You have certainly heard all about the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui, yes? But most of the time, we don’t really understand or relate how Feng Shui came to be at all. We have gleaned a vague knowledge of it as an ancient Chinese practice of space organizing for “positive energy” and leave it at that. Well, there is a lot more to it than that.
The history of Feng Shui
Is extremely long and complex. We could do a whole series of blog articles on it, and just cover its roots in Chinese tradition. So here is the abridged version, and what you need to know:
The earliest forms of Feng Shui are over 6000 years old and can be traced back to ancient forms of Astrology. Both Yangshao and Honsha cultures have a claim to the concept. The idea (which is still the basic idea behind Feng Shui to this day) is that men and the Universe are intertwined, and we should build our worlds accordingly. Archaeological findings all over the regions where these cultures existed have been found that have their entryways aligned with the stars. And even their funerary arrangements are organized according to ancient star charts.
Beginning with palatial structures at Erlitou, all Chinese capitals have been built according to rules of Feng Shui, that have been codified from as early as the Zhou era, about 3000 years ago.
Even before the invention of the magnetic compass, astrolabes and other devices have been used to calculate star position and other cosmographical aspects and understand how to organize in order to maximize Qi.
But what is Qi?
First of all, it is pronounced “chee”. Second of all, it is supposedly a form of energy. The belief in Qi is one of the reasons Feng Shui is considered a pseudoscience, since there is no scientific record of such a thing.
The whole point of Feng Shui is to order and organize things in such a way as to take advantage of Qi. And it was taken extremely seriously in ancient China. There are records of armies destroying enemy cemeteries so as to weaken their Qi.
So how can I actually use it?
Now, if we were going to go full traditional Chinese Feng Shui, maybe we would lose some time explaining the bagua, which are the cosmographical symbols that govern traditional Feng Shui. But we aren’t.
Feng Shui in the West has been enormously simplified into a general concept, or philosophy, of how to organize your space to maximize your own positive energy.
Here are some things to definitely avoid:
- Technology. Tech literally consumes energy. If you are trying to follow Feng Shui, you are definitely looking to conserve it. Be sure to keep your bedroom a technology-free space. This includes the TV.
- Mirrors. Mirrors shouldn’t be anywhere in the room, seeing as they reflect and propel light and energy. But Feng Shui also teaches us that if they are visible from the bed, they are inviting a third person into the marriage. You don’t want that.
- Shelves with books. Reading is a fantastic way of falling asleep, but you shouldn’t keep bookshelves in the bedroom itself. Any furniture that large and imposing is not ideal, but books in particular, with their vertical organization, can project a cutting energy that you want to avoid. If you absolutely must have them, then keep your books horizontal.
- Plants. Most people really resist this piece of advice, because they love their plants so much, but in Feng Shui, they are quite problematic. Plants have a vital, growth-oriented energy. This has power, and it will mess with the calm and relaxing vibe you are supposedly going for.
And here are a few things you should definitely try:
- Pairs of everything. Feng Shui is bing on pairs. Pairs promote loving and harmonious energies. This means you should pair your nightstands, your pillows, your shelves, everything.
- Use the colours of nature. In Feng Shui, colours are supposed to promote different energies. Brighter colours will promote more manic energies, whilst muted, calming colours found in nature will help you relax and fall asleep.
- Reorganize your furniture for order, especially the bed. The bed should be in the Command Position, which in Feng Shui means facing the door, but not directly in front of it. Also, get a headboard. Headboards provide stability and sturdiness.
- Consider all five senses. It isn’t all about what you see. Essential oils or incense can stimulate your sense of smell. Obviously you don’t want to keep food in the bedroom, but a jar of water with some lemon in it is the perfect refreshment when you wake up. Soothing music is your friend as well. And, of course, never forget, you want to have high-quality bed linens and comforters, that will help your skin and your body feel relaxed.
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