Feng Shui & Birds — Part 2: Pet Birds

Pet birds add delight and companionship to our lives. Birds, like all animals, add a yang presence. In feng shui, birds are believed to be messengers of heaven. Having them as pets is considered beneficial. So says my favorite feng shui writer, Baolin Wu, who I mentioned in my previous post. In Lighting the Eye of the Dragon, he says that the most important factor is the color of the bird—it must match the color of your birth season.

February, March, April = Green Element: Wood Season: Spring
May, June = Red Element: Fire Season: Summer
July, August = Yellow Element: Earth Season: Late Summer
September, October = White Element: Metal Season: Autumn
November, December, January = Black Element: Water Season: Winter

Now when I read something like that, my mind immediately starts thinking, “What if your bird is the ‘wrong’ color, but you’ve developed a strong friendship or perhaps the bird found you?” That’s what happened to us. Between the time that I wrote my last post and now, a duck found us. I don’t care what color that bird is—I love it! We’re (at least temporarily) naming it Lulu. My mom said we’ll know the gender if it makes a nest and lays eggs or not.

This wonderful duck appeared in front of house four days ago. We love it and it loves our pond. Here it is on a little stepping-stone island.

It’s like something dropped out of heaven and landed in our pond. Our pond has come alive in a most unexpected and welcome way.

If your pet bird is the wrong color for you (or one of you), you can make up for it by balancing your home in other ways. Add a large houseplant, such as a ficus, in the vicinity of the bird’s cage. The plant adds nature to the bird’s environment, and it also provides some competition for attention, and that symbolically lessens the importance of the bird.

My dear old friend Lilli Antonoff sent us this card as a holiday greeting years ago. I take it with me as an example of art with good “relationship energy” when I do talks and classes. (Artwork: Shoson Ohara, “Swans and Reeds,” 1928)

Also, add a picture in your home of a pair of birds that are the “correct” color. That’s especially advisable if you’re keeping a single, caged bird in a Relationship Corner. Think about the symbology there.

You might also consider adding another bird to your home—a bird that is the “correct’ color. But don’t start a menagerie—one to four birds is plenty. Too many birds (or pets of any kind) causes an off-balancing of the energies of the home. (Remember, the birds are adding yang energy.) Pet birds kept outside can be any number that is harmonious with your property, meaning a farm can have more pet birds than a home on an urban lot. But even homes on urban lots can have chickens—you get avian delight plus eggs. There’s quite choice of color available in chickens: white, black, brown, red, and even blue for some Plymouth Rock chickens. Because the chickens are kept outdoors, they do not create too much yang energy for an urban lot.

If your birds are kept inside, be sure to make your home bird safe. Check sites like birdsafe.com or parrotparrot.com. You can consider that if it’s making your home more bird safe, it is good feng shui.

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Feng Shui & Dining Tables: Shape & Material

The best shape for a dining table is round & the best material is wood. If you’re happy with that, you can stop reading and start shopping.

The second-best shape is oval or racetrack. Our dining table is round and can be made into racetrack by adding extra leaves. (The difference between oval and racetrack is that an oval has no straight lines, when looking down on it from the top, whereas the racetrack has rounded ends and straight edges on the long sides.) The next best choice would be square, then rectangular. Freeform dining tables can be problematic. I’ve eaten at slab tables with irregular edges that follow the natural grain of the wood. At that kind of table there are often places to sit that feel nice and places that feel not-so-nice (because of the irregularities at the edge of the table caused by the grain).

Right shape, wrong material. Glass creates cutting energy, and this is an example of a beveled edge table, which makes the problem even worse.

The top of the table should be thick, not thin. Thin tops are problematic because they have a cutting energy like a machete. Squat down and look at the edge straight on and you’ll see what I mean. (If you want more visuals, I talk about cutting energy in this video about kitchen shelving.)

