng Shui (BTB) History & Symbolism....................9
Chapter 3. Career & Life Purpose North/Water....................17
Chapter 4. Wisdom & Self Actualization Northeast/Earth....................25
Chapter 5. Family & Community East/Wood....................31
Chapter 6. Wealth & Prosperity Southeast/Wood....................37
Chapter 7. Reputation & Fame South/Fire....................47
Chapter 8. Love & Relationships Southwest/Earth....................53
Chapter 9. Creativity & Children West/Metal....................61
Chapter 10. Helpful People & Travel Northwest/Metal....................71
Chapter 11. Mind, Body & Spirit Center/Earth....................77
Chapter 12. Gardening The Outdoor Bagua....................85
About the Authors....................95