Space Clearing Across Cultures

Everything in our spaces contains energy, often that of events or predecessors who came before us. This is why we spend so much time advocating space clearing as a part of a successful feng shui practice. It's important to clear the spaces around us of pre-existing energy and fill them with our own new, positive chi. But modern feng shui isn't the only cultural practice based around this idea!

Many of our modern day rituals and ceremonies, even though we may not view them as such, are derived from ancient ideas and methods behind space clearing. Actual space clearing, housewarmings and grand openings all help in some way to welcome positive energy into a new space. Even spring cleaning can sometimes be considered a space clearing ritual. 

Native Americans used herbs like sage, cedar and sweetgrass to smudge their spaces. The idea behind this is that in burning the herbs and creating smoke, negative spirits and energy attach to the smoke, and when the smoke leaves the space, so does that negative energy. Cleaning and clearing a space also welcomes benevolent spirits to join us. 

Salt (think Himalayan salt lamps) is also often used in Middle Eastern areas to cleanse space, and in the Tibetan tradition, it is often mixed with saffron when placed in the home, as this spice is believed to repel evil spirits.

In Peru, sacred ceremonies called Despacho are performed to restore balance between humans, Mother Earth and other spirits. The Ayni Despacho is a prayer offering that includes flower petals, sweets and other offerings arranged into a mandala to clear old energy, invite new energy and welcome abundance and other wishes. 

Some believe that a true space clearer should be able to detect the presence of spirits. Others believe that the intention behind space clearing is the most important aspect for success. Using a mantra or other incantation to express your desires can be a great way to ensure that your intentions are in the right place. Check in a few weeks when we talk mantras in feng shui!

Though you can use the practice of space clearing with whatever method you choose, whenever you choose, there are certain times when taking a moment to clear your atmosphere can be more auspicious than others. If you find yourself in any of the situations below, be sure to clear your space for abundance and luck!

What's your favorite way to replenish the energy in your holistic space? If we didn't list it, we'd love to know what you do to clear negative energy from your home and office and replace it with positive chi!

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: Storing Legal Paperwork for Children

Q&A Sunday - Storing Legal Paperwork for Children.jpg

Hi, I was wondering where to store child court order paperwork. I currently have full sole legal and physically custody, and the father is still trying to change that. It would be dangerous for him to have any custody over her. Please help me keep this current order in place. 



Thank you for your thoughtful question. I’m sorry to hear you have a difficult custody situation with your child. I do not know your specific situation and without more information cannot offer more advice in regards to helping you keep the order in place as you desire. 

However, similar to the question of how to store divorce paperwork, my first thought would be that you locate any legal paperwork in regards to the finalized court decision for your child in the Completion area of the feng shui bagua map of your home to encourage the situation to remain resolved in the best interest of the child. The Completion area is also the Children area of the feng shui bagua map, so this may keep your child’s best interests at the forefront. You must do this with the interests of the child’s safety and future first in mind. 

Please let us know if you want to share any more info! It’s a very delicate subject, and it would be prudent to wait for more information. 

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!

6 Trees to Plant Indoors for Earth Day

Earth Day is Saturday, and as always, we're excited to celebrate the greatness that is our planet and express gratitude to the universe and Mother Earth for supporting us. One of the most popular ways to honor the Earth and help counter environmental damage is to plant trees. If you own your property or have a yard, planting a tree is easy. Just be sure to care for it after planting! If you're in a New York City apartment, planting a tree yourself may be a bit more difficult. In honor of Earth Day, you can donate to Trees for the Earth or the Canopy Project, or you can choose an indoor tree for your holistic space! We've got a few suggestions. 

Fiddle Leaf Fig

The Fiddle Leaf Fig is enjoying plenty of time in the spotlight right now and for good reason. They're easy to care for, bright and look fantastic in practically any space. The Fiddle Leaf Fig enjoys bright light, isn't so fond of drafts and needs water when its soil feels dry. It's also a good idea to keep an eye out for whiteflies or aphids! Our friends at The Sill have beautiful figs for delivery in NYC. 

Fishtail Palm

If you're craving a tropical touch, the Fishtail Palm is the perfect addition to your holistic space! These trees grow best in bright, indoor light and warmer temperatures (like the temp inside your home), which makes them ideal houseplants. Just be sure to keep a spray bottle nearby for misting, because these tropical trees need lots of humidity!

