Feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”) is an ancient Asian art of creating harmony and balance within an environment.

Feng-shui has been used by the Chinese to build homes and business offices, design cities and villages, and construct tombs for the dead. In recent years Westerners have begun to study and practice feng-shui.

Practitioners of feng-shui claim that the layout and arrangement of a home greatly influences the lives of all its occupants. The alignment of furniture, color schemes, and accessories all play a part in creating an environment that both relaxes and invigorates those who live there. Simply moving a few objects or repainting a room can have a significant impact. On the other hand, misfortunes such as poor health, financial problems, marital or relationship troubles, and infertility can be attributed to a house in which feng-shui principles have been ignored.

Feng-shui is also concerned with the location of a building because its position in an area may be adversely affected by the surroundings unless appropriate countermeasures are taken to deflect negative energy.

Brief History

The Chinese developed feng-shui principles about four thousand years ago. The ancient Chinese recognized how the elements, particularly wind (feng) and water (shui), impacted life: gently flowing winds meant good harvests, stagnant water led to disease; etc. Likewise they realized how living harmoniously with surroundings made life easier. Legends says that the actual practice of feng-shui began with the shaman-kings who led the early Chinese tribes and understood the powers of wind and water, the changes in earth and sky, and the cycle of the seasons


Chi is the key component of feng-shui. It is roughly translated as the invisible energy that circulates through the earth and sky. Chi travels best when it imitates nature by flowing in gentle curves, rather than along straight lines, where it can move too quickly, or against sharp edges, where it can be blocked, and cause sha, or bad chi.

The Eight Directions

The eight directions of the compass (north, east, south, west, northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest) and the center, known together as the Nine Palaces, are basic components of feng-shui. Each direction is associated with a different kind of chi energy. Knowing the characteristics of these directions and their spheres of influence allows the creation of good feng-shui. It also used in making adjustments needed to correct bad feng shui.

The Five Elements

Each of the eight directions and the center is linked to at least one of what is known as the Five Elements: water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. The Chinese are able to group all things into one of these five categories.

Each of the Five Elements is related to the other in a cycle of creation and destruction. When the elements are used to enhance one another, they follow the creation cycle.

In practicing feng-shui, one of the most effective ways to create positive energy or remedy bad energy is to make good use of the five elements. Feng-shui is easily adjusted by mixing, separating and arranging the five elements at suitable compass points within the home. The elements interact in either a creative or destructive cycle and their presentation affects the balance of the environment.

Color and Numbers

Color is yet another important aspect of balance in fengshui. Color has an effect on the look and feel of a room, but colors also have associations linked to them. For example, to the Chinese red is a lucky color, associated with life, happiness, and warmth. Green and blue are associated with new beginnings, growth and family life.

Numbers also have meaning and some are more favorable than others. Nine is considered the luckiest, partially due to apparent mystical qualities: when 9 is multiplied by an single-digit number, the sum of the two digits of the product is 9. The number 4 is considered bad-luck because its Chinese pronunciation, “si,” sounds simila

  • Feng shui is related to the concepts of yin and yang, and chi.
  • Proper practice of feng shui is meant to maintain good health, wealth, relationships, creativity and more.
  • The aim of feng shui is to create a living and working (and dying — feng shui is for graveyards, too) environment in harmony with nature and the flow of energy.
  • The details of feng shui relate to position of elements, color and materials.
  • Fountains, mirrors and crystals are particularly important accessories in feng shui.
  • Feng shui literally means “wind-water.”

( Sources:  Answers.com, Occultism & Parapsychology Encyclopedia, Fast facts,
Eitel, E. J. Feng-shui: The Rudiments of Natural Science in China. Bristol, England: Pentacle Books, 1979.
Lagatree, Kirsten M. Feng-shui: Arranging Your Home to Change Your Life. New York: Villard Books, 1996.
Rossbach, Sarah. Feng-shui: The Chinese Art of Placement. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1983.
Skinner, Stephen. The Living Earth Manual of Feng-shui: Chinese Geomancy. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.
Too, Lillian. Essential Feng-shui: A Step-by-Step Guide to Enhancing Your Relationships, Health, and Prosperity.
Ballantine Books, Inc., 1999.
Wong, Eva. Feng-Shui: The Ancient Wisdom of Harmonious Living for Modern Times. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc. 1996. )

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