Without exaggerating, I have answered thousands of feng shui questions From clients, students and strangers over the last 30 years. I’m currently answering questions like “feng shui Dear Abby” on Victor Cheung’s Feng Shui Nexus website.
Many of the questions have the same theme, but differ slightly in detail. That’s why we decided to cover some of the common misconceptions in article form. Now you can link this article to future questions that require the same redirection and education.
Many people ask which elements to place in a particular direction in and around their home. This is because each of the 8 cardinal directions (N, S, E, W, NW, NE, SE, SW) has an element associated with it. For example, North is associated with water and South with fire. But doesn’t this mean that it will automatically add that element to that section of the house or property? Not at all. In fact, it doesn’t even use the factor of production associated with that direction. If someone wants to add an element to the west (related to metals), that doesn’t mean you arbitrarily add metal to that area.
How to know the correct elements to use and which not to use in a given direction location?
beginning: you need to make sure you have the right direction as a reference. You should use a compass to check the compass placement of the constructed structure. Most untrained Feng Shui practitioners do not use compasses and do not know the difference between geographic and magnetic north. In some parts of the world it makes a big difference.
Next: To know which rooms belong to which directional zones, you need to use isometric floor plan or plot plan drawings. And of course you need to know how to grid the directional zones. This requires training in spaces that are not perfectly square or rectangular. Often untrained people do not know when there are missing sectors and extensions in the floor plan.
Ongoing: What many feng shui beginners don’t know is that a single direction never represents just one element. Based on when the structure was built, along with compass readings, there are actually several different elements within each area. Considering the energy of the year (stars), we can add another energy (elements) as well.
The inspiration for this article came from someone asking what to do with the “bagua” in the north. This person knew full well that north was symbolic of the water element, but he didn’t know if that was the correct element to use there. It got me thinking about a few. There are 3-9 flying stars on the north side of my current house (NW-1 sitting house built in period 6). The last thing I want is for it to have a water feature, like a fountain, because that could inspire three stars. 3 Woodstar can attract gossip, debate, or legal issues. My previous home (Sitting South 2, Period 8) had 9-7 stars in the north sector. This is a combination of nine fires that govern seven metals.In this case the earth element is usually the correct reducing element to use, which is Prevent the area from causing mouth, teeth, breast, deception, or theft problems. All star combinations are fully explained in my book. Feng Shui Continuum: A Blueprint for a Balanced Life.
Before that, my house (built in Period 5 and sitting on East-1) had a combination of Wood 3 and Earth 8 in the North Sector. In that case, the fire element was the most harmonious element to add and for most of the year. In this case, fire stimulates wealth, promotes good health, and helps alleviate bone and muscle problems.
Aside from knowing what the energy is specific to a particular direction based on the year it was built and orientation, the following factors can be considered.
- use of the room
- Annual impact
- Direct external influences, man-made or natural landscapes
- The nature of yin and yang as part of the same space
- Personal data about residents
As a personal example, I live in a few houses and have had to dampen 3 wooden stars with fire and luckily enough in advance so as not to arbitrarily put water to the north. That said, if I were a lawyer by profession or had some other profession that could be enhanced with an active 3-star, I would have had such a specific goal in mind. Only in place can the water element be appropriate.
More misunderstandings follow when people extrapolate from one generality and mistakenly assume that the same remedy is in order. If the water inside the house is good, does that mean it should be the same outside? Nonot necessarily.
If a house faces north, do we associate it as a “water” type house? No! First of all, the house features the sitting side, the back, rather than the front. Since 99% of all structures have parallel front and back walls, north-facing houses are usually oriented exactly opposite to south-facing.
If a north-facing house is actually considered a “southern” house type, does that mean that the interior is decorated in the color of fire, since south is the direction of the fire? No! Do you mean to plant red flowers in the southern lot? No!
The truth is, if you have an accurate high-level understanding of your home or workplace and want to know Which elements to use, why to use them, and when to use them: You have to either be a serious student or be a client.
Do you want to spend a few years of your life studying feng shui in depth with a highly trained and experienced teacher, or do you want to understand the most comprehensive book available? Or would you rather see yourself as a potential client than a student and hire a professional like me to evaluate your space?
I like answering all sorts of questions, from simple universals to more complex and nuanced questions about Feng Shui theory. I wrote an article for If you can answer a simple question with a yes/no answer, I’d be happy to do so!
Example: Is it bad to live next to a cemetery? yes.
Is it bad to live next to a highway? yes.
Is it a good idea to paint your entire bedroom black? No.
But often I get very specific questions from people looking for free advice on very personal issues and struggles. At these points the moral of educating people about what really goes into a thorough evaluation (which everyone deserves) rather than just providing silly answers that perpetuate superstitions and misinformation about feng shui I feel an obligation.
Author: Carter Diamond
Company: Feng Shui Solutions ®
From the Feng Shui FAQ blog series