It is just perfect here in Sydney. We have had whales in the harbour; the sun is shining after long awaited, glorious rain that had the decency to come on a week day and night and refresh everything. The days are getting longer, the plants are starting to bud and I am getting that spring-cleaning feeling, so all is well with my world and I trust it is just a great for all of you.
Many thanks to all the wonderful people who write to me, I love to be of service so please keep those interesting emails coming.
The other night my partner and I attended our first bridge lesson. For those of who don't know, bridge is a card game with a very definite set of rules aimed at clear communication. You play with a partner and aim to communicate the depth and strength of your hand, by using specific techniques. This got me thinking, if bridge is about communication, what is feng shui (FS) about? I think FS is about interpretation and like bridge it has many layers that can initially seem very confusing and overwhelming. Like bridge, if you put the time and effort into learning FS principals, you can unravel its mysteries. Again similar to bridge, even at the most simplistic level of FS you can practice, have fun and experience positive results! Start slow and build as you gain knowledge, experience, success and confidence!
Traditional Chinese landscape FS is one modality of FS where layers are relatively easy to understand and interpret. The overall aim in Landscape FS is for your home to be located in an armchair landscape that surrounds and supports the dwelling and its occupants. The hills or back of the chair provide support, the arms of the chair are represented by smaller hills and a small mound at the front can represent the footstool. We all love a nice comfy armchair to flop into after a tiring day, with a footstool to rest our tired legs and feet. The home is a material reflection of the owners, so the armchair landscape should symbolise the nicest, most comfortable, favourite armchair and footstool, whatever that means from the occupants perspective.
What are the basic layers of Landscape FS and how can we interpret FS wisdom established in primitive times and project them and their relevance into modern times?
Layer 1. Look at the surrounds of your home, the topography and try to interpret what messages the layout of the neighbouring buildings, landscape, streets, traffic flow etc., contain. For instance, traditionally houses were built with mountains behind and a watercourse in front, with hills on either side for protection. This was perfect for primitive, primarily peasant cultures of a feudal nature. Today we are far from primitive or peasant and though the feudal part is probably subjective, expecting hills to protect us from waring neighbourhood countries is pretty futile with today's modern arsenal.
So what do we look for in modern times that might still offer similar interpretations?
1. Buildings or tall trees can replace mountains behind a home.
2. Smaller trees/shrubs or again buildings can replace the hills.
3. Roads can replace watercourses.
How is your house situated from this armchair perspective?
Layer 2. The front of the home should have an open space with a small hill/mound. The space allows chi energy to come up to the home, slow down flowing over the small hill/mound, meander around the space before entering into the home. This ensures the energy is not too strong, but just the right strength for humans to handle and tap for their benefit. The small hill also add protection should the watercourse become out of balance and break its bank. An open area ensures no enemy can sneak up to the front of the home and attack sight-unseen.
In modern times those of us lucky enough to live in stable countries are unlikely to get attacked from neighbouring countries, but burglary is a huge worry, especially for city folk.
1. Most homes have lawns out the front and apartment blocks have open spaces, normally for parking etc.
2. Earth garden mounds with shrubs, to ensure privacy for the home dwellers and to mark the territorial boundaries, normally replace the small hills. Houses belonging to wealthy people often replace front gardens with brick, security walls.
3. If the road is very busy (like a fast flowing stream always at risk of overflowing), people protect themselves by placing high hedges, garages, fences or brick walls between the home and the road.On top of this, at least here in Australia, we fit modern, security aluminium roller-shutters to the front windows and security fly-screen doors outside the front door.
* It is interesting to note that where there is fast flowing traffic there is normally a higher crime rate, talk about yang energy out of balance! What FS interpretations can you make about the front of your home?
Having gained an overview of the basic landscape of the property, we are free to start delving a little deeper.
Layer 3. Look for the four celestial animals of traditional landscape FS and the rules that govern them. The four celestial animals are the:
1. Green Dragon
2. White tiger
3. Red phoenix
4. Black tortoise.
Some basic rules that govern all this are:
As you stand inside the house looking out; the green dragon should always be on the left (L); the white tiger on the right? (R), the phoenix in the front and the black tortoise at the back of the home.
The dragon should always be higher than the tiger. If the (R) side of the property is higher than the (L), balance up with dragon plant pots or a light
The tiger or (R) of the property should be peaceful because if disturbed the benevolent tiger could turn destructively on the occupants. Therefore ensure there are no major structures and or busy streets located on this side of the property.
The tortoise (hills/trees behind the property) supports the occupants. The shape is rounded like a tortoise shell, not sharp and pointy.
The phoenix represents opportunity. A low red brick wall or better still, a raised flowerbed of red flowers is excellent to encourage opportunity to continually knock on the front door and ensure abundance. As this represents a footstool the shape and size should reflect this imagery.
Lillian Too's books contain excellent pictorial examples of these celestial animals and how they can be reflected in the landscape. For further clarity in this area I recommend you read one of her books, either buy one or access one from your local library.
Layer 4. Shar Chi or poison arrows are likened to a warrior's spear being hurdled directly at our heart. In traditional FS they are believed to attack the heart and soul of a building and its occupants and as such need to be avoided at all costs. They are caused by anything sharp that points directly at the front door of the home. We don't want a Shar Chi spear killing the positive chi energy before it can enter the home and enhance our life successes do we now? Some examples of poison arrows are:
1. Sharp ridge ends of roofs.
2. Modern architectural structures that have pointed shapes/corners aimed at the front door.
3. Roads heading straight for the front door.
4. Flyovers whose concrete edges become arrows aimed at the front door.
5. A footpath that heads straight towards the front door.
6. A sharp edged (square sided) light pole whose edges aim at the front door.
7. A Bagua mirror hung outside a neighbour's home and facing your front door.
By planting shrubs or placing some sort of barrier e.g. pot plants, fence, wall etc. between your home and the Shar Chi; you form a protective shield for your home.
Layer 5. Look for anything else that might not be auspicious to the occupants of the home. Most of these make commonsense when pointed out, but are not always taken into consideration when purchasing a property. Try to avoid
- Having a prison, cemetery or police station opposite your home.
- Sharp, pointy angles from objects and structures pointing directly at your front door.
- Too much traffic flowing past your front door, the chi energy will rush straight past and not come into the house.
- Soil that contains no sign of life like worms or healthy plant life.
- Land that is flat, bleak and /or barren.
- Water behind the property as water symbolises money and you want that in front of you not behind and therefore in the past.
The natural watercourse that was there, the Murrumbidgee River, has been seriously curtailed by being dammed and its flow has now been controlled and drastically reduced. As more water is being added via manmade lakes etc., Canberra is becoming more self sufficient and successful, but it still struggles for recognition compared to its larger, more successful counterpart and it still tries to cling to government for support rather than being self-sufficient and so independent. This is a huge shame as traditionally Canberra was a meeting place for indigenous Australians and as such is a very spiritual as well as beautiful place. By comparison Perth is situated on the famous and beautiful Swan River and continually goes from strength to strength, even though its isolation from the other major states is significant and could have been thought of as a deterrent to prosperity.
Good luck, have fun and don't forget, even if your property isn't perfect, anything filled with love is guaranteed to flourish, so love and appreciate what you have, give thanks and then ask; "how does it get any better than this"?
Fond regards till next time.