They all start out as pairs—but bookends (and certain other collectibles such as fu dogs) don’t always stay with their mate. The only feng shui rule about single bookends is: Don’t have them in a Relationship Corner. Other than that, consult the bagua map to know the best place to put them. “Best” being the place in your home where their physical qualities of shape, color and material (as well as their metaphorical symbolism) are accentuating that bagua area. That can be tricky because those four qualities can easily conflict with each other. You may have to mull it over to decide if a certain quality predominates. Bookends are often made of metal, wood, or pottery (which is earth), so the material can be one way to approach their placement. Glass bookends can symbolize water or metal. Synthetic materials usually symbolize fire.
Here are two of my very favorite bookends in my collection—and they’re both singles. The first one is matte white Nelson McCoy Pottery from their Lily Bud line. It’s in the Fame Area of our library because its shape symbolizes plants, and in the Creative Cycle of elements, that’s the wood that feeds the fire of the Fame Area. This bookend was produced in Ohio in the 1940s and yet it has classic Art Nouveau style even though the heyday of Art Nouveau ended around 1910. Art Nouveau is my favorite style and, with its graceful shape and wonderful feel, this is my favorite bookend.
On the shelf above the McCoy bookend is this Tiffany bookend from the very early 1900s. It’s very special to me. I tell its story on page 76 of Feng Shui for Love & Money. The name “Tiffany” has symbolism that works well in both the Fame Area (of the room) and the Wealth Corner (of the whole house).
The third picture shows all three shelves on this side of the window. The pottery Kwan Yin bookends (on the lower and upper shelves) are a pair even though they’re kept on separate shelves. They’re grayish blue, glossy and have no manufacturing mark. I feel sure they’re pre-midcentury American made, and if you happen to know the manufacturer I’d appreciate hearing from you.
This table, which I’ve borrowed from my Feng Shui Demystified book, may help you figure out how to classify any decorative objects you might have.
|Health and Family||—||Wood|
|Children and Creativity||—||Metal|
|Helpful People and Travel||—||Metal|
The information on elemental cycles is probably more complicated than anything else I’ve presented in Feng Shui Demystified. The following sums it up:
Water creates Wood, is created by Metal; weakens Fire, and is controlled by Earth.
Wood creates Fire, is created by Water; weakens Earth, and is controlled by Metal.
Fire creates Earth, is created by Wood; weakens Metal, and is controlled by Water.
Earth creates Metal, is created by Fire; weakens Water, and is controlled by Wood.
Metal creates Water, is created by Earth; weakens Wood, and is controlled by Fire.
With these concepts in mind, feel free to place your lone bookends as you please. Just remember: Keep them out of the Relationship Corner!