Category Archives: Feng Shui

Feng Shui Fundamentals

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Category: Feng Shui
Written by Mimosa
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Feng shui is a traditional Chinese form of geomancy.  The words mean “wind water,” shorthand for the saying, “Chi (energy) rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.”  Feng shui is about enhancing these movements of chi, for the purpose of aligning buildings and other manmade objects within the balance of Heaven and Earth.  Feng shui has long and complex history, and it’s no easy thing to understand all its directional, color, historic, astrological and other correspondences.  Below are just a few practical tips to get you started.

Benevolent Animals: Statues of the four auspicious animals can bring luck.  Dragon (family and health), Tiger (protection), Phoenix (success and good relationships) and Tortoise (career and money).

Buddha:  Representations of the Buddha bring various properties into the home.  The Buddha pictured above brings prosperity and happiness, whereas other Buddhas may bring peace, joy in meditation, safe travel, compassion, etc.  Offering incense to the Buddha is a sign of respect.

Candles:  For intimacy and fiery energy.  Best placed in the south, southwest or northeast.

Charcoal:  A small dish of charcoal helps to harmonize energy, especially near a fireplace or woodstove, or in the kitchen.

Coins: For prosperity. Tie three or eight coins together with a red thread, and place them at a money “crossroads,” such as your wallet, an invoice book, or cash register, etc.  In this way, according to ancient tradition, you make use of the coins as an amulet. Alternately, you can hang the coins on the west side of your house.

Crystals (cut glass):  Hanging a feng shui crystal in a window will help distribute energy throughout your space, and brighten dark rooms.  Place in a west, northwest, north, east, or southeast window.

Crystals (natural minerals): Natural stones also distribute energy.  Crystal clusters are good areas where families gather; black tourmaline placed near the door protects the home; rose quartz hearts placed in the southwest bring romance; hematite in the west part of the house will help keep children calm and focused.  There are many more ways of using natural crystals.

Dragon:  This benevolent descendent of Heaven governs the sky and keeps the law on Earth.  Dragons symbolize having power and control over situations.  The auspicious power of the dragon brings prosperity, health, love, and luck.

Fish:  Colorful, jointed enamel fish represent the Dragon Fish (arowana), symbolizing abundance, perseverance and wealth.  Yes, they’re actually carp.  But in Chinese, even this fish’s name means “profitable” and “rewarding.”  Blue is associated with peace, orange with success, green with prosperity, yellow with communication, black with protection, and purply with spirituality.

Frog (Money Toad):  According to legend, if a frog appears at your house during the full moon, you will receive good news–often in the form of increased wealth.  Place the three-legged toad near a cash register in the far left corner of the building of prosperity, or place inside the front door facing inward to direct the flow of wealth into your home.

Mirrors:  Mirrors are a tool for directing energy.  A common-sense way to understand this is that the line of sight reflected in the mirror represents the flow of energy.  Accordingly, place mirrors in such a way to direct energy constructively.  They work best in the east, north and southeast parts of the home.  Be careful using mirrors in bedrooms; here they can enhance conflict if they reflect directly towards the bed, so keep mirrors covered or place them at angles.  A convex mirror can help disperse energy at a “dead end,” such as a staircase that leads directly down to a doorway.

Plants:  Houseplants cleanse indoor air, and can promote a feeling of peace while maintaining a vibrant energy flow.  For best results, plant them in earthenware pots and place them in windows on the south, southeast and east sides of the home.

Sea salt:  Stabilizes and purifies the flow of energy.  Place a couple tablespoons in a small dish, and place in the northeast or southwest part of your home.

Water:  Water features, whether a fountain or a simple bowl of water, bring vitality into the home.  Moving water creates vibrant yang energy, whereas fresh, still water creates calming yin energy.

Wind chimes & bells:  Use in a doorway to help energy keep moving and distribute it throughout a space.  Wooden chimes  are best in the south, east, or southeast entrances; metal in southwest, north, northeast, northwest, west, or middle of the house. Alternatively, you can place a string of metal bells in a central location where they will ring as people pass.


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Maneki Neko: The Meaning Behind the Waving Cats

Written by Mimosa
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The story of the Lucky Cat is based on a 9th century Chinese proverb: If a cat washes its face and ears, it will rain. A cat washes its face with its paw to ease its anxiety. However, people have long believed that when a cat lifts its paw it is actually a beckoning gesture.

Lucky cats often go by their Japanese name, Maneki Neko, which means “beckoning” or “welcoming cat.” They’re traditionally stationed near doors and windows of shops and other public places, to welcome customers and bring good fortune. While the ones with the moving arm are a lot of fun, Maneki Neko predates double-A batteries by several centuries. Non-moving ceramic models are the most traditional, often with a slot in the top for coins.

The cat has one paw up, while the other holds an ancient coin called a koban, inscribed with the characters “10,000,000 ryo” — basically, a lot of money. Some cats have the right paw raised to beckon people, while others lift their left paw to beckon money and general good luck. Cats of various colors and have specific symbolism, with the blessings on their coins chosen to match. The color correspondences come from the Chinese Feng Shui tradition:

RED:  Love
BLUE:  Health
GREEN:  Good Luck
YELLOW:  Wealth
BROWN:  Stability/Earth
PURPLE:  Fulfill wishes

There are many stories about who the first Maneki Neko may have been. One, from Edo-era Japan, goes like this: At a time when the capitol was plagued by intrigue, there was a loyal courtier who did his best to go about his honest business and fulfill his duties to the emperor. One day, he was summoned to the offices of a certain nobleman. On his way there, he noticed a cat that seemed to be beckoning to him. Curious, he turned off the road to go and see what the cat wanted, stopping for a moment to scratch its ears. Some noise made him turn back toward the road, and he noticed that he had been about to walk into a trap that the evil nobleman had set to kill him; had he not stepped off the path, he would have been killed. The wise courtier saw that the cat had saved him–and probably saved the emperor too, by revealing the nobleman’s treachery. So he ordered the first Maneki Neko statue to be made, and it brought him luck for the rest of his life.


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