The second-best material for a tabletop is stone, then synthetic, then metal, then glass. Glass is problematic for two reasons: it has a sharp, harsh sound when dinnerware is placed on it, and unless there is a rim around the edge, it can’t be used at all in feng shui—unless it’s covered, and then what’s the point of having glass. Tables with a bare glass edge have a severe cutting energy which I firmly believe will affect you by cutting you off from reaching your goals. Beveled-edge glass is the worst because it is as though the edge has been sharpened. Once I’ve seen a glass top table with a bare edge that had no cutting energy. The glass was three or four inches thick and the edges looked like slightly melted ice—sandblasted, slightly irregular, and softly rounded. That table probably cost a mint and weighed a ton.

As I mentioned, the addition of the two rectangular leaves changes a simple circular-shaped table like ours into a racetrack shape. If there are leaves added to the table, don’t sit where a seam aims directly at you. If that must happen, use placemats or a tablecloth to cover the cracks. Here are a few example table settings. The seams run horizontally (from straight edge to straight edge) in these photos.

The table setting shown here is ideal for a single diner because no seams (representing poison arrows) are aimed at the person.

This is an ideal setting for two people at this table. The seams between the insert leaves do not aim at the bodies of the people who are eating.

This is the scenario to avoid: The seam between the two middle leaves aims at the stomachs of those eating with this table setting. However, it’s nothing a couple of place mats, a tablecloth or table runner couldn’t fix. Opaque place mats will cover up much of the line and make it less visually prominent—therefore less of a problem.

This is a unique remedy for the problem of the poison arrow caused by the seam between the table leaves. This rectangular mid-century (probably early 60’s) California pottery dish is placed to cross the offending crack, therefore chopping it in half and dispersing the poison arrow energy. Since the pimento peppers (I harvested them yesterday!) are bright red, the remedy is made stronger.

Oh, and one final thing about table shape—if the table is in the Relationship Corner of the home, don’t choose a pedestal table (one that has only a single, central support). Instead, use a table that has legs or trestles—that says “We are working together to support the top.”

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Feng Shui for Gay People

clear_1959familypic

Here I am (kneeling with doll) with my mom & two brothers in 1959.

My mom’s 94 and I recently asked her, “Who else in our family was gay?” She exclaimed, “That gene runs in our family!” I found out that her father’s youngest brother, Perry Twitty, was gay. Also, Perry’s great uncle Hiram Twitty was gay. A little after the Civil War he was last seen (by a family member, anyway) in Mobile, heading for Galveston. Mama said that (almost without exception) gay people left rural areas and went to some town or city. I asked her when she figured out that I was gay. She said it was when I asked for a doll for Christmas.

JustsayIdo

Gay couples can use gender-specific imagery in their Relationship Corners by replacing genders where a mixed-sex couple would be similarly depicted, such as using two bride dolls in a lesbian home. (Photo by Davidlud (Own work), CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

I remember asking for that doll. I was staying with my grandmother (Lyda Twitty kept me while my folks taught school at Margerum, Alabama) and my Uncle Bradley was visiting in the kitchen. He caught me off guard while I was going from the den to the dining room. You had to make a brief visit through a little bit of the kitchen to get to the dining room. I was shy and expected to slip quietly into the dining room, and was surprised when Bradley all of a sudden asked me, “What do you want Santa Claus to bring you?” I’d already made it into the dining room, and I turned around and answered him honestly. “I want a doll.” “What kind of doll?” he asked. Even at that young age (I was probably six) I knew better than to continue with honesty, so I didn’t say bride doll—I almost did, but I said “Boy doll.” It was the most macho thing I could think of—this was before GI Joe.

Fast forward to late 1997. Here’s my favorite story from Feng Shui for Love & Money:

In feng shui, you’re using your home and your possessions to give out the message: “Send me the right person, please.” I arranged pink silk lotus flowers in the Relationship Corner of my studio apartment, and two seconds later my phone rang with a friend calling for a date. That quick response may have been my angel poking her elbow in my ribs saying, “This is gonna work!” Six months later I met my spouse. His partner was passing away around the time I was arranging the flowers. When I let those flowers go, I donated them to a church that used them respectfully.