Madagascar Dragon Tree

The Madagascar Dragon tree gets extra points for being a well-known air-purifying plant. So not only does it brighten your space, it helps remove some of the harmful chemicals we bring into our homes. Like the Fishtail Palm, the Madagascar Dragon tree thrives in average home temperatures and enjoys bright, filtered light. You'll want to keep the soil slightly moist and keep pets away, since the Madagascar Dragon Tree is poisonous! 

Money Tree

This indoor plant gets extra points too, since it is associated with wealth and prosperity in feng shui! Take a look at your bagua and find your Abundance gua, then add your Money Tree to let the universe know you'd appreciate some prosperity! Keep your tree watered regularly, give it bright light and avoid placing it in the bathroom (as water can drain the wealth), the Relationships gua or the Knowledge gua. 

Norfolk Pine

The Norfolk Pine tree is another popular indoor tree with the flexibility to add nature and the Wood element to any room. Like most indoor plants, the Norfolk Pine just wants medium to bright light and water, enough to keep it moist but not soggy. Easy enough!

Rubber Tree

Add some glossy dark green to your space with a rubber tree. These trees grow quickly, especially with bright, filtered light, regular water and well-drained soil, so it may be necessary to repot your Rubber Tree on a yearly basis until it's the perfect size for your holistic space. It's also a good idea to slip your Rubber Tree some weak liquid fertilizer during growing season. 

There are so many more than six trees that make amazing additions to our indoor spaces, and adding a tree anywhere is a great way to thank Mother Earth for keeping us alive all these years! Not to mention, many trees, like other indoor plants, are excellent absorbers of excess carbon dioxide and harmful chemicals that start in our homes and often make their way outside. If you're looking for easy-to-love trees and all-star air purifiers, also check out the Parlor Palm, Ponytail Palm and the Dracaena anita. Then send us pics of your new Earth Day trees!

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui Adjustments for Unused Doors

Q&A Sunday - Feng Shui Adjustments for Unused Doors.jpg

Thank you so much for answering my question! It is uncanny what you say about all the doors. We moved into this house 2.5 years ago with 9 people. We are down to 6 now, and we are indeed, all very loud and opinionated. There are often power struggles among the family members. The room in which I spend the most time (the kitchen) has doors to outside, a back hall, a pantry, a staircase, the basement, a bedroom, and the dining room. Is opening the door to let in light and solar heat sufficient, or should I open the storm door, too, and walk through it?

Judy S., Alstead, NH

Hi Judy,

It’s so nice to hear from you again. And…wow, that’s a lot of doors in your kitchen! 

In our previous post where we answered your question, we advised that even if you don't use your front door as the regular entrance, you should lay your bagua from there, and that it's also important to open that door on a regular basis. 

Your follow-up question regarding the door is “Is it enough to just open the door, or do you need to walk through it?” The answer is that it’s most beneficial if you walk through it. By walking through the door you activate it. A door is a portal for energy. In BTB feng shui we call your front door the “mouth of qi”. So, I would say, if possible, walk through the door. A little effort goes a long way!

And with regard to all the doors in your kitchen - as I said before there may be a lot of voices and opinions in the home, possibly conflicting. It would be helpful to place a feng shui faceted crystal ball in the center of the kitchen to provide clarity to those voices. We have them available at our shop here.

Perhaps it would be helpful to share your intentions with these adjustments with your family members so that everyone understands the significance of the doors and crystal and is on the same page. In either case, remember to walk through each door every nine days or so (not just once) and cut the cord for your feng shui crystal at a multiple of nine. These details will enhance your adjustments even more!

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!

The Household Items You Need To Throw Out ASAP (According To A Feng Shui Expert)

featured this week on MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via MindBodyGreen

Did you know that the spaces around us directly affect the amount of stress and ease we feel in our day-to-day? The objects in our home speak to us on visible and invisible levels. The good news is that feng shui philosophy offers ancient wisdom on what we can let go of in our homes for more peace. Here are a few things that I recommend parting with as a feng shui practitioner:

1. Dried flowers

Dried and decaying flowers, branches, and leaves are a big feng shui no-no. At one point these living things held vibrant energy, but as they dried and decayed, they began to represent death and decline. There are, however, a few exceptions. If you have a bouquet of dried flowers that hold a lot of meaning for you, the memory and good chi associated with them can transform them into a positive object.

