A very basic Fen Shui 101
For the last few months I have been studying Feng Shui for both my office and my home, what I have learned is that in Feng Shui, the main concept is that qi- that invisible powerful all-pervading force- needs to flow in a certain way through our dwellings for harmonious lives. When the qi is stagnant, or rushed- when there is too much yang or yin energy in areas of our dwellings- the effect is negative.
In addition to the flow of qi, each room and home is divided up in areas of influence in your life based on the Lo Shu Magic Square. Using the Ba Gua (the Octogonal compass, if you will) a Feng Shui Master can determine which areas of your dwelling need Feng Shui cures. For example, if your love life is a challenge we would look at the relationship area of your home. Perhaps that area is where your dark dirty closet is and the qi is stagnant. Once determining that the closet may be affecting your relationship qi, we would apply a “cure” to get the qi moving in that area which will also affect your life.
Meet the Ba Gua:
The Chinese have traditionally put South at the top...
Each area has one of the Chinese five elements that can be affected by other elements in that area. Elements can either enhance, be neutral towards or exhaust one another. For example, the relationship area is presided by Earth. So things that “destroy” earth- wood as an example in this cosmology- should not be placed in this area as a cure.
Number 1 resides in the North and is influenced by the element of water. This area is also known as the Journey or career area. It is more than just career though, it is an area where we are working a career that is deeply meaningful to us and fills us with purpose.
Throughout this blog, I will be posting pictures of my own reading room to show the principals:
My actual reading desk is in this quadrant and this is the area I spend the most time. Above my desk I have a water lilies batik hanging, promoting the qi flow of water in this area, but I could also use something as simple as Ace of Cups.
For me, the Aces represent the most pure form of that energy so I use them as the first option wherever appropriate. It would not be good to put an earth card here- like a pentacle- because pentacles are earth and earth exhausts water.
Number 2 resides in the South West area and is influenced by Earth and relationships. In my office, I have plants (non woody) and I also have things like the open hands and my rose quartz to facilitate qi flow in this area. A wonderful card you can place here is the 10 of Pentacles: grounded happy families protected. You can also put pairs of things here to represent couples.
Number 3 in the east is influenced by wood (wood is considered an element in Chinese cosmology) and ancestors and family. Water nurtures wood so you could put the
10 of Cups here. The Empress and Emperor could work as the ultimate Mater/Pater familias. This area acknowledges the work our ancestors did and continue to do to influence our wisdom and success in all things. This is very different from the western paradigm of independence.
In this area, I have a large plant activating wood qi as well as a big picture of the Buddha to represent people from the past who influence me. You could also put a pic of your grandparents here. Personally I am using the World card from the Dreaming Way, when I asked the artist why he chose an old man for the world card he said, "It is the scene of an old man who has seen the world and is now content with it and himself." It is like a grandpa card to me.
Number 4 is in the South East and is also represented by wood (different Feng Shui schools also call it wind). This is the area of wealth. Wood is considered neutral by earth so it is ok to have earthy things in here. Here I have a nice big thriving plant as well as a small fountain that runs, water also nourishes wood and a small water fountain is an especially powerful Cure for the flow of money coming to you. In this area I place the Ace of Pentacles.
Number 5 is at the very center of the all the other quadrants it is moving yin and yang that all the others spin around, in Feng Shui this is not an area that usually needs a Cure. It is an earth area, also.
Number 6 is in the northwest and is influenced by metal and is the area of helpful people and travel. In my office I have a banner that speaks to being of a helpful nature and if you need to travel more or need to cultivate qi in a way that helpful mentors and support folks come out to help you can certainly activate this area by placing something metal here, a compass perhaps?
To me, metal corresponds to the suit of Swords, so I think I might just place the whole Swords Court here to represent people who can help. This area is also how you are of service so the Ace of Swords could be fitting here, too. I also put the Magician, his help is always a gift. As you see, you can hide them behind things, and according to Feng Shui principals, they still work.
Number 7 is in the West and is cultivated by the area of Creativity and Children (as you see I is directly across from the ancestor area showing a clear linear link to the whom before and after. Fire and earth are both ok to use in this area so I have my terracotta candle holder of a Momma elephant and her baby. I also have a large metal mirror to activate the qi in this area.
From a Tarot perspective I would place 6 of Cups and the Empress. Fire is said to “exhaust” metal so I would not place any Wands related cards in this area, even though they often mean creativity, perhaps the Magician could go here, too. The cards are under my elephant. Not needing to be visually displayed to work.
Number 8 is in the North East and is influenced by Wood and Knowledge. This can also include contemplation and the study of spiritual subjects. Because my door is here there is not much I can do in this area but I do have a picture of the Hermit above the door to activate the energy here.
I would say that I would consider the use of a Major Arcana as elemental-neutral, they can be used anywhere. So if you are stumped with the minors and the right elements use a Major! The area also has a big wooden door, so that inadvertently is activating the qi here.
Finally, number 9 is in the South and has to do with fame and illumination. This area is for building a reputation for yourself but it also can mean the light that shines within you that spark, becomes brighter so that all can see it. I did not get into colors too much in this post, but placing something red here enhances this area.
I have a red pillow and a string of fiery butterflies so that their wings can fan the flames here. In terms of Tarot 7 of Wands/ Ace of Wands/ 8 of Wands would do very well here. Something I did not get into is that if an area is becoming too intense, you can use the destructive element to tone it down a bit. For example, if you were Kanye West and felt the fame too intensely, you could put a Cup card here, a little bit of water, to tone it down.
So there you have it! How to use Tarot as a Feng Shui cure beyond the traditional ones of mirrors, chimes, crystals, and flutes. The idea of Feng Shui is to not make your home look like it just came out of a Buddhist temple, but rather to use the underlying principals with your own cultural influences and contexts.
Disclaimer: Since I have only been studying a few months I am in no way near an expert and I am sure my advice here has some very obvious gaps, however I believe using Tarot applied as a Cure in areas for maximum beneficial flow to qi can only enhance and balance our lives.
There are no hard and fast rules here, only associations that make sense and have meaning to you. Have fun Feng Shuiing!
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