This

This “David and Jonathan” litho by Reuven Rubin hangs high up in the Relationship Corner of our living room. We also have “Lucky Bamboo” in the maroon wall pocket.

That story is a big part of the reason I decided to be come a feng shui professional. I knew from my own experience that feng shui worked, and that I was good at it. I, like many gay men, have an intuitive experience of interiors—and I know that’s part of the reason I have a good reputation for helping people create feng shui interiors that don’t look feng shui’d—they just look good, and feel great, and by golly, that influences people.

The punch line of this article is that there is no difference in feng shui for gay or straight people—how could there be! Different as we may be in some areas, we’ll all still human energy, and that’s what feng shui sets about to influence. That being said, if gay people use gender specific imagery in the Relationship Corner, the two beings should be the same gender, if the different genders are usually visually obvious. For instance, two bride dolls would be perfectly appropriate in the Relationship Corner of a lesbian home. My husband inherited this “David & Jonathan” print from his late partner. We both love it and it hangs in the Relationship Corner of our home.

 

 

 

 

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Sex & the Single Bookend: Feng Shui Considerations for *One* of a Pair

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.

lily-bookend_front lily-bookend_side

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).

tiffany-buddha-bookend

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.

bookend-shelves

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.

Life’s Path Water
Knowledge Earth
Health and Family Wood
Fortunate Blessings Wood
Fame Fire
Relationship Earth
Children and Creativity Metal
Helpful People and Travel Metal
Center Earth

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!

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To Hilo, With Love

A view of downtown Hilo. Photo by Wade Morales from the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association website.

I always enjoy a visit to lovely Hilo on the other side of the island, but this most recent trip was extra special for the rewarding (and romantic!) feedback I received.

I was called to Hilo this month for a feng shui consultation. I had been to the client’s home before, so my visit was mostly selecting wall colors and fine-tuning some object placement. My preferred way of enhancing a Relationship Corner is by using objects a client already owns and likes. I suggested moving two Balinese masks from being together on the same wall to being on adjacent walls in a corner. That way, the two faces looked more at each other. This was the email I received the next morning:

“Your visit helped me to feel good!

I did not plan it, but when I put the two masks in the corner, the male is slightly higher than the female and seems to be LOOKING RIGHT AT HER ADORINGLY!

Every time I look there, I feel like it is just around the corner that someone will look at me like that.  When I woke up and saw the masks like that first thing this morning it was an amazing feeling of upliftment and is continuing to have this effect on me.”

While I was in the area, I wanted to take care of a few errands in town. For most of the state’s history, Hilo was the second largest city in the state. Downtown Hilo is ultra charming—it’s small, but packed with nice authentic vintage architecture, including fabulous Charles Dickey buildings. My errands in Hilo took me to all three of the downtown bookstores: Basically Books, Still Life Books, and Big Island BookBuyers. Even in Honolulu, you won’t find as many nice bookstores so close together in easy walking distance.

Basically Books interior

A view of Basically Books’ store interior. They stock many local books and are very supportive of local authors and publishers.

When I was in Basically Books, one of the customers came up to me and asked, “Are you Clear?” I replied, “Yes” and she said, “I took your class in Volcano [at Volcano Garden Arts] a couple of years ago, and I’d like to tell you what happened.” I said, “I’m all ears.” She said she had gone home and put two roses in the Relationship Corner of her bedroom. Two weeks later, her boyfriend proposed to her. She had known the guy for twenty years. Numerology is not a part of my practice, but I do notice when there is good symbolism in numbers—two roses, two weeks, twenty years.

Even though I don’t usually recommend roses in a Relationship Corner (because of their thorns), the arrangement looked romantic to her—and that’s the point (pun intended). It’s been my repeated experience that when the enhancements are very personally meaningful, the result is more profound.

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