Guest Author - Carol M. Olmstead
Based on a 5,000-year-old Chinese art and science, the various schools of Feng Shui evolved as people saw how their surroundings determined whether they would just survive or thrive. In ancient China, people planned cities in concentric rectangles surrounded by walls that were flanked by lakes, hills, valleys, gardens, courtyards, and parks. As they moved from agrarian to urban societies they modified this Feng Shui planning to fit their environment, resulting in several major schools, or approaches, to Feng Shui.
This gives the modern practitioner in our Western culture a range of techniques and tools to use during a home, office, business, or garden consultation. But it can also leave you confused by all of the seemingly contradictory information.
Feng Shui isnít a religion or superstition. Rather, it is the art and science of keeping your indoor environment balanced and a serious and profound system and technique. The contemporary approach to Feng Shui that I practice is based on common sense, good design principles, regional geography, and a lot of experience and intuition. Feng Shui works in any built environment. Itís a simple matter of placing the right objects, colors, and shapes in the right locations to achieve harmony with nature and with yourself.
Major Schools of Feng Shui
The major schools of Feng Shui use some of the same basic principles, and most use a bagua (pronounced bag-wha), the mapping chart used to analyze a space, but each school has a different approach. For example, Form School focuses on the auspicious positioning of buildings in regard to the landforms around them, Compass School uses a compass to decide auspicious and inauspicious locations for buildings, floor plans, and room layouts, and Black Sect School focuses on the flow of chi. The key to using Feng Shui to design your own personal balance and harmony and to fix anything that is wrong with your real life is to follow whichever school of thought works for the way you live in your home and work in your office. When you combine recommendations from several schools of Feng Shui it often leads to confusion rather than change.
Here is a brief description a few of the more common methods of using Feng Shui --
Feng Shui For Real Life is a contemporary, real-world, and intuitive approach that focuses on how you want to live in your home and work in your office. My weekly articles for BellaOnline are based on the Feng Shui For Real Life approach and orients the bagua map from your front door.Click here to read more about this approach at www.FengShuiForRealLife.com
Form School focuses on the auspicious positioning of buildings in regard to the landforms around them.
Black Sect Tantric Buddhist School is a hybrid of Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism, and Chinese Feng Shui that focuses on the flow of chi. This school, which is also known as "BTB Feng Shui" or "Black Hat Feng Shui," was brought to the West around 1980.
Compass School uses a special compass called a lo-pan to determine auspicious and inauspicious locations for buildings, floor plans, and room layouts.
Flying Star is based on star movements, and corrections are placed to destroy, protect, or use up ill-placed stars.
Pyramid School Feng Shui is a Western adaptation of ancient Chinese Feng Shui, integrating biology, psychology, cultural anthropology, physics, and environmental factors.
Yin House Feng Shui is used in Asia for grave sighting, where it is believed that the placement of an ancestor's grave will have a direct impact on the fortune or misfortune of the family for generations.
Vastu is a philosophy from India that is closely related to Feng Shui and involves designing a home or building to align it with the sun to take advantage of natural light throughout the day.
Bau-biologie translates from the German as "building biology," and is the study of how buildings impact life and health. Factors that it regulates at a building site include climatic and solar influences, air quality, the toxicity of building materials, and primarily the mitigation of excessive electro-magnetic fields.
An excellent reference for additional information about schools of Feng Shui is the International Feng Shui Guild. The Guild website includes a glossary of Feng Shui terms as they apply to the different schools, and a listing of various training programs in the different approaches to Feng Shui. Click here to access the IFSG website www.IFSGuild.org.
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