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Feng shui tips for Year of the Snake
By Tan Weiyun

THE upcoming Year of the Snake is expected to bring a whole new set of energies to the universe and to your home and personal space.

Su Baicheng, a full-time feng shui consultant in Shanghai, gives some basic feng shui tips for the home for the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year on Sunday.

"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," Su says. He has studied the "I Ching" ("Book of Changes") for more than 20 years.

The first thing, he says, is to get the layout map of your home. Divide the space into nine directions - east, south, west, north, southeast, northeast, southwest, northwest and the center.

"And now we can do some easy decorations in each direction, which can keep good energy flowing around you the entire year," he says.

The energy of the Snake Year will fill the home, bringing a different energy from that of the current Year of the Dragon.

Beware of the center, the east, the west and the southwest, because they'll bring bad things. The northeast is good for money; the southeast is good for students; the north is good for love; while the northwest is good for those who are seeking political influence. The south is the place of happiness.

The feng shui expert says that people born in the Year of the Pig will offend the Tai Sui deity this year. He advises "pig people" to carry an amulet with them at all times and to put a green and black tai chi symbol beside the bed or on their desk to avoid bad things.

Su explains that in this lunar year, the powerful planet Jupiter, also known as Tai Sui, is located in the southeastern part of the heavens.

Generally speaking, large construction projects should not be in the Tai Sui place. However, this year the southeast direction is lucky for students, so people should be active in this part of the house to strengthen good energies.

The southeast promotes mental ability this year, so bookshelves, desks and computers should be placed in a southeastern-facing room.

You can also put a small Wenchang pagoda in this corner because in Chinese astrology, the Wenchang star is lucky for students and scholars.

"The tower should be metal because metal is the best conductor for energy," Su says.

Opposite Tai Sui or Jupiter in the southeast is Sui Po in the northwest, where Jupiter's energy flows and disappears, flowing from southeast to northwest. Generally, Sui Po is a bad direction but this year, it is also the location of the power and ambitions.

"So the northwest is a direction you should handle carefully," Su says. In ancient China, a government seal was placed in this direction to help ambitious people seeking promotion and influence. The purpose is to enhance auspicious energy.

The worst places this year are the center and the southwest, where people should not sleep or spend too much time, because bad things, even catastrophes, are likely to happen in these directions, Su claims.

He suggests placing a pair of brass toads in the center of a house. Ancient Chinese believed that metal overwhelms or "kills" soil, while the toad is an auspicious animal that spits venom to combat poison and evil.

The southwest is an unlucky direction for health. People spending too much time in this part of the house are vulnerable to ailments. Su suggests placing a metal double-gourd (calabash gourd) in this room or area.

Five elements theory

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.

The east is an unlucky place, where quarrels, fights or misunderstanding might occur. Hanging red lanterns or putting a red carpet in the area is a good way to weaken bad energy. You can also place a green-and-red tai chi symbol in this area.

The west is a direction in which accidents might happen. Sharp object such as knives should not be placed in this part of the house. A black-and-white tai chi symbol and a round fish tank with six or 11 black fish is a good way to combat danger.

The northeast is the location of the Fortune God, a good place. Business people can put their desks in this part of the house, store financial papers or put a Fortune Cat there to bring luck. Pearls and jewels can also be placed in the northeast. A bottle of clear water strengthens the auspicious power in this direction.

The north is a good direction for those who are looking for love or want to improve their relationships. To attract love energies, you can decorate a northern room with fresh flowers or pink and red vases.

The south is a very good place in the Snake Year. Place some beautiful paintings or calligraphy there to maintain the auspicious energy.

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