Q&A Sunday: Symbology of the Six Pointed Star

I came across your site and it is beautiful. Really like the idea of incorporating feng shui and zen in your living space. I was searching the mandala site and saw the Ketu yantra, which got my attention. I noticed the center looks like a Jewish star. I wonder if that's your intention that it is actually a Jewish star - which I absolutely find appealing, as my husband is Jewish and I am Chinese. 

Emily B., Encino, CA

Hi Emily,

Thanks for your email, and I’m so glad you like the website and the Ketu yantra. A lot of people are drawn to this one. It’s very healing. It’s actually related to my Vedic destiny number, so it’s one of my mandalas that’s very personal to me.

Many of the yantras (like Ketu) have the six pointed star in the center, which is the same symbol as the Jewish Star of David. In Vedic symbology, this symbol is the combination two equilateral triangles. One is triangle is upward pointing (male, yang, fire), the other downward pointing (female, yin, water), and the overlap of the two create balance of these opposite energies, like the yin and yang symbol

I hope you find the use of these shapes as interesting as I do! Since I love sacred geometry and symbols, I really loved responding to this question. On a final note, my yantra teacher Mavis Gewant, describes geometric symbols in an interview I did with her

A yantra is a geometric pattern of energy specific to deities and planets. It has been said that they are the physical form of a deity, where mantra is the sound form. Yantras give a structure or pattern to energy. They are composed of geometric forms like squares and circles. Since all cultures have these kinds of shapes, they resonate in our DNA when we see them. Yantras are archetypal and universal.
— Mavis Gewant

PS: I am Korean (also Asian), and my husband is also Jewish! 

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!


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My Favorite Things: 5 Accessories for Getting Cozy

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.

Next week is already fall! I can't believe it! We've had a long, warm summer, but the weather is beginning to get cooler and crisper, and soon we'll be switching walks in the park for snuggling up indoors. That's why this month's My Favorite Things is all about getting cozy! We put some thought into the necessities for a staying warm in the fall air, and here's what we came up with.


Sun Yantra Mandala for Radiance & Warmth

I love mandalas as a way to add a certain energy or intention to a room. This Sun yantra mandala is perfect for warming up your space as the weather cools off!

The Sun is associated with individuality, radiance and yang energy. It depicts yellows and oranges and radiating lotus petals, and looks similar to the sun itself! As it represents warmth and radiance, this mandala is perfect for seasons when we see less sun. 

Yellows and oranges are representative of nature, which is appropriate for autumn, and the bright colors are also a helpful dose of optimism and positive qi during fall and winter months

Available at: Holistic Spaces


Wool Angled Front Wrap Cardigan

I love Eileen Fisher clothing. I probably wear at least one piece from her designs every day! They're so minimal, easy to match, high quality and incredibly eco-friendly. Eileen Fisher supports sustainable sourcing, fair trade, domestic production and much more!

This front wrap cardigan is no different. The sweater is made of Eileen Fisher signature washable, chlorine-free wool, which means it doesn't contain as many harmful chemicals, and you don't have to take it to the dry cleaners every time you spill tea! 

Its versatility also means it's perfect for wearing out or cuddling up inside with a good book. It's a must-have for cooler weather!

Available at: Eileen Fisher


Indian Cardamom Chai Tea

I am a huge fan of tea, and these days I cannot stop drinking Kalustyan's Indian Cardamom Chai! It's a blend of Darjeeling and Assam teas with cardamom flavor, milk and sugar to make it the perfect tea for a chilly afternoon.

I also like to add turmeric to my tea. Both turmeric and cardamom are powerful herbs used for years to aid in digestion, fight depression, build anti-oxidants and so much more. Plus, as members of the ginger family, they offer a warming sensation!

Since many of us get busier during the last part of the year, the Kalustyan's chai mix is instant, which means you just add hot water and enjoy! 

Available at: Kalustyan's


Wool Rug

When it comes to making your holistic space warmer, a wool rug is a no-brainer, and I love this neutral rug from Organic Looms!

Most rugs can help to reduce the cool temperature beneath your feet, especially here in NYC where everything is wood flooring, but wool rugs are especially warm!

This wool rug is suitable for any room, organic, non-dyed and allows for customization of shape, size and more. It's also ethically sourced and hand-woven, and it improves indoor air quality!

Available at: Organic Looms


Sandalwood Essential Oil

My favorite things for warming up wouldn't be a complete list without essential oils! Fall is a great time to utilize these incredible healing tools, and sandalwood is on our ultimate fall list

My good friend, Andrea Giordano, of Aromatherachi, specializes in using essential oils to make amazing products like soap and bath salts, but she also sells the oil itself! Her sandalwood oil is sustainable and eco-friendly, sourced in Hawaii! Can you think of a warmer place?!

