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

Colors and Elemental Energy in Feng Shui.jpg

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!


House to Home: Your Perfect Workspace

featured on telegram.com by Debbie Travis

Dear Debbie: When is working at home a bad idea? I find it a real struggle to put aside home tasks and unrelated phone calls and get down to concentrating on my paying job as an accountant. Should I rent office space? — Anna

Dear Anna: For many people, working at home solves myriad challenges, including time lost traveling and food expenses. Also, cutting down on sick days is easier when you don’t have to venture out. Having a home office can be ideal with today’s computer connections, but it also depends on your career choice. Many accountants work from home, so consider how you can better situate yourself so that you can close out home distractions and concentrate on your clients.

In her recent book “Holistic Spaces, 108 Ways to Create a Mindful and Peaceful Home,” the author, interior architect Anjie Cho, lays out how to create holistic spaces using many disciplines. She thinks of feng shui as the original “green” design and looks at how the environment affects us on an energetic level, as well as how we affect the environment.

The philosophy of where to situate furniture in relation to doors and windows, what should or should not be in a room and how we can benefit by following these rules is an ancient one, and not often thought about in western societies. Because so many of Cho’s rules and so much of her guidance is backed by a combination of common sense and tested theories, it is a valuable companion, especially if you are struggling with home anxieties.

…read full article


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: Driveways in Feng Shui

Driveways in Feng Shui.jpg

We are buying new modular house and putting it on land we bought. The grading and landscape guy wants to put a circular drive in front and a carport to the side of the house that the master bedroom is on, which is the dragon side of house, (the carport would not be connected to house but sits at an angle, so there are no poison arrows toward the house). I’m ok with that, but he thinks a drive from the carport to the basement entrance should go around the back yard to the basement entrance. I’m not sure that’s good, or should the basement drive come off the circular drive in front of the house. If it comes off the front driveway, will too much water (energy) be flowing by the front of house? The house is facing north, with the left side higher than the right, as the basement entrance is on the south end.

Barbara L., Charlotte, NC

Hi Barbara,

Thank you for your thoughtful question! I will only be able to answer only half, as the other half is a bit more complicated and requires an in-depth consultation with a feng shui practitioner who can take a closer look at your floor plans and the layout of the land. I will be happy to discuss a few points you mentioned.

BTB Feng Shui Easy Armchair.jpg

Congratulations on your new home and the land! For anyone who may be wondering what Barbara means by the “dragon side” of her home, in BTB feng shui, there are some directions we do look at in terms of house location. Imagine that you are the house sitting in an easy, comfortable armchair position with your back against the wall. To your right is the green dragon (if you are standing outside and facing the house from the outside, this would be the left side). On your left (as the house) is a white tiger. Behind you is a black tortoise, and in front of you is a red bird. These are the directions Barbara is referring to.

The part of this question I can speak to regards the circular driveway. If you have a circular driveway, it is ideal for the driveway to curve towards the house and hug or embrace the house. This will bring more wealth, abundance, good health, qi and opportunities. When the driveway curves away from the house, all this energy and opportunity moves away from you. So it’s great that you’re putting in your own driveway, and I would recommend ensuring that it curves toward the house rather than away from it, like in the drawing below.

Curved Driveway.jpg

Unfortunately, as I note in most of my posts, I practice BTB feng shui, which doesn’t consider cardinal directions, so I cannot comment on the house facing north, especially with the information I’m given. If you are very concerned about this, it would be helpful to find a feng shui consultant in your area with whom you resonate and who you trust and have them take a look at the lay of your land and your plans, to assess the energy there.

Thank you so much for your question!

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!


New Year, New Home: Q&A with Anjie Cho

image credit: CICO Books via    Ryland Peter & Small

image credit: CICO Books via Ryland Peter & Small

We know January can feel like a bit of a slog, but it's also a great time to stand back and take stock of where you are and what you want to achieve this year. If you feel like your home is in need of a re-design, big or small, now's the time to make sure your environment is supporting and nurturing you as much as possible. We spoke to Anjie Cho, architect, feng shui consultant and author of Holistic Spaces, about how to maximize the potential of your space and get 2019 off to the best possible start!

Hi Anjie! So what are holistic spaces?

Space is physical, emotional, energetic, and so holistic spaces is a way to look at all the space around you in an integrated way. When you can begin to see that your inner and outer spaces are connected, it gives you insight and joy. It's a mindful way to work with the environment around us, so that we can see the magic in our everyday life. Every moment and every space has a gift to offer. 

When did you first become interested in feng shui?

In my late twenties I was pretty miserable and looking for happiness outside of myself. On a trip to the Buddhist country of Thailand, I had an epiphany during a Reiki session where I realized that when I returned to New York City I would begin a journey to find contentment within myself. So, I started studying meditation, yoga, and naturally next came feng shui. I was an architect so I wanted to bring this mindfulness into my work as well.

…read full article


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


Nine Star Ki for the Earth Pig Year 2019

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Happy Chinese New Year!

Next Tuesday, we celebrate the Chinese New Year! I am excited to greet the Year of the Pig with my new class, 2019: Golden Cicada and Welcoming the Wealth Gods. Join me on Monday to learn these powerful rituals for the new lunar year! You can learn more and enroll here.

