How can feng shui maximise your luck for the year? You have probably come across this in an advertisement. You may also have heard or read about someone who struck a lottery after rearranging his furniture according to certain feng shui principles. You may even have been told to place a certain plant at a certain corner of your living room to improve the feng shui of
What is feng shui? Why do people – from the highly educated to the illiterate, from the East to the West – believe in it? In the last two decades, the interest in feng shui has caught on globally. In fact, one of the non-fiction best sellers listed by The Star for the week ending last Nov. 16 was Flying Star Feng Shui for Period 8 by Lillian Too.
Feng shui, literally “wind water” in Chinese, is the study of ancient Chinese philosophy of nature. It is often identified as a form of geomancy – that is divination by means of geographic features – and is mainly concerned with understanding the relationship between nature and man so that man might live in harmony within the environment. Its original focus was to provide auspicious burial site for the dead but this was later expanded to include providing auspicious structures for the living, fortune-telling, and prescribing remedies to people who have poor feng shui, and thus, miserable lives.
In ancient days, feng shui was conscientiously sought after and utilised by the Chinese emperors, especially in the building of imperial palaces and for personal power and success. The Imperial City in Beijing is a great example of good feng shui construction and landscaping as the environment and structure conform to the best feng shui principles. For a long time the knowledge of feng shui was closely guarded from the enemies. Later, it was confined to the upper ruling classes.
When a person says he has good feng shui, it probably refers to his state of well-being resulting from arranging his surrounding in auspicious harmony with
the natural environment. Given that human being has a natural tendency to interact with nature, the ultimate goal is to capture the intrinsic energy or shen chi that moves around the atmosphere, to attract or harness all the good fortune that one can desire: wealth, health, success and happiness. Since the
Creator God exists in every human heart, the natural environment – as opposed to our modern scientific desert – testifies to His existence.
In general, the practice of feng shui draws upon the fundamental concepts of the ancient Chinese view of the universe, which requires an understanding of balancing yin and yang forces and harmonising the combinations of the five elements – fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Among the Chinese, feng shui technology is commonly applied to designing, construction, orientation and decoration of buildings in order to “tap into the beneficial energies that cause intangible forces to generate good fortune,” according to Lillian Too’s Feng Shui Fundamentals: FAME.
Science, Superstition or Art?
Certain feng shui experts like to call it a science while others look at it as an art. In his two interesting articles on migratory birds and the lemming animals respectively, the Malaysian feng shui master Dr Ong Hean Tatt used feng shui principles to scientifically explain the interconnection of the 12-year zodiac cycle with climatic and environmental changes.
Indeed, feng shui can be very exact in its calculations to get the best location, form, structure and decoration of a dwelling place. It also demands careful interpretation and subjective evaluation, and intuition. This is perhaps why women are sometimes considered more efficient in undertaking feng shui analysis because they are more intuitive and detail oriented.
The feng shui language is full of symbolism. Besides the yin and yang symbol and the five elements mentioned above, there are the trigrams, the octagonal pa kua symbol, and the nine sector of the lo shu grid. Others are symbolic of abstract aspirations such as longevity, happiness, fame, wealth, and fertility in marriage.
For example, placing the frog with a coin in its mouth outside the main entrance of the house is expected to bring wealth to the family. The crane symbolises longevity and a pair of mandarin ducks symbolises happiness in love. Jars attract chi to settle when placed near the entrance of the house. Fan is a symbol of protection for the home. Likewise, placing the umbrella at the front part of the lobby is believed to ward off burglars. The mystic knot indicates a never-ending cycle of good fortune. There are many other symbols believed to attract or activate the energy that brings good luck.
“The cosmic breath of the dragon is the ultimate shen chi,” says a well-known geomancer. The “symbol of the dragon is the ultimate yang symbol”, and it is also said to be the “ultimate symbol of good luck.” Obviously the dragon is the centre of feng shui considerations. To most Chinese, it is a symbol of good
fortune. Therefore it is highly desirable and is even revered or worshiped as a good luck charm.
It may seem harmless and attractive to utilise some of the symbols as decorations. But for Christians, there is a danger that we may unconsciously put our trust in them to bring good fortune. When that happens, we insult God because it indicates greed and a lack of trust in Him. Such practices amount to idolatry. Col.3:5 says, “…Don’t be greedy which is the same as worshiping idols.”
Christians need to make choices that lead to either ultimate good and divine blessings or total destruction, even if we gain the whole world in the interim period. “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”
The feng shui literature and advertisements are definitely enticing, feeding on our fleshly desires. In her book “Feng shui and Wealth,” Lilian Too says: “Earth luck is feng shui… Earth luck helps you to enhance good heaven luck, thus expanding the scale of your successes during good times, and bringing you good fortune and prosperity. It also modifies inauspicious heaven luck, helping you overcome difficulties and loss during astrological bad times.”
We Christians can be enticed by mammon if we are not alert. It is worth reminding ourselves of James 1: 14-15, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desires has conceived it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
A professional feng shui consultant, advertised his course this way: “Learn the crux of the ‘Moving Stars’ and the ‘Shien Kong Moving Stars’ Schools which are practised by top Hong Kong Geomancers. You will be able to forecast events and adjust the feng shui to either enhance or neutralise them. Thus you become the Master of Your Destiny! When you conclude this level, you will have attained the standard of a respected Hong Kong Geomancer.”
Wouldn’t you be fascinated? There is an innate desire to satisfy our curiosity of the unknown, to learn the secrets of our future and the hidden things. God has made it such that we want to find out about our future (Eccl. 3:14) with the intended purpose of seeking Him and to fear Him alone. Unfortunately people create schemes to bypass God’s way.
“Curiosity kills the cat”, so the saying goes. The moment we have an interest in things of the occult, we make an opening to the influences of the enemy. When we seek them out, the enemy wastes no time to be found.
Our future is in God’s hand. The secret things belong to the Lord (Deut. 29:29). As Christians we are forbidden to dabble in or have any dealings with the elemental or nether world spirits. In Christ we have died to the elemental spirits of the universe. C. S. Lewis claims that pantheism is the natural bend of human mind because deep down in every human heart, God exists.
The Deceiver may grasp every opportunity, through the large number of symbolism used in feng shui to make man pantheistic instead of just worshiping the one true living God. When the human minds are obsessed with feng shui which promises them everything that they desire, they then have no need for God, let alone worship Him. – This article is contributed by the NECF Malaysia Research Commission.