by: Malca Narrol, B.Arch.
Malca Narrol is a leading Feng Shui design consultant, instructor and speaker who combines a degree in architecture with 20 years of experience in the oriental healing arts. Malca integrates the Form, Compass, Flying Star and Intuitive Schools of Feng Shui. She is on the Board of the Feng Shui Association of Canada, Canada's first professional organization for certifying Feng Shui consultants. She conducts seminars and consults on a wide variety of residential and commercial projects across North America. She has been featured in Report On Business, The Globe and Mail, Maclean's, the Toronto Star, CBC News, CTV News, CBC Newsworld, Venture and other programs.
In China, there are thousands and thousands of years of information about how buildings affect people and there are many different styles of Feng Shui. You may already know something about Feng Shui and have been reading books and getting confused. This is because China is a huge place, and the different schools of research and information don't always agree.
COMPASS FENG SHUI
The ancient Chinese somehow decoded the patterns of nature, and they realized that life is a wave pattern. In the West, we think we start at zero and want to get to 100 as fast as possible, and just keep getting better and better, and making and owning more and more. This is why we are unhappy. However, the Chinese realized that life is about yin and yang, about becoming happier and sadder, about life getting a little easier, then a little harder, about the sun rising and setting and rising again. That is life, and it is never going to change. Using compass Feng Shui we can decode and predict what will happen thousands of years later between 1984 and 2003, and then between 2004 and the next 20 years. There is incredible information about the cycles and the directions and how different buildings affect people at different times - in their health, wealth, relationships everything.
FORM SCHOOL FENG SHUI
Using Form School Feng Shui we can see many simple correlations between people and their homes and how to maximize our potential in life in many simple ways. Feng Shui is not just the study of buildings; it is the study of life. Oriental philosophy is incredibly holistic, and its principles deal with all aspects of life. In the Orient, they use the principles of yin and yang, the five elements, and balance whether they are designing a building, making a meal, arranging flowers, or learning about politics or religion. It is all the study of nature. We are human beings and we live in nature. Our body is a miracle that we can't really begin to understand. Here we are standing between heaven and earth in the middle of the eight directions being affected by the invisible energy of the life force, or chi as it's called in Chinese, in a myriad of incredible ways.
THE HUMAN BODY AND FENG SHUI
Using Form School Feng Shui, the ideal site for your house, for your office; for your couch, for your desk or for your bed is all based upon the same set of principles, and it is all about health. The ideal site comes from the design of the human body. Our body is very interesting. We stand upright, and we have a completely open front. We see from the front, we take in energy through our eyes, we bring in oxygen through our nose and we bring in our food through our mouth and we have all kinds of feelings coming in through our chakras, our heart and we don't hug backwards either. We are open to the front, but we are the opposite in the back. We are completely protected in the back with bone and a skull. We can't see behind us, which makes us more vulnerable in that sense, and that is the secret message about how to design your house and how to place your furniture to be healthy and wealthy.
THE IDEAL SITE
In the ideal site, the house has a big mountain at the back to protect us where we are more vulnerable. This also has to do with the Oriental philosophy of health care. Your kidneys are in the back, and your kidneys are supposed to stay warm. So that mountain protects you from winds. We have acupressure points on the back of the neck that are vulnerable to wind, and a lot of wind at the back of your neck can easily cause illness. The ideal site has an incredible view to the front. The front is about vitality and energy, inspiration and openness. You can see forever. You feel inspired, and your property is irrigated and nourished by an incredible meandering river. There are two other mountains, one on each side of the house. The one on the left is a little higher, but not as high as the one in the back, and the one on the right is a little lower. This is called the arm chair. It is as if you are sitting in an armchair. An armchair is a perfect piece of furniture for a human being. It has a big back like a mountain behind you, supporting your body, protecting you from the back. It has two arms to your sides; two kind of half mountains where we have peripheral vision but we still need a little more protection, and it has this openness to the front where we want to see and bring in air and light and inspiration. Feng Shui for health is all about mountains, about having that protection, about being in that enclosure like an armchair. That is like being in a hug, having your environment encircling you at the back and really embracing you and supporting you.
