Continuing the discussion from Weekly Witchy CHALLENGE - Of Hearth & Home:
My objective for this week is to begin planning the layout of our new apartment, with a focus on achieving overall positive feng shui.
What’s particularly fascinating about our apartment’s layout is its resemblance to what the Chinese refer to as the “crab layout.” This layout is known for its balanced design on both sides. The central space encompasses the kitchen, dining area, and living room, which are symmetrically flanked by a bedroom and bathroom on each side. This configuration creates a harmonious and almost symmetrical square, much like the shape of a crab. This inherent balance and symmetry serve as a promising foundation for our feng shui endeavours, as they align with the principles of equilibrium and harmony that feng shui promotes.
Feng shui (風水/风水) is an ancient Chinese practice that focuses on creating harmony and balance in living spaces. It is based on the belief that the arrangement of our surroundings can significantly influence our well-being, happiness, and overall quality of life. The term “feng shui” literally translates to “wind-water” in English, representing the natural elements that are central to this practice.
Feng shui operates on the principle that the arrangement of our environment can affect the flow of energy, or “Qi” (氣/气). The goal of feng shui is to enhance the positive flow of Qi while minimising obstructions or negative influences. Here are some key aspects of feng shui:
- Balance of Yin and Yang (陰陽/阴阳): Feng shui emphasises the balance of yin and yang energies. Yin represents qualities like calmness and receptivity, while yang represents qualities like energy and activity. A harmonious living space should include a balance of these energies.
- Five Elements (五行): Feng shui also incorporates the five elements—wood (木), fire (火), earth (土), metal (金), and water (水). These elements interact in various ways and can be used to balance the energy in a space. For instance, wood promotes growth, while metal represents clarity and precision.
- Colour and Design: Feng shui encourages the use of specific colours and designs to create a harmonious environment. Colours are chosen based on their associated element and their impact on the flow of energy.
- The Bagua (Eight Symbols) Map (八卦): A fundamental tool in feng shui is the bagua map, an octagonal grid that divides a space into sections, each representing different aspects of life, such as career, family, wealth, and relationships. Feng shui practitioners use this map to analyze and adjust the energy flow within a home or room.
- Furniture Placement: The arrangement of furniture and objects within a space is essential in feng shui. Proper placement can promote positive energy flow and enhance various aspects of life, such as career, relationships, and health.
- Decluttering and Organising: Removing clutter and maintaining an organised living space is a fundamental practice in feng shui. Clutter is seen as an obstruction to the flow of positive energy.
- Incorporating Nature: Adding natural elements, such as plants and water features, to your environment is believed to enhance the flow of Qi. Plants, in particular, symbolise growth and prosperity.
[The five elements. Source]
Feng shui is not just about aesthetics; it’s about creating an environment that supports physical, mental, and emotional well-being. While there are traditional guidelines, feng shui can be adapted to suit individual preferences and needs. It’s a flexible practice that aims to help us achieve balance, peace, and positive energy in our surroundings, ultimately contributing to a more fulfilling and harmonious life.
The bagua map analyses and enhances the energy flow, or Qi, within a home or specific area. It consists of an octagonal grid, with each section representing different aspects of life.
The bagua map is typically placed over a floor plan of a house or a specific room. By aligning the bagua map with the layout of the space, we can identify areas where we may want to make adjustments or enhancements to promote positive energy flow.
Before we get started, this is the bagua map I will be using:
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the bagua map overlaid on our fresh apartment layout:
However, you might be wondering why there are nine sections in the layout? Well, this is because, in the philosophy of feng shui, the central core of the living space is dedicated to health. It’s a pivotal hub, and the other eight sections radiate outward from this central point, each governing a specific aspect of your life and surroundings.
Now, let’s take a detailed tour through each of the bagua map sections:
- Honouring Family and Ancestry: Acknowledging the significance of family, extended family, and ancestral legacy. Recognising the connections that tie to ancestral wisdom passed through generations.
- Balanced Living: Striving for equilibrium in various aspects of life. This entails maintaining mental clarity, emotional stability, physical well-being, and nurturing spiritual harmony to achieve a fulfilling life.
- Human and Environmental Connections: Cultivating meaningful relationships with people and the environment. Appreciating the value of human connections and the impact of interactions with the surrounding world.
- Financial and Material Well-being: Pursuing financial stability and material prosperity. This not only fulfils personal needs but also presents opportunities for positive impacts on everyone’s lives.
- Building Reputation: Actively shaping reputation in the world by embodying trust, love, loyalty, and integrity. Actions and choices determine how others perceive you.
- Self-Perception: Reflecting on one’s public image and self-concept. Aligning self-perception with desired qualities enhances confidence and well-being.
- Divine Self-Connection: Cultivating a profound self-connection, which forms the basis of healthy relationships. Self-awareness and self-love are vital for interpersonal interactions.
- Harmonious Relationships: Nurturing balanced connections in both personal and professional relationships. Effective communication, empathy, and compromise are essential to sustaining such relationships.
- Honouring Childlike Energy: Embracing and celebrating childlike qualities, including playfulness and curiosity, which infuse life with creativity and joy.
- Inner Child Nurturing: Tending to the inner child through activities that evoke happiness and nostalgia. This connection allows the experience of genuine joy and fulfilment.
- Extending Help to Others: Offering generous support and assistance to those in need. Benefitting others enriches one’s own life.
- Embracing Adventure: Welcoming opportunities for personal growth and novel experiences, especially through travel. Seeking guidance from spirit guides or source energy enhances the meaningfulness of adventures.
