Most of us have a relatively loose idea of what Feng Shui is, and an even less clear of how to actually implement it in our lives. We know it’s got something to do with home decor, but how many of us really give Feng Shui the credit it’s due?
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art, science, and body of knowledge, dating back several thousand years. It is used to balance the energy in a given space to improve happiness, health, and success in many areas of life. Feng Shui is part of the much broader Taoist philosophy and incorporates many different schools of thought. The youngest one is the Western BTB bagua system, which has the same features as the classical system but it is much easier and simple to implement in our homes and offices.
One of the best ways to enhance our Feng Shui energy is by charting our homes onto a bagua energy map. This is an ancient tool used to help us understand how to shape our physical environments to change different aspects of our lives. Every area of our lives corresponds to an area on the bagua map, from our relationships to our physical health to our fame and financial success.
A simple overview is enough to push you in the right direction, so that you can begin to feel like you’re regaining control of your life and the blessings, love and abundance can begin to flow to you.
The Bagua Map
The classical map is typically shaped like an octagon and divided into nine sections. For convenience and ease of home-mapping, the Western BTB system can be divided instead into three rows of three, or nine squares that can be neatly lined up along the walls of a home or room. Each square corresponds to an aspect of our life, including prosperity and abundance, love and relationships, children and creativity, family and health, networking and travel, and wisdom and spirituality. Each section has its own corresponding element and colors which either fuel or detract from its energy, and thus help or hinder in its development.
To honor your home’s bagua map, first take some time to meditate on your life goals. Identify your aspirations as well as your biggest obstacles and current problems. What areas of your life need special attention right now, and how can you bring the appropriate energy into your life to make sure you feel healthy and balanced?
Align the bottom of your bagua map with the main entryway of your home or room. If you choose to use the westernized approach to feng shui, this entryway wall represents the “south”. From here, the space across from you represents the “north” sector, the wall to the left represents the “west,” and the wall to the right represents the East. If you want to use the traditional methods, there are particular compass directions that correspond to particular bagua map areas. In this case, all of the following information is still relevant, you just have to figure out which compass direction of your home it applies to.
Even if you don’t believe in the full spiritual system of of feng shui, focusing your energy on improving the bagua areas of your home will subconsciously focus your attention on improving the areas in your real life. Let’s take a quick look at how easy it can be to boost your feng shui energy and thereby improve your life.
Abundance and Prosperity
Colors: green and brown
The southeast of your bagua square represents the “abundance and prosperity” aspect of your life—the parts that correspond to money, finances, and material wealth. Everything in this section of your home or room should be designed to bring prosperity and encourage the flow of money and abundance into your life.
It should come as no surprise, then, that anything gold or rich-looking will enhance the energy of abundance and prosperity in your home. This can include anything from crystals vases and chandeliers, to silk sheets, to large gold frames on paintings or mirrors. You are channeling wealth here, so live like you’re already rich.
It’s not all about gold and gemstones, though. Find pieces of art that make you feel wealthy—whatever that means relative to your own desires and circumstances. The abundance and prosperity sector of bagua represents opportunity and good fortune, Maybe that means still life paintings dripping with bounty and luscious fruits or cornucopias of harvest. Or maybe it means a TK painting of wealthy Parisian socialites living it up.
Of course, with the element of wood and the colors of green and brown, don’t forget to add items and pieces of decor that bring the symbolism of growth and movement. This means that, though they do not directly symbolize the traditional concepts of wealth, images of waterfalls, fountains, and white water rapids make fabulous feng shui cures to strengthen the energy of abundance—and moving water is always better than images of lakes or puddles. Vibrant tropical plants and lush rainforest scenery strengthen the energy of abundance as well, and add wood element colors.
Fame and Reputation
Colors: Red, Purple, Pink, Deep Orange and Intense Yellow
Feng Shui Element: Fire
To the south of your room or residence is the fame and reputation bagua area. This the part of your home to work on if you are unpopular, lacking in professional success, or need to shape up your public image. This is the area to work on for people who live out of the spotlight but want more attention, as well as one to focus on for people who are already public figures and want to keep their reputations golden. Fame and reputation are relative to how you are perceived by others. You can improve your external reputation independently, but one of the best ways to improve how you are outwardly perceived is to honor and improve your own integrity and self-illumination. And so, the fame and reputation bagua area focuses on both the internal and external aspects of fame and reputation.
The fame and reputation bagua flourishes with the fire element, and rich, warm, bright colors like reds and yellows. Paint your walls crimson, throw a purple rug on the floor, or add some orange accents. Throw up some wall art that features a sunset or a sunrise. And of course, don’t forget to display any and all images that convey success, like awards and trophies, or even photographs and paintings of people winning awards and trophies.
Relationships and Love
Colors: Sand, Yellow
No house is a home without love, and the southwest portion of the bagua map is dedicated to helping every relationship in your life flourish. Focusing on the love and relationships sector of your home will help you develop harmonious relationships rooted in mutual respect and trust and bring tranquility and understanding to relationships you’re already involved in. If you’re a happy bachelor or bachelorette, focusing on this area will help improve your family and work relationships, and if you’re single and looking for love, this area will help you attract an appropriate partner. And of course, all marriages and romantic relationships need tender attention to help them grow and flourish.
The earth element balances tension and nourishes the heart, so focus on bright earth tones here, like sand and sun-yellow, or tender colors like soft pink. This is a great place to add paintings, photographs, or wall stickers rich with sunlight. And anything that inspires love or romance will bring the appropriate energy. Consider hanging hearts or pictures of couples in love, or wall stickers with quotes about unconditional love—whether familial or romantic. Adding pink curtains or bedsheets or carpeting can go a long way towards bringing loving tenderness to a space.
