So You Wanna Feng Shui

DisclaimerSome of the pictures that I used are not my own, and if they aren't my own, I put the link to the source that I found them at below the picture.

     Look, I know the idea of #FengShui is a little much... A little crazy to some, but to be honest, like I told you in this previous post, it's helped me a lot. I've talked about it with my friends a lot too (oh hey Ellen), which has made a few of them curious as to how it works, and how I make it work for me, so I thought I would make a post to explain how I Feng Shui:

DisclaimerI'm not claiming to be a Feng Shui master, and fully admit, while I've done a lot of research on Feng Shui, I'm probably making some mistakes along the way. Understand, what I say below will have reference sources to the websites that I've found them on, but the examples I give, is how I've interrupted how to do Feng Shui.

     Congrats! You've decided to either take up Feng Shui, or educate yourself about it. Welcome to Sarah's Feng Shui 101. Today, we're going to learn about the two different types of Feng Shui to choose between, and then how to apply their map to your home.

     First things first, you need to know there's two types of Feng Shui: #Western and #Traditional.
  1. Western:  This is defined strictly by a #Bagua map, with no consideration for your front door's direction, and there is a set "heart" of the home; while
  2. Traditional:  This is defined by the compass direction of your front door of your home in relation to the Bagua Map, and the "heart" of the home can vary.
     Side Bar: Understand that you should not mix Feng Shui types. It's either A or B. Especially when it comes to having a two-story home; you cannot choose Traditional for your first floor, and then Western for your second. Bad Feng Shui. Pick one, and stick with it kids.

     Anyway, while both types of Feng Shui use a Bagua Map, their maps look a little different, and yet, they say the same thing if you look closely enough:

     Western Feng Shui is a set map, with the main rule being that the bottom row (Spiritual Growth/Knowledge (blue), Career (black), and Helpful People/Travel (gray)) must be on the side with the front door. However, in Traditional Feng Shui, the map rotates in comparison to your compass direction of your front door. The other factor you have to consider with either Feng Shui types, is the "heart" of your home AKA the middle of your Bagua map, which is represented by Yin and Yang and well-being of the entire home. This heart does not have to be the middle of your home - while it totally can be (mine is very close to the middle of my home), it's not always there. It could be your dining room. Or your bedroom. The heart is where you feel the strongest presences of energy for your home... Mine happens to be right when you walk through our entryway of our house into our living room.

     Before I overwhelm, or scare anyone off with my "energy talk", let's do this: The best way to apply the Bagua map is to take out your handy dandy pencils and paper, and sketch out a layout of your house. Got it? Well that's half the battle right there. Just being able to visualize your home from a bird's eye view and where everything is in relation to everything else, which is a great way to understand the energy in your home... See? Not that hard.

     A+ so far young padawan.

     So with Western Feng Shui, you place the center of your Bagua map where the heart of your home is (again, the biggest energy presence), and work from there... Still not quite making sense? Let me show you a rough sketch of the first floor of my house (I know it looks fancy because I used a program through #RoomSketcher to make it, but it's not fully to scale, but that's okay in Feng Shui):
Photo Source

     Now here it is again, but with the Western Feng Shui Bagua map on top of it (remember, my home's heart is just passed our entryway at the front of the living room area, so that's why it looks like the map lines up so perfectly with our layout):

     ... Make a little more sense?

     Before you ask, yes, it's totally possible to have missing "areas" due to your house layout - or due to where your home's heart placement happens to be (as you can tell, I have a missing Wealth area (purple), and a missing Love/Marriage area (pink)), but I'll address that later. Again, right now, I just want you to see how the two different styles vary when applying the Bagua map, and to get comfortable apply a map to your own home.

