WITH the Chinese New Year just a few days away, people are starting to think about their prospects in the Year of the Sheep. Will I find my true love? Will I be promoted at work? Will I make money? Will my child do well?
At this time of year, many people turn to feng shui (literally “wind and water”) for help. It’s a philosophical system for harmonizing human existence with the surrounding environment.
Perhaps, with the help of feng shui and astrology, life will be a little better and the coming Year of the Sheep will bring a whole new set of energies to the universe and to your home and personal space.
Liu Qishan, a full-time feng shui consultant based in Shanghai, gives some basic feng shui tips for the home for this Chinese Lunar New Year that starts next Thursday.
“Some small and easy changes in home decoration can help harness the potential of yearly star energies to avoid evil and allow a good flow of energy in the house,” Liu says.
The first thing, he says, is to get a layout map of your home. Divide the space into nine directions — east, south, west, north, southeast, northeast, southwest, northwest and the center.
“We can do some easy decorations in each direction, which can keep good energy flowing around you the entire year,” he says.
Beware of the center, the southeast, the west and the south, because they’ll bring bad things, according to Liu. The northeast and the north are good for money; the northwest is good for students; the east is good for love, while the southwest is the place of happiness.
The feng shui expert says that people born in the Year of the Sheep, Rat, Ox and Dog will offend the Tai Sui deity this year. He advises these people to carry an amulet with them at all times.
The amulet is easy to make yourself — write your name, family address and lunar calendar birthday with an ink brush on a piece of red paper. “Bring it everywhere you go and it can help you avoid some bad luck,” Liu says.
He explains that in this lunar year, the powerful planet Jupiter, also known as Tai Sui, is located in the southwest part of the heavens.
Generally speaking, large construction projects should not be in the Tai Sui place. However, this year the southwest direction is the place of happiness, so people should keep this place clean and tidy to strengthen good energies.
Opposite Tai Sui or Jupiter is Sui Po in the northeast, where Jupiter’s energy flows and disappears. Generally, Sui Po is a bad direction but this year, it is also the location of wealth.
“So the northeast is a direction you should handle carefully,” Liu says.
Any rooster-shaped object is a no-no in this place, but you can put a tiger-shaped item or paintings of tigers in the northeast to increase the chance of fortune.
Interestingly, the Year of the Sheep has two directions of wealth. The other is the north. The master says people can put a round container filled with clean water in the north direction of the house. If you want to strengthen the auspicious power, you can put coins in the water.
“But the number of coins should be 1, 4, 6 or 9,” Liu says.
South is not a good place this year. People should avoid studying or holding talks in this direction, because things might easily fail.
“You can put some auspicious animals made of bronze or crystal,” Liu says. “But wooden things should not be placed there.”
The worst place this year is the southeast, an unlucky direction for health. People spending too much time in this part of the house are vulnerable to ailments. Liu suggests placing a metal double-gourd (calabash gourd) in this room or area.
According to the theory of five elements, illness derives from the earth element but metal subdues the earth and heals. In ancient Chinese culture, a gourd cup was used by a god to catch evil things.
You can write the host’s name and lunar birthday on a piece of paper and put it into the gourd to help avoid the bad energy.
The center and the west are also bad locations, where people should not sleep or spend too much time, because bad things, even catastrophes, are likely to happen in these directions, Liu claims.
Beds and toilets should not be placed in the center. The west is also an unlucky direction, where quarrels, fights or misunderstandings might occur. So you can put five bronze coins on a piece of red paper in the west to weaken the bad energy.
“The coins are better to be from Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). They are always effective because they have very strong energies given by powerful rulers,” Liu says.
The east is a good direction for those who are looking for love or want to improve their relationships. To attract love energies, you can decorate an eastern room with fresh flowers. People should place a green or white vase with three fresh flowers there.
The northwest promotes mental ability this year, so this is a good place for bookshelves, desks and computers.
You can also put Wenchang bamboos — four long and one short — in this corner because in Chinese astrology, the Wenchang star is lucky for students and scholars.
“The bamboos are better to be planted in a round container,” Liu says.