in others it is harsh and irritating.
In some places it is gentle and nurturing,
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Energy (or Chi) flows around in our environment, much like the Wind and Water from which Feng Shui gets its name (Feng = Wind & Shui = Water).
Dragon Tiger Phoenix and Tortoise
The Black tortoise at the back of a building is a protector, bringing strength and health to the occupants, with the White Tiger and the Green Dragon protecting the sides of the house and a Phoenix at the front, helping to retain the energy.
In rural land form these will most usually take the form of hills a bit like the diagram on the right.
In modern day suburbia the wall or fence at the back of a garden or even the buildings behind provide the protection at the back. The functions of the Tiger and the Dragon are carried out by the buildings and fences on each side. Like the diagram on the far right.
The Phoenix is often the front garden fence but can be a small raised bed or a bush.
It is usually a good idea to have protection to both sides and to the rear of a building, and a fairly open, though not exposed, area in front.
There are two principle kinds of energy.
The energy which is in the air blowing around with the wind. This energy is quite fast moving or “Yang”. It can be quite difficult to relax in this energy although it is very useful for active pursuits such as manufacturing industry.
The house looks quite exposed so the energy will be quite Yang which will help to balance out the Yin effects created by its thick stone walls.
The other kind of energy seeps up out of the ground and is held by enclosed spaces (such as buildings), heavy objects and larges plants such as trees (and the thick stone walls of the cottage above).
It’s good to help you rest and recuperate, but too much can put you to sleep - literally - think about what it’s like inside a totally enclosed cellar.
An area such as this one, though beautiful would be too yin to live in without clearing some of the vegetation.
Sha is a term used to refer to harmful energy. It is also known by such terms as pointed arrows, cutting chi and “heaven chop”. It is a very strong narrow flow of energy, analogous to a draught of cold air through a slightly open door or window.
It is usually found where the energy can move in a straight line without obstructions. The longer the flow the faster the energy will travel.
Where two such flows meet under the right circumstances (e.g. At a sharp corner) they can reinforce each other and become even stronger.
Wherever such flows strike a building they usually cause problems for someone. As you get more deeply into feng shui you will be able to work out who gets most affected and in which aspects of their lives, but we’ve never come across a sha flow yet that helped anyone.
There are a variety of ways of dealing with them. For instance you can stop them forming by growing something up a corner, and sometimes you can place something in their path to block them.
Movement of Energy
Energy needs to move in a beneficial way. Not too fast (yang) or too slow (yin), we are always looking for balance between these two energies.
Form School Feng Shui contains a great deal of other information which attribute specific kinds of influence to specific shapes. For example in olden times feng shui practitioners would often be instructed to seek out a site surrounded by a particular configuration of shapes known as the “King Maker” site. This site would then be used for the burial of an important relative so the descendants would benefit.
In modern day suburbia it is often possible to give a fairly accurate “read out” of what will happen and when to the occupants of a building by examining the forms of the building and those surrounding it.
You can stop Sha being generated from an external corner by planting a round leafed evergreen shrub at the corner. Make sure it fits snugly round the corner - If there’s a gap between the plant and the corner the sha line may kill the plant.
You can fix Sha lines inside the house with potted plants, or you can round the corner, or drape material in front of it - e.g. a curtain.
Out in the garden it’s a good idea to keep all the fencing and hedging in good condition, as any gaps will let energy leak out. These leaks are usually harmful to someone or other in the house.
Never ever be tempted to relocate a gate or other entrance without first getting professional advice.
“Form” is usually thought of as applying out of doors, but to a degree it also applies indoors as well.
For instance corridors on the one hand and quiet still rooms and large cupboards on the other will modify how a flying star chart influences the occupants.
Sha flows indoors though small and weak in comparison to their outdoor brethren, can have a very noticeable effect on health if you happen to sleep in one every night.
The best introduction to form school which I have come across is this book written by Eva Wong
The aim is to achieve a balance which is in harmony with the purpose of the building or piece of land.
For School a huge subject area and I can only touch on a few very basics here, but there are a couple of good books by Eva Wong which are worth reading if you want to deepen your understanding, and I'm gradually building up a photo library of some real world examples in a flickr set.