The World of Feng Shui

Ying Yang Illustration

Bagua Map:

translates literally as “eight Trigrams.” Bagua maps are a common tool used in Feng Shui. They map out an area, typically a home, room, or office, and match it with a corresponding Gua.

Celestial Guardians (or Celestial Animals):

are four mythical animals that rule over the four main compass directions. The Red Phoenix rules over the north, the Black Tortoise rules over the south, the White Tiger over the west, and the Green Dragon over the east. Each animal creates a different kind of energy, which flows into a home over the surrounding landscape. The ancient Chinese believed that a home and its occupants were heavily influenced by the energies coming from the Celestial Guardians.

Chinese Compass Feng Shui


is a disorderly arrangement of items; clutter often creates a state of confusion or chaos that prevents healthy Ch’i flow.


is commonly translated as “vital energy” or “universal force.” Ch’i is a central concept in Feng Shui and is an essential part of all matter on Earth. 

Constructive Cycle: 

explains how the Five Elements nourish each other. Water sustains Wood; Wood feeds Fire; Fire creates Earth; Earth creates Metal; and Metal holds Water.

Controlling Cycle:

explains how the Five Elements control each other. Wood consumes Earth; Earth dams Water; Water extinguishes Fire; Fire melts Metal; and Metal cuts Wood.

Reductive Cycle:

is used by Feng Shui consultants to cure imbalances between the Elements. In the reductive cycle, Earth reduces Fire by smothering it; Metal reduces Earth by cutting it; Water reduces Metal by corroding it; Wood reduces Water by soaking it up; and Fire reduces Wood by burning it up.


are flexible Feng Shui cures that fit into all spaces, no matter how large or small. They are used outdoors or indoors and encourage energy to circulate better. Crystals first attract Ch’i and then “hold” it briefly in their faceted surface. The Ch’i becomes energized, and then reflects into the room in many directions.

Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs):

are fields produced by electrically charged objects. EMFs affect other charged objects and distort the Ch’i within the human body. 

Five Elements:

are Earth, Water, Fire, Metal, and Wood. These Elements should be viewed as different types of Ch’i rather than actual physical elements (which are more familiar in Western scientific thought). The Five Elements create a balancing force of energies. By encouraging or downplaying each Element in various areas of a home, Feng Shui helps create ideal energy patterns for positive outcomes.

Flying Stars (“Magic Numbers”): 

each Gua also has a number associated with it. These numbers are called “magic numbers” or “flying star numbers,” and they are used to determine whether the Ch’i in a space should be slightly more Yin or Yang to produce a favorable atmosphere. 

Form School: 

is a school of Feng Shui that focuses on the arrangement of objects within a room, home, or office to establish balance in the environment.

Geopathic Stress: 

hypothesized distortions in the Earth’s electromagnetic frequencies, connected with medieval European folk beliefs.

Lo Shu: 

is commonly referred to in English as the “magic square.” The Lo Shu is a grid with nine squares. Inside each section is a number from 1 to 9. The center square is the number 5. When you add any three numbers horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, the sum is always 15.

Sha Ch’i:

is negative Ch’i. Ch’i turns sha when its flow is disrupted or blocked in some way. This potentially leads to a range of negative outcomes, including injuries, goals not being reached, getting “stuck in a rut,” energy loss (physically and emotionally), and poor health. 

Shars (“poison arrows”): 

are created by harsh, straight lines or angular shapes and corners, which produce negative Ch’i. 

Shen Ch’i:

is positive Ch’i. Ch’i is positive when it flows in a balanced way, which produces harmony and allows your life to move in positive directions.

Space Cleansing Ceremony:

is a ritual performed to clear a room or a home of any negative Ch’i. These rituals are often used when physical changes cannot be made to a space, as they symbolically remove harmful energy draining problems.

Yang Energy: 

is vibrant, lively, upbeat Ch’i created my bright colors, open spaces, busy patterns, movements, angular shapes, etc.

Yin Energy:

is quiet, small, slow-moving Ch’i created by dark colors, small spaces, solid colors, rounded shapes, etc.