Healing Properties of the Four Elements

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As many of you know, in feng shui, we work with the Chinese five element theory. These elements include earth, fire, water, wood and metal. However, in other modalities, like Native American culture, Vedic or even Tibetan practices, there are many variations of the element system, sometimes including five elements and other times only four. In each of these approaches, the ultimate goal is to find balance with nature and the world around us, just like with feng shui! I often receive questions about the four elements, so this week we’ll connect these theories and view how to use feng shui and the four elements to find ways to heal your spaces.

Air

Air relates to the intellect and to space. In the Tibetan system, air is the color white and is related to what's called the "Buddha" family, so it has that similar open quality of accepting and loving ourselves just as we are. Without the breath, we have no life. In our spaces, it's the quality of openness and the ultimate idea of minimalism. You can activate the air element and clear some space in your home by removing nine items, since nine is an auspicious number in feng shui. I also love this idea of air because it reminds us that nothing ever has to happen; we can just be. We don't have to fill up our mental, emotional, and physical spaces with clutter, food, negative thoughts...we can just be with the magic in the world. 

Water 

In Western and Asian systems, water is connected to deep wisdom, emotions, connections and the flow of energy around us. In feng shui, we relate water to the colors of black and dark blues. Even the sound of water can be healing, as it connects us to nature. This is why fountains are such great additions to holistic spaces! Check out more of my favorite ways to add water to your home!

Earth

Earth connects and grounds us. It's about self-nourishment and self-care in Asian systems, and earthy colors create this healing for us. Surrounding ourselves with plants, soil and trees also heals and nurtures us. Think about Mother Earth: she's always there under our feet to support us, and she gives us a place to stand that is stable and dependable. You can bring some Earth energy into your life by getting your hands dirty (maybe with a small garden) or bringing a plant into your holistic space! Be sure to use pots that you love and take care of your plants!

Fire

Fire can be very healing in many ways. It is one of the five elements and is essential to leading a balanced life. Fire creates and invokes passion and inspiration, and affects how the world sees us. Fire can be used in the home symbolically with color (reds, fiery oranges) or shapes (triangles), or using lighting or candles, or even real fire. In the home, fire is especially healing when there's pain, dullness, or loss of spirit in your life. Last weekend, I was upstate with friends and family. We gathered around a fire pit and sang songs, and we couldn’t take our eyes off the fire... it was very healing. Singing even activates the fire element and touches your heart. Fire is also amazing because it creates both heat (transformation) and light (clarify and illumination)! :)

How can you use the four elements to bring some healing to your holistic spaces?

by Anjie Cho


Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.


Q&A Sunday: Colors and Elemental Energy in Feng Shui

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Hi, I’m redecorating. I’m doing two walls green and the other two walls grey. The colours are called jade jewel and subtle stone. Do the colours green for wood and grey for metal still stand or can I count them as earth colours, as they represent wonderful shades of crystals/stone? (in the context of the bagua). Am I making sense? Thanks in advance. PS I like crystals ;)

Thomas C.

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for your question. You submitted this on our feng shui Facebook group: Your Feng Shui Journey. I encourage any other readers who would like to join. Your Feng Shui Journey is managed by my partner, Laura Morris, and I, as an extension of the Mindful Design Feng Shui School. Thomas, you asked about colors and how they relate to the five elements, or if the specific shades you’re using are connected. This is actually a really good question, so thanks for asking!

Colors are an important part of feng shui, because people are very visual, so color is something we notice immediately. There is a quote I like on color from His Holiness Master Lin Yun, who started BTB feng shui:

“How does color influence our life-world? First, color defines for us what exists and what does not exist. Second, color discloses the status of one's health and fortunes... Third, color inspires emotion.”

Colors are one of the most powerful ways to work with your feng shui. There are lot of ways to look at color, and you’ve touched upon two of them here. One is the relationship to the five elements, and another is your personal relationship to colors, for example your reference to the crystals and stones you love. Your own personal conditioning is important, as are cultural associations and the relation of certain colors to nature. So to answer your question, you can use the colors in the way that makes the most sense for you. If you want to use them based on the five elements, you are correct that the color green is related to Wood and the color grey is related to Metal. If you want to associate the colors with the meanings of the crystals and stones, that’s possible too! However, in feng shui, we would not use the colors you mentioned to represent the Earth element. In the five element system, Earth colors are brown, orange, yellow and other colors that would be considered “earthy.”

If you want to think of the shades you’ve chosen as colors that you love, of course go ahead and use them with this connotation! I would not recommend using them to represent the Earth element, however, because they don’t in our system. You want to make sure to keep the element systems straight.

I’d also like to share something a teacher of mine always said. When clients asked him what color to paint their walls, his first question was “Well, what color do you like?”. The most important thing here is to use colors you love and follow your heart and intuition. From there, if you want to follow a system like the five elements, aim to do so with precision and not muddle the colors.

by Anjie Cho


Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our a unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.


