I get this a lot: “I kind of believe there might be something to feng shui, but I kind of don’t. The jury is still out. But if it doesn’t require an overhaul of my space, I don’t mind implementing a few tips here and there. So. What’ve you got for me? Also, I’m not made of money so be mindful of my expenses. Also, keep it short, because I ain’t got time for all that.”
All right. Challenge accepted, so long as we understand that I’m proposing a one size fits all when the philosophical core of my feng shui practice is that one size does not fit all.
Focus on the Kitchen
You don’t need a large, fancy kitchen. However, irrespective of directionality, your kitchen is linked to your fortune. Your kitchen needs to be a space you want to spend time in. It invites you to stay a little longer. You also want it to be well-lit. Ideally, lots of sunlight should enter your kitchen. If that’s not going to happen, then install good overhead lighting and keep the color of the décor light and bright.
Traditionally, you want to avoid a fire-water opposition in the kitchen. If your stove and sink are facing off against one another directly, then that’s a fire-water opposition. This can trigger more strife, tensions, and arguments among the occupants of the home. If you have a fire-water opposition in your kitchen, consider some form of buffer between the stove and sink, such as a prominent floor mat or rug that can visually draw attention away from the fire-water opposition, or prismatic crystal hanging from the ceiling between the two, which can help scatter the intense energies created by the opposition.
If there’s only one room in your house you’re willing to clean, then make that room the kitchen. Of all the rooms in the home, the kitchen condition needs to be clean, healthy, operating, inviting, and lovingly used. Sure, there are a million and one other feng shui maxims for the kitchen, but the one takeaway point for you is this: you need to love your kitchen. Figure out what you can do to the kitchen to make it a space you love.
Sprawling wide open and empty space is ideal, but not realistic for most modern homes. Nonetheless, de-clutter. As much as you can, de-clutter and get rid of your junk. If it doesn’t spark joy… blah blah, you’ve heard it before. But yeah, listen to that.
Even if everything you own sparks joy and still forms a fortress of towers of stuff, this isn’t ideal, but we’ll work with it. Meet me halfway by making sure your piles of stuff are organized piles, stacked neatly and with clear intentions. Just because it’s a little bit of a mess, don’t lose all hope and let it become a crazy-ass mess. Still try. If you can, push your piles of stuff against the wall so the center area of each room is clear, for unobstructed flow of Qi energy.
Pssst… out of sight is not out of mind! If the room looks neat and tidy but your closet, cabinets, and drawers are a hot mess, you’re not in the clear! Clutter that is attracting stale or atrophic Qi energies in your closet, cabinets, and drawers is still going to have an adverse impact on your life path (according to feng shui). So don’t clean your room by stuffing all your clutter into your closet! Doh. I just busted you wide open, amiright? Yeah…. clean your closets, too.
A Prosperity Bowl
If there’s a bathroom in the north, south, or southeast area of your home, this becomes a particularly important consideration: get a prosperity bowl. You’d then place your prosperity bowl in the bathroom. Otherwise, the common place to put it is the southeast area of the home.
A prosperity bowl is a concentrated battery that generates Qi energy in a way that you want, and fills that space with that intended Qi energy. In this case, Qi for good luck when it comes to money, success, and fortunes. You know, prosperity.
Here are the basic feng shui rules: refer back to the Lo Shu feng shui grid and Wu Xing correspondences to figure out whether you need to empower Water (north area), Fire (south area), or Wood (southeast). Incorporate knowledge of numerology, gemstone correspondences, even the metaphysical correspondences for herbs and flowers, and do not overlook the magic of happiness. Charms, trinkets, and symbolic objects that evoke happiness and joy for you can also be added to your prosperity bowl.
Get this. It doesn’t even need to be a bowl. However, it does need to be bowl-like in shape, so metaphysically like a cauldron it can hold and keep energy. The bowl shape is kind of what gives the “battery” some semblance of longevity and efficacy. Mine is a gold-toned money tree growing out of a money bag. The money bag part of the figurine is shaped such as to be bowl-like.
Fu talismans and sigils can be incorporated into your prosperity bowl. A thoughtfully crafted sigil rolled up into a scroll and placed discretely into your prosperity bowl may be one of the best feng shui cures for bringing good luck and fortune you can opt for.
