How to Use Directions in Feng Shui

On a recent site visit with a new client, I pulled out my luo pan and began to take directions. She said, “what is that for?!” Clients are great teachers. They challenge your assumptions, your knowledge and the application of your art. My client’s question about why I use a compass was a seemingly simple one, but the answer required an in-depth, complex and layered understanding of how the bagua, or “energy map” developed over time.  Find out more from Katherine Graham.

Compass Feng Shui, Katherine GrahamYes, you can use the luo pan to find your “wealth corner,” however the overarching reason why a bagua is so powerful in feng shui is that is can accurately determine and depict the type of energy a given space is likely to have. If you know what type of energy you are dealing with you can then manipulate that energy in order to live a full, balanced and harmonious life.

The compass takes feng shui beyond the powerful tools of symbolism and positive intention to a technical level that allows the practitioner to manipulate energy that already exists. Energy based on how the home/lot is situated, how the layout of the home is arranged in relation to the compass direction, which in turn is impacted by surrounding landforms and man-made forms along with seasonal and astrological influences.

Sound complicated? It’s actually quite straightforward but first requires us to go back to the roots of feng shui, to nearly 5,000 years ago when Taoist Masters lived in the mountains of China. There, all things “above” (kan) and “below” (yu) were carefully studied and considered by these ancient observers- the access, flow and quality of water where they lived, the sun’s path over the land, the type of protection available through natural structures such as mountains and hills and how people and their homes were ultimately affected. For many years such observations were compiled without any formal conclusions being drawn. Observations that were then passed down for generations from Master to disciple in order to gain a greater and deeper understanding of the self, the world and beyond.

The information they gathered eventually gave them greater control over their daily lives, offering practical and useful outlines on how to choose the best lots for crops with easy access to fresh, flowing water and where to place their hearth and door based on the morning sun. These observations provided reliable, usable statistics such as hearths placed in the East were also kept warmer longer by the sun, requiring less fuel. Others were applied to the layout of homes and domestic tasks were arranged accordingly, such as having the front doors facing south in order to receive the most abundant light. This then dictated that public areas, where visitors were received and where the most active chores were done, should be placed in the front of the home, with the back part of the home, since it was quieter and dimmer with less direct sunlight, reserved for private uses and rest.

Enhanced livability through proper placement based on these ancient set of statistics is why feng shui is known as the art of placement. It is also why people relate feng shui with increased health, wealth and abundance. Living in accordance with the natural variations of sunlight, wind, water and harnessing readily available resources naturally led to better, easier, more functional work lives and less stress, which fostered deeper human connections and an increasingly well-rounded (or, following the shape of the bagua, we could say a more “well-squared”) and fulfilling existence.

The magnetic compass was then invented for ancient Chinese to more accurately determine directions for proper placement of homes and burial sites. Through the use of this at-the-time revolutionary tool, Compass School feng shui was born. The goals of Compass School are to assess and determine the quality of energy, or chi, based on compass directions along with specialized formulas that locate and predict the impact of known astrological influences over a certain period of time. Compass School took feng shui from a strictly geomantic and somewhat rudimentary art of positioning homes, burial sites and hearths to a clear and concise technical medium that can better predict the quality of energy in a given space.

There are times, however, when the compass can only tell you so much. Formulas cannot account for landforms, trees, walls, buildings, dumpsters, crazy neighbors or many other factors that influence the quality of energy. For instance, you may be shown a floor plan for a south facing home and envision that it has abundant natural light in the front of the home only to visit the lot and discover that all the sunlight coming from the south is blocked by a massive condo building directly across the street. Your South facing home is now cold and dark most of the day, until the light hits the West side of the lot. This is just one example but highlights the importance to take all factors into account and not get stuck on compass directions alone. It is but one piece of the puzzle. It is one layer in the holistic art of Compass School feng shui.

If you do not currently use a compass and are interested in applying compass directions to your practice, I would begin with first simply observing the sun. Then, buy several compasses and keep them on you. Get to know the directions in your own home and compare/observe the quality of light, how it changes throughout the day and throughout the year. Notice whether your layout is conducive to the type of natural lighting available- are your private areas more yin, are your work areas more yang? Could your layout be improved to harness more natural light?

