Armed with a few feng shui basics, anyone can start on the path toward a happy, healthy and prosperous life. Feng shui (pronounced fung-shwee) is a Chinese philosophy that focuses on the flow of life-giving energy, or ch'i. Literally meaning wind and water, this way of life has become wildly popular in the West, where it is better known as "earth magic." Even if you are not familiar with it, there are certainly times you have encountered the powers of feng shui. For example, have you ever wondered why the restaurant on the corner never does well, no matter how many times it changed hands? Or what about that sense of serenity you get from some buildings and their decor, while others make you feel uneasy? True, not everything can be in perfect harmony, but with a few basic principles of feng shui under your belt, you can add a deeper dimension to your relationships among people, structures and the environment and fix those things that are blocking that precious life energy.
It's easy to incorporate feng shui into your lifestyle to balance yin and yang, which are the two opposing cosmic forces that shape everything in life, according to Chinese philosophy. In the Western culture, feng shui has been adopted to create harmonious home and office designs. Much of this is determined by where and how you place things, which is why a feng shui master uses a compass to align human activity with those cosmic forces that are believed to affect the universe.
Mysticism aside, you don't need to hire a feng shui master to create a comfortable and harmonious environment for yourself and those around you. Most of it is practical and requires just a little common sense. For example, a house on low-lying ground is likely to face flooding during heavy rains or a tree planted too close to a house could uproot the foundation. Not everyone can live in Shangri-La but everyone can use feng shui concepts to create pleasing interior and exterior designs. Here are a few basic remedies or "cures" that can raise your ch'i.
Use of mirrors, crystal balls and lights can cure many a bad feng shui. Mirrors are used to deflect negative surroundings inside or outside a building. In interiors, they should be large and properly hung to reflect pleasant views of water or gardens. Mirrors used in businesses can increase profits. In addition, lighting is key in feng shui. Indoors, the brighter the lamp the better.
Living objects are good to use when decorating. Plants are a sign of good feng shui. Where plants or flowers thrive, so will the residents. Place plants on either side of an entrance to attract good ch'i. Water symbolizes money. If you live in an area where there is a lack of water, aquariums and fishbowls can bring the same money-making ch'i. Use aquariums with bubbling aerators, which stimulate ch'i.
Moving objects, such as mobiles for the interiors and windmills or weathervanes also stimulate ch'i. Water fountains also create positive ch'i, and can attract profits in business. Heavy objects, such as stones or statues can allow one to hold down a job or to keep a spouse.
The use of color holds particular significance in feng shui design because the Chinese consider certain colors more auspicious than others. For example, while black signifies a loss of light, it is nevertheless representative of the water element and connotes money. Red is considered good while white is a color of mourning. Yellow represents longevity and green represents growth, freshness and tranquility. Blue is ambiguous; it can be auspicious, but sometimes represents death.