An age-old system of aesthetics, Feng Shui is both an art and a science. It uses the laws of astronomy and geography to direct the flow of Qi (Chi). In Chinese philosophy, Qi is the life energy that should be harnessed to improve one’s quality of life. In English, Feng Shui literally means “wind-water.” It is believed that Qi flows and spreads through the wind and can be retained with water.
In ancient times, Feng Shui was applied to landscape buildings so as to control the flow of Qi in the environment and surroundings based on water, land, and stars. Referred to as a metaphysical science, Feng Shui involved calculating the life energy of an environment and harnessing it for potential benefit. Over the years, however, Feng Shui has been considerably popularized and modernized, resulting in the creation of New Age Feng Shui. Consequently, Feng Shui in its original sense was termed Classical Feng Shui.
Classical Feng Shui
Traditional or Classical Feng Shui refers to the practices of Feng Shui that have survived over the centuries. In a sense, Classical Feng Shui is the term used now to refer to the original practice of Feng Shui. Classical Feng Shui is scientific in nature. It requires the use of calculations and formula, as well as Lo Pan (a specialized compass) to design and landscape a building such that its occupants can benefit from the positive flow of Qi. Classical Feng Shui is complex in that it functions regardless of the occupants’ beliefs. It encompasses time and land and water formation, the direction, location, and function of the building, and the occupant’s interaction with the environment. Simply put, Classical Feng Shui is a constant state of living in which Qi is harnessed to improve the quality of life. It does not require charms of beliefs to work. It is intended to work in the background, positively benefiting the occupants.
New Age Feng Shui
Over the last 15 to 20 years, the Westernization of Feng Shui has resulted in the creation of an entirely new concept of Feng Shui, termed New Age Feng Shui. New Age Feng Shui relies heavily on good luck charms, ornaments and trinkets. It is said to work only if the occupants believe in it, perhaps because these man-made objects do not naturally possess Qi. Based on an individual’s beliefs, New Age Feng Shui suggests that one must assume/belief good results for Feng Shui to work. While Classical Feng Shui is mostly based on scientific calculations, New Age Feng Shui is founded on feelings and intuition. Moreover, New Age Feng Shui has become almost synonymous with interior design, and in comparison to Classical Feng Shui, it is relatively simple. It employs simple techniques (or rules) to bring about improvement in a person’s environment and consequently in the person’s life. For example, a cluttered room will result in complications in one’s life. New Age Feng Shui proposes that if one focuses on the problems and issues with the objective of bringing about positive change, one can improve the quality of one’s life. It also requires making structural and physical changes to the living environment, such as hanging reflective mirrors at the entrance or using charms to ward off negative energy.