As the Chinese New Year has arrived, people are thinking about their prospects in the Year of the Horse. Will I find love? Will my marriage improve? Will I be promoted at work? Will I make money? Will my child do well?
At this time of year, many people turn for help to Chinese feng shui, literally meaning wind and water, 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.
This year, people born in the years of the horse, ox, rat and rabbit should be on alert because it will be easy for them to offend the Tai Sui deity (Grand Duke Jupiter), who can bring bad luck, cause property loss and illness.
However, if you make some small feng shui adjustments in your home, you may avoid the bad luck energies and welcome in a whole new set of positive energies.
“Feng shui is a combo of Chinese philosophy, environmental science and meteorology. It is also supported by geography, astronomy and human physiology,” says Liu Qishan, a full-time feng shui consultant and calligraphy master in Shanghai. “If handled properly, you will benefit from it greatly.”
He offers some basic feng shui tips for arrangements in the home for the Year of the Horse. This year, the Lunar New Year’s Eve falls on Thursday.
The first thing is to map the layout of your home. Divide the space into nine directions — east (toward sunrise), south, west, north, southeast, northeast, southwest, northwest and center.
“Some easy adjustments in each direction will not only bring a decorative face-lift but also good energy flowing in the house for the entire year,” Liu says.
The center, the south and southwest are auspicious directions this year. The south is good for money, the center is good for students, while the southwest is good for love.
Beware of the east, southeast and northwest, because they can bring unpleasant things. The east is a direction of illness; the northwest signifies disaster and the southeast is a place where disputes will easily occur.
This year the center is lucky for students, so people should be active in this part of the house to strengthen good energies. You can hang four calligraphy brushes or put a pot of Wenchang bamboo — four long and one short — in this central spot to promote mental ability for students and scholars.
The south is the location of the God of Wealth, a good place. A round container one third filled with clear water helps strengthen the auspicious power in this direction. You can also place several golden coins in the water.
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 south.
The southwest is also a good direction for those who are looking for love or want to improve their relationships.
To attract love energies, you can decorate a southwestern room with fresh flowers. Women should place a green vase with four fresh flowers there, while men should place an empty white vase.
The east is 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.
Another bad place this year is the northwest, which will be lighted by “the star of death,” and bad things, even catastrophes, are likely to happen in this direction.
An easy way to solve the problem is to place five bronze coins in this area. If there’s a desk, place the coins in the right drawer, or the drawer used frequently.
The southeast is an unlucky place, where quarrels, fights or misunderstanding may occur. An old coin made during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) is a good way to weaken the bad energy.
“The Qing coins are always effective because they have very strong energies given by powerful rulers,” Liu says.
The north is a place that will keep your wealth safe and prevent money from being squandered. The north is where to put a statue of a pi xiu, a mythical dragon’s offspring that only eats gold and silver and never excretes wealth.
The west and northeast are neutral places in the Year of the Horse, so they don’t require particular decoration.
But an empty vase placed in the northeast will help keep money from flowing away, says feng shui master Liu.