The Aquarian Age is truly the information age. No where is this more obvious than at the book store. Hundreds of books and magazines all claim their method to be the best way to prevent illness, cure illness, create wealth, find love, raise children, design a house, decorate and office, and so on. The information age should not be confused with the knowledge age. Just as with dynamite, a little bit can be dangerous. A better description might be the marketing age where each day some new technique vies for our attention and commitment. Nothing fits this description better than the current Feng Shui rage.
Several years ago I read a small article in a free publication describing the process of moving furniture to improve health. My Aquarius ascendant is usually interested in unusual things like that, but this time there was a great deal of familiarity in the concepts, and my Taurus sun liked the practical application. Over the next couple years I did more research and began actively studying Feng Shui. The concepts that I recognized were those I had heard a hundred times, from my mother. My mom was part Native American and she employed lots of “household wisdom” in our home. The exciting part of Feng Shui for me was discovering that my mom’s wisdom was so similar to that of a culture many thousands of miles away. Of course, those not raised the way she was simply referred to her as superstitious (there’s that word again). But, I always knew that my mom was way ahead of her time, and very in touch with the Earth.
The practice of Feng Shui is relatively new to the West. It has only been actively used for about 15 years in the United States and only slightly longer in Europe. However, Feng Shui has been a way of life for centuries for many throughout Asia. This ancient art of placement began as a method of positioning grave sites. For cultures who practiced ancestor worship it was necessary to ensure the final resting place be optimum. To do otherwise was to invite ill fortune to your family and children.
Most cultures have some form of Feng Shui, or Ch’i (Qi). Qi is the life force or breath of every living thing. This first breath determines your time of birth. Generally, indigenous people knew how to locate water, follow the weather, plant and harvest crops and build vernacular dwellings. Some of the basic concepts relate to the proper use of earth energies, ensuring movement of Qi, and balance. Balance relates to the balance of five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, wood. Each of us is born with a predominance of some elements. The balancing act comes into play when we create an environment with too much of one or two elements and not enough of another. This is especially important when the excess elements are incompatible with our own life force element. Corrective action can only be determined when a personal evaluation is done.
Over the years Feng Shui evolved into a more sophisticated method of siting houses and businesses, building temples, determining sizes of furniture and selecting materials and colors. Architecture and interior design could be considered mundane Feng Shui since objective is to improve space. Different schools of Feng Shui developed and today there are several systems: form or land; compass (East/West system, The Nine Floating Stars, The Four Pillars of Destiny); and black sect tantric Buddhism (BTB). The form school focuses on the shapes of things and the surrounding land masses. The compass school, and associated methods, is often called Classical Feng Shui. This system uses an elaborate compass or Luo Pan to determine siting and facing directions and their portents, and complex calculations to determine how your site compares to you. Classical Feng Shui draws strongly from the I Ching trigrams, yin and yang and the fourth dimension—time. Time is especially important. The world is a dynamic place and because it is ever-changing so must we be in living in it. A Feng Shui solution today, will need adjustments over time. This is similar to transiting planets which may cause changes in our lives.
The BTB is relatively new and largely created by Professor Lin Yun. This method is a more generic, easier to follow, one-size-fits all style. Many practitioners and lay people in the US follow this popular school which uses the familiar eight-sided Ba Gua overlay to offer solutions.
The propensity of westerners to read a book and claim expert status has led to a sort of Feng Shui fad. The plethora of new books about Feng Shui, which seem to contradict each other, has served to confuse many people. All schools of Feng Shui will undoubtedly produce some beneficial results since doing something is often better than doing nothing. The real question is to what degree of effectiveness the actions produce and are they the right solution for you. Feng Shui is not the magic pill for lazy people. Like anything worthwhile, it requires practical application to be successful. As an example, I had a retail client who was not drawing in the kind of traffic she wanted. She asked if could come and recommend where to hang crystals to help. Upon arriving at the location, I missed the entry because there was no sign and the driveway was hidden. A hundred crystals wouldn’t help, unless they were hung outside in front of the building to locate the place! Look at the obvious before seeking the transcendental.
Astrology has been in my life since birth. My grandmother’s best friend was an astrologer trained by Evangeline Adams. She was a stern double Virgo and I hung on her words as a child. She gave me very old books on the subject and I started to learn. It was with a great surprise that I discovered that not everyone studied, or believed in, astrology. My goodness, some people even called me superstitious! I never really gave up my studies in astrology, but it became more recreational. It was not until my deep research into Feng Shui that I began to explore astrology more fully.
Although any use of Feng Shui should improve an environment it may not address the real problem. During my internship, I began to discover that the inclusion of astrology is imperative to finding a total solution. My own life has been a laboratory since my husband and I share the same Kua or Natal element and live in the same house, and for a time, worked in the same place, yet Feng Shui activations and changes affect us quite differently. I have been practicing Feng Shui professionally for over five years now and have integrated Classical Feng Shui with western astrology. Astrology is the foundation from which I can evaluate a person’s path in life and make recommendations for their environments. Just as some astrologers use the Koch system for some people and the Placidus for others, the Feng Shui system must fit the client, the site and the solution.
If we lived in an ideal world, Feng Shui methods would be used before any building was built, purchased or resided in. But the reality is that Feng Shui is usually a method of problem solving. No one calls me up to say, “My life is great, Feng Shui me!” People feel the need for environment adjustments because they know instinctively something is not right. Figuring out what is not right is the trick. When performing a Feng Shui reading, I am seeing the results of how a person conducts their life. This is not the same as the path in life and any solution should be specifically for each person.
Most of the time I review the 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 10th house aspects and transits. This is because most people are concerned about money, home, love and career. Many times the area of life that a client wants to improve is not the main problem. There are often underlying issues to be resolved. I always warn clients that the result may not come in the form expected, but it will be the right solution for them. A lack of balance in astrology is very similar in Feng Shui. Hard aspects or transits in a particular house sends us to look to the opposite. If we are spending too much time at work (10th) we might be neglecting the home (4th). People who spend a great deal of time dating or looking for a life partner (7th) should look in the mirror and make personal improvements (1st). With Feng Shui we use the elements to balance: too much fire needs water, depleted metal needs earth. It’s all about balance.
When we clean up stuck energies in our lives, other areas take care of themselves. The practice of Feng Shui should not be in exception to astrology, but rather in complement to this complex process we call life. So read your charts, follow the transits and clean out your closets!
About the author:
OLA MARRA COOK, MBA, is a Business Consultant and Professional Interior Designer with degrees in Interior Design, Business Administration, Organizational Behavior and International Management. Ola combines her Native American Heritage, Astrology, and intuitive skills with a unique background in real estate, design and high tech international corporate management to address a broad range of residential and commercial solutions.