Most important of all, the prosperity bowl needs to evoke prosperity to you. I like citrine, Chinese gold ingots (not real gold, heavens..), and Chinese coins. I also like prisms. All that Chinese-y stuff is just a bit too much for my sister, so she opts for crystal. She sourced a beautiful prismatic crystal bowl and filled it with loose pieces of Swarovski crystals. It’s really stunning to look at. To oomph it up, you can bury a talisman that brings prosperity and fortune into the loose gems, and that talisman can be entirely out of sight.
Feng Shui: Wind and Water
Stand just outside your front entrance. Visualize a river of water that starts where you stand and goes into the home through that front entrance. Now follow the river of water. Furniture in your home are like rock boulders that block the flow of the river. Also, imagine predominantly bright or well-lit rooms to be heat and darker, dingy rooms to be cold. Brightly lit rooms heat up the river. Warmth is good, but you don’t want it to be bubbling, so if it’s too bright, that room needs to be tempered with something more yin, cooler. If it’s too dark and too yin, water will freeze to ice and become immobile. (Atrophic Qi energy.) You’ll want to warm up these rooms with more yang. You want to temper the yin and yang of every room so that the balance looks and feels just right to you.
Given your personal findings from the river visualization, make adjustments to your décor accordingly. Make sure there is a nice, even, balanced roll of energy throughout the home.
Same visualization technique, only now it’s wind, not a river of water. Wind is breath. We all need to breathe. We need air. So now imagine wind flowing through the home. Sharp corners, furniture, and obstructions will weaken the wind. By the time that wind reaches certain areas of the home, is it strong enough at its destination to give life to that area? If not, something in that area needs to reinvigorate the wind (or Qi energy).
When you perform the wind and water visualizations, also be mindful of areas where energy might bottleneck, or accumulate to become stale or atrophic, or where energy might flow too quickly and thus cause frenetic, restless, anxious energy. One of the reasons why empty vases as décor is not advised is because it’s believed they accumulate energy, which can then become stale. If you really like the vase for décor, then make sure it’s filled with something that will keep the energy invigorated. This is often where gemstone correspondences come into play. I have this whole gemstone correspondences reference download somewhere on this website. Stashing the vase with something like crystal quartz, carnelian, or selenite can help.
Weaker Areas: Locate the Bathrooms
Using a compass and a bird’s eye mapping or diagram of your home, plus the above nine-sector feng shui reference chart, locate where all the bathrooms are.
Due to the “draining” or “flushing” of water (an essential to circulation of qi) in bathrooms, wherever bathrooms are located, feng shui theory holds that these are likely to be weaker areas of luck in your life while you are occupying that home.
For example, bathrooms located in the west sector of the home, which according to the reference chart above corresponds with fertility, can obstruct fertility, virility, and/or matters pertaining to pregnancy and children. A full bath located in the north sector of the home where it corresponds with career matters can cause a glass ceiling effect when it comes to professional prospects. A bathroom located at the very center point of your house’s living space is considered pretty bad feng shui that can have an adverse impact on health and wellness.
But fret not!~ Also according to feng shui theory, we’ve got feng shui cures. =)
This gets more specific and nuanced, and an in-depth discussion of how to approach feng shui cures will unduly burden this write-up, which I am hoping to keep concise.
In short, look to the Wu Xing alchemical phase that amplifies the good qi in that sector of the home. Back in East Asia, one might consult with a feng shui master or Taoist priest about feng shui cures (though this is also an area rife with fraud, sigh). Also, don’t overlook crafting your own Fu talismans. Check out my book The Tao of Craft (North Atlantic Books, 2016) to learn more about talisman crafting. They’re perfect as feng shui cures and yes, absolutely, you can do-it-yourself.
Manifesting What You Want with Feng Shui
The above feng shui grid applies to the entire parcel of land you’re assessing and it applies to each and every individual room. In other words, looking at the bigger picture of your property, the north sector of the parcel corresponds with career. The north sector of the home interior corresponds with career. Now, for your bedroom– the north sector of your bedroom corresponds with career. The theory here is every microcosm is a perfect representation of the macrocosm, and vice versa.