Once you observe your own home, move on to the places you work, eat, the local park, places you travel to. Over time you will develop an internal compass, or what I call inner GPS (“Great Positioning Skill”) and be able to pretty accurately predict the type of lighting/energy you are likely to encounter in any given space. You can then put your observations to work and create feng shui floor plans and baguas based on compass directions that then accurately relate to their ruling elements. There is poetry in the directions of the bagua, a symphony of elemental creation that circles around ever so satisfactorily.

North is watery, dark and cold, asleep for the winter, where the energy moves inward to be wrapped in a blanket of quiet repose, moving on to the NE where quiet contemplation leads to inner strength and personal development, ready to bloom in the spring. Winter then thaws and melts, nourishing the eternal wood element of the East, where the sun rises daily delivering the promise of fresh starts, upward growth and the “rebirth” of spring.

This wood then becomes established, tapping into the deep resources of water beneath the ground, representing wealth and abundance attributed to the SE. This old wood eventually becoming the fuel for the fire that burns deep within- the creative life force that brings life, light, fame and accomplishments of the bright southern sky. This deep, inner fire cooling to create the Earth’s crust, grounding us, nurturing us in the SW, where love and relationships creates the cornerstone of our existence.

Going deeper, within the earth metal is created, bringing strength, precision and clarity of purpose into the west where we cannot let the sun set on humanity before creating the next generation- our children, our legacy, our ideals and creative expression. And this legacy, now nearly coming full circle in the NW, where it is protected by the patriarch, our spiritual protectors and other helpful people in our life, settling back into cooler, autumn days when it is time to once again harvest and protect our assets in order to make it through the upcoming winter.

Through studying the qualities of the feng shui directions, you will uncover the deep and meaningful beauty encapsulated in the bagua- the flow of it, the progression of time and whereby one element creates the other, one season turning into the next, each expression nourished by its neighbor which in turn empowers the next.

So you see, it’s more than just south, east, north or west. The compass directions encompass (pun intended) a feeling, an energy, an emotion, a movement, a season, a quality. Directions determine our specific place within the grander scheme of things, describe an angle of light, place the natural progression of the sun and the seasons that we experience outside, but also speak to the fluctuations of light and darkness we experience within and the season of life we happen to find ourselves in. Progression through time, your life’s legacy, the importance of creating your own path- are all determined by the direction you set yourself out on.


Katherine GrahamKatherine Graham is a Feng Shui consultant trained in several schools of Feng Shui and is also a certified color consultant serving the Atlanta, Georgia area.  Read more about Katherine.

The Feng Shui Fire Element and Fame and Reputation Gua

Every room needs a little bit of the Fire Element to warm things up and set a really groovy mood. But like cayenne pepper, a little goes a long way especially when introduced to rooms outside of the Fame and Reputation Gua.  Read more about this element and gua combination by Bridget Saraka

Photo Source: Pottery Barn

Photo Source: Pottery Barn


The Fire Element is often described as expansive, explosive and destructive and therefore does not always play well with the other 4 Elements. When most people think fire they think in feelings of passion and rage as they see red. Feng Shui looks at fire in a more dynamic manner as it is not only represented in textiles, home decor and by colour but in the print and fiber content as well. For instance paisley with it’s sharp points and dynamic movement can add warmth to even the most neutral colour palette.

Various shades of reds, depending on the tint and hue such as pinks, fuschias, oranges, and purples can also be classified as a fire element depending on the intensity of the red present in the colour. The sharp angles and sunrays on the printed pillows and silver mirror of this purple passion room lend themselves to the fire element. Sharp, pointed and explosive.

An exotic creative way to introduce the Fire Element to your design theme is to add some animal prints such as leopard, zebra, tiger, and either real or man-made animal textiles of leather, sued, furs and wools into your space.

As a Feng Shui Consultant when I think of the Fire Element I think movement, intention of space and how the Fire Element may influence the occupants of the space. So if you have a little one with an active animal or cartoon character print on their bedding it may not be the sugar high that’s causing all the monkey business but the vibration of their bedding and curtains. When decorating your children’s room try and remember what the intentions are for the space. Sleep or Play? If both find a balance of form and function so that you can find a balance between rest and play.

Shape has a big part in playing the role of any of the Five Elements. Fire is represented in shapes of stars, triangles, diamonds and pointed leaves.

When considering the fiber content of the textiles in the room, it’s important to recognize that nylon, polyester, acrylic, olefin represent the Fire Element from a Feng Shui perspective.

Bet you didn’t think there was that much to Feng Shui and choosing the most basic of design elements.

