1. Identifying the sectors to energize
Much of feng shui is based on the Pa Kua and the eight directions within the Pa Kua (an eight sided symbol representing the eight directions). There are four main directions (North, South, East and West) and four secondary directions (NE, NW, SE and SW). Each represents a different life aspiration. By activating a particular direction in your home with bright lights, you are in fact activating the luck of that sector.
The North represents career luck. The South brings fame and recognition. The East brings good health. The West brings descendants luck. The Northeast is for education. The Northwest is for making friends and mentor luck. The Southeast represents wealth and riches. And the Southwest is for love. So if you are looking for, say, love, install a bright light in the Southwest sector of your home and keep it turned on for at least 3 hours a day. This will bring many romantic opportunities your way and attract a soul mate into your life.
2. Working with colours
When you've found which sectors you want to enhance, you need to know what kind of lighting to use. The most conservative lights to use are colourless or white lights, for white embodies the whole spectrum of colours rolled into one. However, if you want to be more imaginative with your decor, or you want to be more focused in your activation, pick a colour that harmonizes with the energies of the sector.
The energies are characterized by the 5 elements - fire, earth, metal, water and wood. Fire is red and associated with the South. Earth is yellow and associated with the SW, NE and center. Metal is white, and associated with the West and NW. Water is blue and associated with the North. Wood is green, and is associated with the East and SE. When working with coloured lights, make sure you either use white light (which contains the energies of all 5 colours) or you use a colour which is associated to the element of the sector.
There is also hard and soft lighting. Generally, direct light or fluorescent lighting can be considered hard lighting, whereas indirect and yellow lighting is softer. Hard lighting is better suited for offices and work/study areas in the home. Hallways, landings and porches are also best when brightly lit. However, when it comes to the bedroom and rest areas of the home, using lights that are too bright will imbue the room with too much harsh energy, making it difficult to relax.
When picking the lighting for your home, it is important thus to differentiate between these two different lighting effects, which can bring two very different and opposite feels to a room or space. If you are activating a corner within a room, it is best to use soft lighting in the form of a lampshade or lava lamp. Bright lights should be reserved for just the very public areas, or when used to widen a space such as a narrow corridor.
4. Symbols and sculptures
There are many symbols and objects that can double up as feng shui enhancers. When coupled with lighting, the symbol is then given even more energy and power to attract good luck into your life. Auspicious symbols range from the very esoteric such as three-legged toads, dragon-tortoises and Chi Lins to the more ordinary, such as birds, horses, elephants and crystals.
The list of auspicious symbols with feng shui meanings is indeed a very long one (too long to list here) but as long as you avoid sharp pointed sculptures, wild animals and scary looking motifs, you should be quite safe. But feel free to be as creative as you want when it comes to mixing and matching symbols and sculptures with lights. What the light does is to fill the object with additional energy to create auspicious luck for you.
5. Sectors to avoid illuminating
Although using clever lighting is a fine way to improve your feng shui, there are certain sectors, which should not be given prominence through illumination. These taboo areas include toilets, bathrooms, storerooms and kitchens. When you are not using these areas in the house, they are best kept low key, with the doors leading to them kept shut. This doesn't mean you cannot light them up - it is indeed absurd to go to the bathroom in the dark! It just means that you should not make these areas in your home more prominent than other areas such as the living, dining and family rooms, which are more important to highlight.
6. The annual afflictions
And lastly, don't forget that feng shui has a time dimension. Each year, you need to know where the annual afflictions are so you can avoid enhancing their unlucky energies. In 2005, the Five Yellow, which brings misfortune, has flown to the Northwest sector. So avoid lighting the Northwest of your home with lights that are too bright. Another way to control the Five Yellow is to display a 5-element pagoda in this area. The other affliction to avoid is the illness star, which also gets awakened with light. This is in the East this year. This affliction can also be controlled with a metal wind chime, but try to avoid lighting this sector with excessively bright lights, to protect your family from falling sick.
The following article is taken from the "Feng Shui World (July/August 2004)". To subscribe, please click here.