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!


Chinese Zodiac for 2019: Year of the Earth Pig

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Happy New Year, and welcome 2019! The Chinese New Year is coming up very soon as well, on February 5. In just a few weeks, we’ll welcome the Year of the Earth Pig, so check below for insight for the coming year, and remember that even challenging years can bring great results!

I’m a Dragon, so the Year of the Dog was challenging for me, but with the help of my good friend, Laura Morris, who is a Rat, we launched our new feng shui school, Mindful Design Feng Shui School. Through the school, we’re excited to offer a Golden Cicada class to welcome the lunar new year. This is an especially powerful ritual for Snakes and Monkeys, since these signs clash with the Pig, but everyone can benefit from these practices! You can also find a Golden Cicada ritual kit, which includes a tiger charm, on Holistic Spaces here.

BTB Feng Shui always recommends carrying a three-dimensional charm to welcome good luck and protection each year. This year, since the Tiger is the Pig’s best friend, we recommend a three-dimensional tiger charm, available in the color of your choice in the Holistic Spaces store! Don't forget to check out our 2019 Chinese New Year Kit (available here) as well for a tiger charm, custom aromastick and Happy Mist!

*Please note, if your birthday is between January 1 and February 4, your animal sign is the preceding year.  
*Lunar months can shift a day or two each year, so if you are born on the cusp of the Chinese month you may need to double check.

Rat 子

Years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

Rats are best friends with Dragons, Snakes, Monkeys, and especially Oxen! Because Rats are in a neutral relationship to the Pig. this year will be generally good. And we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

In January, February and March, you have very good potential with money and fortune. It’s a good time for investments and financial opportunities. Try activating your front door for more opportunities or the Abundance area for more wealth.

Be careful in April, May, June, July and August. Be sure to be flexible and open. But also take extra precautions for safety and your physical health. The Health area of the bagua map would be a good place to start.

September and October are more auspicious months, and will be a good time to make plans and start new projects. The New Beginnings area of the feng shui map might benefit and support in these months.

Be cautious again for the rest of the year in November, December and January 2020. Be careful and selective with who you will trust. There is possibility for unexpected accidents. Activate Benefactors so you will be surrounded by more helpful people in your life at this time.


Ox 丑

Years: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

Oxen are best friends with Snakes, Roosters and especially with Rats! Although there is no clash with the Pig, this year will prove challenging and bumpy. So, we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

Be careful in the start of this year in January, February and March. There may be difficult people and legal issues. Stay stable and wait it out. Activate the Benefactors area of the bagua map so you will be surrounded by more helpful people in your life at this time.

April is a better month, with opportunities for recognition. Maybe it’s good time to bring some fire into the Recognition area of your desk.

May, June, July and August are also months where you can be more cautious. If you’re traveling, be sure to take care of yourself. If you have a health problem, take care of it.

September see more opportunities for recognition, maybe even the same ones that came up in April. Use what you learned earlier and be modest in your spending.

There is caution again for October, November, December and January 2020. However in December things really do perk up and there is opportunities for good fortune if you work hard. During this four month period it may be helpful to work with the Abundance area of your home and business.


Tiger 寅

Years: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Tigers are best friends with Horses, Dogs and especially with Pigs! Tiger and Pig are best friends in the Chinese Zodiac, so this means it’s a super auspicious year! And we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support!

It’s smooth sailing during January, February, March and April. Everything has potential to do well, including your energy, finances and love life. Be careful not to overspend all the money that comes in! If there’s an area of your life that you want to work on, activate that area during these months.

Be cautious in May, June, July, August and September, especially concerning finances and investments. June is an auspicious month within this time period. But be careful with money during this entire time period. It may be helpful to activate your Abundance area with something earthy for stability.

October and November sees more improvement in overall luck, but pay attention to your health.

Finally in December and January 2020, keep your eyes open and be careful with who you get involved with, especially financially. Again probably a good month to activate the Abundance and Benefactors area.


Rabbit 卯

Years: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Rabbits are best friends with Rams, Pigs and Dogs. Rabbit and Pig are in harmony and have a very good relationship, so it makes for a good year for the Rabbit.

Be cautious in January, February, March, April, May and June. Watch out for your health and any legal problems. But remember overall you have a good year with the support of others. It’s beneficial to carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

July , August, September and October are very good, and you have luck on your side. Again, remember you always have the support of others and you can also be generous and mirror their generosity. Just be careful in September in terms of health, finances and legal issues.

November, December and January 2020 are times to be cautious. Work hard and again, remember you have helpful people in your life. The more you give the more you receive. It’s a good time to activate the Benefactors and Abundance areas. Contemplate on what generosity means to you and how you can cultivate this practice in your life.


