Welcome to my blog!

Thank you for visiting my blog!

I give very thorough advice in my books, lectures and consultations, but I encounter new feng shui problems all the time. Here, I’ll be sharing new solutions I come across and answering questions you might have.

If you have a question that you can’t find the answer to (please use the search box at the bottom of this page to see if I’ve covered the subject before), leave a comment here and I’ll consider writing a future blog post about it.

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Feng Shui and Silk Fabric

Indian-dupioni-silk-fabrics

Raw, nubby, pure silk. Photo by Smriti Tripathi, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

When I say “silk,” I mean 100% silk—pure silk. I recently had a client in Los Angeles who thought she had followed my advice when I recommended red silk curtains for the large glass doors in the Fame Area of her home. She showed me the results in a Skype conversation, and told me that they were 70% silk. (That means they were 30% synthetic—and synthetic is plastic. Being small plastic fibers, it immediately starts degrading into ever-smaller pieces of plastic—plastic dust in your home—yuck!) I was extremely disappointed when she told me that the store didn’t have 100% silk. I said, “You’re shopping in the wrong store! You’re in LA—you shouldn’t have trouble finding fabric stores that carry 100% silk.” Silk blended with anything will not move or feel like 100% silk.

If you’re looking for fabric for the Wealth Corner, try silk velvet. The nicest sofa fabric that I’ve ever sat on was the silk sofa of a friend in San Francisco. It was that rough, nubby, raw silk—extremely strong and it felt great to sit on. Raw silk (sometimes called hard silk) still has the gum (that held the fibers of the cocoon together) on it, and it always has a certain stiffness to it. There are some silks that are woven from raw fibers, and then the gum is removed afterwards. Chiffon, crepe de chine, and foulard are examples.

Pearl Textured Dupioni Silk Curtain Single Panel, 50"x96"

These are 100% silk dupioni drapes with a nice texture to them. Photo via Houzz

I often recommend white or off-white silk sheers (curtains) for front doors that are mostly clear glass. I recently suggested this to a client in Hilo and she liked the idea immediately, which not everyone does. The fabric blocks symbolically blocks chi, while letting light through. As I mention in Feng Shui for Hawaii, if you have a front door with clear glass (or a large glass panel next to the door; this is a common design), someone could stand outside your home and look straight in. Their eyesight—their visual energy—is coming into your space without being invited. That symbolizes a home where the residents are not adequately in control of the circumstances of their lives. I cite several other uses for silk sheers in the same book.

I feel very sorry for anyone who has to buy silk (or any fabric) online. Fabric must be touched and moved to know if it’s right for your purpose. And this touching and moving is what proves that natural fabrics are always better than synthetic. Support your local fabric stores where you can touch what you’re buying.

My appreciation for silk and other fabrics was enhanced by the addition of these two books to our library: Handbook of Textile Fibres, Vol. 1: Natural Fibres by J. Gordon Cook, and Know Your Merchandise by Wingate, Gillespie, and Milgrom. The latter book is a textbook for retailers and consumers, and our edition is from 1975. I’d recommend it to almost anyone who has a collection (of almost anything). It’s a fascinating study into how all sorts of things are made.

Seminar Alert! I will be on Oahu this weekend, offering several seminars at various locations and on several different topics, including the feng shui bagua, feng shui for the office and feng shui for the bedroom. Most are free; the one exception is the two-hour long Bagua Class on Friday night, which has a modest fee. My complete schedule can be found on my events page.

Fire Under Water in the Home—The Feng Shui Perspective on Three Interior Features to Avoid 

Flickr - USCapitol - Bartholdi Fountain

Public outdoor fountains often light from beneath the water. The effect may be spectacular, but it symbolizes conflict and an unstable situation between fire and water. The lights at the top of this fountain which cast light down onto the water are fine. Photo: Bartholodi Fountain by Architect of the Capitol, via Wikimedia Commons

The element fire (and any object symbolizing fire) is in conflict with the element water, if they are next to each other or in close proximity. A circumstance where fire is under water is especially troublesome because water puts out fire. Here are three such circumstances that can happen within a home:

  • A water feature, such as a fountain, in which the light bulb is below the water. I emphasize this problem on page 90 of Feng Shui for Love & Money. Don’t buy this kind of fountain, and if you’ve already got one, don’t turn on the light. It’s fine to have a fountain with a light shining on the water—that’s like the sun shining on the ocean—very natural.
  • Waterfall pictures that you plug in and turn on and the water lights up and it’s supposed to look like the water is moving. Not only are these dreadful feng shui, but they radiate tackiness—yes, I really said that! (I can’t bear to look at them, but if you really must see one for yourself, here is a link to a video.)
  • Spigots over stove tops to fill pots with water for cooking. This problem is not as easily fixed as discarding a tacky picture. If possible, have the spigot removed. However, most people who have this (feng shui nightmare) in their home are loathe to have it removed. If that’s the case, put a tiny, discreet dot of red paint or nail polish (probably on the underside of the spigot so it won’t be visually obvious) and say out loud something like, “The red symbolizes a complete change—there is no longer a fire over water situation at this stove—the spigot is gone.”

I live in on an island where red-hot lava flows into the ocean, and sometimes under the ocean. It’s well known among people who live here that these are situations to be wary of—they can be very explosive. Don’t bring that vibration of conflict and wariness into your home.

Feng Shui and Bird Weather Vanes

As soon as my client sent me a photo of this weather vane, I knew it was the right choice. Here it is installed on her home.

