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We Shape Our Dwellings and Our Dwellings Shape Us
By Joy Abrams MA, FSII

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art as well as a science of placement. It is literally translated to mean wind and water. It is used to analyze environments and locate sites that have a favorable life energy which is called chi. Feng Shui is also used to make adjustments to the chi that already exists on a site or in a building or home.

It is important for all to know that Feng Shui developed thousands of years ago by rural people whose virtual survival depended upon choosing sites to live on that had good accumulated chi not malignant chi which is know as sha chi. For these ancient people these good sites provided land that was safe and fertile for them to live on. The lands that had malignant or sha chi proved to be dangerous to live on. Winds, rivers, topography, and directions were carefully analyzed by the ancient Chinese to discern the best place for them to live and work.

Today the Chinese population is for the most part crowding into cities like Hong Kong and Taipei. Feng Shui principles are applied there to enhance urban and interior spaces. No major building project is even considered without having the feng shui of the area and building considered. For example, the owners of the Hong Kong and Shanghai banks demanded that feng shui be applied in the design of the massive skyscraper headquarters. The Feng Shui masters who were consulted with influenced everything from the placement of the furniture to the lobby’s escalators and doors as well as the exposed structural system.

Feng Shui has been refined over many thousands of years. It has evolved into a systemized art and science. It is has now been organized into various schools. Each school has a specific set of guidelines, but the good Feng Shui practitioner is a aware of all the guidelines and is able to apply those according to her clients needs. This is because Feng Shui is not just about place but how one resonates in his or her own place. The feng shui practitioner not only understands this, but also must have a highly developed intuitive sense to see how the chi (energy) behaves in each particular situation.

Today when Feng Shui is applied to a home or business, there are many different features that are analyzed. These include; directions and shapes of buildings, roofs, doors, chimneys, drains, beams, columns, windows, doors, lights and many other features. Although the ultimate goal of Feng Shui is the creation and enhancement of good chi in one’s place, it is used to recognize, avoid, and correct already existing conditions with an excess of malignant chi. People who live in an environment where there is good chi feel more energetic creative and balanced. These improved conditions increase the potential for their social, financial success and harmony.

While Feng Shui theories are grounded in Ancient Chinese philosophy the principles of good chi are universal ones. This system from China’s past is an effective tool for design as well as environmental analysis in our modern world.



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