Creativity and Children
Colors: White, Gray, Metallic
The West of your home is the “creativity and children” section, which is important for both parents and childless people alike. Whether you dedicate this area to your actual children, to the children you’re hoping to have in the near future, or to your own creative inner child, don’t neglect to feed this section with the joyful and free energy it deserves.
Metal is the element that feeds the west bagua area, so try decorations featuring bells and mirrors, or bronze statues of children, frolicking satyrs, and Greek musicians. Abstract art in copper or aluminum will bring a playful energy to the room, and metallic wall stickers and murals will bring delightfully imaginative and modern art to a space. If you’re single, anything in metallic tones will help you rejuvenate your own youthful energy.
If you do have children, this is the place to nourish and support their energy. This is where kids imagery belongs, where you can nourish childhood imagination and dreams with wall art that reflects childlike wonder and creative expression. This is also a great place to display art made by children.
Colors: White, Gray, Metallic
The “helpful people and travel” bagua area corresponds to opportunities and networking, as well as physically moving and traveling. It is the home for the support and guidance you’ve already received from friends and companions along the way, as well as the place to encourage the serendipitous meetings that will continue to influence your life into the future.
This is the area to cultivate and focus on gratitude and blessings, as well as to release all the relationships and relationship hangups and obstacles that no longer serve you. If you want to travel more, or need to develop your interpersonal networks for future developments, this is the area to focus on.
Display art that symbolizes travel and represents the places you want to go. Wall stickers of the Eiffel tower and airplanes, paintings of New York City, murals of the Amazon rainforest – all of these will bring the energy you need to this bagua area. Maps bring exactly the right energy into this area, as do travel photographs.
Don’t forget to incorporate gratitude for past aid into your future plans. The Helpful People bagua area is also the appropriate place to display images of people who have already helped you along your journey.
Colors: Blue and Black
In the West, we tend to identify our “career journey” with the jobs we happen to be working at the time, but where Feng Shui is concerned, the career and journey bagua section encompasses so much more than this. This is the space of your home for your true life purpose, what the French call raison d’etre and the Japanese call ikigai. This area is much bigger than your job, and incorporates your soul’s true calling, life path, and purpose.
The water element rules this area, so incorporate blue and black tones. Paint the walls, if it is appropriate, but beware of painting rooms in shades that are too dark, as they can be depressing. Perhaps a statement or feature wall will do the trick, without being overwhelming. If you don’t want to paint the room or a whole wall, consider adding round or oval-shaped mirrors or wall art featuring water features like streams and fountains. A mural of water, or even of blue sky shades, can do wonders for the career energy of a room. If it’s possible, add an actual water feature to this part of the room, which will bring a calming energy to the space while encouraging flow, eternal movement, and unstoppable energy.
Knowledge and Spirituality
Colors: Sand, Yellow
The skills and knowledge section to the northeast of your home is also the spiritual area. This is helpful to consider, because it encourages personal growth and knowledge cultivation in all its capacities, whether intellectual development, self-control, internal strength, or spiritual wisdom.
The earth element rules this area, as do colors of yellow and sand, which bring peaceful enlightenment without stressful, frenetic energy. Add spiritual art to the walls in these neutral and peaceful earth tones. Consider paintings of beaches and peaceful flames, or set up an altar with candles. This is a good place to paint a wall in sunny earth tones, or add a landscape mural complete with mountains and peaceful oceans, but avoid too much water imagery, which might detract from the energy you are trying to build.
Bright flowers, sunsets, and fire are all appropriate images to incorporate here, as well as actual lighting fixtures that bring the energy of fire to your spiritual realm. The idea is to ignite your knowledge and light your soul fire in a way that is balanced – a controlled, spiritual burn like glowing hot embers.
Family and Elders
Colors: Brown and Green
The final area of your home’s bagua map is the “family and elders” section, which has many critical layers to it. This is also the spiritual and emotional health section, because in Feng Shui, our current health is related to that of our families and ancestors, and acknowledging those relationships will help us form a basis for success in the rest of our lives.
The family and elders section of the home flourishes with the wood element and in brown and green earth tones, which means that you might want to paint the walls a nourishing shade of forest or leaf green. Add images of bamboo, flowers, or lush foliage to enhance the life and lush energy of your relationships. Encourage health and upward growth with plants that grow and reach upwards, or long mirrors with wooden frames that extend the space towards the sky.
Health and Center
The bagua map center is like the heart of your Feng Shui map, pumping the energy to the rest of the system. The size of the bagua center will be unique to your home or room—there is no right or wrong size. In the classical system, the center is like a vortex, with energy that extends into the other bagua map areas. In the Western system, the center is a square that is roughly the same size as the others.
However big, and whatever the shape, of your center, it is important that it is a bright, open space, filled with light. This might mean actual, physical light—like a skylight, if you’re lucky!--or just decorations that make you feel happy and balanced. Your center isn’t an isolated point, either—it should blend and mesh and integrate all the other areas of your life, and enhance the energy in each, while maintaining its own power.
With a little practice, you’ll develop your own sense for Feng Shui, and your own sense for the flow and unique energy that works in your own home, your own body, and your own life. You’ll know right away what works for you and what doesn’t—as there’s no real answer—and this guide will help you along your path towards enhancing your unique Feng Shui energy to enhance your own life.