As our new year begins, we have another celebration—the Chinese Lunar New Year. This is honored and celebrated each year on the new moon of the first lunar month. And what a celebration it is!
This is a time of cleaning out the old and welcoming the new. In the days preceding the New Year, houses are thoroughly cleaned. Both physical dirt and the poor luck of the past year are cleared away to welcome the newly arrived good luck.
Of course, all the brooms are put away before New Year’s Day so that the great fortune that is come cannot be swept away. Families will then begin their celebrations with a huge dinner and reunion; many in new clothes and shoes, symbolizing the new start. And, of course, any new haircuts will be had before the new year (but after winter solstice) as the word for hair sounds like the word for prosperity.
In the last issue, I wrote about enhancing the outdoor area around your front entry. This time, let’s discuss incorporating Feng Shui principles in your garden and landscaping, as well as your entire outdoor space. One important aspect of our immediate external environment is its ability to protect us from destructive energy, as well as enhancing and magnetizing positive qi.
In Land Form Feng Shui, there are four “protectors” that are naturally occurring in the environment. These can also be created through landscaping and creative garden design. The four animals that symbolize this protective energy are: the black tortoise, the red phoenix, the green dragon and the white tiger (the fifth protector, the snake, resides within the dwelling).
The tortoise, with his high, rounded, protective shell should reside at the rear of the house/yard. In the natural environment, this would be a rounded hilltop. A building that is taller than your home that is to the rear will also provide some protection. If you have neither of these, you can create an energetic shelter by planting tall trees.
Have you begun tending your garden and all the spaces surrounding the outside of your home? This is the perfect time to take a critical, close look at the entire front area of your house, particularly the spaces that lead to the front entry.
What we see and look upon as we approach the place where we “hang our hat” penetrates deep into the psyche and can influence how we feel and how we perceive our life. What do you feel when you come home? Do you breathe a sigh of relief to be home, or would you rather be somewhere else?
What we encounter as we begin our approach to the front door is crucial. Are there weeds or plantings that need trimming? Does the land around the front walkway want to “reach out and touch someone?”
Are you ready to bring some new energy into your living and work space? With many of you working from home or spending a lot of time at home right now, it may be time to liven things up a little.
An excellent way to bring new qi to a space is with color! Color is all around us, and you can use it for positive change. Our perception of color and its energy effects our emotions, well-being, state of health, and even our thoughts.
The qi that flows through color penetrates through many layers of our awareness.
On the physical level, color is light energy and comes out of white light. Every nuance of color has its own unique frequency of wavelength and vibratory pattern. For instance, navy blue has a completely different qi and quality than an aqua blue. The color and tones of color used on your walls, furniture, your clothing, and everything you surround yourself with can have a positive or negative impact. If your environment, clothes, and everything around you are dark or drab, this will have a negative impact on how you perceive life and what you convey to others about yourself.
This holiday season is going to be different for many people. The hard decision whether to visit family is very real and can bring up feelings of sadness and loss at what is normally a time to reconnect and express our love. Frustration, unhappiness, and a sense of defeat are all negative forms of energy that can be hard to dispel once you accept any of them into your consciousness. Don’t allow it! We can be creative and give our hearts to others—just a little bit differently.
It’s important to understand that these are trying times, and you are certainly not alone in what you may be feeling. It is imperative for each of us to do our best. We may never know whose life we have positively impacted by a sincere smile or a kind word. And yes, a smile can be projected from behind a mask. It is the energy of your heart that people will feel through your eyes. (I desperately miss seeing people’s faces and smiles, but we do our best!) Sharing love is a very good Feng Shui practice. As the saying goes, “What goes around comes around!”
It’s back to school… whether online or on campus, (or both!) and a great time to take advantage of your kids’ excitement and anticipation about starting the year in a new grade. With all of the upheaval from the virus, it will be even more important to provide a comfortable and safe space for them.
I’ve always found it interesting that the area of the bagua that is associated with children and creativity is also the area associated with autumn, traditionally the time most kids are already settled back in school and preparing for the year ahead. The west area of the bagua is ruled by the I Ching trigram tui. Its attributes are joyfulness and pleasure (as in enjoyment in one’s activities), and support that nurtures and inspires. What a fantastic description of what a parent would want to do for their child!
All children—including our own “inner child”—shine with plentiful doses of encouragement and loving direction. To enhance the west area, you can use the color white, the element metal, and any artwork depicting children at their best. Artwork created by a child (or your inner child) is perfect here, as it has the qi of a child within it and honors their creativity.
After being indoors and doing all we could to minimize the spread of illness this past spring, it is time to get outside! Get some sun, swim in water, and breathe fresh air!
How about a family trek to a beautiful lake or river surrounded by lots of trees or a natural, outdoor hot springs? Montana has so many choices to get lots of sunshine, clean, pure air, as well as great places to swim—both in fresh water and hot springs.
What is it about the sun and nature that is so appealing, so healing? In Feng Shui practice, we strive to bring the balance of the elements into our environments, and this healthy balance can be found in abundance in the natural environment.
Swimming in water renews energy, quiets the mind, and has a deeply cleansing, balancing power at all levels of consciousness that is unequaled. Bathing in fresh water has many purifying benefits as the sun charges the water. Even if it’s slow running, the movement of a river allows it to cleanse and purify itself, increasing the qi and enhancing the air and land around it.
Although it probably is early to enjoy fresh cut flowers from your garden, you can still partake of the color, beauty, and fragrance that they bring into your home by treating yourself to fresh flowers available at your neighborhood supermarket or florist. Many markets offer a variety of sweet bunches of fresh flowers for less than ten dollars. Both flowers and live plants are carriers of rejuvenating yang energy.
Any room is enhanced with fresh flowers, although there are differing Feng Shui opinions as to their appropriateness in the bedroom. This is because the bedroom—as a place of rest—should be slightly yin to induce and enhance sleep. Personally, I can’t think of a nicer way to doze off and travel to the realms of restful, rejuvenating sleep than being bathed in the fragrance of fresh roses! When a bedroom is a place of convalescence, filling the room with flowers is very beneficial during recovery and healing, as the occupant is continuously bathed in positive yang qi.
Aren’t we all looking forward to a new year? The Chinese Lunar New Year for 2020 is celebrated on January 25 this year, which is the first day of the new moon in the first lunar month. The New Year is an extended holiday in China—their biggest celebration—and will end on February 8. This is the full moon and it’s celebrated with the Lantern Festival. The full force of this exciting New Year will actually commence on February 4, which is the first day of the Chinese astrological year, also known as The Start of Spring.
The honored animal for 2020 is the rat, and the element for 2020 is metal, with a yang attribute. The Rat is a clever, strategic animal, and it’s element is calm, cold, yin water and rain, which gives the Rat an edge on intelligence and quick thinking and allows it to solve problems with piercing vision. Something is always going on in that sharp mind!
The signs of autumn are all around us—leaves are gorgeous warm colors, and the days are shorter and nights are cooler. But there is a very important transitional period between summer and fall that we feel in our bodies but that we are not necessarily consciously aware of.
This brief cycle occurs with each change of the seasons, but is most felt in the shift from summer to autumn, as the fire of summer must create the earth element, which in turn produces the metal energy of autumn. Nature can be a real tease during this time. We can have some relatively cool days and chilly nights, and all of a sudden it seems like it’s summer again—it’s incredibly warm out, but the leaves are falling! This is the experience of the earth element; a state of flux that is all the while wooing us to begin turning inward.