- Profession and Purpose: Recognising the chosen profession or career path as a significant life component. Aligning it with a motivating and fulfilling purpose is crucial for long-term satisfaction.
- Nourishing Your Spirit: Tending to spiritual well-being through practices like meditation and prayer. A robust spiritual foundation offers comfort and guidance in life’s journey.
- Wisdom from Experience: Pursuing wisdom through life experiences and sharing acquired knowledge with others. This facilitates personal growth and positive contributions to the world.
As a reflection of my Chinese heritage and a meaningful contribution to our apartment, I’ve introduced Emperor Coins. Though I’ve opted for replicas due to affordability, I believe these symbolic coins retain their value within our home. Let’s delve into a closer examination of the two distinct types of Emperor Coins that grace our living space, shown below.
Five Emperor Coins: Five Emperor Coins, known as “Wu Zhu” (五銖) coins in Chinese, are small, round coins featuring a square hole at their centre. The square hole represents the Earth element, while the coin’s circular shape symbolises Heaven, creating a balance of these elements.
These coins are often employed to enhance wealth and prosperity – they can be placed in wealth vases, wealth bowls, or hung on red strings to attract positive energy and financial abundance. Additionally, Five Emperor Coins may serve to counteract adverse energy, as their round shape signifies the metal element, which can exert control over and weaken the influence of wood elements that may bring unfavourable effects.
Ten Emperor Coins: Ten Emperor Coins or Ten Emperors Money (十帝錢/十帝钱) are closely related to Five Emperor Coins but typically consist of ten coins interconnected in a row or circle. They find use in serving purposes such as wealth attraction, protection from negative energy, and fostering balance and harmony within a living or working space.
Ten Emperor Coins are also employed in traditional Chinese divination practices, where they can be thrown or arranged to generate a hexagram, much like the I Ching divination method.
These coins are frequently integrated into feng shui remedies, such as placement in specific areas of the home or workplace, aimed at harnessing positive energies or neutralising negative ones. Their efficacy is subjective and reliant on individual belief, but they hold substantial value due to their rich symbolism and cultural importance within Chinese traditions.
Here, I’ll explore several feng shui “issues” that I foresee in our new apartment and share my strategies for managing them. Especially in the confines of smaller apartments, where every square inch is a precious commodity, the intricacies of managing feng shui can prove to be quite challenging. Furthermore, in a cultural context in a Western nation, feng shui finds itself neglected in design considerations, only really coming up in talks of “quirky Asianness” that can be added to homes. However, there’s no need for concern, as we have a repertoire of effective remedies at our disposal to navigate these feng shui imbalances!
Before we delve into these feng shui considerations, it’s worth noting that the Emperor Coins I mentioned earlier can be strategically placed to counteract unfavourable feng shui influences. So, should other approaches fall short, these coins offer a valuable option to harmonise our living space.
This situation can lead to a heightened sense of visual pressure for us, resulting in mental and physical stress. When reclining on a bed configured in such a manner, it may seem as though an invisible “knife” is metaphorically slicing into the person’s body. Although the immediate effects might be imperceptible, prolonged exposure to the direct energy emanating from the corner of the wall can eventually manifest as discomfort, pain, and even physical ailments.
To address this issue, our plan is to conceal the troublesome corner with the use of a screen.
This configuration suggests that we may encounter a multitude of obstacles or barriers in our professional journey or entrepreneurial endeavours. It’s akin to the sensation of continually coming up against a physical wall. This arrangement can also evoke feelings of rejection and a lack of motivation and vision for enhancing your existing work or business situation.
In scenarios where it’s impossible to relocate the desk, a commonly employed solution involves adorning the wall directly in front with a painting that offers an unobstructed view. Examples of such paintings include serene scenes like a sea of flowers or picturesque mountains and lakes.
In my partner’s case, I intend to implement this approach, while for my own workspace, I plan to orient my desk toward the balcony window. This strategic placement affords me a captivating vista of distant mountains, fostering a more harmonious and productive environment.
- Mirrors and the Front Door: Avoid placing mirrors directly across from the front door, as it can deflect positive energy entering the space.
- The Kitchen Table: Maintain the kitchen table clear and clean, promoting a welcoming environment for gatherings and a sense of warmth.
- Lighting in Dim Rooms: When dealing with rooms that are deficient in natural light, consider substituting cool bulbs (approximately 6000K or higher) with warmer bulbs (around 4000K or less). This transformation promotes a sense of well-being and ignites inspiration, creating a more inviting atmosphere within your living spaces.
- Declutter for Positive Energy: Keeping the space organised and free from unnecessary items allows energy to flow freely, preventing stagnation.
- Incorporating Nature: Including plants in the space symbolises growth, prosperity, and good fortune, creating a serene atmosphere. Opt for plants with rounded leaves for a calming effect.
- Maintaining Bright and Uncluttered Entrances: Keeping the entrance bright and free of clutter creates a welcoming environment that ensures good energy is invited in, setting the tone for the entire space.
While feng shui principles offer valuable guidance, it’s equally important to place your trust in your own intuition. Feng shui, at its core, revolves around utilising your distinctive living environment to foster equilibrium in various facets of life. It encourages you to tap into your innate wisdom and instincts to make adjustments and choices that resonate with your individual journey towards balance and harmony.
I’d like to finish with a photograph of a red envelope adorned with the Chinese family name, an emblem of my heritage. Etched upon it is the word jiang (江) which carries the meaning of “river.”