I call a weather vane a hook up to heaven. They are recommended in feng shui when there is a slope down behind the home, since a slope up is ideal. Up symbolizes support for the home, and a slope down symbolizes lack of support. That’s when the best solution is a weather vane. It moves, so it attracts notice, and it’s placed high up so the head moves upward to see it—that’s lifting energy. Weather vanes depicting things that fly are preferable to things that live under water, such as whales.

I recently had a client who wanted just the right weather vane, and she sent me lots of pictures—“How’s this one?” “How’s that one?” Well, her perseverance paid off. As soon as she showed me this weather vane with two birds sitting together, I said, “Look no further. It can’t get any better!”

The symbolism of a pair of birds together is much better than a single bird for a home in which a couple resides. This weather vane is quite lovely and the birds appear to be perfectly perched, rather than impaled upon a spike, which is unfortunately how many weather vanes with animals appear.

She wanted a bird representation and all the other examples were of single birds. Since she and her husband live in the home, two birds made the most sense to me.

Almost all the other bird examples also had the problem of looking like they were impaled on a spear. Lovely birds, but they all looked like they had just been stabbed by the pole that held them aloft. This pair is perfectly perched. If you would like one yourself, it’s available at this Australian retailer. (I am not affiliated in any way with the retailer.)

One of the birds she showed me was a swan swimming on top of the water. I nixed that one because of the symbolism of “being under water” and its financial considerations.

Weather vanes should always be placed high on the roof, and in a place that is very noticeable as a person approaches the home.

Feng Shui and Bad Guests

May this never happen to you. It just happened to us—someone overstayed their welcome as our guest (by every day they were here). So I sage smudged like crazy yesterday as soon as they were gone, laundered their bedding and hung it to dry on an outside clothesline (where the fabric received lots of wind and sun—which are very purifying things).

Inside my head I made the resolve not to think about them anymore. When that person’s memory came up in my mind, I put my full attention on exactly what I was doing at the moment. That’s called mindfulness, and I occasionally teach a class on it at Daifukuji in Kona. On April 28, 2018 (for the first time) I’ll offer a class at Taishoji in beautiful downtown Hilo. I’ve sometimes counseled clients to do that practice when they are going through anguish or turmoil. For me, after the unsettling guest experience, the mindfulness practice has made me grateful for my husband and our home. He’s the one who strung the clothesline, and he’s the one who orders our natural fragrance-free detergent from the Frontier Coop. In fact, he started and manages our neighborhood buying club to get items wholesale (and with no shipping charge, even to Hawaii) at Frontier. The more I think about it, the more I realize how much I have to be grateful for—and that leaves no space for nagging thoughts of a oafish guest. (There, I said “oafish,” and I feel better!)

The third thing I did was to take the photo that you see. It’s the walkway to our guest accommodations, and look at those sharp pineapple leaves. It’s as I say in Feng Shui for Hawaii Gardens: “Pucker your face into a tight, prune-like scowl. That’s how the energy looks when it has passed by prickly plants on the way to your door.” The pineapples were never meant to stay there, but I just got busy and didn’t move them. The photo is to remind me to move those plant today. You get what you ask for with feng shui.

Feng Shui & Trees

These large, beautiful trees are behind the home, and serve as guardians.

Bill Bryson is my favorite writer, and this is from his book about Australia, Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country:

“Sydney has whole districts filled with palatial houses that seem to consist of nothing but balconies and plate glass, with scarcely a leaf to block the beating sun or interrupt the view. But here on the north shore, wisely and nobly, they have sacrificed large-scale vistas for the cool shade of trees, and every resident will, I guarantee, go to heaven.”

While I can’t guarantee the go-to-heaven part, planting shade trees is a big step toward creating a more heavenly Earth. The chi energy around your home is greatly increased by the presence of large trees. Life itself is a form of chi, and a tree invites a massive amount of life—birds, insects, squirrels, and various plant and animal life need trees. A mowed lawn has very little chi energy. The Earth needs the return of tall trees.

There are three sides of a home that benefit from trees—in the back, they represent guardians, and on the sides they help bring balance. It’s only in the front of a house that trees can be problematic in feng shui. The big rule is: Never plant a tree directly between your front door and the road. (This, of course, does not apply to large properties with woods. This rule is about standard home lots.)

In fact, any tree, anywhere in your front yard is best if it has a rounded, mounded, or flowing shape, rather than a tall vertical shape. Vertical shapes represent the Turtle (one of four archetypal energies that surround and protect a home) and those shapes are best in the back of a home. If there’s already a very vertical tree in your front yard (and you don’t want to remove it), read page 43 of my book, Feng Shui for Hawaii Gardens. The information applies to any home anywhere.

This bungalow home has a very inviting look. Unlike the example in my story, the two columnar shrubs flanking the stairs pose no problem because they are small and are not directly in front of the front door.

I consulted for a woman in Hilo years ago. The first thing I noticed about the property was that there was a line of columnar junipers (sometimes called Italian junipers) in front of the house. They looked, for all the world, like jail bars between the house and the road. When I mentioned that to my client, she said, “It’s funny you should say that. Since my brother planted those trees, I’ve become housebound. I used to have a business and drive myself everywhere. Now I have to rely on rides.” She said she would ask her brother to remove them, and that he would probably want them.

Here are the three priorities you should consider for tree planting:

  • Native trees—the trees that evolved in your area
  • Food trees—fruits and nuts
  • Fragrant trees—such as witch hazel and magnolia. The fragrance lifts our spirit.