     To #SideBar again for a second, but to help you understand the idea of a home's heart issue I was talking about earlier, below is a picture of our house if it had a different heart location, let's say in the dining room for example:
     So as you can see, in this scenario where my home's heart is in the dining room, my dining room shifted from my Family/Health area (green) to my Heart (yellow), my living room shift from a split Fame/Reputation (red) and Heart (yellow) to a split Love/Marriage (pink) and Children/Creativity area (cream), and while initially I had a missing Wealth area (purple) before, I now have a missing Fame/Reputation area (red) as well (we will address missing Bagua areas later on in this post).

     Now let's see what my downstairs looks like when Traditional Feng Shui is applied: instead of just laying the map down on your layout, you actually use the direction of your front door in order to determine how your map lays on top of your house layout. In order to determine the direction of your map, you need to know, you're always going to use the front door. Never the back door (too many jokes to count). Second, you're going to stand inside your house, facing outside into the world whenever you take your compass reading. (I also suggest taking a couple other readings throughout your house to ensure you're getting an accurate reading of your front door) This is how you determine which direction your door faces, which then determines how you place your Bagua map.

     When I took my compass reading of my front door, we face East, so now let's look at what that looks like on a Traditional Feng Shui Bagua Map for my downstairs:

     Now as you can see, unlike in Western Feng Shui, I'm only missing the Helpful People/Travel area, but I'm not missing any other areas. I didn't pick Traditional because of the missing areas, but more because of I like the sections, rather than the blocks. Either way, you gotta pick the Feng Shui that suits your home, and most importantly, your lifestyle.

     So, let's expand those parameters to encompass the whole house to make it a little easier to see which rooms fall into which areas exactly:

     That's better.

     I will warn, that while Western Feng Shui looked more complicated for me to use, Traditional Feng Shui can get a little tricky, because depending on where the "heart" of your house is, can really shift the layout of the map. My "heart" is right after the entryway going into the living room, but to show you how important in Traditional Feng Shui it is to figure out your heart of your home, here is my home's heart pushed back about five feet:

     Just those five feet made my entire kitchen a Wealth corner, and split my dining room in half between Wealth and Fame/Reputation, rather than before where my home's actual heart is, which split my kitchen between Wealth and Fame/Reputation, and my dining room was entirely Fame area.

     Now let's compare the two maps (Western and Traditional) in relation to my downstairs to really drive home that the maps are very different, and can result in very different areas in very different spaces:

     In Western Feng Shui my downstairs is this:
  • I'm missing Wealth;
  • My living room is split between Fame/Reputation and Health;
  • My dining room is entirely Family;
  • My kitchen is entirely Spiritual Growth/Knowledge;
  • My front room and entryway are entirely Career;
  • My master bedroom is entirely Helpful People/Travel;
  • My master bathroom is entirely Children/Creativity; and
  • My patio is Love/Marriage.
     In Traditional Feng Shui my downstairs is this:
  • My living room is split between Love/Marriage and Children/Creativity;
  • My dining room is entirely Fame/Reputation;
  • My kitchen is split between Fame/Reputation and Money;
  • My front room is entirely Money;
  • My entryway is entirely Health/Family;
  • My master bedroom is entirely Spiritual Growth/Knowledge;
  • My master bathroom is entirely Career; and
  • My patio is entirely Helpful People/Travel.
     See how they can differ? That's why picking one that works for your home is so important, because they can mean completely different things because of how they're applied, even though at first they looked like they said the same thing.

     ... Hopefully you're feeling a little more confident about which type of Feng Shui to use, and how to apply it to your home.

     Now let's talk about applying it applying it to a second-story home (if you have a single-story, you can skip to the section about missing Bagua areas below, or if you don't have a missing Bagua area - or don't care anymore, you can leave class and we will see you next week): Once you've picked your type of Feng Shui (Western or Traditional) that'll now apply to your second floor as well - remember, no switching types of Feng Shui = Bad Feng Shui, and ain't nobody trying to have that.