This drawing of a mountain is the oldest known illustration of the ideal site.
Originally Feng Shui was used to site tombs but the same principles apply to houses.
Entrances are like our mouths. The entrance is called the mouth of chi, the mouth of energy. We bring a lot of energy into the house through the door. When we walk through it (just as we see sparks on your carpet sometimes), we are creating a magnetic field on the floor. You bring more energy in through your door than through the windows, even if the windows are ten times greater an area than your door. So entrances are always hugely important. If you think of your entrance as feeding your home, feeding yourself, you don't want to eat in dirty dishes; you want to have beautiful fresh healthy food, and you want to bring it in in a very healthy way. So the very best entrance would be where your sidewalk meanders towards your house - that makes the energy much less stressful. We are always running from one place to another, but when you can meander a little more in life, things are calmer, things are slower. Try to slow down the path of chi to your house, but don't block it. You could put alternate flowerpots along the straight way, so things start to feel more curvy, or you could plant your flowerbeds that way. The main thing is to have your entrance welcoming and open. Don't block it with trees and walls and cars and toys and boots and coats and coat hooks. Let it be open. Let the chi come in.
WHEN YOUR ENTRANCE FACES A BACK DOOR
We want the oxygen to be able to come in, but we don't want it to go right back out. If you can see the back door when you walk in the front door, or even if there are a lot of windows between the front and the back, energy follows the path of least resistance. Energy is carried on oxygen, so chi is carried on oxygen. If it comes in the front and goes straight out the back, very interesting things happen. As soon as you step out to the side, you can't breathe. The oxygen isn't there; it is all going in that straight line from the front to the back. It's not going sideways down the hall to where your bedroom is.
at the front of the house means openness, activity, the street and perhaps lower ground. It also of course means water but that requires careful placement with a feng shui compass - the LO PAN. These factors in front of the house (again 70% of cases) bring energy, inspiration, opportunities and prosperity.
WHEN THE SITE IS BACKWARD
Oftentimes people have problems with their health when their building is on the opposite landscape - when there is a ravine at the back or when there is something blocking their entrance. A ravine at the back is like having problems with your spine, problems with your support, problems with your relationships, problems with your health. If something is blocking your front, it is like blocking your nose and mouth. You can't breathe, you are not getting nourished. This is a very important principle which is often wrong in modern buildings. When we are siting buildings for health in an ideal world, we want every house to have a mountain behind it and an open view with water in front of it. In reality this is true for about 70 % of houses. IMPORTANT POINT: About 30% need just the opposite - so if your health and relationships are pretty good please do not worry and do not make changes.
The ideal house plan is connected with oxygen. In the ideal house, oxygen comes flowing along the water. Water is always where life begins. That is where the grass starts to grow, where animals come to drink. So oxygen or chi energy flows along the river and then it gets cradled by the mountains so that the oxygen circulates around your building and then can come out over this lower mountain to the side. Our first need as human beings is oxygen. We have to have good oxygen in our buildings and a lot of modern buildings don't have oxygen. So if you have a choice between a building where windows open or where they don't, what is healthier? If you have a choice between a site where there is fresh air and a site where there is pollution, what is healthier? Oxygen comes first.
The Orientals saw balance in our lives everywhere - balance between day and night, winter and summer, cold and hot, being hungry and full, being happy and sad. They saw that our daily lives are full of action and rest, full of business life and family life, and they have designed environments that will give you both. Unfortunately, our modern life is very focused on one side and not the other.
REPLACEMENTS IN MODERN LANDSCAPES
I live in Toronto where we don't have mountains like that, or an ocean in front of our house, but there are ways to substitute this in modern buildings. A mountain behind you could be another building, or a nice tall fence, maybe a curvy one, or some really bushy trees, something behind you enclosing the back of your property. A view in front of you just means that there is enough space and enough light coming in through your front door and through your front windows. If your house doesn't have a good backing, then create one.