Available at: Aromatherachi



My Favorite Things: 5 Meaningful Mother's Day Gifts

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.

This month is the month of moms, since Mother's Day is this weekend! If you're still wondering about the perfect gift for the perfect mom, we've got some great ideas for meaningful options that go past a beautiful bouquet (but check out our suggestions if you prefer flowers!). From spiritual art to sustainable beauty products, there is something here for almost any mom!


Abundant Tranquility Mala

One of my friends and favorite clients, Satya Scainetti, has a beautiful collection of jewelry, any piece of which makes an amazing gift. 

Satya does mala workshops, which I highly recommend as a wonderful experience, but if you missed last week's, you can still find meaningful, beautiful malas online. This one represents unconditional love, joy, good fortune and creativity and is one of Satya's choices for Gifts of Love!

Available at: Satya Jewelry


Moon II Yantra Mandala for Nourishment and Creativity

The Moon II yantra, which depicts feminine colors like light blues, pinks and purples, is associated with femininity, nourishment, creativity and emotions. 

This mandala represents self-nourishment and self-care and corresponds to the Relationship area of the feng shui bagua, which is also related to the Mother, making it an ideal gift for the upcoming holiday!

Available at: Holistic Spaces


Warming Herbal Neck Wrap

Being a mom can be tough work, and it's not always easy to find time or money to relax or take a spa day. These warming herbal neck wraps from Savor Beauty, sustainably created from flax seeds, are an easy way to get a little relaxation without having to take an entire day!

They come in various designs, can be used as hot or cold and are great with essential oils! Just pop in the microwave or freezer and soothe stress! You can order wraps online or check in at their newest location in the Upper West Side, designed by Anjie Cho Architect, PLLC!

Available at: Savor Beauty


Feng Shui Consultation

Sometimes the best gifts are actually experiences, and feng shui can be a wonderful, guiding experience for any mom! Feng shui can be helpful on many levels in matters spiritual and mundane. 

I offer a variety of feng shui consultations, including online services, so even if you're not in NYC or LA, helping your mom improve her feng shui and create a personalized holistic space is a possibility!

Available at: AnjieCho.com


7-Free Vegan Nail Polish Set

Another popular gift for Mother's Day is a trip to the nearest salon for a manicure and pedicure. Nothing quite relaxes like being treated to a massage and some nail upkeep!

This year, instead of relying on traditional nail polish, opt for ella + milla, an eco-friendly nail polish option free of seven nasty chemicals in addition to being vegan and animal cruelty-free. ella + milla comes in many colors and is even PETA approved! 

Available at: ella + milla



Q&A Sunday: Choosing a Yantra

Mandala Art Note Card Set.jpeg

I would like to buy a yantra canvas from your site, but I'm having a bit of trouble choosing which one would be right for me. I want to focus on health for myself and my family, and I would like to put it in the center of the house to coordinate with the feng shui bagua. Would the most appropriate be the Sun yantra? If not, could you please make a suggestion?

Charmaine B., NJ

 

Dear Charmaine,

Thank you so much for your email and question about yantras. One of the reasons why we developed the “Mandala Matchmaker” is because a lot of people ask me similar questions regarding which yantra is right for them! There are a few different ways to approach the mandala selection.

When I painted my first yantra, I was asked to select which one I was most drawn to. First thought, best thought. This is tapping into your intuition. That’s a wonderful way to select a yantra mandala, because we are often intuitively attracted to what we need. 

As I began to learn more about painting yantras and mandalas, my teachers started teaching me about Vedic numerology - which is also an excellent way to work with things that you need. You can explore your own number and see what challenges and what successes arise from this.

With my Vedic studies, I began to connect the concepts to feng shui. I created a section of the Mandala Matchmaker that relates to your intention. This is also, of course, very useful. I connected it to the feng shui bagua map, because there was a lot of interconnectedness in the two modalities. 

This leads us to your question. You would like to select one based on what you need — which is health for your family, to be located in the center of your home

If there is need of great healing, the Mahāmṛtyuṃjaya yantra, on the top right is the best. 

If it's health in general the Ketu yantra, on the bottom right is better.

For both:

The blues/greens are Wood element, which is great for the health/Earth area. It gives a ground for the Wood to root and can break up the stagnation in any Earth.

I hope this helps!

Also, if you need more assistance I’m available for consultations where we can pinpoint and focus on what is best for you based on our specific circumstances.

by Anjie Cho


Q&A Sunday: Artwork in Pairs

I have purchased the Venus mandala, and I want to hang it my bedroom, but just ran across a post on decorating a couple’s room, and it says to hang artwork in pairs. Do I need to get another mandala, or is this ok, since it symbolizes relationships?

