What Feng Shui isn’t
In order to define Feng Shui (pronounced “fung shway”), it may first be helpful to dispel some common misinterpretations of what Feng Shui is.
It is Not Magic
Feng Shui cannot make money or miracles from nothing. You can’t place a water fountain in a certain corner of your house and watch your bank account swell. Old-fashioned hard work is also required.
It Does Not Require Symbolic or Cultural Objects
Some modern practices that are labeled as “Feng Shui” depend heavily on symbolism and the placement of items throughout your home. This can be considered New-Age Feng Shui, as opposed to Classical Feng Shui, which does not consist of such practices. New-Age Feng Shui is more about the psychological effect of objects than anything else.
The “Eight Aspiration System” is a common example of New-Age Feng Shui. This system uses a very loose interpretation of the Later Heaven Sequence of the Eight Trigrams to designate each corner of the house to a particular life aspiration. North is the Career corner; northeast represents Education; east is the Health corner; southeast means Money; south is Fame; southwest is the Love corner; west represents Family; and northwest represents Mentors. Each aspiration is associated with one of the Five Elements, and objects are used to “enhance” each aspiration within a house.
Other New Age activities like Space Clearing and Dowsing are also sometimes integrated into New-Age Feng Shui practices.
Classical Feng Shui taps into natural environmental energy called Qi (pronounced “chee”, and sometimes written Ch’i) through alignment, changing directions or making use of the strategic positioning of your house or office or room, or bed, or desk. Sometimes, the use of the Five Elements (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal) is also incorporated, but not in the form of cultural or symbolic objects.