SYMBOLS IN FENG SHUI
A very interesting thing about Feng Shui is that it works practically and physically in the real world, but it also can work with symbols, because the human mind, the human spirit is amazing. Some people are able to move if their house isn't right, or they can change the landscape behind their house, whereas other people can't. If you can change things physically, that is usually the best; but if you can't then create a symbol.
HOW TO CREATE A MOUNTAIN
If you are having health and relationship problems and the land behind your building slopes down, ideally build a curved wall there or plant a stand of evergreens. If this is too difficult you can use rocks. Put some rocks in your backyard, some smooth white or beige round rocks in a curve like an embrace at the back of your backyard. Don't use jagged rocks. Smooth rocks are always better. They should be a little round on the top like a mountain. If that is too hard to do as well, then get a turtle. Not a real one. Get a stone turtle, something that looks like a little mountain and put it on your windowsill at the back of your house. If you focus your intention on that, it is amazing what the human spirit can do.
THE FOUR ANIMALS
There are four animals which are symbols of these shapes which surround the ideal site. Symbolically we have a turtle behind us like a mountain with its shell, a red bird in front of us like the sun flying through the sky, or a phoenix rising, and a green dragon to our left and a white tiger to our right- two lower mountains embracing us at the sides.
Our bodies are incredibly symmetrical. We don't have one arm growing out of our side and the other one coming out of the front of our head. We have a very symmetrical shape. You need to live on a symmetrical property that is square or rectangular, and you want a symmetrical building, a square or a rectangle or a circle, or maybe an octagon if you want to get fancy. The more balanced and symmetrical your building is, the easier it is to be healthy. You might think that is boring, but if you think of ancient China where they lived in vulnerable adobe houses, boring can be good for health. Modern life is all about excitement and stimulation, but if you have a more boring life you will be much healthier. It is not really boring - it is simple. You also want to live in a healthy environment. You want good earth, good soil, good water and good air. It is becoming less and less possible, but it is obviously going to be better for your health.
ROADS & VIBRATIONS
Roads and streets are modern water, and the path of the roads and the streets around you represents the way the water flows around you. When you have a street coming straight at the front of your house, that is too much energy to be healthy. It also brings a lot of car fumes and a lot of vibration. If your building is vibrating it is harder to be healthy, and you don't want to live in a situation where there is a lot of stress coming straight at your door. If you live in this situation, then block it down. Plant some bushes in front of your house, or plant some trees. They help filter the air as well.
CURVES IN ROADS
There are different kinds of curves. When the inside of the curve is embracing you, it is the best possible shape to be in. When the curve is attacking you like a bow and arrow, when the round side is facing you, then that is stressful. The cars are coming around the curve, all those lights are aiming at your house, all those vibrations are coming towards you. That is not healthy either. Plant bushes or trees or a fence, something between you and the source of stress. If for some reason that is not affordable or too difficult, then arrange your curtains so that you can't see it, so you are protected from it.
Cul-de-sacs are very interesting. When I am called to see people who are having serious problems both with their health and their finances, they often live on a cul-de-sac. We usually think of cul-de-sacs as being very peaceful and very lovely. They usually have a wonderful, beautiful ravine at the back, too. But this means that you don't have your backing, and you have a curve coming at you, and you are at the end of a street. You are in all of those situations at the same time. As well, the property is usually a triangle, and not symmetrical because you are dividing up a circle. I wouldn't recommend a cul-de-sac property, but if you are already in one and you are not suffering, then fine.
You all know this already, but a cluttered building is like have a clogged gut, clogged arteries, or a clogged brain. You have to clean up and make space for energy to flow. If all you did was make space in your house, you would feel healthier. When everything is organized, it is so much easier to have peace in your mind. Your mind is clearer; it's just that simple.
