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  • Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine

The Beauty and Mystery of Feng Shui

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art that enhances the life force of a given space—known as “chi.” It is spiritual energy, if you will. The intention is to create a balanced environment that supports the health, wealth and happiness of a space.

Feng Shui, which dates back 3,500 years, is strongly influenced by the Tao. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the Tao is “the absolute principle underlying the universe, combining within itself the principles of yin and yang and signifying the way, or code of behavior, that is in harmony with the natural order of things.”

Feng Shui consultants use a Bagau map overlaid onto the floor plan of a home to identify the various energy centers of the house. These areas of energy have an influence upon:

• Abundance and wealth

• Fame and reputation

• Love and marriage

• Health and family

• The home’s “heart center”

• Children and creativity

• Spirituality and personal growth

• Life path and career

• Blessings and travel

There is a Classical Bagau Map and a Western Bagau Map. Feng Shui practitioners typically recommend that DIY types choose one map or the other, but not combine the two. The Classical Bagau Map uses a compass, and the direction of the front of a house is first determined. Then, each of the remaining seven directions are mapped out from there. The Western Bagau Map is a square (or rectangular shape depending on the shape of your dwelling) of nine squares. Each of the nine squares represents the above mentioned energy centers. With the Western map laid over the floor plan of your home, you can identify where these areas are in your home. The next step is to determine what each area might need for proper Feng Shui. It is most helpful if the size of the floor plan is the same size as the Bagau map.

There are five vital components of Feng Shui: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. These elements correspond with certain colors, according to the influential areas of energy as represented on the Bagau map. Color is very important, and choice of color—right or wrong—impacts how a person responds to a space.

Wikipedia online encyclopedia cites, “There is no replicable scientific evidence that Feng Shui’s mystical claims are real, and it is considered by the scientific community to be pseudoscience.” Reading that made me think of scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki’s documentary series Sacred Balance. Suzuki shows us how the environmental events in one area of the world, impact another distant part of the world. Then, a friend recently posted on Facebook, details of a report that scientifically proves the health benefits of Japanese Forest Bathing (essentially just spending time out in nature). Weighed against Wikipedia’s dismissal of Feng Shui, I wondered, “Could those Wikipedia scientific minds be wrong?” Suzuki posed that, “Spirit is beyond science!”

In an article in Spirituality & Health Magazine, Traci Pederson wrote that in today’s society, we have become more and more removed from the natural world. We spend endless hours in front of keyboards and computer screens, or with our heads bent texting and surfing the Internet on our phones, or glued to our gigantic flat screen televisions. There are mental, physical and spiritual impacts resulting from this imbalance. Pederson encourages us to compare Feng Shui to acupuncture, “Just as needles help balance the flow of energy in the body, so can furniture, objects and colors enhance and balance the energy of a room.”

According to the theory behind yin and yang, our universe is composed of two opposing, but deeply interconnected forces: yin representing the feminine (passive) and yang representing the masculine (active).

These two forces create the essence of life that surrounds us. One cannot exist without the other, as they deeply support and nourish one another. They cannot exist in isolation; they serve to define each other. Therefore, a Feng Shui home shares a harmonious expression of both the yin and the yang.

Former Napa resident and Feng Shui consultant of 20 years, Kim Klein of, says that she sees a direct correlation between an individual’s health and well-being, and that essence being reflected in their home. Kim said there are five factors that influence our lives: Fate, Luck, Feng Shui of our lives, Karma and Education, “We really have no control over fate or luck, so why not start with the Feng Shui of our life, where we do have influence?”

The internet is ripe with testimonials of people who have applied Feng Shui to their homes, and claimed benefits such as better sleep, improved relationships and increased wealth. Some have simply stated that they feel more peace and joy in their homes.

I have a vivid memory as a teenager, of walking into a beautiful store in Newport Beach. Its exclusive display of Asian art and furnishings were beautifully arranged. The space was simply captivating, calming and inspiring. After meandering through a second time, I walked up to the shopkeeper and told her how beautiful I found her store. My passionate, exuberant 15-year-old self exclaimed, “If only everyone could live in such beautiful spaces, there would be peace the world over!” She smiled, bowed ever so slightly and said two words to me: Feng Shui.


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