Q&A Sunday: Numbers and Feng Shui

What is the significance of numbers in feng shui?

Jacqueline R., Cleveland, OH

A few years ago, I was honored to attend a sacred geometry lecture with Robert Lawlor, an anthropologist, mythographer, symbologist and author of several books. The symbolism of numbers goes hand in hand with sacred geometry as well as feng shui. Lawlor remarked sadly that because we have been taught that numbers merely denote quantities, our society has been robbed of a metaphorical language. He further argued that everything in the physical world has three aspects or dimensions, and therefore similarly everything (including numbers) represents symbols at three different levels, and with at least three methods of meaning.

I thought that was a brilliant and very relevant point. So to answer your question, I’ll present the meanings of the most significant feng shui numbers on three levels. In feng shui, each number 1 through 9 relates to a specific area of the feng shui bagua map.

ONE: Path in life, water and career

TWO: Relationships, yin earth and partnerships

THREE: New beginnings, yang wood and family

FOUR: Abundance, yin wood and wealth

FIVE: Health, earth and the center of your life/home

SIX: Benefactors, yang metal and travel

SEVEN: Completion, yin metal and joy

EIGHT: Knowledge, yang earth and self-cultivation

NINE: Recognition, fire and passion

Additionally, nine is the most auspicious number in BTB feng shui. It represents the most complete number. Many feng shui cures require repetitions of nine (such as repeating a ritual nine times, or using a string in increments of nine units). I also receive all my fees in a multiple of nine and in nine red envelopes. The number 108 is a multiple of nine and one of the most auspicious numbers in Buddhism. Malas, which are Buddhist prayer beads, have 108 beads, and many mantras are chanted 108 times.

Five is also auspicious as it represents the five elements or phases. The five elements are earth, metal, water, wood and fire. These elements are related to feng shui philosophy and the bagua map. They create balance and harmony when you have all five present in your environment.

Finally, pairs (or the number Two) are often used in bedrooms for couples. As I've indicated above, the number Two symbolizes a couple and can encourage a balanced and harmonious relationship. If you are looking for a partner, it's also favorable to have paired objects in the bedroom.

Numbers are symbolic metaphors and offer us unique and beneficial ways to look at our environment and the world around us.

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!


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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Holistic Spaces 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

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It's already that time again! We've curated another Holistic Spaces Holiday Gift Guide to help you find the perfect gifts for everyone in your life. Lots of us go into the new year with resolutions for self-improvement, so this year's gift guide is tailored to help achieve those goals! From meditation to essential oils to yummy teas and more, we've chosen 12 amazing options for anyone seeking to find peace and holistic wellness in 2018. We also recommend giving a listen to some of our favorite podcasts, including Episode 051: Creativity and Feng Shui with Laura Morris, Episode 048: Essential Oils and Feng Shui, Episode 024: Creating Holistic Spaces for Inspiration and so many more! Feel free to share some of your favorite self-improvement tools and Holistic Spaces posts in the comments!


Essential Oil Necklace Diffuser

Essential oils can be wonderful tools for self-care and self-improvement. This necklace can be paired with an essential oil for an amazing gift. Listen to my friend, Andrea Giordano on podcast Episode 048: Essential Oils and Feng Shui, for some inspiration on different essential oils.

Essential oils can help in a variety of areas, from improving focus to lifting mood, treating headaches and much more. This personal diffuser is the perfect introduction to using essential oils for healing, inside and out. Add a drop of your selected oil to the porous lava rock inside, and enjoy personalized olfactory treatment for hours! You can even carry drops in the vial that comes along!

Available at: Amazon


TheraBox Subscription

With box subscriptions more popular than ever, I'm excited to see a box set geared toward happiness and self-improvement! TheraBox is curated by therapists and filled with research-backed activities and goodies to enhance your mood and life! 

Each monthly box includes one happiness-boosting activity and "5-7 consciously crafted, natural, organic, or artisan self-care wellness goodies to promote relaxation & wellbeing!" Past boxes have included mud masks, incense, journals, planners, aromatherapy inhalers and many more incredible self-care items! 

Available at: CrateJoy


Analog Alarm Clock

The type of clock you use in your space, may seem trivial, but an analog clock can be symbolic. An analog clock represents the idea of time as a cycle that starts over anew each day, giving us continuing hope. 