Dragon 辰

Years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000

Dragons are best friends with Rats, Monkeys and Roosters. Dragon and Pig are in a neutral year so 2019 will be pretty good, especially considering that the previous Dog year was a clash. We also recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

The year starts out pretty good in January and February. It’s advised to remain flexible at this time and strengthen any areas you want to work on.

March, April, May, June and July are more challenging, a time to be careful. April is a clash to the Dragon so take care of your health. Activate the Health area and take care of yourself.

August and September are auspicious months for the dragon. Jump on anything that arises. This is a good time to manifest your wishes.

October, November, December through January 2020 are again times to be cautious. Rest and take care of your own business. Health again would be a good area to activate. Take care of yourself and let others be.


Snake 巳

Years: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Snakes are best friends with Oxen, Rooster and Monkey. Snakes clash with the Pig, so it’s very important in BTB feng shui to practice the Golden Cicada Ritual. If you’re interested, there is a class available here. We also highly recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

January, February, March, April and May are generally good. In February, there is an exception - where it will be quite challenging. It’s a good time to change up your environment and look at your friendships. Otherwise, most aspects of your life will be promising.

June, July, and August are months to be careful of your health and investments. Take care of yourself and rest. It would be helpful to activate the Health and Abundance areas of the bagua.

There is improvement with your luck in September and October. Your career has opportunities for improvement, so be sure to activate the Path in Life area of the bagua!

November, December and January 2020 are months to be cautious again. But with the clash to the year, remember there’s much to learn and you can grow tremendously. Just practice self-care, and you can improve this by working on the Relationship area which is about self-love.


Horse 午

Years: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002

Horses are best friends with Tigers, Dogs and Rams. Horse and Pig are in a neutral year.

January, February, March and April are auspicious times for the Horse. Most areas in your life have potential for luck and improvement. Activating the Benefactors area is going to be super important to attract helpful people at this time.

Be cautious in May, June, July, August, and September. Be careful in all areas of your life including health, travel, friends, and law suits. We recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

October is a very good month for you. Take advantage of this time! Activate the one feng shui bagua area you want to improve.

November, December and January 2020 are months to be cautious again. Be flexible. Activate the Benefactors area so you can be supported and bring in other energies at this time.


Ram 未

Years: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003

Rams are best friends Pigs, Rabbits and Horses. Since the Ram is in harmony with the Pig, 2019 will be a good year! Regardless, we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

January, February, March, April and May are months to be cautious. Slow down and hang out with positive and healthy people. This will keep your qi healthy and prosperous. If you do things with the right intention, things will turn out well. Activate the health area to protect you and your family.

June is an auspicious month for travel and business. The Benefactors area is also related to travel, so that would be a good one to work with.

July, August, September, October, November, December and January 2020 are all months to again be careful. Be careful with your health and avoid too much stress. Take the time to strengthen your Health area of your home so everyone in your home and family can benefit. But remember, Ram is in harmony with Pig so overall it’s a good year (even with a few bumps).


Monkey 申

Years: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004

Monkeys are best friends with Dragons, Rats and Snakes. Monkey has a challenging relationship to the Pig, so be aware. But many good things can come! We also recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support. It’s also very important in BTB feng shui to practice the Golden Cicada Ritual because you’re a clash to the year. If you’re interested, there is a class available here

January, February, March and April are generally good. Just be cautious in February, when there will be some ups and downs. Just keep an eye on your health, and activate the Health area for extra support.

May, June, July, August, September are months to be careful. Stay safe and be flexible with others, including family. Stay stable and still.

October, November, December, and January 2020 are good months overall. However again be super cautious especially in November and January, where you will see ups and downs again. Be careful!


Rooster 酉

Years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005

Roosters are best friends with Snakes, Oxen and Dragons. Roosters has a neutral relationship to the Pig, so we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

January, February, and March are months to be careful with your health. It’s important to be diligent and work hard at this time. Activating the health area in the entire home would help with any family health issues.

April, May, June, and July starts off very well, but it’s also a time to be cautious and work with helpful people or travel. The Benefactors area of the bagua map is also related to travel, so this is a good gua to activate.

August, September, October, November, December, and January 2020 are all months to be cautious and flexible especially regarding your finances, and lawsuits. Try to get along with everyone and go with the flow, so that you can make this half of the year more beneficial. Activating the New Beginnings area of the bagua map may help to cultivate more flexibility in your life.


Dog 戌

Years: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

Dogs are best friends with Tigers, Horses and Rabbits. They are in a neutral relationship with the Pig. For extra good luck and support, we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) this year.

January, February and March are quite auspicious months. You’ll start the year with improvements to your career. You can activate the Path in Life area to support this good flow of qi.

April and May are more challenging months. Be careful and stay home, take care of yourself. The self-care area of the bagua map is the Relationship area, so take some time to activate that.