Let me give you a case study. I was called once to see a woman who had been suffering from environmental illness for many, many years. She and her husband had designed a home and built it especially to help her get healthier, but it hadn't worked. It was a gorgeous home, absolutely beautiful. When you walk in it's just strikingly inspiring, but it breaks all the Feng Shui rules and the lady's health was getting worse. The site was on the outskirts of Toronto on a huge mountain site with a long road going up to the top and her house was at the top. Therefore, there was no support at the back. On top of that, they put the house on the site backwards because they put a garage in front of the front door. So the front door has a mountain in front of it. The living room at the back of the house has an immense view of a huge valley. So there is no backing and no facing. The vitality cannot come in the front and there is no support in the back. That is just the beginning. You walk in the front door and you look straight across at a huge living room with a huge cathedral ceiling and huge windows. When you stand in that room, you are in the flow of oxygen, that is true. But the bedroom is the most important room for your recovery, and there was no oxygen getting to where she was sleeping.
Then they decided to be very energy efficient and this is a super R2000 home which is incredibly insulated. They have air vents on the ceiling which is the worst place to put air vents because when we use up the air in a room the carbon dioxide goes to the top. So the vents are blowing carbon dioxide back down. That is air you don't want to breathe. Then they built a basement and varnished the flooring with a varnish that was so toxic that when I opened the basement door I almost fainted. When you live in a space, you get used to it, but when you come and see a space for the first time, in the first five minutes, you can feel all kinds of things that you would never notice after an hour or two. The fumes from the floor material are still there, and they are being held in this house by the super insulation. She is working in the basement. That is where her office is. There are many things in our environment that can make us sick such as hydroelectric wires and satellite dishes, and they also had a satellite dish for their TV reception right outside their house.
CREATING A HEALTHY BEDROOM
First of all, you should sleep in a position which has that auspicious mountain-river relationship. The head of the bed should be against a solid wall. It is hugely important. The wall is like the mountain behind you. Your head should be opposite the door so that you can see the door. That is the main thing. You want the river in front of you and the mountain behind you. There are more people with emotional problems than you would believe in rooms where their head is not against the solid wall. Emotional problems have a lot to do with physical environments. Don't sleep with a space behind your head. If you are sleeping with your head toward a window, change it, or at least put a headboard on your bed. Don't have your head against mirrors. They are reflective and they bounce energy. They will disturb your energy field so that you can't sleep. It is usually good to put the head of the bed in the far corner of the room from the door with your head against a wall. You should never sleep right in line with the doorway. There is too much energy coming through the door. You can't relax, and it will cause problems to your peace of mind. You also don't want to sleep with your head to a wall that has plumbing in it, or a wall with a computer, television or refrigerator on the other side, because these all have large electromagnetic fields. You want to sleep with your head against a wall that is nice and quiet. There are a lot of books on this now that you can read.
OFFICES AND TREATMENT ROOMS
If you are a health practitioner, stand so that you are facing the door of the treatment room. I have been called to many places where they set up the treatment centres so that the client was facing the door, but it is the practitioner who is there all the time and should be facing the door with the wall behind and a view of what is happening. This will help you to be relaxed and in control. If you are speaking to a person or a group, you should have the mountain (a solid wall) behind you. If people are walking in and out behind you, you will be distracted, or maybe even startled if someone enters at your back. You are the one who has to be in the best position in the room so that your clients will have the best possible experience. It is the same thing at a desk. For the best health and peace of mind at work, set up your desk so that your back is to a wall, and you can see out the window and out the door. Nobody can come up from behind you and surprise you. You have that still mountain at your back, and your view and your inspiration to your front. That is going to help you think the best.
THE LINE OF THE TOILET
There are many different ways to diagnose health. After seeing many cases you begin to see that many people have problems with their health if they are sleeping or sitting or standing, spending a lot of time in the line of the toilet. The line of the toilet is a line in front of and behind the toilet, and it is the same width as the toilet. The line of the toilet goes through walls, it goes through rooms, it goes straight across the house both ways. If that line goes across your body where you sleep or usually sit, it can cause huge problems with your health. Look around you and observe; walk through people's houses and see where their health problems are. Some of these things can be fixed. If there is plumbing behind your head where you are sleeping, or if there is a toilet behind it, take a large mirror and put it exactly where the offending object is, as big as it is and face the reflective side towards that object so that your whole body is protected, and then cover it up with something.