Shayna G., New York, NY

Hi Shayna,

Thanks for your question! I’m so glad you got the Venus mandala. I really love that one. The Venus yantra was the first yantra I ever created; it’s so delicate and pretty. And yes, the Venus mandala relates to romance and emotions, which would be a wonderful addition to your bedroom.

Now onto your question! It is ideal to have things in pairs in the bedroom, such as pairs of pillows, or two nightstands, but it’s not a strict rule. For instance, it makes a lot of sense to have a pair of pillows and two nightstands because there’s something for you and something for your partner. But for instance, artwork of a single woman may not be the best thing for a woman who’s lonely and looking for a partner. In one case, I visited the home of a woman with several images of singular things. It was very obvious. But it’s perfectly okay to have things not in pairs, such as your Venus mandala, especially because the purpose of that mandala is to support your relationship. In fact, I have that first yantra I ever painted hanging in my bedroom, and it’s not in a pair. 

Most principles in feng shui are highly personal, and this one is no different. If there is a beautiful piece of art that you want for your bedroom and really love it, it's most likely acceptable. In this case especially, as the art represents relationships. If you find that the artwork in your room is singular and much of it has to do with being alone or isolated, then you may want to take a look at what that reflects for your life. 

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!


My Favorite Things: 5 Holistic Valentine's Day Treats

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.

Most of us know that Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and the race is on to find that perfect gift for your loved one or the perfect way to say "I love you" to yourself! Whoever you're appreciating today, consider ditching the traditional roses, stuffed animals and other gifts that can end up as clutter. Instead, try these holistic, innovative products to help you enjoy this day of love. 


Rose Cardamom Infused Chocolates

Sometimes traditions become outdated and can cause clutter, but others are too good not to keep. Chocolate for Valentine's Day is one tradition we'll never complain about.

But! Indulging doesn't mean we have to harm the environment or our bodies. Wei of Chocolate candies are organic, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, Paleo-friendly and fair trade! They're also infused with Lotus Wei flower essences (our favorite) and 100% delicious. What more can you ask for from chocolate?

I have one (or two, sometimes more) of these chocolates every day! Wei Love is one of my favorites and highly recommended.

Available at: Wei of Chocolate


Venus Yantra Mandala

Valentine's Day gifts don't have to be fleeting, like flowers or chocolate, though both are wonderful options. Loving and supportive art can also be a fantastic way to express yourself!

The Venus Yantra Mandala, associated with the feminine planet, Venus, can assist in relationships and harmonize an imbalance of Earth element. I have the Venus yantra in my bedroom, in the Relationship area to cultivate love and harmony in my relationships. The Venus yantra is also an amazing addition for self-love, which is the most important kind! Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers!

Available at: Holistic Spaces


Rose Quartz 

One of my favorite feng shui adjustments for love and compassion is the placement of rose quartz crystals. If you're seeking a relationship, adding rose quartz to the Relationship area of your bedroom can be a powerful adjustment. And, you guessed it...this is a feng shui adjustment that I have in my bedroom!

Rose quartz can also help to support an existing relationship and can be a wonderful way to encourage and deepen self-love! We can't pour from an empty cup, so it's important to fill our own cups and nurture our relationships with ourselves first!

Available at: Holistic Spaces


Relationship Mandalas

Mandalas of any kind are a beautiful gift for almost any occasion, but my friend and yantra teacher, Mavis Gewant, can take these meaningful pieces of art to a new level!

Mavis offers personal, hand-crafted mandalas based on the combined energy patterns of each person in the relationship. A relationship mandala isn't just a stunning gift; it's also a unique representation of your relationship!

Available at: Sacred Mother Arts


Deluxe Perfume Making Kit

Perfume is another traditional Valentine's Day gift most of us can appreciate. I really love this perfume making kit from The Scentarium, because it offers the chance to create your very own, bespoke smell!

I went to a workshop at Sue's showroom and had so much fun figuring out my scent personality and smelling all the diferent potions. This home kit is the perfect way to have the same experience with your partner at home (or just you!). The best part? The custom scents they've created contain no chemicals!

Available at: Scenterprises



Q&A Sunday: Adding Fire to a Bedroom with Art

Dear Anjie,

Concerning your Favorite Things series on Fire element, can I add the Mars yantra in a bedroom to add a bit of fire? I'm looking for subtle way to add fire as pure red color feels overwhelming to me. Thanks a lot in advance!

Giuliana G., Lille, France

Hello again Giuliana! You always send such great questions! Thank you! 

So this is an interesting question. When you sent this in, I wrote you back and said that Mars is good, as is Durga, but now a few months later (sorry we have a long queue for these Q&A Sundays!), my intuition says that Mars is too intense, definitely not “subtle,” as you’re looking for. 

