Order in space or what is Feng Shui?
How can we make space work for us? Is there such a thing as ‘Feng Shui’ and what is it? Where is its place in the sea of knowledge and how can we put it to use?
Even its name sounds strange and foreign, ‘feng … something’. It is hard to explain a theory that has existed for more than 5000 years in short, just on a few pages. My starting point is exactly that it is an ancient theory, the art of modelling space, which has survived from those ancient times to the present. If it is so, then there must be something special about it, that not only Chinese peasants knew how to apply. I will tell you the story first and then the morals and conclusions thereof.
The words ‘Feng Shui’ mean ‘wind and water’ and they originate from the early Chinese agricultural society where the availability of sufficient water and good winds was of vital importance for yielding rich crops. The rivers and lakes were the water sources and ensured that the agricultural farms survived the droughts. The soft wind brought rain and fresh air to relieve the farmers and ensure the wheat crop's survival. On the other hand, when there was stale water in the water basins due to lack of rain, this brought lung-related diseases, there were droughts and floods, devastating winds and everything else that can be defined as a ‘disaster’ for the farms.
The location of a farm was of critical importance for its survival and the difference between a good location and a bad location was the same as the difference between life and death. The right location was researched, studied, theorised and on the basis of all that preparation various hypotheses were made, based on the success or failure of different experiences. All that gave birth to Feng Shui in its initial primitive form.
The ancient people discovered that the energy (CHI=life energy) may be directed by different landscaping formations and it can gather and be generated in different places, especially where there is water. They also came to realise that CHI can be dispersed and scattered by the wind. This is how they came up with the name ‘Feng Shui’.
“Chi flies with the wind and is scattered but it is preserved when it meets water.”*
One of the fundamentals of Feng Shui is the discovery that many good things can happen at the same time if a lot of CHI gathers in one place or rather that the strength of the CHI flow is decisive. This follows from the dualistic nature of the Universe: Yin and Yang.
Under the right conditions CHI is gathered and increased, it leads to growth. The purpose of Feng Shui is to position the building in such a way that it leads both to accumulation of good energy on the plot it was built on and for the people who inhabit it.
You find the energy and collect it! This is the basic concept of Feng Shui. It refers to the energy of nature.
On the other hand, the powers of nature that bring negative effects to the building as a whole and to its structure, also have an unfavourable impact on the residents. They bring along illnesses, loss of wealth and other issues. The purpose of Feng Shui in this case is to either avoid that stale, damaging energy entirely or to redirect it in a way that doesn’t affect the people, living or working there.
How does it all look like through the lens of modern life, for example in a city like Sofia? There is a small number of farmers here, you cannot see lakes and rivers around and we predominantly live in residential blocks of apartments. All this looks too far-flung and inapplicable.
Is it really though? On one hand, Feng Shui works with universal energies and uses the universal laws of sky (astronomy) and earth (magnetic field). On the other hand, this knowledge has evolved and developed like everything else in parallel to the evolution of human communities. Gradually the rivers have turned into roads, streets and boulevards. The role of hills and mountains has been assigned to the big buildings, shopping malls and skyscrapers. If we think about it, we will understand how the traffic of cars and pedestrians has a certain direction and creates an energy flow and the presence of a big building like a shopping mall in proximity to our home, for instance, affects the entire neighbourhood. The energy becomes concentrated and it leads to new supermarkets, parking lots, new buildings emerging, the traffic changes and the whole area changes its appearance. Not many people realise how multi-layered Feng Shui actually is. The truth is that with the help of this wonderful and very precise tool we can choose the location for the construction of office or residential buildings, to build infrastructure and make improvements to the exterior, to plan the interior, to assign functions to the rooms, determine their layout and the interior design.