Understanding Feng Shui's Meaning and Purpose

Updated February 24, 2020
Feng shui hanging ornament

Understanding the meaning of feng shui and its purpose helps you balance the chi energy in your home or office. The basic principles of feng shui guide you for the proper location of your home and placement of furnishings.

Understanding Feng Shui's Meaning and Purpose in Your Life

The philosophy of feng shui was first used as a way to site cemeteries, so the energy would be auspicious. Feng shui literally translated means wind and water.

Definition of Feng Shui and Chi Energy

In feng shui, chi energy is the life source for all living matter. The chi energy is made up of yin (female) and yang (male). The goal is to achieve a balance of chi energy. The chi energy is carried through the world by wind and water. The flow of wind and water can be impeded by natural or manmade structures.

Wind and Water Interact With Environments

In feng shui, the wind carries auspicious chi energy through the exterior and interior of your home. The water delivers positive chi to revitalize your space. Water can also be used to disperse inauspicious chi energy.

Basic Principles of Feng Shui and Chi Energy

The most important function of feng shui is to address any issues outside a home or building. The surrounding environment is more important than the interior of your home or office. If chi energy is blocked or altered, it cannot flow freely. In such instances, no amount of cures and remedies made inside your home or office will correct the issue.

Serene Zen water stones

Feng Shui Goal and Ideal

The goal of feng shui is to correct, remedy and attract chi energy into your home, apartment or office and allow it to the flow throughout. The chi energy needs to be balanced. This is achieved through the use of the five elements.

Five Elements of Feng Shui

The ancient Chinese broke down the makeup of the world into five elements that include water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. Each element has positive and negative chi energies. The feng shui goal is to activate these elements inside your home or office to attract the chi energy into that space.

Feng Shui Practitioners

A feng shui practitioner will use several tools, such as a magnetic compass to take readings of a building site or an existing home or building. These readings will guide the practitioner for possible feng shui remedies to correct stagnant or negative chi energy. Feng shui practitioners often work with architects, interior designers, and home owners to maximize the flow of positive chi energy.

Feng Shui Bagua

Another tool used in feng shui is called the bagua. The bagua is octagon shaped and is divided into the eight wedges. These wedges represent the main eight compass directions of north, northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest, west, and northwest. The compass wedges are called sectors.

  • Each sector rules a specific area of life, such as career, education, health, wealth, fame/recognition, love/relationships, descendants (children), and mentors.
  • Each sector is governed by one of the five elements.
  • Each sector is represented by colors that correlate to the element of that sector.

How the Bagua Is Used

A bagua overlay is placed over your home layout or blueprint according to the compass reading made by the feng shui practitioner. The facing direction of your home is usually the front door.

Compass Directions and the Bagua

The bagua overlay will give you a clear picture of the various sectors (compass directions) of each room in your home. This information helps you determine which elements need to be activated in each room to achieve balance and encourage the chi energy to flow into that area.

Feng shui compass and blueprint

Practical Application of Feng Shui Principles

The way to best understand how feng shui is used in a home or office is through the practical application of feng shui principles. Feng shui begins outside in the natural environment of your home or office.

  • The landscaping of your home or office should follow the feng shui principles for compass directions and placement.
  • Feng shui can guide new construction, and existing construction through the arrangement of rooms and traffic patterns.
  • The art of furniture placement impacts the amount, type and flow of energy in each room.

Feng Shui Optimizes Luck Sectors

The art of feng shui is used to optimize abundance and prosperity of every luck sector. It corrects imbalances that can lead to poor health, financial hardship, failed relationships, or just a general sense of being ill at ease and "stuck" in disappointment or misfortune.

Feng Shui in Practice

The practice and application of feng shui provides ways to harmonize every aspect of your life. Every object, color, and material in your environment is selected and arranged to increase the flow of auspicious chi energy and neutralize conflicting elements.

Feng Shui Effects on You

The physical changes to a space are pragmatic. However, the spiritual effects of changes are personal, uplifting and dynamic. You can feel the shift in energy the moment you walk into your feng shui newly arranged room.

Feng Shui Schools and Rules

There are several feng shui schools or disciplines that follow their own specific rules and principles. Learning feng shui often involves these schools and putting their rules into practice. Classical feng shui schools include, Form School, Compass School, Flying Star (Xuan Kong), Four Pillars (Ba Zi aka Birthday), Eight Mansions (East/West Groups), and others.

Feng shui water fountain
  • Form school addresses the outdoors natural environment and landscape feng shui
  • Compass school of feng shui uses tools, such as a magnetic north compass and the bagua.
  • Flying Star (Xuan Kong) is used to find and chart the chi energy in your home or office.
  • Lo Shu square or magic square is used to chart the flight of the stars.
  • Four Pillars or BaZi is a type of feng shui astrology.
  • Eight Mansions (East/West Groups) is based on your Kua number that determines if you're in the East Group or West Group. This delivers your four best directions and your four worst directions.

BTB School of Feng Shui

The Black Hat Sect Tantric Buddhist Feng Shui (BTB) is a Western feng shui created by Chinese Grandmaster Thomas Lin Yun sometime during the 1980s. This more modern form of feng shui is based on Taoism, Tibetan Buddhism and parts of Classical feng shui. There are other versions of feng shui that sprung from BTB, such as Intuitive/Modern Feng Shui that takes parts of BTB and various Classical Feng Shui and substitutes feng shui symbols with western ones.

Feng Shui and You

Books, courses, and online resources are all terrific ways to learn more about feng shui in order to see your own environment with new eyes. A trained feng shui expert can provide in-depth treatment of your space, help you selects an ideal furniture layout, appropriate furnishings, or calculate the best location for a home or business.

Understanding Feng Shui's Meaning and Its Purpose

You can add feng shui to your arsenal of strategies to attract good luck, fame, fortune, and avoid inauspicious chi energy. The feng shui principles you use to invite auspicious chi into your life are as timeless as wind and water.

Understanding Feng Shui's Meaning and Purpose