Feng Shui and Interior Decorating is the perfect marriage between a space that is beautiful to the eye and a space that is pleasing to all your senses. Make good sense of your home decor.


Bridget SarakaBridget Saraka happily serves clients in Canada and the US through her business, Feng Shui by Bridget. Hybrid Feng Shui (TM) and dowsing are her specialties. Read more about Bridget.



Article Source: Fame and Reputation Gua

Yin & Yang of Children

When it comes to the classroom … The personalities of the children play a large role in how the class behaves, the focus, energy and overall learning environment. It is crucial that you take into account for these differences in your classroom. I believe Feng Shui or Intentional Design (for the left-brained) principles are the answer to creating a classroom that encourages a community of learning. Learn more from Tamara Valentine.


Tamara Valentine, Yin and Yang of Children


The dictionary defines yin and yang as: two principles, one negative, dark, and feminine (yin) and one positive, bright, and masculine (yang) whose interaction influences the outcome of all things great and small. See list below for distinctions between yin and yang*. It is the interaction and balance that we want to look at, the differences that play well off one another and the other side of the coin when they create chaos. Balance of the two and you create a nurturing environment of give and take … Making sure that both yin and yang are well represented. We can also look at the 5 elements and how they show up in your classroom, that is in another article – “Balancing the 5 Elements in the Classroom”.

So, yin … Quiet, reserved and shy and yang … Loud, rowdy and excitable. Imagine your room filled with only yin or only yang. It would be either really quiet (no sparks) or really chaotic (too energetic), both are very distracting in their own way. As a teacher, you want your students to experience learning in many ways. Sometimes focused, sometimes fun or somewhere in between. By applying some Feng Shui principles, we can make sure there is balanced learning experience.

You only need to look at the opposite side of the list to see what changes you might make in order to change the atmosphere of your classroom. Let us say you have a section or table with yang children … You can move them around and disperse them better among the others which can balance out the overwhelming yang. Let us say you have a bunch of yin children … You could bring in some bright colored paper and let them cover their desktop. Also, consider a classroom that has a majority of yang personality, you will want to bring in yin elements to balance things out … Though to do so, some extra yin will be necessary and/or remove some of the yang elements. Engage the reserved … calm the rowdy. The list is really endless in the things you can do to make everyone feel part of the class, focused ready to learn and enjoying the time they spend in the classroom with you. Of course, every class is different and needs to be tailored to suit you, your kids and your teaching style. Therefore, there is no one way to do things and very little that cannot be changed with some time, effort and consulting.


Tamara Valentine, Yin and Yang of Children


Create a plan … Take time to look at your students in a different light, which students are yin and which are yang. How can I balance their space or the overall space to accommodate each of the children’s needs. And realize you have the power to change the outcome with a little Feng Shui and intention. A great exercise with the kids is to have them be a part of the changes. You can put them in groups and have them come up with a few ideas of their own on how to make the learning experience better in the classroom. As an adult, we see things in a different way than children. We can make things much more complicated than they need to be.

A happy home and classroom start with the inhabitants. Be sure to address the needs of everyone, sometimes it takes trying different things to ensure the health of the entire class. Don’t be afraid to change things again and again if that is what needs to happen until you get your desired results.


Tamara Valentine, Yin and Yang of ChildrenTamara Valentine is the owner and founder of Harmonizing Feng Shui and Feng Shui for Classrooms. She helps build solid foundations through Intentional Design so everyone is able to live life fully. Using her Essential Feng Shui® training to create spaces that support her clients’ goals and dreams and bring balance into their lives. Read more about Tamara.


Article/Images Source: The Yin and Yang of Children

The Best Kind of Chi with House Plants

Using the art and science of Feng Shui Placement, we can do a lot to enhance our homes, our lives.  Using furnishings made from non-toxic, natural materials, along with a balance of the 5 Elements (Fire, Metal, Water, Wood and Earth), we surround ourselves with some of the ingredients which create pleasing, healthy and harmonious spaces. Find out how indoor plants can bring an important benefit to your chi – the best kind of chi or essential chi to your life!  From Alisa Rose Seidlitz

Alisa Rose Seidlitz, plants

An essential ingredient in making your home a beautiful, soul nourishing and physically healthy place, which supports and enhances your overall well-being (the very definition of good Feng Shui!), the addition of indoor plants is quick and easy!

