Water represents wealth in feng shui, and the connection between prosperity and water is why fountains are an important feng shui tool. (I live in Hawaii, and the similarity between the two words in the Hawaiian language is quite noticeable—“wai” means fresh water; “waiwai” is wealth.)
Early in my feng shui career I spoke at a bookstore in Sacramento. Months later, a woman called telling me that she had attended that talk and put a fountain in her Career Area and had gotten fired the same day. “Tell me more,” I said. She said, “It was one of those fountains with a light under the water, and it had a little stone ball that was supposed to go round and round—but that part never worked.”
I hadn’t yet learned that any time I say the word “fountain,” I have to immediately say a few more words regarding them (and I always repeat these cautions in my books and lectures):
- Fountains are only effective when they are properly running.
- Never choose a fountain with a lightbulb below the water. A lightbulb under the water says conflict because fire and water are opposing elements, and this setup places them too close together. Nature gives us the sun shining down on water, so it’s fine to have a fountain with a light above the water.
- If you have a fountain you have to keep it going. A dry fountain says, “Dried up, broken, doesn’t work—nothing happening here.” Only when a fountain is turned on and in good working order is it sending out its very positive message: “Good fortune is bubbling up all the time.” (It’s fine to turn fountains off when everyone is gone or sleeping.)
Fountains are good for entrances, Wealth Corners and Career Areas. All my books contain information on fountains, specific to the topic of the title. Following are some tips and cautions I’ve shared over the years.
Selecting and positioning a fountain
The best fountain maintains a visible pool of water, even when it’s turned off, rather than letting the water vanish under pebbles into a reservoir. (See photo above.) Care should be taken to place fountains so that the flow of water is directed toward the front door (if it’s outside) or toward the heart of the home (if it’s inside). Fountains that flow in all directions are good because some of the water will always flow in the proper direction. (Earlier this week I posted a link on my Facebook Page to a Martha Stewart DIY fountain project that is a good example of a fountain that flows in all directions. I also have a board on Pinterest that is dedicated to examples of good fountains.)
This fountain that Michael and June at Feng Shui Arts & Gifts in Oahu’s Chinatown lent me for a television appearance is a nice example of a fountain that has a directional flow. The spout should be aimed in the proper direction. If you don’t like the spinning colored ball, it can be removed, but the splashing sound of the water does get a bit louder because the water fountains up more.
Fountains are always good near a front door, as long as the flow of water is toward the home. Moving water represents income, so you want it look as though it’s coming right in through your front door.
In some cases, due to the design of a fountain, it isn’t feasible to reposition it to aim the flow toward the door. In these cases, a small mirror can be used to symbolically redirect the flow. (See photo sidebar.)
The strongest buildings have their official front door on the seaward side. In feng shui, the ocean symbolizes abundance, and it should be in front of your house. If it is behind, the ocean symbolizes the abyss: The house has no backing and is slipping downhill. A water feature, such as a fountain, outside the front door symbolically changes the building’s orientation. I don’t recommend fountains (or other water features) for back yards.
In addition to representing prosperity, water is also a neutralizing agent, so harmful energy is nullified before affecting the home when a fountain is placed outside.
Inside the Home
Indoors, fountains belong in the Wealth Corner (because of the connection between water and prosperity), or in the Career Area. In the Wealth Corner, a fountain should be kept flowing as much as possible (if you can tolerate it going 24-7, that’s the best). Water is the element in the Career Area, so real water in the form of a fountain is ideal. The water can be moving or still. The direction of the flow is crucial—the water should look as though it’s aimed toward the heart of the home. It’s also fine to have a fountain that flows in all directions like an umbrella. An elegant fountain is what you want; these are not the places to skimp on quality.
Proper use of a fountain can really do wonders. Here’s a story I shared in Feng Shui for Love & Money:
A woman took one of my classes on the bagua, and as a result she put a fountain in a corner of the large master bedroom, which was also the Wealth Corner of the whole house. Her husband pooh-poohed the idea, but within a week their coffee shop reached the daily sales goal they had set for it, but had never quite made. A few days later they exceeded the goal. The wife thought she’d have some fun with her previously doubting husband. She said, “I think you’re right. I think the fountain had nothing to do with our record-setting days. I’m going to remove it.” “Oh, no you don’t!” was his response.
Give a (properly selected and positioned) fountain a try. I’m sure you won’t regret it.