An Introduction To Feng Shui
Linda Hawthorne Held
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Feng Shui is called "The Ancient Chinese Art Of Placement". It is over 3,000 years old. The correct pronunciation is Feng "meaning wind" and Shui (Sh-way) "meaning water". What are two things we can't live without? Air and Water. Feng Shui.

Thousands of years of observation and application have proven that vital energy, or Ch'i as it is called in China, in the home, office, garden or any public space, can be altered to eliminate problems in each of the different aspects of your life which include health, relationships, family, career and wealth.

To understand where Feng Shui came from, let's go back to the beginning. The teachings of Feng Shui can be traced back to an early mystical Chinese text of divination called the "I Ching". The trigrams of this text take in early cosmology that links nature, man and his surroundings all together within a map called the Bagua. Many beliefs in China have a story to accompany them. Feng Shui is no exception.

The original story of the Bagua began with a turtle. Between 2938 and 2853 BC, it is said that an emperor was sitting along the bank of a river, when he observed a turtle slowly climbing ashore. The turtle is considered a symbol of the universe. It's back, which is shaped like a dome, represents the sky, and the many marks covering it's shell are said to represent the planets and constellations. Furthermore, it's belly is representative of the earth, it's slow deliberate movements in the water, can be compared to the way land is surrounded by the vast oceans. The "Records Of Science" show that the lifespan of a turtle is about one thousand years. Thus, making him a symbol of wisdom, strength, endurance and longevity in Feng Shui. He is also considered one of the four "spiritually endowed" creatures in Feng Shui in conjunction with the unicorn, phoenix and dragon. Now, let's go back to the story. As the emperor observed the turtle, he began to analyze the markings on his back. As the marking began to dry in the sun, he saw that the patterns seemed to change. In his mind, the markings seem to resemble the trigrams that are found in the "I Ching", which is the Chinese book of changes. He then used these trigrams to design the Bagua, or Lo Shu, which I will expand on later.

There are various schools of Feng Shui. There is the Form School,which is the oldest school of Feng Shui, Compass School, Black Sect School, Pyramid School and The Western School. Although each may differ slightly in their beliefs, all schools of Feng Shui advocate that vitality inspires growth and all schools recognize Ch'i Enhancers as the tools to accomplish this growth.

Energy (or Ch'i) is the most important principle in Feng Shui. Ch'i is often described as "the breath of life" that pertains to the earth and all living things. The goal in Feng Shui is to alter the Ch'i by channeling and re-directing it's flow, thus improving the conditions that exist between an indiviual and their environment. By uplifting the Ch'i you are taking the appropriate steps toward enhancing each and every aspect of your life.

Feng Shui also observes the Taoist concept of Yin and Yang that unites opposites. Human beings love balance. We continuously positions ourselves where conditions are the most comfortable whenever possible. Yin is femine and Yang is masculine. By achieving a correct balance of Yin and Yang we can create an ideal setting that nurtures and supports us and one we will enjoy spending time in.

The Five Elements were born out of Yin and Yang. These Five Elements are the basis for literally everything physical on our earth. We identify them as: Wood, Fire, Metal, Water and Earth. Human beings are a combination of the five elements. When we incorporate and position all the elements appropriately within our environment, we achieve balance, support and comfort.

Ch'i Enhancers, Yin and Yang and The Five Elements are now used within a map called the Bagua. The Bagua, as previously mentioned in the original story of Feng Shui, is specifically defined as a template that is placed over a survey map, the plan of a garden, the blueprint of a home, a specific room, or any area that you wish to enhance. The Bagua is composed of eight houses with the earth occupying the center house. It's original design is octagonal, however, in our Western Culture it is often displayed in the shape of a square. The eight houses are Wealth, Fame, Relationships, Children, Benefactors, Career, Knowledge and Family. Placing the Bagua over a specific area, defines the location of each of the houses in relationship to the areas you wish to enhance. With the Ch'i Enhancers, Yin and Yang, The Five Elements, and the Bagua, we now have assembled everything necessary to develop and enhance any space that we occupy thus achieving balance and harmony in each and every aspect of our lives. Winston Churchill said, "We shape our dwellings and afterwards our dwellings shape us". We want to be in charge of what we create for ourselves and those we love. Knowledge of Feng Shui can help us move in that direction.       

                                              Copyrighted  1998 - Linda Hawthorne Held

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                                            Chinese Proverb

          When there is light in the soul, there is beauty in the person.

     When there is beauty in the person, there is harmony in the home.

      When there is harmony in the home, there is honor in the nation,

        When there is honor in the nation, there is peace in the world.
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