Big Bad Feng Shui

Ole Bruun’s book, Feng Shui in China is one of a handful of academic works on feng shui I’m slowly reading through at the moment. Ahaha, I can hear you gasping in disbelief: “Academic?! Lizard Smog?! Not bloody likely!” Bruun’s book is very interesting, but I found the first half, which entails a political history of feng shui from the mid-19th century Qing dynasty up until the present, to be slow reading. It features a lot of political shenanigans, something I am loathe to read about in general. I bet that’s how politicians weigh us down and enslave the populace! With boring shenanigans!

The second half of the book is much more interesting. It involves the author’s field studies in a Sichuan provincial town. If you can find it in your local or university library or wherever, it’s a decent read. I find this general idea to be quite relevant to my current housing situation:

“In the fengshui mode of thought, the flow of qi is influenced by all natural bodies and by human constructions. Moreover, the relation between one’s own house and other buildings and constructions in the vicinity has a major impact on the common fengshui situation, since a larger house may catch more of the common qi at the expense of others. As a parallel to material wealth, which is seen as a limited resource, also qi is regarded as a resource that can only be tapped at the expense of other people’s share. But while access to material wealth is restricted by human politics, qi flows freely for everyone to catch and with considerably more room for manipulation.” (Bruun, Ole: Fengshui in China, 129)

There you have it! Proof that the people living in the mansion directly behind me are committing horrid astral, architectural experiments! You see, when I was living overseas a number of years back, the people behind me sold their side-yard to a contractor and built a big ugly mansion on it. Naturally, I was not pleased but there was not much I could do then. When I returned, there was a large ugly house on a tiny, not-even-half-acre lot. Soon afterward the wooden fence on the edge of our lot fell down and several of the large bushes on that property line died. Sorcery!

What is interesting is that the ominous, towering presence of that house blocks the sun and wind from that direction and also forces me and these neighbors (whom are quite unfriendly, unsurprisingly) to constantly catch each others’ glances from inside our respective houses. An awkward situation, to be sure!

The result is that one feels tense or timid when in the expansive sun room in the back of my house, which used to be my favorite room. And not just for me — it has always been one of my cats’ favorite room and territory. Yet over the years he has grown remarkably neurotic and stressed out, despite being an indoor cat and getting plenty of attention. I suspect it is because he is quite bright and quite bored, but I also have a hunch that the uneasiness me and my other housemates feel in that room is telegraphed and broadcast towards–or equally experienced–by him.

He has gotten quite ill over the years I have had him living with me here. He seems alright for the time being, but I find that the vet’s solutions for his neurotic behavior (obsessive-compulsively ripping out hair — a habit he did not have when he was younger) never last longer than a few weeks. Interestingly enough, when he starts sleeping in another room for whatever reasons (painting, renovations, repairs, etc.) he seems to be more relaxed.

I am not saying it is the horrible feng shui of that house which is doing stuff to my cat, but I do feel crappy when I’m in that room because this house is there “blocking the qi”. I mean, it’s wrong and foolish to conclude that one single thing is causing all one’s problems, but one can notice when something makes one feel drained.

To give an example of what I mean by this: basic feng shui stipulates that pointy things like corners should not point towards a person’s house, living space or whatever. Because: don’t you feel kinda uncomfy when you have a sharp corner jutting in your direction? It’s ominous. Isn’t it hard to sleep with a sharp or heavy object precariously dangling over your head? That worry in the back of your mind makes you lose energy. It’s pretty straightforward if you ask me.


One Response to “Big Bad Feng Shui”

  1. […] Feline Feng Shui I took my cat to the vet today. I didn’t tell the vet my feng shui theory, but then again, she’s actually sane (a.k.a. a machine of cold, logical western science!). […]

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