A new lunar year also means new Nine Star Ki forecasts! In addition to Chinese zodiac astrology, I like to use the numerology of the Nine Star Ki to prepare for the coming year and stay energetically balanced. This practice was developed in ancient China, so it logically goes well with feng shui, and is based on a number system of nine rather than the animal system (but be sure to check out your 2019 zodiac horoscope here!). It also closely aligns with the five element principles and the I-Ching

Don’t forget to also grab one of our custom aromatherapy blends for each Nine Star Ki number in the Year of the Pig. Each aromastick is created to provide support and enhance the energy for your individual number in the coming lunar year, and they can be used in conjunction with feng shui!

If you’ve never used Nine Star Ki before, have no fear! Use the guidelines below to find your number, and let’s get started!

You can calculate your principle number by using your year of birth. Beware: this requires a little elementary math ;)

As an example, if you were born in 1986:

  • Add: 1+9+8+6 = 24

  • Reduce to a single digit: 2+4 = 6

  • Subtract from 11: 11-6 = 5

*if you were born between January 1 and February 4, subtract from 12:  12-6 = 6

If you were born in 1940:

  • Add: 1+9+4+0 = 14

  • Reduce to a single digit: 1+4 = 5

  • Subtract from 11: 11-5 = 6

*if you were born between January 1 and February 4, subtract from 12:  12-5 = 7

Here's what all that calculating means for the Year of the Earth Pig in 2019:

If your principle number is 1, in 2019 you will be in the year of Celebration. This year will feel celebratory and playful. It is a great time to relax and pat yourself on the back for all the hard work that you put in the last few years. Enjoy yourself, rejoice and have some fun. As a 1 Water person, you will feel very supported and enjoy this 7 metal year. It’s an auspicious year for you!

If your principle number is 2, in 2019 you will be in the year of Stillness. This year will be much quieter than the last. It will be a time of stillness, like climbing up a mountain to meditate in isolation. This is a great time to focus inward and do some self-cultivation. As a 2 Earth person, you will feel at home in this 8 Earth year. This is a time to ground yourself and go deep and focus on self-care.

If your principle number is 3, in 2019 you will be in the year of Recognition. This year you will be in the house of fire, where you have the best opportunities to be seen and recognized by others. It is a great time to receive any promotions or any other projects that you want publicity for. Be careful, as all things, good or bad, may be unveiled to the public. As a 3 Wood person, you may be prone to burn out in this 9 Fire year. Add some water and go with the flow to tone down the flames.

If your principle number is 4, in 2019 you will be in the year of Planning. This year will feel quiet and is a time for planning. In the winter, it may appear that everything is dead on the surface, but underneath there is much life and activity. Similarly, it may feel slow, but take this time to reflect, review and plan for the future. As a 4 Wood person, you will feel very supported and rejuvenated in this 1 Water year. Take advantage of the quietness and rest up!

If your principle number is 5, in 2019 you will be in the year of Germination. This year will be the time to plant seeds. When you plant a garden, you germinate many more seeds than you need. Do the same this year. Put all your ideas out there into the universe and share them with others. Plant the seeds and see what comes up! As a 5 Earth person, you will feel supported in this 2 Earth year. Enjoy, and let this year take care of you.

If your principle number is 6, in 2019 you will be in the year of Sprouting. This year will be energetic and full of new beginnings as you catch sight of seeds that you planted last year begin to sprout and grow. Be open to new ideas and cultivate the projects that you start at this time. As a 6 Metal person, you may feel a little overwhelmed in this 3 Wood year. Remember that this is a time to sharpen and expand. Take care to not get burnt out and depleted.

If your principle number is 7, in 2019 you will be in the year of Rapid Growth. This year will be a continuation of last year where you see your sprouts grow into strong, grounded trees. This year will be busy and active, so please take care of yourself and be careful not to get burnt out. As an 7 Metal person, you may sense some upheaval in this 4 Wood year, but remember that it's about creating movement and change for the better! Take care not to get overwhelmed and burnt out.

If your principle number is 8, in 2019 you will be in the year of Fluctuation. This year will feel a little chaotic, as this is a time of renewal and rebirth. You many need to reinvent yourself this year. It’s a great time to let things go that are no longer serving you. As an 8 Earth person, you will feel generally supported in this 5 Earth year. Emphasize some self-love and care this year.

If your principle number is 9, in 2019 you will be in the year of Prosperity. This year will feel strong and prosperous. You will begin to feel confident and be recognized for your knowledge and skills. There will still be a lot of effort, but you shall finally be harvesting the fruits of your labor. As a 9 Fire person, you will feel good in this 6 Metal year. Make the most of it!

Hopefully 2019 holds lots of promise and positive energy for you! Even if the year ahead appears challenging, remember that great things can come from difficulty. Interested in learning more about Nine Star Ki? Listen in on this Holistic Spaces podcast, and take a peek at the blog, too, for ideas on how to celebrate the Chinese New Year! Regardless of your number or zodiac animal, remember to take care of yourself during the Year of the Earth Pig! Start this off by grabbing a three-dimensional tiger charm to carry with you at all times for protection and support and enrolling for the Golden Cicada ritual event. Since the Tiger is the Pig's best friend, carrying this charm will keep you in their good graces. :) Happy Lunar New Year!

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I launched our program in September 2018. To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

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.