2. Pointy, sharp plants

Pointy plants such as cactuses symbolize a similar energy: sharp and prickly. If you seek to create a smooth and gentle flow in your space (and therefore your daily life), you need to get rid of plants that symbolize unease. Again, there are some exceptions, like when a certain cactus or prickly plant has a unique, positive association for you. full article

by Anjie Cho

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My Favorite Things: 5 Indoor Planting Tools

Welcome to My Favorite Things! Each month, we highlight products to help you create a holistic lifestyle that inspires and nurtures you, so that you can be happier and feel supported.

April hosts one of our favorite holidays, Earth Day, coming up in a couple of weeks! There are many ways to go green, from making easy, small changes, to checking your carbon footprint or donating to great causes. You can also go green by adding a little actual greenery to your space! Look out for our list of indoor trees next week, but before then, take a peek at my favorite indoor plant necessities!

Hand Pruning Shears

Whether you're just keeping your plants up or sharing them through cuttings (which I love to do!), you'll need pruning shears if you're growing indoors. 

There are many varieties of hand shears, but it's important to make sure you choose a pair that is easy to use for you and strong enough for your plants. I love these pruning shears from Gardenite, because they're high quality, strong and the ratchet feature makes using them a breeze!

Available at: Amazon

Double Macrame Hanging Planter

Some of my favorite houseplants are hanging in windows in my bathroom and kitchen. Double hanging planters are the perfect tool for getting plants great light and brightening your space

This planter is handmade with natural cotton sourced locally in Canada and comes in three different lengths to match your space perfectly! I love the neutral color and gentle material. It's like cuddling your plants!

Available at: FreeFille

EM-1 Microbial Inoculant

My mother-in-law and her husband are plant experts who teach all around the world, and a few years ago, Hugh (her husband) recommended this conditioner for my houseplants. I love it!

EM-1 is great as a general conditioner for all plants and can fight issues like chlorine poisoning and more by creating healthy micro-organisms. Just add an ounce to a gallon of water!

Available at: TeraGanix

Recycled Glass Spray Bottle

Many plants, including at least one of our favorite indoor trees, require significant amounts of humidity in addition to just water in the soil. Keeping a spray bottle of water nearby is perfect for providing this indoors. 

This bottle is made from recycled glass and holds 8 ounces of water for small or larger houseplants. It's also BPA free, handmade and features a clean, holistic design that won't stick out like a sore thumb! 

Available at: Rail19

Ceramic Planter

Don't forget the most important thing for keeping nature in your holistic spaces - planters! The type of planter you use will depend on what your plant needs, but I love this handmade stoneware option from RehnWorks. 

These hand-thrown, hand-glazed planters are made to order, include drainage holes and are even available in larger sizes than listed. Not to mention they add a beautiful Wood element color to your space in addition to the plant itself! 

Available at: RehnWorks

Embrace Your Feminine Energy With Feng Shui For Tonight's Pink Full Moon

featured today on MindBodyGreen

 image credit: Cloud Studio / Stocksy via MindBodyGreen 

 image credit: Cloud Studio / Stocksy via MindBodyGreen 

April's full moon rises this year on the 11th and has fondly been named the Pink Moon, but don't expect it to look particularly pink! It's actually named after pink flowers called wild ground phlox, which bloom in early spring and become widespread throughout the United States and Canada this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere.

In feng shui philosophy, the moon is a very powerful symbol and consideration, related to yin (feminine, subconscious, internal) energies and connecting us to the invisible. The full moon is also a time when we can embrace our feminine, intuitive energy and honor the pink moon.

Here's how:

The power of pink

Colors are one of the major ways in which to shift the feng shui of your internal and external environments. We see so much with our eyes, and color can arouse and transform our energy. Pink is a soft, feminine color that gently inspires passion and is the combination of fiery red softened with the simple purity and clarity of white. Pink is also associated with the heart chakra, the center of healing and encouraging self-love. full article

by Anjie Cho

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Holistic Spaces Podcast, Episode 040: Feng Shui for New Beginnings in Spring