While feng shui is reportedly experiencing a revival in China, the ancient practice of arranging space to achieve environmental harmony has already gained widespread acceptance in B.C.
Banned since China’s Communists seized power in 1949, feng shui is now practised more openly, especially in coastal and southern cities such as Shenzhen, Xiamen, and Shanghai, the Independent newspaper in the U.K. reported on January 12.
As members of China’s rising economic elite ponder what physical arrangements in their posh properties will bring good luck, the report noted, feng shui practitioners are increasingly being called upon for their advice.
Here in B.C., where waves of Chinese immigrants have settled since the 19th century, feng shui—pronounced “fung shway”—has found wide acceptance across multicultural communities. Italo Fionda, a Vancouver real-estate agent of Italian extraction, does more than just post feng shui tips for homes from time to time on his Web site (www.italo.com/), which list his property listings. Fionda told the Georgia Straight that his house faces west, where he said a lot of energy comes from. To control this energy and reflect it throughout the house, he has installed a mirror by his front door.
“It’s the art of placement,” Fionda said of his understanding of feng shui, which translates as “wind and water”. He noted that feng shui books are part of his small book collection at a corner of his office, which he said also contains bonsai, or miniaturized, plants. He keeps this space always tidy, and calls it his sanctuary.
“The main basis [of feng shui], the way I understand, is clutter,” he said. “For me, that’s good enough—make it [space] less cluttered.”
According to the Feng Shui Institute, a Rochester, U.K.–based centre for the promotion of traditional Chinese geomancy, feng shui is “the study of how energy flows between nature and people and vice versa”.
“The origins of Feng Shui were not limited to the Chinese, most ancient civilizations used a form of Feng Shui,” the centre states on its Web site (www.feng-shui-institute.org/). “It is popular today because in our fast paced society, we have moved further away from living in a natural way.
”Marlyna Los is a Vancouver-based feng shui consultant. She explained to the Straight that “human energy is intricately connected with the environment”.
This is why Los rails against how some homes are constructed. “It’s common in North America to have garages inside homes,” she said. “If you really think about it, the idea of driving a car [inside] with all its noxious chemicals is crazy. The garage becomes the front door. What they [residents] see, and arrive [to at] home is mess, and stuff they haven’t dealt with. It’s not greeting them in a way that lifts their spirits.
”Vernon, B.C.–based feng shui consultant Teresa Hwang told the Straight that most of her clients in the Okanagan region, Vancouver, and Calgary aren’t Chinese.
Hwang noted that she has a number of Indo-Canadian clients in Vancouver who consult her when they buy a home, build a house, or do renovations. Using what she calls traditional feng shui practices, Hwang advises them on matters like the layout of the house, where to place the front door, or how to harness what she calls “wealth energy”.“A lot of times, people have no idea that the wealth energy is actually blocked,” Hwang said. “Sometimes when there are no openings in that particular direction—say energy coming from the north, and there are no openings in the north—then the wealth energy is blocked.”
Urban Remix Interior Arrangement Specialists offer real-estate staging as part of their services. Eyoí lha Baker, owner of this North Shore–based outfit, said she uses feng shui principles in home staging, which is the process of enhancing the best features of a house put up for sale.
“Home staging is about creating a space that’s warm and inviting,” Baker told the Straight. “And you can incorporate feng shui by setting up things in a certain angle so energy can move freely around the room.”
Baker noted that as a member of the Squamish Nation, she understands that all things should be in harmony with nature, hence her intuitive appreciation of feng shui.