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Wind & Water - Feng Shui and Creation, Or why Feng Shui Works
by Christina Viol, Toulouse 2003

"In the beginning God created heaven and earth, and the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis, 1.1-1.2)

What do Genesis and Feng Shui have in common? For an answer, we need to take a close look at the workings of Feng Shui.

Many books describe how Feng Shui works and what to pay attention to; we can also get this information directly from teachers. But there is little information out there on why it works. So let us explore that idea.

When we apply the ancient Chinese living science of Feng Shui, our aim is to change our environment to change our life for the better - to bring about more harmony, health, prosperity and success. To do so involves actively and directly influencing or adjusting our environment, and accordingly our reality. And influencing or adjusting our reality is an act of creation. That is why we need to look at the source: wind (Spirit of God) and water were at the beginning of creation.

Feng Shui translates as "wind and water". "Feng" stands for wind, air, gas, clouds, storms, energy fields and radiation of energy. It can also be interpreted as the complementary set of structures directing the flow of the wind. These structures can be mountains or rocks, buildings or other man-made forms.

"Shui" stands for water, lakes, rivers, brooks, waterfalls, swamps, rain, snow and ice, and also plants and other living organisms nourished by water, as well as so-called "dry water" ways, such as streets.

For another clear view of the importance of wind and water, consider the name of that most beautiful archipelago, Hawai'i. "Ha" stands for breath, "wai" stands for water, and "i" stands for spirit. The Hawaiian people differentiate between breath (wind) and spirit. Spirit, among other things, symbolically represents heaven; and breath can be interpreted as some form of wind, as movement of the spirit; and all the while, heaven and wind are closely connected or rather intertwined.

For the Navajo people too, wind is a form of breath, divine breath. In their story of creation, the Navajo speak of the wind breathing life into the first man and woman. Our fingerprints would tell us from where the wind blew when our ancestors were created.

To look more closely now at the meaning of water. For some of the ancient Greek philosophers, water was the original matter of the universe, the source of everything, which is also why water was divine.

The Chinese Taoists take a similar view. They call the rain "heaven"s luck". Water is a life-giving fluid descending from heaven in an everlasting cycle. Without water, growth for living beings and plants is not possible. This is why an open view to the sky from the house front door is so important. If large buildings or massive greenery block that view, heaven"s luck cannot flow plentifully to benefit the individual.

Clear water, especially when moving, attracts cosmic life chi energy. Chi in turn attracts oxygen, which allows negative ions to fill the air. That is why we are often magnetically attracted to the ocean or waterfalls and why we usually experience them as very energising.

Water has the power to refresh, cleanse and transform. Water helps to wash out toxins from the body - no matter what their origin, whether environmental, emotional or from food. For many indigenous peoples, a standard ritual before entering a holy place was to take a cleansing dip in the ocean. Indeed, in some places in Hawaii, immersion in the ocean is still practised before the traditional Hula Kahiko, the temple dance, is performed on special occasions.

The link between Genesis and Feng Shui is becoming clearer. Wind and water were the original elements of creation: wind is breath, movement - which is given direction or intention by the spirit; and water is a prerequisite for life to develop.

The famous saying of Heraclitus, panta rhei, "everything flows", should add that nothing ever stands still because standing still means death. Goethe wrote in his Song of the Spirits above the Waters:

    "Wind is the wave's handsome suitor;
     Wind stirs up from the depth foaming billows."

Wind and water are inseparably connected. Singly and jointly, they create waves of a specific frequency or vibration, which influence crucially their surroundings. Consider the process of creation: "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." This spirit is inspirational, the thought which creates. Then there is the word, the uttered thought. That is how the thought gets energised, and so gives rise to movement, because the uttered word is transported by means of breath - the word is given life. Hence the central role of the wind. Its energy is of a particular quality - when its meaning is expressed, it vibrates at a special frequency based on the emotions, content and intention involved. The Hawaiians have an old saying referring to the power behind the word: "I ka 'olelo no ke ola, ika 'olelo no ka make." "There is life in the word, there is death in the word." Today, with the help of an encephalogram, it is easy to show scientifically that active mental activity creates vibration.

In other words, the word sets energy of a special frequency and quality in motion. Hence e-motion. Our actions put our thoughts into practice, and the power behind this motion determines the result: destruction, prosperity or standstill.

Clearly then, wind and water must play a vital part when it comes to energising rooms and places. Water is a gift from heaven - it gives life, it is the source of everything. and accordingly it is the source of absolute prosperity. Water will "work" for us if we energise it with particular attention and intention.

By the same token, careful placement of furniture and objects will allow for an easy flow of the wind, the cosmic chi, so that all parts of the house, including the most remote ones, will be nourished plentifully with chi and oxygen. As noted before, chi attracts oxygen.

Wind and water support and improve our life. In the end it all depends on the flow of the movement - whether the wave will roll softly onto the sand, or break against the rock, or be hindered by turbulence. Similarly for the wind: if fixed structures prevent it from flowing freely, it will have to destroy things; if they support its path, it can revive things.

There is an unceasing interplay between the creative spirit and the flow of e-motion, the vibration. And there is the principle of "Energy flows where attention goes." Accordingly, we can change our experience by changing the vibration - the flow of e-motion, the energy in motion. Feng Shui can help us to do that simply by skilfully directing the energy flow. Ideally, this should be planned before a piece of property is bought and a house built. The earlier that all external factors are taken into account, the bigger the active influence to move our life in the desired direction.

Just one more thing: how much wind and water is needed for the individual to positively influence his or her fate? As always, everything is relative. A happy, successful and healthy life is based on a good balance of Yin and Yang, the female and male principles. Exactly when the principles are balanced may differ from individual to individual, since everything in the universe responds and interacts to everything else.

Taoist masters recognised the yin/yang duality 5000 years ago. Everything that exists in this universe is based on it. Yin is dark, negative, cold, calming and feminine. Yang is bright, positive, energising and masculine. Yin is the moon relative to the sun. But the full and new moon are yang relative to the yin half moon, and a zen monk is more yin than a female soldier in action is.

Excessive yang creates infections in the body and violence in the environment, and as an emotion it comes out as anger, whereas excessive yin creates lethargy in the body, stagnation in the outer world and fear inside.

It is always a matter of getting the balance right within the individual - bearing in mind that harmony is not the same as equilibrium. What may be too much for one person can be too little for another. A good Feng Shui consultant will always take into account the individual life circumstances of his clients, and also their wishes and objectives, when considering how balance is to be achieved. So it is crucial to know the client"s intentions before judging energy as positive or negative. Energies need to be evaluated relative to those intentions.

In this way, the practical application of Feng Shui can enhance our life. Precise placement of furniture and objects optimizes the harmonic chi flow, and the use of water revives and energises certain areas in our favour. That is because wind and water, Feng Shui, are the original elements of creation. As the Book of Genesis suggests.

Or as Goethe put it:

    "Soul of man how equal to water!
     Fate of man how equal to wind!"


Christina Viol is a certified Feng Shui consultant, accredited by the Chinese master Prof. Dr. Jes Lim. Her special focus is on Vital Energi and Geomancy. E-mail: christinaviol@yahoo.com
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