I love this simple, elegant analog alarm clock from Amazon. It's made of real wood, silent, battery operated and is a perfect fit for any space. It's also small enough to travel with and serves as a nightlight as well as a clock. What a great way to carry the feeling of hope throughout your own holistic spaces and those you visit!

Available at: Amazon


The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook

One of my favorite hobbies is the Japanese art of Sashiko, needlework quilting. I've received many compliments on my projects recently! This sourcebook is my go-to and is ideal for those interested in getting into Sashiko or starting a new hobby.

Susan Briscoe's guide includes an introduction to Sashiko, a list of what you'll need to get started, step-by-step patterns for your projects and beautiful inspiration by Japanese textile artists! It's the perfect gift for readers, crafters and learners, and Sashiko can easily serve as a way focus your mind and gain a little clarity around whatever is going on in your life!

Available at: Amazon


Zafu Zabuton Meditation Cushion Set

It's difficult to talk about improvement and self-care without mentioning meditation! This practice has been life changing for me, whether on a cushion or in more active styles like Ikebana

One of my recommendations for meditators is to create a holistic space dedicated to meditation. You can include altars, special items and more, but don't forget the meditation pillow! This set from Samadhi is the ideal combination, featuring a sitting cushion as well as a larger, flat cushion to protect the knees and ankles. Not sure if your gift recipient would like meditation? Read up on it here and here and listen in here

Available at: Samadhi Cushions


Wonder Walking Deck

Another of our favorite people is artist, Amy T. Won, who creates stunning paintings in her beautiful holistic studio. Amy's art is based on her observations of the natural world, and she's even created a 12-week online course for reigniting creativity! 

This set of cards follows that train of thought, aiming to reconnect with nature and creativity. Amy's Wonder Walking Deck "features intuitive mood paintings and explorer notes from the pages of my personal sketchbook, inspired by Spring and Summer’s wonder-walks."

The deck makes an incredible gift for artists, art lovers or anyone seeking to rekindle the fire of creativity. 

Available at: The Curio Shop


Eco-Friendly Journal

Whether you're experiencing challenges or just hoping to get to know yourself better, journaling is an excellent way to fill your own cup and keep track of your goals and achievements. 

I love this eco-friendly journal, handmade in Nepal! Each page of the notebook is created through an ancient process of cooking and drying the fibers from Himalayan Lokta bushes, and the cover is colored with varying vegetable dyes! Not only does this journal provide a beautiful place to capture and explore your thoughts, it contains rich Nepali history and supports individual artists in the Himalayas!  

 Available at: Amazon


Rubber Plant

I love adding plants to holistic spaces. They bring the wood element and nature into your space and are excellent tools for increasing indoor air quality

In his book, How to Grow Fresh Air, Dr. B.C. Wolverton lists 50 houseplants proven to reduce VOCs and other harmful pollutants in our indoor spaces. The rubber plant is one of the highest rated plants due to its ease of care and ability to remove airborne toxins.  Affordable, effective, healing and easy to care for, a rubber plant makes a beautiful, loving gift that keeps giving!  

Available at: SpecialGreen via Etsy


Ketu Yantra Mandala for Spirituality & Healing

For friends and relatives dedicated to, or experiencing, personal growth, the Ketu yantra mandala is an incredible, meaningful gift and a beautiful addition to any space. 

This mandala relates to spirituality, healing and introspection and connects directly with the New Beginnings and Knowledge (or self-cultivation) bagua areas. Perfect for New Year's resolutions! The Ketu mandala actually has a yin, meditative energy, so it's also perfect for a meditation space

Available at: Holistic Spaces


The Furoshiki Handbook

Another beautiful Asian tradition I love is Furoshiki. Furoshiki is the art of Asian fabric wrapping, rich in symbolism and making its way to the western world. Furoshiki uses cloth to wrap a variety of objects, and the ties in the fabric represent ties between the individuals giving and receiving the items. 

Furoshiki is a way to offer great care and detail in how we present our gifts and feelings to others. It is even touted as a great communication tool. This book teaches basic Furoshiki tying as well as more intricate and elaborate styles of tying, including specific examples like bottles, books, scarves and more!

