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What is Fengshui?

In the last couple of decades there has been an increasing interest in Fengshui in the West. Fengshui is often translated into English as Chinese geomancy, which means something like "earth divination." The Chinese word consists of two characters, meaning "wind and water." It is a form of science or magic that is concerned with the layout of the terrain and archicture, and its influences on human life.

The parallel between the human body and landscape is an old metaphor in Chinese history. The human body has channels, also called meridians, that transport the vital energy necessary for the healthy functioning of the body. On the ground, these channels are the rivers and canals, along which the energy necessary for happiness and good luck travels. The obstruction of the pathways causes disease in the body and disaster in the house.

Constellation charts from a fengshui compass

Fengshui thinks in terms of mountains and rivers. The perfect position is to have a mountain behind you a river flowing towards the right hand side in front of you. If you live in a city, the rivers are streets and avenues, while the mountains are high buildings. If a high building is built right in front of your house, it will block the flow of energy and prevent good luck from entering your house. However, there is no need to move to a new place because there are solutions. In fact, Fengshui is all about solutions. You can hang up mirrors, plant trees, strategically position pieces of furniture to aid the flow of qi in the house.

You might call it superstition but in Chinese culture Fengshui is an existing phenomenon to this very day. Companies would often spend extra millions of dollars just to ensure that the Fengshui is right for their new headquarters, rather than going with the cheaper but Fengshui-wise inauspicious solution. And, after all, many Western hotels skip the thirteenth floor too.

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