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Feng Shui and Water…Lessons from Katrina

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Sending prayers to my friends in the Gulf, today and everyday. This being the 5th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it seemed like a good moment to review this piece, which I wrote shortly after the event struck…

Given the situation in New Orleans and the Gulf region, it is important to look at what the teachings of Feng Shui say about living in an environment such as the one hit so hard this hurricane season.

Feng Shui loves water; it is the source and sustainer of life, and specifically represents abundance and wealth. An ideal home location is one near water, preferably with a body of water in front of the home. However, Feng Shui stresses that it is best to have a home that is raised above water level, even better is a location with a mountain or hill behind the house, to buffer strong winds and provide a sense of security.

New Orleans’ placement – sitting below the sea level – would cause any Feng Shui practitioner concern.

Living quarters below the water line are considered to have very limited chi–energy. Living in a basement, for example, is considered a less auspicious dwelling, primarily because of the lack of natural sunlight and wind. Furthermore, the idea of living in the earth is more associated with “Yin Feng Shui” – the principles associated with burial sites. That’s not an ideal place for the living.

New Orleans had in essence created a home in a “Yin Feng Shui” environment. One environmental historian summed it up well:

While unfortunate, this was also inevitable. The city has been sinking and new soil hasn’t been arriving because the river is bordered by barriers and concrete all the way to Minnesota and Idaho and Pennsylvania. So the subsiding delta hasn’t been replenished, and New Orleans falls another fraction of an inch below sea level every year. It’s in a big bowl by now, pumped out with every rainstorm. Graves are above ground.

So it’s a city living on borrowed time, and it has borrowed about all there was to borrow.

When we manipulate the natural topography of the land we create an artificial environment, and its only a matter of time before Mother Nature restores her balance. Feng Shui honors nature’s intelligence and works with it to create a living situation that helps us benefit from the gifts that nature offers, while respecting the need to keep the environment strong, for our own sake as well as Hers.

 Feng Shui Tips for Using the Power of Water

If you live near a body of water, or plan on doing so:

  • It is ideal to have the water in front of your home rather than in back.
  • The house should be a safe distance from the body of water so that you can enjoy the flow of water without feeling personally affected by high and low tides, etc.
  • If near a river, ideally it is a river with a winding shape, which slows the speed of the water. A rushing river can be unnerving and is associated with pulling wealth away from the home.

If you don’t live near water but wish to take advantage of water’s benefits:

  • A decorative water fountain is a wonderful way to bring the sound and feeling of running water into your space. A fountain near the front door attracts abundance into the home, and is always a good idea.
  • In the front yard, a water feature such as a small fountain or pond with a water fall replicates having a body of water in front of your house. Ensure that the water is moving and stays clean. Stagnant water is inauspicious in feng shui, as it has little chi energy.

May New Orleans grow stronger and greater as a result of its challenges. And may we learn the lessons it has to teach us about living in harmony with our environment.

1 comment

1 TanyaC { 09.01.10 at 6:06 pm }

Thank you for this reminder to live in harmony with the local elements, Reiko. I don’t live below the water line but your blog affirms to me to keep our fish’s water and our small table fountain water clean and clean as it really does seem to make a difference in the energy of the apt. — not to mention the health of our fish!

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