WTF is Feng Shui?

Beyond just a guide to arranging furniture, feng shui is an ancient practice that’s rooted in Taoist elements from over 6,000 years ago. Taoism, simply put, is a philosophy and religion that emphasizes understanding chi (universal energy or interconnectedness) through a study of nature. Feng shui uses this understanding of chi to make determinations about architecture and interior design to ensure optimum health.

Feng shui was collected into a set of practices around 3,500 years ago and relied on astronomy. The modern magnetic compass was invented for use in feng shui and ushered in a new set of practices. While feng shui previously relied upon observation, measurement, and calculation based on immediate surroundings, compass feng shui additionally relied on techniques based on the eight cardinal directions, which are thought to each have their own energy. The observations are used to place objects in the right location and at the right time for optimum chi [energy].

 Photo: unknown

Photo: unknown

There’s a multitude of schools of thought on feng shui, but they are typically divided into Traditional, Buddhist, and Intuitive categories. Traditional feng shui encompasses the Form School, the Landscape School, and the Compass Schools, which all rely on strictly ancient practices to make observations and calculations about placements.

In the 1980s, Professor Li Yun developed the Black Sect Tibetan Tantric Buddhist (BTB) school of feng shui to integrate the practice into more comprehensive philosophies like Buddhism and holistic healing. Practitioners in this school typically use mantras, meditations and the placing of “cures” like like crystals and flowers to bring about desired results.

Finally Intuitive or Modern feng shui is an adaptation of traditional practices to the western lifestyle. It encompasses the Western School and the Pyramid School and generally emphasizes “space clearing” which is not a traditional practice. “Space Clearing” refers to clearing both the clutter and the negative energy from a space, often using practices like smudging.

Many people are attracted to experts and principles from different feng shui schools for various reasons. If you want to learn more about feng shui, these can help you learn the basics:

The Spruce

Feng Shui for your Bedroom by Marianne Gordon for Mind Body Green

Know Feng Shui

Feng-Shui by Eva Wong

Books by Lillian Too

Sacred Space by Denise Linn