     The home's Heart comes back into play again with a second story (or even with a third story), because while you shouldn't switch between Western and Traditional, the heart of each story can change. So while my Heart on my first floor is almost in the middle of the living room, on my second floor, it's more to the South side of my house. Below is my second floor layout (if you're curious of how the layout works, basically my entire second floor is over my master bedroom, front room and entryway, kitchen and dining room, and completely open to the living room, where the ceiling goes all the way up):

     Okay, so now that's my second floor, and since I work in Traditional Feng Shui, here's what is looks like with that Bagua map on top, in accordance to my home's Heart:

     Remember, in Traditional Feng Shui, you have to respect the compass direction, so whatever direction you used for your first floor, applies to your second floor in accordance to your first floor's front door. Anyway, as you can see, my main guest room (the Northern side) is in the Career area with a hint of Helpful People/Travel, my far South room (we lovely call the "green room" because it's literally painted entirely green, including the baseboards) is entirely a Fame/Reputation area, the other room next to it (we call this my "office") is a split between Fame/Reputation and Wealth, while the guest bathroom is a Spiritual Growth/Knowledge area. However, the game room area is almost a perfect balance of all the areas.

     Here's where things get interesting: let's shift back to Western Feng Shui in order to show you what my upstairs would be like in Western Feng Shui. In Western Feng Shui, your map can rotate, because you always need to make sure your bottom row (Spiritual Growth/Knowledge (blue), Career (black), and Helpful People/Travel (gray)) is where your entry point is, not necessarily in regards to your front door location, like in Traditional Fend Shui. In case that doesn't make quite enough since, I put below the Western Bagua map for my first floor, in comparison to how it would look on my second floor:

     See how the map rotated because my entryway is the entry point for my downstairs, but the stairs are the entry point for my upstairs? Also, to go back to the importance of the Heart of your home, look how my areas in the the Western Feng Shui have completely shifted in comparison to Traditional Feng Shui:
  • In the Traditional Feng Shui, the Green Room was entirely a Fame/Reputation area, but in the Western Feng Shui, it's almost entirely a Children/Creativity area;
  • My main guest room went from an almost entirely Career area, and now it's a split area between Family/Health and Spiritual Growth/Knowledge;
  • My Office is now split between Children/Creativity and Love/Marriage, when before it was split between Fame/Reputation and Wealth; and
  • My guest bathroom was almost entirely a Spiritual Growth/Knowledge area in Traditional Feng Shui, but now it's split between Wealth and Family/Health.
     This instance is a perfect example of the most interesting difference (for me) between Western and Traditional: when multiple story homes are being used.

     Still with me? Barely? I know... It's lengthy, but I want to give you the right tools to start Feng Shui, and we only have one last topic I wanted to cover for today and then you're free, and it's in regards to missing Bagua areas... And I promise this part is short and sweet, in comparison to the parts above.

     First, don't just ignore a missing area.

     The point of Feng Shui is balance (Yin and Yang), and if you're missing an area, that'll throw off the balance of everything. But don't fret if you're missing an area either (obviously I am), because there's two ways to do an easy fix: square off the missing corner either on the exterior, or in the interior.

     Exterior: Fixing a missing corner on the exterior is similar to what I mentioned before with my patio compensating for my missing area. Basically, you'll take the space that would fall in that missing area, and create it on the outside of your home.
     Interior: Fixing a missing corner on the interior is basically taking the interior walls surrounding the missing space, and decorating them in accordance to the missing space.
     Let me give you some examples, using my missing corner of Helpful People/Travel (in regards to Traditional Feng Shui Bagua Map):

     Exterior: I would decorate my patio to reflect travel and helpful people; or
     Interior: I would decorate the interior wall of my living room and interior wall of my master bathroom where our toilet is, which border my missing area, to reflect travel and helpful people.

     ... Told you the cure for a missing Bagua area isn't a big deal, and quite simple.

     Alright class, that's all I have for you today in regards to Feng Shui! When I post next week, it'll be in regards to my house remodeling, but the week after that I'll post about diving a little deeper into Feng Shui in regards to the fun part of colors and decorating based on an area's elements.