This is a shoot inspired by the endless, alluring, confusing, contradictory, western world of Feng Shui on the internet. That magic trick activated by mindfulness, dollars and DIY. That place where all your questions are answered (is it bad to have your bed below the window?? we have a small room with two windows so idk where to place our bed. please help me, ann. thanks a lot). The promise of balanced qi (chi) and an end to your chronic lack of money. Tip: The bathroom should not be in the field of wealth. The positive energy for wealthiness will be flushed through the drain.
Traditionally Feng Shui is acknowledged as the ancient Chinese philosophical system of harmonising everyone with the surrounding environment, based upon the observation of heavenly time and earthly space. It gave us the magnetic compass. The practice has had a turbulent history, being classified and banned as one of the “four olds”: old ideas, old culture, old customs and old habits, under Mao’s Cultural Revolution, with severe punishments for practitioners. It has since enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance, along with other traditional belief systems.
But this is not about that.
According to an article titled Feng Shui versus Superstition, published by Dr. Shan-Tung Hsu’s Blue Mountain Institute, today’s practices in the US and Europe have nothing to do with Feng Shui or living in harmony with nature. Much of what is presented as Feng Shui in the US today has been influenced by essentially modern ideas. Now there are many mixtures of superstition, folklore and religion, wearing masks of Feng Shui, but whose teachings do not appear anywhere in the eight hundred or so existing volumes of Feng Shui classics.
Renowned sceptic Robert Todd Campbell wrote in The Skeptic’s Dictionary: …feng shui has become an aspect of interior decorating in the Western world and alleged masters of feng shui now hire themselves out for hefty sums to tell people such as Donald Trump which way his doors and other things should hang.
Perhaps that’s being too cynical. Even the White House was ‘cleansed’ and decorated according to Feng Shui principles before the Obamas moved in.
I can’t be sure because, staying true to the theme, absolutely everything in this article has been scraped together from various sources: Feng Shui websites, fan sites, blogs, forums, comment sections and Wikipedia. Un-fact-checked and mildly irresponsible, it may or may not be trusted.
Styling and photography by Alix-Rose Cowie.