Available at: Amazon


Wellness Tea Sample

I don't drink coffee often, but tea is a different story! I keep a collection of teas in my kitchen, and each of them serves a different purpose, much like the tea selections in this wellness sampler from Teavana! 

Recover, Rev Up, Serenity and Defense all offer more than just delicious flavor. Perfectly curated to soothe whatever ails you, these blends are ideal for relaxing, finding energy, fighting sickness and even getting back on your feet.  

Available at: Teavana


Feng Shui Inspired Malas

My good friend Susan Chan has just launched Amà designs: Feng Shui inspired malas! Malas are meditation beads and intentional reminders encouraging growth in specific areas of your life. Worn on the body or hung in a living/work space, each mala is blessed with a sacred intention and mantra.

New York-based artisans knot the malas and make each tassel by hand. Susan even provides feng shui directions on how to infuse it with your specific intention. Our favorite is the Unconditional Love Mala, what everyone needs when starting the new year. Be loving and compassionate with yourself when taking steps toward your goals. 

Available at: Amà

Why Your Holistic Space Needs Art

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Art may not be the first thing you think of when designing your holistic space, but it actually plays a very important role on many levels. Art, by nature, is very subjective, but its effects in design are much more objective and global. Adding the perfect pieces to your home can bring your area together in various ways. 

Balance The Five Elements

We've mentioned art many times as one of the easiest ways to balance out the five elements in any space. As each element relates to a certain area of the feng shui bagua, symbolized by certain shapes, colors and subjects, selecting a piece of art can bring in one or more of the five elements. For Earth you can add earthy colors like brown, orange and yellow and square shapes. For Metal, look for metallic colors, whites, grays and circular shapes. For Water, choose the colors dark blue and black and wavy shapes. For Wood, opt for green, blue and columnar shapes, and finally, for Fire, look for the color red and triangular shapes.

Meditation

Some types of sacred art can be viewed and contemplated in meditation. For instance, the yantra mandalas are created through meditation in action but also can be a visual focal point of a meditation practice. Sacred art is often created with mantra and symbolism. I once attended and event at the Rubin Museum of Art called a "Dream Over". The museum hosts this event in which attendees are assigned a piece of art that you contemplate overnight. Participants meditate, are read bedtime stories and are invited to sleep and dream under their selected piece of art. Art can be a wonderful way to guide meditation and open your mind to inspiration and creativity. What moves you? Look for that in your art pieces.

Add Nature

While the best way to add nature to a space for feng shui adjustments is with living plants, there are times when that option isn't feasible. Maybe your thumb is charcoal black or you have boisterous pets (or children). In this case, choosing artwork that depicts nature can be a great alternative. Be sure to pay attention to the colors in your art and match them to your feng shui needs for the specific room.

Add Color Without Paint

On a similar note, there are often occasions when painting a space is not an option, such as when renting an apartment. In this case, artwork can serve as a way to add color and brighten a room without breaking terms of a lease. Images can add a healthy dose of color on their own, or you can grab a blank canvas and paint it one solid color for a big pop. 

Nurture Inspiration

Part of what makes a space holistic is that it provides nourishment and inspiration to its residents. We've even done a few posts and a podcast on how to make your space inspirational. One easy way to do this is with art. One of the best things about art is that it can be interpreted in so many ways and boosts creative thinking. Find a piece that inspires you to work toward your goals, make more art, spend more time on creative outlets, etc. 

Strengthen a Room's Purpose

I mentioned earlier that it's important to keep each room's needs in mind when selecting art. This can also be used to your advantage! In design, we often aim for a certain feeling or aura in specific rooms. For instance, the bathroom is often meant to be a place for relaxation and the bedroom for passion. Adding curated artwork can help establish these purposes. Before you look at art, take stock of what you want each room in your space to inspire and find a piece that matches that feeling!

Whether you make your own art, find art that speaks to you or commission a personal piece, bringing artwork into your space can go a long way in making a house into a holistic home. If you're on the lookout for artwork now, consider a Holistic Spaces mandala or reach out to some of our favorite artists below:

Amy T. Won
Mavis Gewant
Carmen Mensink
Karl Lorenzen

by Anjie Cho


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

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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