June is a very lucky month. Make a effort to put anything in motion that you want to manifest.

July, August, September, October, November, December, and January 2020 are all months to be cautious. Support your health especially. It may be a good time to activate the Health area of the bagua map for this part of the year.


Pig 亥

Years: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Pigs are best friends with Rabbits, Rams and Tigers. This is why we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.. because the Tiger is the best relationship with the Pig.

You may think that since it’s the year of the Pig, it would be a very lucky year for anyone born in the year of the Pig. But in fact, it’s a very challenging year, so it’s very important in BTB feng shui to practice the Golden Cicada Ritual. If you’re interested, there is a class available here

January, February and March are better months. It will be a rocky start, but your work and finances may improve. Just be cautious!

April, May, June, July, and August are the most challenging months. Be careful when traveling, with your health and be kind to your family. It would be helpful to activate the Benefactors (travel) and the Health areas of the bagua map.

September, October, November, December, and January 2020 are all months to be cautious. September and December are good, but for the months all around, please be careful. Again, best to carry the charm and perform the Golden Cicada ritual.


Much of this information is derived from the Dr. Edgar Sung’s Classic Chinese Almanac. If you’re interested, please purchase the almanac for Year of the Earth Pig.

OR, If you're really interested in more personal, in-depth predictions, please reach out to a Four Pillars or Bazi practitioner for a consultation!


Don’t forget to grab your three-dimensional tiger charm this year, here at Holistic Spaces!

You can also find our Chinese New Year kits here for the Year of the Pig!

If you’re interested in the Golden Cicada ritual, check out event information here and enroll!


Dive deeper into feng shui to transform your life!

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Create sacred spaces that support, and nourish.

visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com


Welcome the Summer Solstice with Feng Shui

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Happy Summer Solstice! Tomorrow is the first day of summer, finally!

What is the summer solstice? A solstice is one of two points at which the path of the sun is either the furthest north or the furthest south it can be during the Earth’s rotation around it. As a solstice causes a change in the amount of daylight we see on Earth, both solstices (summer and winter) are associated with the beginning of a new season, respectively, in the top half of the planet.

During the summer solstice, the sun travels its longest path through our sky all year, which results not only in longer daylight hours, but also warmer weather in our hemisphere due to the direct angle of the sun’s rays. Thus, the name “summer solstice.” Every year, the summer solstice falls on June 21, and its effects will last until mid-September, when we experience the autumnal equinox, thus beginning fall.

What does this mean in terms of feng shui? This means that we are shifting from wood yang energy into a time of more explosive yang fire energy. We will naturally hold more heat in our bodies and be more active. At this time it’s helpful to balance the hot yang energy of fire with cooling water or earth energies. You could add cooler blues, greens, pinks and grays into your home accents and fashion choices. Also take care to eat cooling, raw foods such as melons and salads.

I also just put away my winter clothing and made way for summer clothes. When going through your clothes, make sure to take time and see what items still work for you. If it has not been worn in three years it is time to donate that piece of clothing. If there is a piece that needs mending, make a decision to get it repaired or let it go. Finally, if it does not fit… again, it is time to let it go.

This is my favorite time of year! Be sure to enjoy it! 

by Anjie Cho


Feng Shui and Mother's Day

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Mother’s Day is an annually and widely celebrated holiday in America and in other countries as well, but few of us know when or why we began this celebration.

Though ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated their “mother goddesses” with festivals and parties, and European Catholics celebrated “Mothering Sunday,” a specific Sunday during Lent dedicated to “mother churches,” the American version of Mother’s Day originated in the 1900’s as the brainchild of Anna Jarvis. Anna created Mother’s Day in tribute to her deceased mother and as a way to praise the act of motherhood in general.

Originally, Mother’s Day was an intimate celebration between a family with no gifts or monetary focus. Individuals simply visited their mothers or church in honor of all that moms do. After Mother’s Day was added to the official holiday calendar at Anna’s insistence, Mother’s Day gradually picked up the traditions of gifting and celebration we observe today.

So where does feng shui fit into Mother’s Day? There's actually an area of the feng shui bagua map that's related to the mother. This area is related to relationships, partnerships, the mother, marriage, the color pink, the number two, square and flat shapes, and the element of yin earth. This area is probably the second most popular because it can also activate attracting a primary relationship.  

BUT you can also use the Relationship area to honor, call upon, or heal the relationship with your mother. The element of earth is associated with nourishment and support – just like “mother earth”. To honor or call upon the energy of your mother on Mother’s day in the style of feng shui, you could place something with positive memories of your mother in the Relationship area of your desk or bedroom. If you want to heal the connection, you could place a plant in the same area to represent growth and change for your relationship.

Either way, be sure to recognize the nourishment and support that your mother has provided today! Happy Mother’s Day!

by Anjie Cho