  • Plants are our elders here on planet Earth.  Humans evolved outdoors surrounded by plants, and we thrive when they accompany us inside. A space without plants can feel dull and flat, while their presence lifts our spirits.  Plus, plants carry the best kind of chi because they are alive! Being alive, houseplants bring the energy of Nature to us directly. As a part of Nature ourselves, we resonant with them, and their living chi enlivens our own.
  • They give us the precious gift of oxygen as they absorb the CO2 which we breathe out. Many houseplants purify air by also absorbing various chemicals such formaldehyde and benzene, commonly found in many home furnishings, paper and cleaning products, books and more.
  • Because we evolved surrounded by green plants, their color has a calmly energizing and uplifting effect.  Houseplants come in lots of shades of green, along with other color variations such as burgandy, too.
  • Tall houseplants and those with large, wide or thick leaves, or with long, narrow leaves, bring in the energy of dynamic Yang Wood Element. Those with small, rounded or feathery leaves bring the soft and gentle energy of Yin Wood.
  • Super hardy, most need little care. A bit of water, some light, and our loving gaze, go a long way.

A few easy-care houseplants, all able to thrive with low light and little water, which also clean the air are Peace Lily, Ficus, Jade Plant, Spider Plant, Boston Fern, Rubber Plant and Heart-Leaf Philodendron.

Alisa Rose Seidlitz, plants

We practice the art of Feng Shui in order to feel our best. Including houseplants is essential because they help us feel at home!


 Alisa Rose SeidlitzAlisa Rose Seidlitz is a longtime Ecological Garden Designer, Certified Green Building Professional, GreenAP for Interiors, Graceful Lifestyles Certified Interior Re-Designer, Flower Essence and Reiki Practitioner.

Feng Shui Fact and Myth

There are a lot of myths and questions surrounding the practice, the beliefs, the traditions in Feng Shui. Many ask what is it and what is it not? Read Sylvia Watson’s excellent take on the most common myths out there and learn more about this honored art, practiced for thousands of years, that we love so much.

Sylvia Watson, feng shui fact and mythMyth: Feng shui involves elaborate or expensive changes.
Fact: Good feng shui can be achieved at little or no cost.

Myth: You have to hang crystals , bamboo flutes or use Chinese decorations.
Fact: Your own accessories, art, and symbols will prove to be more potent, because they have personal significance and reflect your own taste.

Myth: Feng shui is obvious or garish.
Fact: Feng shui should never be out of sync with the taste and logic of a home’s inhabitant. Feng shui remedies that are strikingly apparent and a dwelling full of trinkets are signs of a feng shui consultation gone wrong.

Myth: Feng shui makes your house look Asian.
Fact: Your home should reflect your taste, history, and heritage. If you are Asian, of Asian descent, or collect Asian art, then an Asian theme is not any more feng shui than any other theme.

Myth: Feng shui is a religion, a fad, or based on magic.
Fact: Feng shui draws from Taoism, a Chinese philosophy. Philosophy is very different from religion. It is definitely not a fad; it has been around for more than 5,000 years. Although feng shui results seem magical, it draws upon the laws of nature and science.


Sylvia Watson, Feng Shui Fact or MythSylvia Watson, president of Healing Environments with Feng Shui and co-author of Feng Shui with What You Have, is a Red Ribbon professional through IFSG and well-respected feng shui consultant, public speaker and educator. Read more about Sylvia.



Article/Image Source:  Feng Shui Fact or Myth

Everything You Own is You

One of the most frequent questions I am asked as a feng shui consultant is, “Are the grounds surrounding my house included in the feng shui adjustment?” Yes, yes and yes. Read more about how everything in your life is part of your Feng Shui and energy by the talented, Caroline Patrick Bornei

The art of placement includes the terrain, climate, vegetation, water source, power lines, shape of trees surrounding the environment, color and shapes of gardens and landscaping; statuary shapes, subjects and placement of these objects; ponds, lakes, swimming pools, hot tubs and color and shape of planters used for your flowers, vegetables and herbs. Not only is your surrounding landscape important, any land, buildings owned, leased or rented by the client is included in the evaluation of a person’s feng shui.

The balance of one’s environmental, physical and mental harmony are all considered part of the whole package, of where you stand today!

The initial response from the client is a blank stare and overwhelming expressions. “You are your possessions,” I inform them. “Why?” they plead. “Because; ‘they’ belong to you.”

