The Taoist art and science of creating balanced and harmonious
surroundings, sometimes associated with geomancy, has
been practiced for centuries in China. Feng-shui has been used
by the Chinese to build homes and business offices, design cities
and villages, and construct tombs for the dead. In recent
years Westerners have begun to study and practice feng-shui.
Practitioners of feng-shui claim that the layout and arrangement
of a home greatly influences the lives of all its occupants.
The alignment of furniture, color schemes, and accessories all
play a part in creating an environment that both relaxes and
invigorates those who live there. Simply moving a few objects
or repainting a room can have a significant impact. On the
other hand, misfortunes such as poor health, financial problems,
marital or relationship troubles, and infertility can be attributed
to a house in which feng-shui principles have been ignored.
Feng-shui is also concerned with the location of a building
because its position in an area may be adversely affected by the
surroundings unless appropriate countermeasures are taken to
deflect negative energy.
Brief History
The Chinese developed feng-shui principles about four
thousand years ago. The ancient Chinese recognized how the
elements, particularly wind (feng) and water (shui), impacted
life gently flowing winds meant good harvests, stagnant water
led to disease; buildings facing the north bore the brunt of dust
storms that blew from Mongolia, while southern facing homes
maximized the warmth of the sun. Likewise they realized how
living harmoniously with surroundings made life easier villages
built among the hills were both protected from the elements
and easier to defend from attackers. Legends says that
the actual practice of feng-shui began with the shaman-kings
who led the early Chinese tribes and understood the powers of
wind and water, the changes in earth and sky, and the cycle of
the seasons.
Over the centuries and throughout successive dynasties
feng-shui organized and eventually was recognized as a professional
skill during the Han dynasty (207 B.C.–220 B.C.E.). It was
known then as K’an-yu. During the prosperous T’ang dynasty
(618–907 B.C.E.) the Taoist arts flourished and K’an-yu, which
involved understanding the earth’s energy, expanded to encompass
the sciences of architecture, astronomy, geography,
numerology, and surveying. Various schools of thought in K’anyu
also developed during this dynasty.
After Kublai Khan invaded the central plains of China and
established the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368 B.C.E.), Taoists were
restricted from openly practicing their sciences and K’an-yu suffered
a decline. The practice underwent a resurgence during
the Ming dynasty (1368–1644 B.C.E.). The feng-shui that is
practiced today is most similar to that practiced during the
Ch’ing dynasty (1644–1912 B.C.E.).
Chi is the key component of feng-shui. It is roughly translated
as the invisible energy that circulates through the earth and
sky. Chi travels best when it imitates nature by flowing in gentle
curves, rather than along straight lines, where it can move too
quickly, or against sharp edges, where it can be blocked, and
cause sha, or bad chi.
The Eight Directions
The eight directions of the compass (north, east, south, west,
northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest) and the center,
known together as the Nine Palaces, are basic components of
feng-shui. Each direction is associated with a different kind of
chi energy. Knowing the characteristics of these directions and
their spheres of influence allows the creation of good feng-shui.
It also used in making adjustments needed to correct bad fengshui.
The Five Elements
Each of the eight directions and the center is linked to at
least one of what is known as the Five Elements water, wood,
fire, earth, and metal. The Chinese are able to group all things
into one of these five categories. Contact with the elements is
a major part of feng-shui and the interactive nature of these elements
is used in enhancing positive energies and reducing
negative energies.
Each of the Five Elements is related to the other in a cycle
of creation and destruction. When the elements are used to enhance
one another, they follow the creation cycle. For instance
in the creative cycle, metal in the earth nourishes water in the
ground. Water sustains vegetation that creates wood. Wood
feeds fire. Fire produces ashes, forming the earth. The cycle is
completed when the earth forms ore, which becomes metal.
Conversely, in the destructive cycle, fire melts metal; metal cuts
wood; tree roots, or wood, choke the earth; earth muddies
water; water extinguishes fire.
Fellowship of Universal Guidance Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
In practicing feng-shui, one of the most effective ways to
create positive energy or remedy bad energy is to make good
use of the five elements. Feng-shui is easily adjusted by mixing,
separating and arranging the five elements at suitable compass
points within the home. The elements interact in either a creative
or destructive cycle and their presentation affects the balance
of the environment.
Color and Numbers
Color is yet another important aspect of balance in fengshui.
Color has an effect on the look and feel of a room, but colors
also have associations linked to them. For example, to the
Chinese red is a lucky color, associated with life, happiness, and
warmth. Green and blue are associated with new beginnings,
growth and family life.
Numbers also have meaning and some are more favorable
than others. Nine is considered the luckiest, partially due to apparent
mystical qualities when 9 is multiplied by an singledigit
number, the sum of the two digits of the product is 9. The
number 4 is considered bad-luck because its Chinese pronunciation,
‘‘si,’’ sounds similar to the word for death. As with the elements,
color and numbers are also associated with the eight
compass points.
Eitel, E. J. Feng-shui The Rudiments of Natural Science in
China. Bristol, England Pentacle Books, 1979.
Lagatree, Kirsten M. Feng-shui Arranging Your Home to
Change Your Life. New York Villard Books, 1996.
Rossbach, Sarah. Feng-shui The Chinese Art of Placement. New
York E. P. Dutton, 1983.
Skinner, Stephen. The Living Earth Manual of Feng-shui Chinese
Geomancy. London Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.
Too, Lillian. Essential Feng-shui A Step-by-Step Guide to Enhancing
Your Relationships, Health, and Prosperity. Ballantine
Books, Inc., 1999.
Wong, Eva. Feng-Shui The Ancient Wisdom of Harmonious Living
for Modern Times. Boston Shambhala Publications, Inc.
A common herb (Foeniculum vulgare) credited in folklore
with mysterious and vivifying properties. According to Pliny,
serpents eat fennel to shed the skin and thus renew youth and
vision. In humans it has been said to improve the eyesight, increase
the milk of nursing mothers, and reduce corpulence. In
ancient times fennel leaves were used to crown victors in games,
and fennel was also used in the rites of Adonis.
Feola, Jose M(aria) (1926– )
Argentine radiobiologist and parapsychologist. Feola was
born May 30, 1926, in Buenos Aires and served in Argentine
army research in the 1940s, earning the rank of lieutenant.
Feola was a radiobiological researcher at the Argentine Atomic
Energy Commission in Buenos Aires (1956–64) before moving
to the United States in 1965 as a researcher at Donner Laboratory,
University of California, Berkeley (1965–69). He was
awarded a fellowship from the National Academy of Sciences
and International Atomic Energy Agency for 1959–61.
He subsequently became an instructor in radiobiology at the
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (1970–73), and an instructor
in parapsychology at the University of Minnesota extension
division (1972–75), before accepting a position as an
assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Kentucky
in 1975. Feola became a naturalized citizen in 1974.
His interest in parapsychology developed early in his professional
career. Before his move to the United States he served
as director of the Argentine Institute for Parapsychology
(1957–64). He subsequently joined the American Society for
Psychical Research, the Parapsychological Association, the
California Society for Psychical Studies (president, 1968–70),
and the Minnesota Society for Parapsychological Research
(president, 1971–73).
His writings include PK, Mind Over Matter (1975), the column
‘‘Parapsychology Today’’ in Gnostica, beginning in 1974,
and various articles in scientific journals and in Psychic magazine.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Pleasants, Helene, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Parapsychology.
New York Helix Press, 1964.

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