Q&A Sunday: Does the Feng Shui Bagua Map Include the Garage?

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When laying out the bagua, do I include the garage?

Brandi E.N., Rosamond, CA

Hi Brandi,

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This is a great question, and thank you for being curious about it and sharing your floor plan. You have an attached garage in the front of your home. The answer is…. yes! You do include the garage in the layout of the bagua map. 

I am guessing maybe you would feel bummed out that now you have a huge missing area. But, you lay the bagua at the front based on the “kan line” and that aligns with your front door. You can see it in the image here where I’ve drawn in red the bagua as well as the kan line. Since the kan line aligns with the front door, your garage doesn’t create a missing area. Instead it creates an extension of the Path in Life and Benefactors areas.

The extensions are a bit out of proportion to the rest of your home. Your garage is twice the size of your bedroom, and the extension is about half the size of your bagua. Also this creates a “boot” or “cleaver” shaped home. The very large extension in the Benefactors area may mean that there are a lot of people who offer support but it’s overwhelming or out of balance. The cleaver and boot shape may suggest sharpness or pressure in certain areas of your life according to the bagua areas that occur at the blade of the cleaver or toe of the boot. 

Take a look at the Path in Life and Benefactors areas in your life. Is there an overabundance of helpful people? How is your career? Thanks again for writing in, and please let us know if you have follow up questions! 

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Power Houseplants: Peace Lily

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So far, we've gotten to know the Golden Pothos and the Dracaena, also known as Janet Craig, both of which are incredible additions to any holistic space. But what if you prefer flowering plants? Good news! Fourteen of the 50 top plants for homes and indoor spaces include flowers! The most helpful of these options is the Peace Lily, part of the Top 10 list of purifying plants. 

The Peace Lily is one of my favorite plants and is actually something of a superstar in the world of indoor plants. Only a few plants meet or exceed the Peace Lily's ability to remove VOCs from indoor air and improve air quality through transpiration, and it is noted as one of the only plants that will reliably bloom indoors. In fact, Dr. B.C. Wolverton touts the Peace Lily as a plant that "should always be included when seeking a variety of indoor plants." 

The Peace Lily features sturdy stalks and white flowers which can even be trimmed to avoid pollen, if allergies are an issue. As with many houseplants, there are a number of varieties, including the Cleavelandii and the Mauna Loa, which can reach two and three feet, respectively. It is worth noting that the Peace Lily is poisonous to humans and animals if ingested, so it's important to take care if you have pets or children! If you can place the plant out of reach, do so. If you are not confident your pets will leave the Peace Lily alone, take a look at some of our other favorites here

This plant is relatively easy to care for and resistant to insects, so as long as you can commit to regular watering and a little light, a Peace Lily is the way to go! 

To Grow Successfully:

- Place your plant in semi-sun or semi-shade. Not too much of either!
- Maintain a daytime temperature of 60 - 75 degrees and a night temperature of 55 - 68. 
- Keep the soil evenly moist and wash leaves occasionally to ward off insects. 
- Hold off a bit on the watering during winter!

Is there somewhere in your home or office you can add a Peace Lily for a little Wood element, healing and fresh air?

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: Mirrors and Spirits

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I have recently been getting into feng shui with the background of the I Ching and qi gong and have been enjoying your podcast. I am wondering if you had heard the same thing as I have, that mirrors only reflect energy but they are doorways for spirits to walk between the world. I have personally experienced a dark spirit walking through a mirror while I was sleeping, which is very dangerous and disturbing. Have you heard of this? What are your thoughts?

Samantha B., Bellevue, WA

Hi Samantha

Thank you for your question. For this one, I thought I’d have one of my beloved feng shui mentors, Barry Gordon, provide an answer. It may be more than you expected and not what you were looking for, but I think it’s a thorough and enlightening response :)

From Barry Gordon:

There's more than one answer to this question, depending upon whether you’re looking at it from the personal viewpoint or the universal viewpoint of natural mind. I’m a physicist, Feng Shui Master, and shaman.

There is a lot of confusion about mirrors in the more traditional forms of Chinese Feng Shui. The ultimate purpose of Feng Shui is to change that Qi of the person being helped. So from that viewpoint, we need to look at the effect of the mirror on the person’s mind. When I look at a mirror, I do not experience energy coming towards me. I experience the increase in spaciousness created by the mirror effect. So mirrors do not push energy away, they actually pull energy in, because they pull your mind in.

