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Feng Shui: Pseudoscience, Superstition, Luck?

Presented by Charles L Harmon

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The importance of Feng Shui cannot be denied today. Its popularity is growing every day regardless of where you live. The art of placement of objects in order to harmonize your life with the nature and environment is the aim of Feng Shui.

According to Wikipedia:

Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. Feng shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but since then has increased in popularity.

Modern reactions to feng shui are mixed. The Skeptic encyclopedia of pseudoscience states that some principles of feng shui are “quite rational”, while noting that “folk remedies and superstitions… [have been] incorporated into feng shui’s eclectic mix.”

The goal of Feng Shui as practiced today is to locate the human built environment on spots with good qi. The “perfect spot” is a location and an axis in time. Utilizing proper techniques with Feng Shui should affect your luck, improving it so it seems.

Geographers have analyzed the techniques and methods to help locate historical sites in Victoria, Canada, and archaeological sites in the American Southwest, concluding that ancient Native Americans also considered astronomy and landscape features.

Qi (pronounced “chee” in English) is a movable positive or negative life force which plays an essential role in Feng Shui. In Feng Shui as in Chinese martial arts, it refers to ‘energy’, in the sense of ‘life force’ or élan vital. A traditional explanation of qi as it relates Feng Shui would include the orientation of a structure, its age, and its interaction with the surrounding environment including the local microclimates, the slope of the land, vegetation, and soil quality.

The history of Feng Shui covers over 3,500 years before the invention of the magnetic compass. It originated in Chinese astronomy. Some current techniques can be traced to Neolithic China, while others were added later (most notably the Han dynasty, the Tang, the Song, and the Ming).

The magnetic compass was invented for Feng Shui and has been in use since its invention. Traditional Feng Shui instrumentation consists of the Luopan or the earlier south-pointing spoon although a conventional compass could suffice if one understood the differences. A Feng Shui ruler (a later invention) may also be employed.

Although Feng Shui has sometimes been looked upon unfavorably modern Feng Shui is not always looked at as a superstitious scam. Many people who believe in Feng Shui feel it is important and very helpful in living a prosperous and healthy life either avoiding or blocking any negative energies that might otherwise have bad effects. Many of the higher-level forms of Feng Shui are not easily practiced without having connections in the community or a certain amount of wealth because hiring an expert, altering architecture or design, and moving from place to place requires a significant amount of money.

This aspect of requiring lots of money leads some people of the lower classes to lose faith in Feng Shui, saying that it is only a game for the wealthy. Others, however, practice less expensive forms of Feng Shui, including hanging special cheap mirrors, forks, or woks in doorways to deflect negative energy.

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Here are some questions and answers submitted to Yahoo answers. See if any of these are questions you might also have.

Questions on Feng Shui

Susan asks…

For people who’s good with Feng Shui? A little help please.?

Should my bed face the door (south) or right next to the window (north)? What about my desk, should it be near the bed or away from the bed? Should the bookshelf be next or near the closet or away? What if I have more than 1 bookshelf, right next to each other or separate from the other one? Please & thank you. Sorrys for so many questions.
If my bed does face where the door is, but I sleep where my feet is instead where the feet suppose to be, is that okay?
If my bed does face where the door is, but I sleep where my feet is instead where the feet suppose to be, is that okay? How do I know where the knowledge section is?

Suzi Q answers:

You definitely don’t want your feet towards the door. The basis for this has something to do with how dead people are carried out the door feet first. You want the desk to be located in the knowledge section of the room if possible. Depending on the who your talk to this may be the northeast or to the left of the door as you enter the room. I would advise that the bookshelves be there also if possible.
Important thing with Feng Shui, avoid crowding and clutter to allow a good flow of chi.
A good book for this is “Interior Design with Feng Shui” by Sarah Rossbach.

Lisa asks…

Help! Dorm Room Feng Shui questions…?

My roommate and I are trying to impliment feng shui into our dorm room. Our door faces west at the end of a hallway and we have four windows facing east and south. Our beds are against the west wall, and the desks are against the north. We also have a tv, refrigerator, microwave and video game console in the southeast corner of the room. Just a few questions…

1) Is there anything about our room configuration that strikes you as very bad feng shui?
2) Are bunked beds good or bad feng shui?
3) Is it best to keep the dorm room open with lots of floor space or divide the sleeping area and study area?
4) What is the best placement for a single betta splendens in a small nonfiltered bowl? In a small tank with a filter?
5) What are some ways to reduce school and career related anxiety?

Thank you in advance!

Suzi Q answers:

Considering the size and orientation of most dorm rooms, it will probably be practically impossible to rearrange beds, etc, to conform where each of you should place them. I’d leave the furniture alone, and concentrate on simplifying the space and hiding or disguising things that have to be there – like covering the appliances when not in use with a simple cloth (go to Hancock fabric’s remnant tables). You definitely need some plants and maybe a moving waterfall item. And something that makes a faint noise (chimes). Get under the bed boxes and put most of your stuff out of sight completely. Have natural baskets for things on your desks, and keep the clutter down.

Donald asks…

Feng shui problem, need help easy points?

my backyard door is facing west, i want to buy a shed for storage

the shed has a door, but the way im arranging it, is the shed facing my backyard door. The shed’s door facing east.

so is that okay?


Suzi Q answers:

Am not really doing this for the points. Just like to answer questions regarding Chinese fengshui. People have many wrong ideas regarding fengshui.

If the shed is another small house like a guest house in your compound, based on my fengshui teacher had said before, it is not a good idea. I know that many people have a shed in the western world outside their homes. But according to my teacher, a small house in your compound represents a grave/ tomb – thus, it is not a good idea. But if the shed is a part of the house, then there is no problem.

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