What is Feng Shui – Does it Work?

Feng Shui living room


Anyone who has browsed through interior design books, magazines and websites has probably stumbled across the concept of Feng Shui – an age-old art and esoteric science that has its origins around 5,000 years ago with the Vastu Shastra of Ancient India and about 2,000 years later with the development of Feng Shui in China.

Nature and its Elements

Both Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra share the same underlying principles of creating a harmonious  balance with Nature and its elements.  The name Feng Shui,  when  translated,  means “wind” and “water” (pronounce the Shui quickly so that it sounds like a blend of “Shwee” and “Shway”)To the early Chinese, wind and water were important elements contributing to the success or failure of their harvests and livelihood.  Knowing where to build your home to protect your family from the negative aspects of the elements was crucial and shaman who understood the ways of the wind and water would provide guidance on such matters.  

Vastu Shastra

Vastu Shastra, that has its origins 2,000 years earlier than Feng Shui, is part of the four Vedas and teaches the Vedic Art of building houses, according to the natural principles of harmony.  An example of this can be found in the ancient city of Mohenjo-Daro, which was built in a grid system with streets going perpendicularly from north to south and from east to west, and with each house having a central courtyard.  This layout is typical of all cities of the Harappa civilisation that were built following this geometric Vastu system.  

Feng Shui 

However, Feng Shui and Vastu Shastra are not simply about how to and where to build houses.  Feng Shui has also evolved into a complex system of techniques aimed at protecting people and businesses from bad luck and helping them to attract good health and good fortune.  

Such techniques include assessing the natal chart of a building and its owner; taking detailed compass measurements of the building; and analysing its shape and form plus its surrounding environment.  Charts based on period cycles are often drawn up to determine the most auspicious and inauspicious areas within a building for each year.  These typically incorporate numerology and the position of “stars” that can be monitored periodically. 

Fundamentally, Feng Shui is about using measurements and remedies to balance the forces of nature and the cosmic and earth energy fields that are believed to influence us in many ways.   However, while some techniques and remedies can be viewed as sensible and practical in their application, there are others that can seem highly esoteric and incomprehensible.  

Feng Shui and Interior Design

These days Feng Shui is commonly known for its use in interior design – and in particular, its practical suggestions for decluttering rooms and using certain colours and accessories to improve ambience and harmony within the office or home.   

Although many people remain sceptical about the more esoteric aspects of Feng Shui there are an increasing number of celebrities and international companies employing consultants to “Feng Shui” their offices and homes.   Some of these include:  Cher, Donald Trump, George Clooney, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, film producer Steven Spielberg  and Bill Clinton the 42nd president of the USA – plus international companies and large corporations such as British Airways, Coca Cola, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, The Body Shop, Ford Motors, Marks and Spencer and Virgin Airways…. and the list goes on.

So just because these celebrities and large organisations believe that Feng Shui works for them, does it mean that it will also work for everyone else? 

Whether Feng Shui works or not will depend on a number of factors: 

Feng Shui and Heaven Luck

Most successful celebrities and large organisations also have what Chinese Feng Shui call Heaven Luck, which is based on a horoscope type analysis that determines how auspicious or inauspicious your Heaven Luck chart is.  

Hence, regardless of how many Feng Shui remedies you apply, if you have been born at the wrong time and place and have inauspicious Heaven Luck, then you are unlikely to be as successful as Madonna or Donald Trump! 

Therefore, on a logical note, it follows that those, who have been fortunate to have been born with Heaven Luck are likely to be successful regardless of whether they apply Feng Shui or not – although Feng Shui masters will no doubt argue that applying Feng Shui remedies will minimise bad luck and maximise your potential for success. 

Psychological Effects of Feng Shui 

One of the most well known recommendations in Feng Shui is for the “clearing of clutter”. 

Psychologically this is likely to reap benefits by simplifying our daily lives, so that we feel less mentally overwhelmed with “stuff” and find it easier to get organised and do more of the things that can help us to become more successful.  

Practically, if our working and living space is less cluttered then it looks visually more pleasing and we will feel the benefit of an improved flow of energy, making us feel more energetic too.  

Applying remedies according to Feng Shui principles can also make us feel that we are doing something positive to improve our current situation and provide us with a greater sense of feeling more in control.

Feng Shui and Vibrational Energies

Here we come into the realms of physics, quantum physics and concepts of earth energies that to some may seem totally weird.   However, there are many vibrational influences that we can relate to.  One of these of course is music and another is color – where each color has its own vibrational frequency. 

Everything, including ourselves, has a vibrational quality and Feng Shui aims to work with these vibrational energies – whether they are earth energies or cosmic ones, by implementing remedies to minimise the influence of negative energies.

So does applying Feng Shui Remedies Work? 

There is no doubt that applying some Feng Shui remedies can work extremely well.  From an interior design aspect, reducing clutter, positioning structures to improve the flow of energy and improving vibrational  energy with color, can be extremely beneficial for living and working conditions.  Having done this for my own home and workplace and also for many others, I have seen that it works extremely well.   Strategically placed mirrors and other light enhancing objects can also help re-balance energies as can plants, wind chimes and other forms of sound that can calm or activate a room.

From its original origins of finding auspicious places for burial grounds and the building of homes, Feng Shui has evolved into a complex range of belief systems and techniques.  So, whether you wish to use it solely for interior design, fortune telling, trying to increase your wealth and health, or protecting you and your family from inauspicious forces, the choice is yours

For more information read our article on Feng Shui Remedies for 2013. 

Some books for further reading…

Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui

Practical Encylcopedia of Feng Shui






Practical Encylopedia of Feng Shui

Feng Shui That Makes Sense: Easy Ways to Create a Home That FEELS as Good as It Looks


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