If you look at the Mars yantra, there are LOTS of triangles, and it’s very fiery. It’s almost as overwhelming as a pure red color, because it has the red, plus the triangles, plus the symbology of Mars. Mars is the god of passion and war! A very strong planet.

Another thing I wanted to mention is that last year I went to a yantra painting retreat where we had our Vedic astrology read. It was enlightening, and one thing I learned was that I was “manglik,” which, according to Wikipedia, means I have Mars in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, or 12th house of my ascendant chart.

Wikipedia explains:

It is believed to be unfavourable for marriages, causing discomfort and tension in relationship, leading to severe disharmony among the spouses and eventually to other bigger problems. This is believed to be caused due to the "fiery" nature of the planet Mars, named after the Roman god of war. Also, if two mangliks marry, the negative effects are believed to cancel each other out. However, Mars is not the only planet in Astrology that is supposed to affect the relationship and these effects should be seen in a broader perspective of overall astrological compatibility[1]

Now this is the funny part:

There is a belief that the negative consequences for a single-manglik marriage can be resolved if the manglik first performs a ceremony called a kumbh vivah, in which the manglik "marries" a banana tree, a peepal tree or a silver or gold idol of the Hindu God Vishnu.

What I gathered from all that is that maybe it’s not a good idea if you’re “manglik” to have the Mars yantra in your bedroom, because it may increase the disharmony in a marriage, or with a single person, if they are manglik. I think if both partners are manglik, it’s OK.

So, after all that…I think that a subtle way to add fire can be with a red pillow, red throw, another fiery yantra like Durga (that’s a bit more mellow, and on the small side), or you could put a red sheet UNDER the bed, or put red somewhere it’s not visible. The fire element will still influence you, but it will be more subtle. Of course, one could use triangular shapes as well!

Even if your intuition (and mine) says that a solid red placement or an addition of Mars art is too intense for your bedroom space, there are still plenty of ways to welcome passion and fire. You can also take another look at the My Favorite Things post: 5 Ways to Bring the Fire Element Into Your Space. The pillow case there might be a great choice for you!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday" (formerly “Question of the Month”).  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers.  Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


My Favorite Things: 5 Additions for Inspirational Spaces

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.

This month is all about inspiration, which is also my word of the year in 2016! Inspiration can be defined in a few different ways, but the simplest is "something that makes someone want to do something or gives that someone an idea about what to do or create." One of the best ways to invoke inspiration in your everyday life is to surround yourself with an inspiring, holistic space, and these items can help! Be sure to check in on the podcast for a more in-depth definition of inspiration and details on how creating a holistic space can inspire you.  


Portable Labyrinth

I was just reading about labyrinths in the book Healing Spaces by Esther M Sternberg MD. She writes:

“Trust that if you follow the path you will not get lost, and that you will come out feeling better than when you began. In many ways, this is a metaphor for any spiritual journey."

In this understanding, walking a labyrinth may help shake us out of a "stuck" feeling and stir new inspiration and creativity! This miniature labyrinth is a perfect tool to keep around for moving past that "stuck" feeling we all feel sometimes!

Available at: Labyrinth Company


Happy Mist

Oranges are a great way to add positive, life-giving energy to any space. They lift your mood and clear any stuck or negative chi, making space for new inspiration!

Our Happy mist is a blend of orange essential oils and clear quartz crystals for uplifting abundance and positivity. Just a few sprays around your space can refresh your attitude and energy and bring new creativity to your life!

This mist from the Holistic Spaces apothecary is also completely natural and eco-friendly!

Available at: Holistic Spaces  


Diamond or Triangular Hanging Planters

On the podcast, we talked about how creating a healthy indoor air quality can lead to an inspiring space. Bringing plants into your home is a great way to do that!

This hanging planter is a beautiful and symbolic way to display nature in your space. Its triangular shape and fiery color relate to the Fire element, which works to add more passion and inspiration to your life. In fact, this fiery addition uses the wood energy of the plant as inspirational fuel!

Available at: GreenDesk


Terrariums

Another great way to add plants and welcome inspiration all in one is with terrariums! 

Not only are terrariums a welcome addition of nature into your holistic space, when you create them yourself, you draw inspiration from spending time with nature and flexing your creative muscles!

These terrarium kits are a great way to get started, or you can opt to make your own using our guide here!

Available at: Twig Terrariums


Inspirational Art

Adding meaningful art to your holistic space can also invoke inspiration on a daily basis. 

Whether you create your own inspirational artwork to hang or opt for an outside creation that speaks to you, bringing inspirational art into your home and work spaces can help you tap into creativity and inspiration when you need it most. 

Try using our Mandala Matchmaker to choose inspirational art that speaks to your intuition!

Available at: Holistic Spaces