Feng shui? Oh yes, that’s the frog with the coin in its mouth, isn’t it?

Well, not really.

Feng shui teachings are much more than choosing a color for the wall or installing an aquarium to attract wealth. But in the literature, simple and superficial solutions are offered again and again: for example, “buy a double mattress (not two separate ones!) and the ideal partner will come into your life! ” Or, “place a golden frog with a coin in its mouth right at the entrance to the house on the left side and you will get rich!”

Such “easy” tips are often used in “modern” or “new age” feng shui, and they primarily serve to offer general and easy-to-accept instant solutions to a wider audience, seasoned with talismans and objects from Chinese culture and folklore, which, they imply,will surely have an effect, because feng shui is considered to be something exotic, which comes from distant China.

Take, for example, the celebration of the Chinese New Year, the colorful spectacle of colors (mainly red and gold), flying dragons, leaping tigers, fireworks and the luck that will accompany people born in the zodiac sign of the year being celebrated.  We can also hope that, if we are not already born in a lucky sign, then at least we might have the “right gua number” (number of the year of birth), and even if we don’t have that, at least we can apply some of the advice that many authors give in their books, such as “Feng Shui In A Day” or “Feng Shui For Busy People”.

Oh, I wish everything were so simple!

However, if we truly wish, we can dive below the surface of superstition, banality and simplification of feng shui and in order to do that we first need to take a look into the history of it, so that we can compare feng shui then and now, and see if these principles are still applicable today.

Feng shui principles were developed by the Chinese over thousands of years, in a way that they very precisely observed the landscape and nature and their influence on human life. The result is a complex system that deals with the relationships between people, space and nature – and far exceeds the effect of buying a double mattress or a frog with a coin in its mouth.

This ancient philosophical ideological system uses interdisciplinary knowledge such as astronomy, geography and anthropology to achieve “harmony between Heaven and Man”.

Feng shui therefore, sees man as a part of the universe, whose processes and laws he must obey in order to become “One with Heaven”.

The term feng shui was first mentioned in Guo Pu’s book “Zangshu” or “Book of Funerals”, where it is said that energy (Qi) is brought by the wind and retained by water. The task of feng shui, according to the master Guo Puo (276-324 AD), is to retain and use the energy of wind and water, either in the house or at the grave , through the existing landscape or by creating an artificial one. In that way it will ensure the prosperity of the household (yang feng shui) which means, it enables the continuity of lineage (of Chinese rulers) by carefully selecting the burial place (yin feng shui).

Feng shui was therefore initially used to build the tombs of ancient Chinese emperors. The position and shape of the tomb, as well as the moment of laying to rest of the body of the ruler, were of extreme importance, because it was believed that through careful planning of all the details, the emperor and his descendants will maintain the ruling power ” until the end of the world”.

One of the first names of what we call feng shui today was “kanyu”, which can be translated as “permanent world”, while feng shui is translated as “wind and water” or “air and water”. Without these two natural factors there would be no balance on Earth, both for us and for all other living beings.

To use feng shui, we must understand the influence of cosmology on the Earth, have knowledge of how astronomy, astrology, and the forces of nature affect us, and realize how to properly assess the terrain on which we want to build a dwelling.

Feng shui believes that the Earth is a living being that possesses both life and energy. The energy or Qi of a place depends on its topography and physical environment. A place with revitalizing energy is healthy, and a place with bad energy could be harmful to those who live there.

Is the Qi (energy) of the earth good, what is the magnetic field of that place, what geographical forms surround the future dwelling, building, urban space, and how will they affect us? Are we surrounded by mountains, lowlands, sea, oceans, desert and how will this natural environment affect the dwelling? Which part of it will we dedicate to the kitchen, living room, study, bedroom and the rest, with the aim of optimally using and harmonizing the energy of internal and external factors for the best possible life and development of the individual, family and society?

Feng shui is a seemingly invisible system of laws and methods, applied in the micro-environment within the macro-environment, in which we want to build structures that keep us and our families safe and in which our business can thrive, in order ensure our prosperity and longevity.

The ancient practice of feng shui began during the Han Dynasty around the third century BC in China. Both the emperors of the Shang Dynasty (1711-1066 BC) and other Chinese rulers applied the principles of feng shui because they considered it necessary in everyday life, in war as well in peace. This also explains why most of the ancient buildings and palaces in China were built according to the same feng shui principles. These buildings were surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, which reflected the complementarity of yin and yang, fluidity and solidity, openness and closedness, curved and straight lines. The goal was to achieve yin (the feminine principle) and yang (the masculine principle) to be in harmony, balance and continuity. The same principles were applied to the rest of traditional Chinese architecture.

The Chinese planned and arranged their settlements in such a way that they did not oppose the natural forms that surrounded them, but used them as support and protection in order to increase the good energy of the area even more, to ensure good health and prosperity for themselves.

The Taoist idea of ​​yin and yang, emptiness and solidity, water and mountains, are the basis of all feng shui, so for example the left part of the house represents yang or male power and was connected to the forces of Heaven, while the right part of the house represents yin or female power and was associated with the energies of the Earth.

Likewise, built-up areas, front elevations and the area in front of the house were considered yang. Empty areas, canopies, separate structures and rear elevations were considered yin. During construction, the yin and yang balance was sought, although a slight advantage was given to the yang/masculine side. Chinese society was extremely patriarchal; the man was the head of the house and the foundation of the society and therefore it was clear that the female yin energy was not allowed to overpower the male yang energy. It is also important to mention that feng shui was the knowledge of the elite, high military officers and ruling hierarchy, primarily the Chinese emperor. Although the common people knew nothing of this art, they also intuitively followed natural laws and observed the cycles of the seasons and the behavior of animals, when making their own decisions. Where, for example, to build a hut and a stable, or in which area to stay for a longer or shorter time.

The same feng shui principles that have been valid for thousands of years are still valid today.

Even today there is a division into yin and yang, the female and male principle, which in the East is not separated by the letter “and” but is called the “yin-yang” principle.

The Chinese realized a long time ago that these two are not in conflict, they are not opposed, but complementary. Without yin there is no yang and vice versa. Without light, there is no shadow; without day, there is no night; without birth there is no death.

The rhythm of yin and yang, their eternal dance, the endless revolutions in the famous Tao white-black symbol are part of our everyday life, they are as close to us as inhalation and exhalation (another symbol of yin and yang!). In short, they are an integral part of each of us individually. Everyone is a Tao symbol as we live the yin and yang principles every day.

From waking up, eating, working during the day (yang), to afternoon rest and getting ready for bed (yin). Living and working in a certain part of the city or settlement, sitting at a desk which faces certain directions (major or minor: yang or yin), living in an apartment or house whose main axis is in one of the directions, having a dwelling with a complete or partially deficient floorplan and so on.

Which parts of the dwelling are deficient? Or which parts of us as a person are deficient, and are they at all?

What does the space outside the house look like; how much energy and what quality of it is reaching the front door, is there any form outside the house or building that affects us?

Should you choose this house or that apartment or those business premises?

When should you be active (yang) and when should you calm down (yin)?

What can we really change inside or outside the dwelling to optimize our lives?

We seek answers to these and many other questions by observing the outer and inner space, feeling the energy, balancing yin and yang, using the Chinese compass (Luo Pan), which in its shape and function represents the union of Heaven and Earth. Feeling (yin) is complemented with calculations of energy (yang).

In the face of such principles, even a frog with a coin in its mouth must bow down!

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