Welcome the Summer Solstice with Feng Shui

Welcome the Summer Solstice with Feng Shui.jpg

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

5 Ways to Embrace the Summer Solstice

It's officially summer! As of today, the 2017 summer solstice, we've moved from spring to summer and are welcoming the fire season after a cold winter! The earth will travel its closest to the sun today, bringing longer days, warmer weather and the official beginning of a new season in the northern hemisphere. We're always fans of the summer season, and in feng shui terms, it's a great time to refresh your space and prepare the coming fire element. Here are our favorite ways to switch to summer in a holistic space!

Clear Your Space

I recommend space clearings on a regular basis to my feng shui clients. They are great ways to refresh the energy in your home, send stagnant energy on its way and welcome positive qi to your space. There are any number of ways to clear the space, but I prefer the BTB feng shui orange peels method or our Holistic Spaces white sage mist during the summer months! The Space white sage spray is finally back in stock, and it's also perfect to travel with during the summer. You don't always want to burn sage when you're staying away from home, so the mist is a brilliant way to clear the space of that guest room without setting off any alarms!

Clean Out Your Closet

We all know the value of closet space, and though it might be necessary to leave out a few warmer pieces for the spring season, summer is hot and vibrant, and it's the ideal time to pack away those winter clothes and make space for light, comfortable summer clothes. You may even find there are clothes you haven't worn that you can get rid of! Each piece of clothing that leaves your space leaves room for a new, quality piece you love. Check out some of our past posts about cleaning out the closet!

Stock Up on Fruits and Veggies

Just as we change our eating habits at the beginning of fall, winter and spring, the summer season brings with it a new list of optimal foods, most notably raw fruits and veggies. With the rise of the heat, fruits and veggies offer a healthy, nutritious way to cool the body, and many (think lettuce, watermelon) even contain a high amount of water to help combat the fire season! My favorite thing is to make watermelon juice. Be sure to juice the rind, too! Watermelon rind contains a wealth of nutrients not found in other fruits and can even help improve blood circulation! 

Swap Out Design Accessories

If you changed up your holistic space to get cozy during the cooler months, it's time to switch back to breezy, cooling accessories for your space. Replace darker colors with light blues, greens and pastels; swap heavy drapes for thin curtains; opt for airy, organic linens and maybe even throw in a few summer-themed pillows! Check out our next My Favorite Things post for our favorite summer design accessories.

Add the Water Element

June is the peak of the fire season, and the best way to balance out excess fire is to add water. You can do this by adding actual water, kidney shaped items, dark blues and blacks and representations of water. Check out my favorite ways to add water to a space!

by Anjie Cho

Q&A Sunday: A Bathroom in the Fame Area

I really appreciate and enjoy your podcasts, and have found the one on finding a job particularly helpful. I immediately took the "do one good deed a day for 27 days challenge" and am currently on day 24 first time around :) My easy, go-to good deed is removing rubbish at the entryway of my apartment block. 

My question for you is that the "Fame" area in our apartment is the bathroom and I'm wondering what I can do about it. The bathroom door directly faces the front door, and they are maybe four meters apart. The connecting hallway is very narrow so I feel like the energy is probably just shooting from the door straight down the drain. As this bathroom also has no window, I need to air it frequently (after a bath or shower) by leaving the door open. Is there anything I can do? 

Piera, Hamburg, Germany

Hi Piera,

Thank you for listening to the podcast and for your wonderful question!

AND…Kudos to you for taking on the “One good deed a day” adjustment!! Did you make it through to day 27? I’d love to hear more about it. Interestingly, when I thing of the feng shui of removing rubbish from the entryway to your apartment block, I'd guess that if you were doing this for a new job, it would definitely help to open up how many opportunities would come to you. Removing the rubbish would probably weed out the undesirable jobs to make space for something amazing. I’d love to hear more about your experience if you’d like to share!

As for your question: What can be done about your bathroom located in the Fame area of your apartment? Since Fame is related to fire, it’s not the most ideal place for a bathroom because it can put out the passion and power of your reputation and how the world sees you. You also noted that the front door is directly in line with the bathroom door, approximately four meters (13 feet) away, all connected with a narrow hallway. If you could send along a floor plan, it would be helpful in determining just how quickly the qi is moving out towards the back of the home.

My first suggestion would be to place a mirror on the outside of the bathroom door. Second, I would suggest that if you have to keep the bathroom door open, perhaps use a curtain (like bamboo, a light fabric, or even a Japanese noren) to keep the bathroom out of the direct line of sight from the front door. Another option could be to place something nearer to the front door that blocks the view to the toilet. It’s unhealthy in feng shui to have the toilet be the first thing you see when you walk in the home. Again, I suggest you send in your floor plan to see if that’s possible. Either way, I would go with the curtain option as well to help with this situation.

Again, I'm very excited to hear that you are working on the 27-day challenge. I find it to be a very helpful feng shui adjustment and hope it has been effective for you! Your intuition regarding the feng shui of your bathroom is excellent, and I do hope you'll send along a floor plan or schedule a 15-minute consultation call so we can be sure your fame and passion isn't flowing right down the drain!

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: 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!