Since mirrors create the effect of enlarging a space, they also have a feeling that one is being pulled into or could move into the mirror. So metaphorically and perhaps neurologically, mirrors can appear to be a doorway. They are not a physical doorway. They're a mental doorway.

So, in your dreams, when you’re totally in your mind, the mirror can become a doorway. Your subconscious mind cannot distinguish very well between physical imagery, your experience of the physical world through the gates of your perception, and mental imagery which has much broader and more gates of perception available. That’s why so many healing techniques and methods to create a new future use visualization.

You have personally experienced a spirit in a mirror during a dream. I’ve also experienced them in mirrors and many other objects in the waking state. There are spirits all around us all the time, but our gates of perception have been trained not to allow them into our consciousness. They are sentient beings just like us. They just have less physical substance, so they're less physically real. But just like us, they have different levels of trauma and wounding. The more wounded ones are the ones we usually think of as dark. Their structure is created from the resonant magnetic gravity of lots of negative emotional energies that were never resolved or reintegrated into their creators before their death and are now floating around in the Tao, the zero point energy.

From another viewpoint, they are you. We have been taught and trained so deeply that there is an outside and an inside, that is, a you and other than you, that we totally believe it into reality. But the teachings of so many spiritual traditions say the opposite. And quantum mechanics says the opposite. There is no separation. There’s no real boundary, only an imaginary boundary between you and anything you experience as other. We only have mental emotional boundaries.

The bedroom, the bed, your body, your thoughts and emotions, your sense of identity, your "I" are all experienced in your mind, which, according to the last paragraph, is not really yours. It’s like when you look at one of those paintings that looks like a particular image, but the longer you look, you realize that there is also a different image than the first one seen, another way to look at it.

When you believe the ghost in the mirror to be real, you are caught in your personal addictive relative reality trance. When you step back and witness the trance through meditation or other method, you are free and fearless.

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Power Houseplants: Dracaena "Janet Craig"

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Last week we learned about the Golden Pothos, one of the most common and easy-to-grow plants on the list of 50 houseplants that purify a home or office. This week, we're getting to know the Dracaena, commonly known as Janet Craig, one of the top five plants in this collection!

As we know, houseplants are powerful and useful feng shui adjustments and are excellent additions to a holistic space to improve mood and indoor air quality. The Dracaena is one of the best options for the latter use and is a great choice for office spaces, as it is one of the best removers of trichloroethylene, a VOC that is produced by photocopiers and similar machines. The Janet Craig is also one of the top five ranking plants in removal of formaldehyde, a much more common volatile compound produced by many household items, from fabrics to grocery bags to upholstery and more. 

Similar in appearance to the lucky bamboo we often use, the Dracaena is a lush plant with dark green leaves that can grow up to ten feet tall! If you don't have that kind of space, there is a Compacta version that only reaches about three feet. This version is actually ideal for indoor growing, especially if your space lacks light or you're a forgetful gardener. It's hearty enough to live through neglect and low light, and it can live for decades! 

To Grow Successfully:

- Look for any light available in a dimly lit space. The Dracaena can grow in shade, but it will move more slowly. Its ideal environment is shade with some sunlight.
- Keep a temperature of 60 - 75 degrees. This plant can grow in lower temperatures, but the leaves may be yellow, rather than green.
- Keep your plant's soil evenly moist, and don't let the roots dry out. 
- If possible, fertilize every two weeks in spring and summer
- Clean the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth

Check out the plants on our How to Grow Fresh Air post, and let us know which one you'd like to learn about next!

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: Blocked Doors

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I just looked at a rental house, and the back screen door could only open about 40 - 45 degrees out, as the landlord had built an awning to create a porch and wanted to keep it lower to prevent wasps making nests. I know that is a feng shui problem; I am not sure what it would signify. My guess is it would limit my motion, my career prospects and more? Especially if it is used as the most common entry. What do you think? 

Harley P., Queens, NY

Hi Harley, 

Thanks for sending in your question! I applaud you on your intuition in realizing that this might be a problem. It's ideal for a door to open at least 90 degrees. 45 degrees is only half of that - not very much at all, really - and it does signify a feng shui issue.

