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More often than I can count, I run into clients, students, and other everyday people who are confused by the contradictory information they hear regarding feng shui. Below are six common feng shui myths and misunderstandings along with information that will help set the record straight.
Myth #1: Feng Shui is a religion or spiritual practice
Fact: Feng Shui is an ancient system of environmental psychology developed to help people survive in both the natural world and the built environment. It has NOTHING to do with religion, superstition or good luck and everything to do with creating an optimal living and working space.
Myth #2: If your stairs face your front door, all your money will roll out of your house
Fact: This is a common misunderstanding of an ancient recommendation to protect one’s family. 5,000 years ago (when feng shui was developed) people didn’t have locks on their doors. It was advised that if your family’s sleeping quarters were upstairs, it was best to hide the staircase as far away from the main door as possible to keep everyone safe from intruders while sleeping. Over time the original intent was forgotten, and superstition replaced the practical purpose for not having the stairs face the main door.
Myth #3: Your front door must be painted red in order to bring good luck
Fact: This front door myth stems from a time when people didn’t have heat or electricity. It was recommended that one should build one’s house oriented towards the south so that the home would experience more daylight during the day and more warmth in cold winter months. In ancient China, as in many other cultures, the southern direction was associated with the life-giving sun. The sun was associated with fire, and the symbol for fire was the color red. Therefore ancient people believed that if your home couldn’t face south, you should have a red front door in order to honor the sun and bring the blessings of the sun into your home. (It was seen as the next best thing to having a southern exposure). To this day the color red is seen as a “fortunate” color in China…all stemming from this ancient practice of orienting a building towards the south for light and heat.
Myth #4: A mirror can be used above your front door to keep away negative energy
Fact: A mirror is a piece of glass and has no inherit “powers”. After all, if it could reflect away negativity, what keeps it from reflecting away positive energy too? Does it have a brain that can discern the difference between good and evil? Of course not. This misunderstanding comes from a time when mirrors were actually made of metal. In feng shui (as in Chinese medicine), metal plays an important role in balancing energy in buildings and in the human body. Mirrors made of glass simply reflect light and can’t do anything more to protect you than a rabbit’s foot, horse shoe, or four-leaf clover.
Myth #5: One should never sit or sleep under a beam because the beam ispressing energy down on you and can cause all sorts of calamities
Fact: This is once again, a misunderstanding of an ancient common-sense suggestion to help keep people safe. Think about it, 5,000 years ago in ancient China, who do you think built the majority of homes? Why the family did, of course! China is an extremely active earthquake and disaster-prone area. Therefore the ancient feng shui suggestion was to never sit or sleep under a load-bearing beam for a long period of time because your home could fall down and the beam would kill you! As with so many feng shui myths, the original common-sense purpose behind the suggestion was forgotten and superstition took the place of practicality.
Myth #6: The bathroom is an evil, terrible place and if you don’t keep the drains, the door, and the toilet lid closed, all your money will run out of the home
Fact: This notion is a complete misunderstanding of another one of those ancient suggestions designed to help keep people healthy and alive. In ancient China when feng shui was first developed, people eliminated in a hole dug in the ground. Needless to say, it wasn’t a very nice place. To keep people healthy and safe, feng shui had specific suggestions about where to put this area in relationship to the home (not near the cooking area, away from the front door, etc.) 5,000 years ago people couldn’t have imagined the bathrooms we have today (indoor plumbing, flushing toilets, etc.). In fact, they could no more imagine the plumbing we have today than we can imagine what people will have 5,000 years from now.
The taboos about where to locate the elimination area have been mistakenly applied to today’s modern bathrooms. With the original purpose forgotten, all sorts of superstition has been perpetuated about the bathroom. Trust me, the only way to lose money down toilet is to empty your wallet and flush. It is no more of a vortex of energy leading away form the house than a window or door. I seriously doubt all the billionaires in the world are concerned with keeping their drains and bathroom doors shut for fear of losing money, and you shouldn’t be either.
There are many, many, many more myths associated with feng shui. For more great explanations of these misunderstandings, pick up a copy of my best-selling book,Feng Shui that Makes Sense: Easy Ways to Create a Home that Feels as Good as it Looks and learn how to separate feng shui fact from fiction.
Copyright 2017, Cathleen McCandless, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED