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Wind, Water and Feng Shui

The long and short of Feng Shui, the Chinese art of design and placement.

Feng Shui is the Chinese art of design and placement. The Chinese believe that humans live in a field of energy. The Indians call it 'prana', the Japanese call it 'ki' and the Chinese call it 'chi'. Feng Shui is the study of this vital energy. It is the basic understanding of energy, in terms of its movement, behaviour and pattern, in a given space. 

Like the Indian study of Vaastu Shastra, Feng Shui also involves designing the interiors of a place in harmony with the smoothly flowing 'chi'. It is believed that when `chi' flows harmoniously, life flows smoothly. Thus Feng Shui affects human relationships, career, health, finance and love to a great degree.


Literally speaking, Feng Shui means 'wind and water', the two fundamental elements of life. According to the Chinese, wind is the carrier of energy and water is its container. A strong wind is very active and would be ideally suited to a place of work. On the other hand, a gentle wind is definitely more appropriate for a home where a person comes to unwind and relax after a hard day's work. 

Feng Shui practitioners seek to bring balance and harmony in any given structure by applying the concept of wind and water to the placement of furniture, shapes, mirrors and colours in a particular place. This effort, falling under the form school, is achieved through symbols.

The compass school practitioners of Feng Shui emphasize the effects of compass directions on a given plot or structure. According to them, the interiors of a space have places that are intrinsically more suited to certain activities than others. They use the Luo Pan, a Chinese compass with numerous concentric rings, to gauge the flow of energy. These practitioners chart out a person's auspicious and inauspicious directions, after taking the date of birth into account. 

9-star Ki astrology forms the third school of thought. It studies the effects of time on a person, place or property. 

While there are many more approaches, but a good practitioner blends all the three main ones for best results. 

Practical tools and cures

Feng Shui has gained immense popularity mainly because it offers simple cures for problem areas. Structural and architectural changes in a place are very time-consuming, expensive and sometimes impossible. But Feng Shui offers simple remedial measures for blocked energy caused by poor design. It also enhances the auspicious areas in a space.

The nine basic cures:

  1. Bright objects - mirrors, crystal balls, lights.
  2. Sounds - wind chimes, bells, music.
  3. Living objects - plants, flowers, fish or aquariums.
  4. Moving objects - fountain, windmills, mobiles, and whirligigs.
  5. Heavy objects - stones, statues.
  6. Electrically powered objects - televisions, computers and fans.
  7. Symbolic images - paintings, pictures, objects.
  8. Forms and colours.
  9. Miscellaneous personal articles and gifts. 

Basic chart (BA-GUA)

The Ba-Gua is a basic tool or nine-square grid map that charts out the areas within a given space that relate directly to the nine main areas of human life. This chart shows the areas that affect different aspects of human life.


If any of these areas is blocked or incomplete, a simple cure is placed in that area to solve the problem. For e.g., if you are having financial problems, the wealth corner of your home or office is probably stagnant and could be brought alive with the placement of a healthy green plant. 

Five energies of transformations

Energy, as everything else in nature, follows a cyclical process. It expands (when it is at the maximum limit) and contracts and then follows a pattern. Certain elements of nature like wood, fire, earth, metal and water are used to describe the different stages of transformation of this energy. 

Wood - upward, outward movement.
Fire - active energy.
Earth - settling, gathering energy.
Metal - descending, contracting energy.
Water - floating energy.

Associated with each of these energies are different colours, animals and seasons. 

When these five energies change in a natural progression, they move in a creative cycle. For example, wood supports fire, which in turn produces earth, which creates metal, which condenses to form water. But the same cycle, if used in reverse, can be very destructive. 

Now look at the Ba-Gua once again. Each of these elements, along with their corresponding colours, animals and qualities is attributed to each area of the Ba-Gua. In this way, an experienced Feng Shui practitioner is able to decipher which of the above nine cures should be placed to enhance or remove a certain block from any of the nine houses or areas, depending on the auspicious or inauspicious direction. 

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