Doors are a portal for your energy to come into your home and space. Typically we do want energy coming into our lives, with some exceptions, such as a retired couple or private vacation home, where it might not be as important for energy to enter. In general though, any door, whether it be the outside door, bedroom door, closet door, etc., should open at least 90 degrees. It is a feng shui issue when energy can't come in, and it also affects your path every day in life when you have to squeeze through a door. 

In this case, we're talking about a back screen door, and whether that limited motion will limit your career prospects and more. It really depends on the person, the situation and where the door is located on the feng shui bagua map. Since this is a rear door, let's assume it's in the back of the bagua map. Generally this would signify a limitation in opportunities, energy and positive qi coming to you. This could refer to relationships, wealth, job prospects and more. This would be a much bigger deal if it were the front door, but it does limit your physical, spiritual and energetic movement. 

You might want to take a look at this similar Q&A to get a little better grasp on what a blocked entrance or door can mean, feng shui-wise. Again, I applaud you for realizing this might be a feng shui issue before even choosing the space!

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!

Check Out A Feng Shui Designer's Blissed-Out NYC Apartment

featured on MindBodyGreen by Emma Loewe

Today on Holistic Home Tours, we’re checking out the New York City home of interior architect and feng shui designer Anjie Cho

Perched in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, Anjie Cho's space feels worlds away. The interior architect has used her knowledge of feng shui to deck out her new apartment—which she shares with her husband, Jeremiah, and their two Chihuahuas, Javier and Pearl—like only a pro could. She's letting us in on how she used feng shui to create an oasis in the middle of the city, and you're going to want to take notes.

What are three words that describe your design philosophy at home?

Simple, bright, calm.

What was the first room you tackled when you moved in?

Definitely the bedroom. We needed a place to sleep, and in feng shui the bedroom is thought to be the most important room in the house since it represents who you are. Since I have a home office, we split the bedroom up with some white fabric panels to create separate spaces. My husband loves how soft and tent-like these feel.

...read full article

Astrology & Feng Shui 008: October 2017 Self-Care and Knowledge


Welcome back for the eighth episode of our mini-series, Astrology & Feng Shui!



Tune in the first of every month as we visit with guest astrologers to connect eastern and western astrology to feng shui!


Q&A Sunday: A Kickstart for My Kickstarter

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How can I expand the mouth of qi for my Kickstarter? Anything, actually, to make it more successful!

Christy P., West Tisbury, MA

Hi Christy,

Thank you for your question about how to make your Kickstarter more successful. Kudos to you for using some feng shui terminology! The mouth of qi is the front door, or a portal, to a space and is an entry for energy to come into your life or home, or in this case, your Kickstarter. So really, this is a question of how to get more energy for your Kickstarter and make it more successful. 

In feng shui, we use the bagua map, and there are three different areas that can help create a more successful Kickstarter project. Kickstarter is a place for you to attract Benefactors, so this would be one area for you to work on and improve: your Benefactors area. Next is the Recognition area, so that people know the Kickstarter even exists. And if you look at the bagua map above, we can create a triad (a triangle) including the areas of Benefactors, Recognition and Knowledge. These are the three ideal bagua areas for you to focus on. We actually refer to this as the Three Harmonies of Fire, and it can create a lot of recognition and fire for support. 

In order to get helpful people to support this project, you, of course, need to attract more people, but to do this, you need to be seen, which is where Recognition, Fame and fire come in. The last area is Knowledge, which includes skills and self-cultivation. Here, I encourage you to consider if you've done enough research and looked into ways to get your Kickstarter noticed. There is a lot of help available through feng shui, but my teachers have always said that the mundane solution is more important than the transcendental solution. So the magic will work, but you also need to do some heavy lifting yourself. 

Start with researching how to improve your Kickstarter (which you may have already done! But do it thoroughly). That, in correlation with the feng shui adjustments, can create success for you. Feng shui-wise, you can create more recognition by activating the three harmonies of fire in your office and/or on your desk. It can be as simple as, in the whole office space, adding a green plant. A living green plant can add fuel to the fire. If you're working with your desk and there isn't room for plants, you can use instead one nine-inch red ribbon in each of the three areas to activate them. The desk and/or office are spaces that connect to your career and business. 

Your product, electronic cases that protect us from EMFs, seems to be really interesting, and I hope that making these adjustments draws more attention to your campaign so that we can see these come to fruition!

by Anjie Cho

Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!