The grid is a reference table for which areas of life Qi in a particular compass directionality affects. The indications in all caps (e.g., top row left to right, WIND, FIRE, EARTH) indicates the Ba Gua trigram that governs that sector. The corresponding number is from the Lo Shu magic square. Then below, each sector in the grid shows you which of the Wu Xing strengthens the Qi in that compass directionality for that area of life. It also indicates the Wu Xing that is supportive (think: elemental dignities) and the one that weakens the Qi in that area.
Too much Earth in the north sector for career success, for example, can weaken and hinder career success. Interestingly, note the philosophy expressed here. Earth corresponds with home, love life, and family. If you think about, that’s commentary on work-life balance. Too much focus on the domestic can have an adverse effect on your professional gains. Those who are driven for career success tend to have a weaker domestic life.
If you examine every sector of the grid and what strengthens or weakens Qi energy there, you get a complete life philosophy that resonates with a Truth we all know. That’s why I say feng shui is philosophy.
To manifest a particular goal using feng shui, consider the grid and determine which area of your home and living space, per compass directionality, needs to be enhanced. If you don’t know the correspondences for the Wu Xing, recall the below reference chart that was presented earlier.
A large oval wall mirror and lead crystal lotus décor in the north section could help increase professional prosperity, or perhaps an aquarium of fish, adorned with seashells. Or hang up a painting with a color palette that is blue-dominant, and which depicts the ocean.
If you’re seeking gains in your social status, perhaps consider an arrangement of candles in the south area of your home (or your bedroom) surrounded by a crystal grid of carnelian and citrine. Single, lonely, and looking for love? How about some symbolism in the southwest corner of your living space, such as a pair of mandarin ducks, which in the Chinese culture symbolizes long-lasting true love. One thing I’ve always found fascinating is the elemental discrepancy between how the West expresses love and how the East expresses love. In the West, when I say love and romance, you probably think of fire, right? Like a burning flame. In the East, love and romance corresponds with earth, an element more akin to security, stability, and endurance.
Feng shui cures aren’t just limited to strict Wu Xing correspondences, though that’s the basis of how to craft a feng shui cure. Symbolism is also very important in feng shui.
Purely through oral tradition, I’ve heard that if a couple is having trouble with fertility and seeks to conceive a son, you place chili peppers or ornamentation that look like chili peppers in the west area of the home, west wall of the kitchen, west wall of the master bedroom, and west wall of the to-be baby room. I once asked my mother “why peppers?” She nodded at the ornamentation. Look at it. Look at it again. What does the shape remind you of? Oh. Huh.
Sadly, given the “we-just-want-sons” tradition in Eastern cultures, I don’t know if there’s any oral tradition on what to do if you want to conceive a daughter…
When crafting your own Fu talismans per The Tao of Craft, consider compass directionality per the feng shui grid. If you’re creating a talisman that you’ll activate by placing somewhere in the home or office, then place it in a directionality that corresponds with your intentions per the grid.
By far the most important word of guidance I might be able to offer you is to trust your own intuition. Oftentimes strong intuition is the shortcut to what science or an analytic method will conclude.
Take a moment to be in stillness in that environment and listen to Mother Nature. How does that area make you feel? Is it one of those “I can’t explain why, but I love this place” or “I can’t explain why, but this place gives me the creeps”? Trust that feeling. Because maybe for you, that space is no good. And your body-mind-spirit is trying to warn you that this space isn’t for you.
Generally, brightly lit spaces that lets in lots of sunlight is considered good feng shui and somewhere too dimly lit, curtains drawn, with stale or inactive qi is considered bad feng shui. But my hubby J has a strong aversion for brightly lit spaces with too much sun. If left up to his own devices, he likes his safe space fairly dark, with low artificial lighting, everything shut. Basically, cave-like.
He exemplifies an exception to general feng shui principles. For him specifically, as an individual, brightly lit spaces with too much sun overwhelms his senses. So if you’re like him, you can’t listen to general feng shui principles; you have to go with your intuition. Your mind-body-spirit will tell you what it needs.
Feng shui consideration is a two-step process, or consists of two parts.
The first part is finding a parcel of land that is most in harmony with who you are and what you value. You use feng shui for that.
The second part is how you enhance the land you have to optimize manifestation of your intentions, dreams, goals, and aspirations. So always think of your feng shui considerations in two parts. How it is as it is, and what you make of it once it’s yours.