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TUTORIALS

Acute case of symbols paranoia ?

Sunday, October 23, 2005
By: Joey Yap
It is not uncommon to see people obsessed with Feng Shui. Everything in their lives are Feng Shui-ed and they become paralysed with so many different ‘Feng Shui things’ to do that it becomes impossible to find anything in their home that hasn’t got a ‘Feng Shui significance’.

Our article today will focus on what you really should look into when applying Classical Feng Shui and conversely, what has no real bearing on the Feng Shui of your property.

Does everything that looks Oriental in your home have Feng Shui significance? The straightforward answer to this is a resounding No. But this answer doesn’t always satisfy some very paranoid ‘Feng Shui enthusiasts’ out there.

Does Everything Have to ‘Symbolize’ Something?

You hear it everywhere; ‘gee, that looks like a “Wealth Pot”, it represents Money flowing into my home!’ or ‘hey, look, a money plant, this must symbolise money growing in my home everyday!’. And a painting of a ship carrying gold? ‘wow! A ship sailing with gold! If I now put this in my home, it becomes a harbour for ships of gold, thereby making me wealthy’.

In this way, every painting, every oriental item now becomes a symbol or representation of ‘good luck.’

Perhaps this has really been taken too far. What began as nothing more than art has now been misunderstood and generalised as ‘Feng Shui’. You see, the Chinese culture is rich with motifs and positive symbolisms, people in the old days revelled in surrounding themselves with positive affirmations. Even if they weren’t rich, it reminded them of prosperity and good fortune and made them feel better.

None of these was ever meant to be anything more than cultural designs; all of these are now misconstrued as part of Chinese Feng Shui. Chinese Cultural Arts (like furniture design, ornaments and interior design) and Feng Shui are actually TWO very different worlds apart.

Feng Shui is actually a skill of studying the Qi flow in the environment, planetary influences, contours of the land, river and mountain formations in relation to a property. In Feng Shui, four key factors are often considered – Environment, Building (shape, layout and structure), Residents and Time.

How About Garden Feng Shui?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before; some people actually consider Chinese Gardens as being part of Feng Shui. Is this actually true? You can all say it with me now – NO.

The only two things in a Chinese Garden even remotely connected to Feng Shui would be the rocks and if it had one; a pond. Other than that, all the moon-gates, the types of tree and any sort of Oriental flower has no significance in how the Qi flows around your property.

A considerable amount of resources and time is spent by people trying to figure out just what plant in their garden will bring them good luck. As I mentioned before, money plants seem to rank highly in this list amongst a few other varieties. Cactuses, I am told, are a supposed no-no in Feng Shui.

Any Qi a plant may generate is so negligible as to be insignificant in the greater scheme of things. So there is no reason to be paranoid over what plants you have in your home or garden.

If you study the ancient classical Feng Shui literatures, none of them mention or even discuss a reliance on ornamental objects and symbols as Feng Shui.

Nothing such as this has ever been suggested, from the times of the Yellow Emperor (2700bc) until the Qing Dynasty (1641 – 1911), the principles of Feng Shui have always dealt with direction and location in determining the flow of Qi.

Yet today, the paranoia is on. To the extent that they feel they MUST have a certain décor in a certain location of their home, otherwise the sky may very well fall on their heads in an angry Feng Shui wrath.

What’s really important in your garden should just be the location of your rock mountains and ponds, if you have any of these. Based on the Period 8 Ling Zheng Shen principle (the macro picture), the following table will show you where in your garden you should locate each of these. It’s a general guide and obviously a more personalised Feng Shui Consultation with a skilled Feng Shui practitioner will allow you to hone these further based on your own individual property.



The above represents the basic understanding for ‘water’ placement in accordance to Xuan Kong San Yuan Feng Shui from the start of Period 6 (1964) until end of Period 9 (2043). Meaning, the generally accepted ‘location’ for water features (like lake, ponds and swimming pool) in the external environment would be Southwest, East, SouthEast and North. Of course, this needs to be further qualified by each individual house’s Xuan Kong Flying Star chart.

Are there exceptions to this general principle? Yes of course. That’s when we consider the Xuan Kong Da Gua chart of each house and find out the exact position where water placement is needed to stimulate the Qi for the entire house. This concept is similar to the concept of stimulating meridian points in the practice of Chinese Acupuncture – the idea is to identify the ‘meridian point’ of the house and stimulate the flow of Qi accordingly. All this can be achieved with the simple strategic placement of a water feature.

What About Symbols?

Can we stimulate the Qi in the house with a symbolic object? Symbols that you may see have largely to do with religious or cultural practice. If you look at most religious practices, they emphasize a lot on the usage of symbols and rituals during prayer.

Feng Shui is not a religion. It is a metaphysical science of environmental energies and how to make the most of it. It does not place any reliance on the use of symbols. If it did, why weren’t this important concept mentioned in ANY of the ancient classical literatures of Feng Shui?

Bagua Me Baby

Then how about the BaGua Mirror you ask? Isn’t this a Feng Shui tool?

Sorry to disappoint you again there but the BaGua is nothing more than a diagram indicating a mathematical model of the universe. In this model, the universe is based on the polarities of Yin (Negative) and Yang (Positive). By itself, the BaGua has no special ‘powers’.

It is not uncommon to see the BaGua mirrors used for SPIRITUAL purposes – mostly after a host of prayers and rituals are done to them. Some Chinese believe that BaGua mirrors could be used to ward off spirits in certain circumstances. Unfortunately, this is not part of Feng Shui and people have confused spiritual practices with it. In Feng Shui, we only use the BaGua (without the mirror) as a diagram for calculations and to derive formulas.

Symbols have power only in the minds of those who believe in them.

In Feng Shui, all calculations and assessment is based on the natural Qi (energy) flow from the environment, how it courses from the external to the internal of the home. Symbols are only good to the extent of creating positive thoughts in the minds of people; they do not generate any Qi of their own.

The BaGua is akin to a country’s flag. A flag inspires patriotism. But on its own, a flag is just a piece of coloured cloth with no special powers or Qi.

But then, why do we hear complaints when the opposite neighbour puts up a BaGua mirror outside their house, facing ours? Why suddenly a series of mishaps?

Simple – it’s all in the mind. There are thousands of people who have houses facing a BaGua mirror, why are you the only one facing problems? Because you’ve been told that this is ‘bad’ Feng Shui. This subsequently affects your thoughts and anything negative that befalls you immediately gets blamed on the BaGua opposite your house.

Because Feng Shui is only concerned with the Qi in the environment and how the house or office taps into this, you should not allow your mind to ‘believe’ that some symbol or item is true simply based on what others say.

Once you understand that Feng Shui is all about harnessing Qi flow, then there’s no more paranoia over the décor inside your home.

If you are an avid Chinese art and ornament collector like me, then you should purchase these wonderful works for their artistic value. Not because you are hoping they will bring you ‘good luck’ or miraculously fix all your mundane problems.

So don't be panaroid and have fun with your collection.
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