Q&A Sunday: Prayer Wheels on Ceiling Fans

Q&A Sunday - Prayer Wheels on Ceiling Fans.jpg

Thank you for your podcast. I have a question about making a prayer wheel from your ceiling fan. I have always been interested in prayer wheels, but I was wondering if the prayer wheel (ceiling fan) turning counterclockwise during the summer is still auspicious. Perhaps the direction that the fan spins does not matter, but I wanted to make sure that if I print mantras and attach them to the top that it is spinning in the correct way to enhance the benefit.

Barbra, Pittston Twp, PA

Hi Barbra

Thank you for your email! I love that you are interested in making your ceiling fan a prayer wheel. I personally think this is a beautiful adjustment. Your question is very thoughtful!

It is thought that in order to utilize their ceiling fans year-round, people can switch the direction from counter-clockwise, during the summer, to clockwise, during the winter. This adjustment switches the fan from pushing cool air down, when it turns counter-clockwise, to slowly pulling cooler air up and redistributing warm air, when it turns clockwise during the winter. We're assuming you do this!

Traditionally the prayer wheel is turned clockwise. In Buddhist walking meditation, we also walk clockwise. The clockwise direction creates a tightening, whereas a counter-clockwise loosens. Like a screw, righty tighty and lefty-loosey, right? I just learned recently that most of the planets, including the sun, rotate counter-clockwise, which makes sense because the universe is constantly expanding. It’s loosening, rather than getting smaller. You can read about it here

But when we read in western culture, we read left to right, which corresponds to the clockwise direction. Therefore, I agree with you that it’s more effective to place the characters or syllables of the mantra so that when they're positioned, they are unfolding in a left to right direction. But if you've had it set up so it does not read in the left to right direction, remember, your intention is what's more important. Also the direction of the fan changes depending on how you look at the fan. Whether you look up or if you are above looking down, your perspective on the direction changes.

Creating a prayer wheel without taking this into consideration isn't necessarily wrong, but it can enhance this adjustment if it's something you've noticed and are thinking about. Whether the fan is turning clockwise or counter-clockwise is really all in your perspective, so adhering to this guideline is the best way to go. 

Ultimately, I would recommend not letting the process get too complicated and remembering the intention! Remember that BTB feng shui is all about intention, and if you're going through the effort of creating the prayer wheel in the first place, chances are you have this down! 

by Anjie Cho