SLOPED WALLS AND SHARP CORNERS
Do not sleep under beams, sit under beams, or around sharp cornered objects. Attics and sloped roofs have much less oxygen and much more stress. It is not the ideal place to spend a lot of time. Sometimes plants can help. Plants filter air, filter out toxins and bring in oxygen.
THE CENTRE OF YOUR HOUSE
Another important point for health is the centre of your house. The centre of your house is like your heart. It is also like your stomach. It is the middle of your body. It is also like your family, so you want the centre of your house to be free of certain things like bathrooms, kitchens, stairs, or elevators. It shouldn't have too much movement; it shouldn't even be an open hallway. If there is too much movement there, people often have problems with their hearts, their digestion, their family staying together. If the centre of your house is an open hallway, you can put something special there like a table or a sculpture, or a special object, even a rock.
The compass directions have shown over time to relate to different members of the family. The northwest relates to the leader, and traditionally, this is the father, but in a single parent family, it can be the mother as well. The southwest is traditionally the mother, or the head female executive in an office. The east is the eldest son. The southeast is the eldest daughter and so on. It is going to sound strange, but if you walk around the outside of your property and you see trees dying in the northwest, the northwest person or the leader is having health problems. It happens more often than not. So remove the trees, or fix them. You can walk around a property and see where there might be offending objects or suffering plants where someone is having health problems. It is the same principle with organs of the body. If we use the west as an example, because it is very health related, the west relates to your mouth, your chest, your lungs and your teeth. If you have allergies or respiratory problems, look in the west part of your house inside and outside in the direction of the setting sun.
THE FIVE ELEMENTS
For those of you who know a bit about the five elements, the west is metal and metal is harmed by fire. You don't want to have anything that is fiery like your stove, the colour red, even red maple trees in the west. If it sounds too hard to believe, just start looking. When there is red in the west people often have respiratory problems. But there is a funny cure. Bring some earth there. Earth bridges fire and metal and creates a healing cycle instead of a harming cycle. Go and get ten smooth pebbles, white or beige in colour and place them so that there are eight in a line and one on top in the centre and one on the bottom in the centre. This is a symbol that means earth. The numbers 2 and 8 and 10 mean earth. Just make an arrangement with pebbles behind your stove or in that direction. If you need a quick fix, this can help you. So that is a cure for problems to your lungs, your respiratory system. It is something you can use preventively as well if there is fire or if there is red in the west area of your house.
THE BODY IN YOUR HOUSE
Why does all this work? It is because our house is like our outer skin. We create a kind of symbiotic relationship with our building. Your body is represented in your house in one of two ways, or maybe both. Imagine yourself squatting with your back up to the ceiling. Your knees and elbows are tucked in and your hands and feet create the outside corners of a square house. In one system your head is considered to be at your main entrance, and your bottom is at the opposite end. In another your head is at the south and your bottom in the north. You can see your whole body in the house and see what may be offending any part of you that is having health problems. This is part of the reason why symmetrical buildings are so important. If you are having a particular health problem, place the body in the house both of these ways and see if you can find something that is wrong in the spot where you are hurting.
The information we have covered is Form School, which is generally true for all buildings. To be more specific we use this is conjunction with the compass reading of your building, what we see in the landscape around you and your birth information to create as ideal an environment as we can for each and every person to thrive.
Note: These are studies of probabilities and the Orientals have always known that you are more powerful than a building and your destiny is more powerful than Feng Shui. If you are in a good period of time, you are immune to many of these problems, but when you are having problems, you should look at these things. And if you are choosing a new house, then try to find something where you don't take these risks.
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For more information please contact Malca at 416-530-1571 or email firstname.lastname@example.org