Everything You Own is You, Caroline Patrick Bornei


Keeping nature healthy is the responsibility of humanity. Harmony and balance, or feng shui, can be translated as when wind blows on water. This action gently infuses ions into the water, bringing life to the planet earth.

Are you doing your part? How much of the environment are you taking care of? Everything you own plus your neighbor?

If that information is too overwhelming, pull all of “yourself” back together and assess what action needs to take place.

  1. What do you rent? A storage shed? Why? If it is temporary, then that is a plus on your survey. My husband and I rented three storage units for seven years, because we couldn’t give up our stuff. After learning the principles of feng shui, we calculated the money “invested” saving our junk. The figures indicated we could have taken a wonderful six-week cruise or bought a little car. The symbolism visually and mentally showed a fear of the future. Clogged, stacked, old ideas. The outcome included additional possessions: We couldn’t remember what was in storage so we bought another drill, saw, mixer or rug, resulting in a Ph.D. in dumb. Feng shui has freed us from excess (almost)! Now, before leaving a store, I scan the shopping cart for impulsive items, which usually include several “grandma purchases.” Forfeiting two of these “fun” items definitely helps my son and his family retain part of their living spaces by not adding clutter.
  2. What do you clutter? Are you moving or between jobs? Leaving your necessary stuff in Mom and Dad’s garage is hopefully temporary, however this puts a damper on Mom and Dad’s life. Leaving possessions at the parents house can bring comfort to an adult child, subconsciously grounding Mom, Dad and child’s relationship. Leaving belongings at the folks’ house gives us a reason to visit or not to visit, depending on the relationship between parents and offspring. This inaction only causes procrastination for both parties in moving forward toward a change.
  3. What do you own? A business, a home, a boat? Are you a landlord? Again, the responsibility of maintaining the properties can be tied to your successes. Remember to ask yourself: Am I bringing harmony to mind, body and spirit of my home and community? What is my God-given purpose? You will begin to understand why less is more. It is easier to promote harmony when you aren’t bogged down with things. It frees the mind to pursue talents issued at birth.
  4. Look around your property. Is it beautiful? Chi or energy doesn’t visit the dwelling with overgrown shrubs, dead trees and lawn. If you can’t take care of spaces, sell or pass on the excess of land for parks, herb gardens, houses for helping children learn, land to plant and nature to heal. The color yellow helps detoxify the system. Fields of yellow flowers, herbs, foods and art work help heal humans and animals. If yellow is lacking from your décor, depression begins to seep throughout the house like a slow moving stagnant river.
  5. Everything You Own is You, Caroline Patrick BorneiDoes my yard need feng shui? Absolutely. When the bagua, or eight-sided octagonal-shaped grid, is placed over the dwelling in question, energy extends over the whole property. Landscaping correctly can make or break the consultation. Putting a fountain, swimming pool or hot tub in the fame area of the home can “drown out” the correction inside and outside the house. Placing the children’s play house, swing set or other toys outside or inside the partnership section of the home strains marriages. Such placements are detrimental to placing the five elements used in incorrect spaces, causing destructive action of the balance. Most medical communities of the world consider principles of harmony. Body types and their elements of the patient are determined by practitioners. Using herbs, the Chinese evaluate the systems of the body to prescribe medicines. Water, wood, fire, metal and earth are tested and brought back into balance to promote healing of the dis-ease. Example, the typical cold drink used to wash down a quick lunch forces the cauldron, or stomach of the body, to attempt to digest food with mucus or cold fluids. This action dashes the fire in the belly which results in indigestion. Am I guilty? Yes — most of the time. I love iced drinks. The sin is, I know — and should drink hot teas more often during meals.

If clearing yourself of old ideas, habits, fear, worry and doubts seems overwhelming, start with one drawer, one room; the yards surrounding your properties will become easier to tackle. If you have acquired too many things, sell, throw away or take to a thrift shop. Everything you own is you! If you love yourself, great; if you don’t, unload.


Caroline Patrick BorneiCaroline Patrick BorNei brings the experience of over 5000 Feng Shui consultations. Caroline is known as “The Puzzle Master” intuitively “seeing” what is not working in large and small spaces such as homes, businesses, on properties, in cities and on land masses. A talented artist and writer, Caroline is based on the US west coast.  Read more about Caroline.


Article/Image Source:  Everything You Own is You

Pin It on Pinterest