Feng Shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It is a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure the health and good fortune for people inhabiting it.
Feng means wind and Shui means water. In Chinese culture wind and water are associated with good health, thus good Feng Shui came to mean good fortune, while bad Feng Shui means bad luck, or misfortune.
Feng Shui is based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with Chi, or energy. The ancient Chinese believed that the land’s energy could either make or break the kingdom, so to speak. The theories of Yin and Yang, as well as the five Feng Shui elements, are some of the basic aspects of a Feng Shui analysis that come from Taoism.
Feng Shui is believed to use the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography) to help one improve life by receiving positive Chi.
The term feng shui is a cultural shorthand taken from the following passage of the Zangshu (Book of Burial) by Guo Pu of the Jin Dynasty:
Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.
Historically, Feng Shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures—in an auspicious manner. Depending on the particular style of Feng Shui being used, an auspicious site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. Feng Shui was suppressed in China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but has since seen an increase in popularity, particularly in the United States.
The practice of Feng Shui is diverse and multi-faceted. There are many different schools and perspectives. There is an International Feng Shui Guild (IFSG), a non-profit professional organization, which presents the full diversity of Feng Shui.