The Harmony of Feng Shui
The Lonely House
Danielle was a late middle-aged woman who was divorced recently and amicably from her husband. She had been renting her new house for almost a year. There were no major problems, she said on the phone, but she had read a couple of books on Feng Shui and thought it would be a good idea to have the house done. The one thing she would specifically like to have a look at was relationships.
Living in the Suburbs
The house was a bungalow on a new estate that lay on the edges of a town. New builds can be problematic in that there is often a sort of chaos in the street layout, planning decisions that might make sense logistically but not from a Feng Shui angle. From my perspective – as mentioned in the Hidden World case study – this departure from what is harmonious with the land began in the nineteenth century, and has been getting worse exponentially ever since. However, new houses also can have the advantage of being ‘clean’ energetically, with no intrusive patterns from the past. This seemed to be the case here, with Dannielle having struck lucky – or perhaps being sensitive herself to location – having chosen a house that was well-situated with plenty of open space in front, and support from adjacent houses. The one thing that was missing was support from behind as there was nothing but an open field.
As Danielle told me over a cup of coffee about her situation, I couldn’t help smiling, even laughing, and she too. This was despite her being recently alone, her children the other side of the world and her closest friends in a distant town. She had a warmth and vivaciousness one couldn’t help but respond to, yet I had enough clues already to get a sense of what was going on. People with a Fire imbalance often have a laughing quality at the back of their voice, which means that even when they’re sharing something potentially painful it sounds like they’re ‘getting the joke’, at which they themselves cannot help laughing. The good coffee and biscuits with dark chocolate on the table, were further evidence of someone with Fire tastes. This was confirmed with further questioning.
There was plenty of light and space, another advantage with some new houses. Because it was a bungalow there was a simplicity to the rooms, which could have made it easier if it were not for inbuilt wardrobes that could not be moved, and radiators – as so often in houses – placed in the Superior Positions of rooms, when it would have been better to put seats or beds there. Favourite seats were also often with the backs to doors, thus echoing the house location with its lack of support from behind.
I have no loyalty to any one system in Feng Shui, having always gone by what I found worked and what seemed appropriate for each situation. This is particularly true with the octagonal spacing used to delineate specific areas, known as the ba-gua in some systems. However, I have found the modern method efficacious on numerous occasions, where the areas are determined by the entrance, to each room and to the house. Using this, the Relationship area in the living room was taken up by the television, also the Superior Position. A common occurrence today, this is a subconscious statement that ‘fictional relationships are more important than real ones’.
The house was L-shaped, with the living room extending to the back, leaving what is known as negative space at the far right corner of the house, which was also the Relationship Area. What puzzled me was that when I went out into the garden, I could see the missing area but I couldn’t feel it. This was highly unusual. So much of the way I work is based on intuition, and in this case I should have felt the absence really strongly.
Danielle had re-painted the house shortly after moving in. Everything was white or off-white. She told me she had wanted a ‘fresh start’ and the physical effort required had been partially remedial, but the fumes from the paint had made her queasy at the time, forcing her to take extended walks along the cliffs – not an onerous task by any means, as she had moved to the area with one of the aims being to get outside a lot more. The problem now was the ubiquitous white, a Metal colour quite contrary to those associated with the Fire element, and when predominant can create a tension in a place, making it hard to ever relax fully. Think of all the waiting rooms you know, too often painted magnolia, a Metal colour despite the name!
I explained to Danielle about the need to nourish her Fire, yet I also understood that she was essentially in a process of grieving, and for that the Metal element was appropriate. Although it wouldn’t be permanent, for the time being she should keep the white walls, yet balance this with the Earth element through bringing in terracotta, orange or yellow highlights. These would be in harmony with the Metal, yet also bring in the warmth and colour for which she was craving, unbeknownst to herself. I recommended using organic paints, or at least VOC-free, so that she wouldn’t be poisoning her lungs this time. I also suggested suspending glass crystals in the west windows, the Metal direction, thus sprinkling rainbow around the rooms when the sun was descending each afternoon.
The missing Relationship area of the house needed to be addressed. I had occasionally found this to happen, that people recently separated from a partner would seek out a house without this area – so that although they said they wanted a new partner, subconsciously that might not be true. After I said this to Danielle, I added that I was also puzzled as I couldn’t sense the area as missing. To which she smiled, and said that having read a bit about Feng Shui, she had buried a quartz crystal at the missing corner to symbolically complete the space. It was one of those moments that really proved to me how effective the cures could be.
For the lack of support behind the house, an area known as the Black Tortoise, I suggested a rock garden at the far end. This wasn’t quite enough but it would have to do. What was more important was to stop the theme repeating itself throughout the house, by making sure favourite sitting places had support from behind, either by furniture or walls. This was particularly important in the sitting room, where we moved the television away from the Superior Position diagonally opposite from the door, and replaced it with the couch. This now put real people in the Relationship area instead of fantasy ones.
Danielle called me six months later. She had thoroughly enjoyed adding the highlights, finding using natural paints a pleasure that she didn’t need to take numerous breaks from. Her social life had improved, and she was tentatively seeing someone. She felt she wanted to take the house to the next level, even if she wasn’t too sure whether the same applied to the new man in her life! This required only a brief Update session, most of which was simply bringing in more blues, greens, and some red and purple highlights, in the front part of the house, colours befitting a Fire Person, and the south-east entrance. The house looked more Mexican than Cornish by the time Danielle had finished with it.