Letting Go of the Old, Welcoming in the New
The ancient Chinese were masters at understanding energy. They used their understanding of energy meridians in the human body to create the healing practice of acupuncture and their understanding of the energy meridians in the earth to create the system of feng shui.
Another great understanding they had was knowing the importance of marking a new year as a time of letting go of the past and welcoming in fresh energy and new beginnings. While those of us using the Gregorian calendar celebrate the new year every year on January 1st, the Chinese celebrate their new year on the second new moon after the winter solstice. This year the Chinese New Year (the year of the Black Water Dragon) will be celebrated on February 4th, 2012.
No matter when you celebrate the new year, it is an ideal time to reassess what is working in your life and think about what you’d like to change. From a feng shui point of view, this involves looking at your home and deciding whether or not your surroundings resonate with the new, positive energy you’d like to bring into your life.
Cleaning the Home
In preparation for Chinese New Year, a great deal of time and care is spent thoroughly cleaning the home. Old, unused and unwanted items are discarded, everything is washed, dusted, repaired and cleaned. As with any activity that has been done traditionally over a long period of time, symbolic meanings are often used to explain the rationale for performing rituals and rites of passage. Symbolic as they may seem, many of these meanings have their roots in practicality and common sense.
In Chinese culture it is believed that when one cleans the home in preparation for the new year, one is ridding the home of any bad luck or negative energy that may have accumulated during the preceding months, thus making way for the fresh new energy (and good fortune) to come into the home. While on the surface this may seem like an old superstition, it actually makes perfect sense.
From a feng shui point of view, a thorough cleaning of the home is essential for creating positive energy. The reason cleaning a home is so important is it does indeed refresh and lift the energy of the space. Things that sit for a long time stagnate and tend to make a space feel heavy and listless. Think of how an old library or antique store feels and even smells. Furthermore, dust and dirt are unhealthy and pave the way for mold and mildew to grow. When we remove unwanted items and give our homes a thorough cleaning we experience a lightness and freshness in our spaces, and often other people feel it too.
One of the first things I encourage you to do to prepare your home for the new year is to set aside a day or two to really give your home a deep cleaning. Move the furniture, toss the clutter, get rid of the dust bunnies, clean the drapes and wash the windows. Once the house is cleaned, you will want to move on to the next step of New Year’s feng shui; Space Clearing.
On Chinese New Year firecrackers (also invented by the Chinese) are lit, drums are beaten, bells are rung, and in general a lot of noise is made. The traditional belief for all the sound making is to scare away the evil spirits. Once again, while this might seem like a superstition on the surface, it actually has a very special effect.
Sound is a very ancient and very powerful healing modality that can be used on living beings as well as in environments. In feng shui we call this type of healing a “Space Clearing”. Space Clearing is a crucial component to creating an optimal living space. I like to use what is known as an “energy Chime” to clear my home. These chimes are available on my web site and also in this newsletter. The space clearing procedure is outlined in my book and is included as a set of instructions that comes with the chimes. Without going into too much detail here, space clearing with sound is one of the most important and effective components in order to have excellent feng shui.
Scientifically speaking, sound waves actually penetrate into a structure and raise the vibration of the space. You can do all the enhancements you want in your home, but if your space has old, stagnant energy, you will have a much more difficult time bringing positive energy into your life. Start off with a thorough cleaning, follow it up with a space clearing, and you won’t believe how much better your home will feel.
Once your home has been cleaned and cleared, I recommend that you do a blessing on your home. I have outlined several ways to do this in my book. An easy way to bless your home is to visualize your home filled with golden white light, which instantly raises its vibration. Picture the energy of what you’d like to accomplish in the coming months permeating every cell and molecule in your home. The higher the vibration of your home, the more positive energy you’ll draw to you. You can’t cut corners however. First clean, then space clear, then bring in the light. Once that has been done, you can proceed with your feng shui enhancements.
Setting the Intention
In many Asian cultures the two weeks after the New Year are filled with special events, dances, meals, gift giving and ceremonies. Much of this time is spent with family and friends, making offerings, honoring one’s ancestors, and being mindful of being thankful for the good things in life and preparing for more abundance and prosperity in the months to come.
After you have cleaned, cleared and blessed your home you will be ready to set your intention for the year ahead by proceeding with your feng shui enhancements. Start by filling out the Life Assessment Inventory in my book to help you define what you’d like to improve in your life. Once you’ve filled out the Inventory, you will be able to identify in the areas in your home that energetically relate to your goals. In other words if Career improvement is your goal, then you’ll want to find the north (career) meridian in your home and add moving water to stimulate this area. (The exact directions on how to do this is in my book.) You will continue in this fashion until all the areas of your home are optimized.
The ancient Chinese certainly knew about energy and how to use it. Their incredible knowledge is just as valuable and effective now as it was thousands of years ago. So get out your vacuum and your dust cloth, and then your energy chimes and welcome 2012 into your life by using feng shui. You’ll be more than glad you did!
Copyright 2012 Cathleen McCandless, All Rights Reserved