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East vs. West Feng Shui: It's Flexible!

Learn how Feng Shui changes in translation

by Simone Sanders

Feng Shui (pronounced fung schway), otherwise known as the art of placement, was first developed in China over five thousand years ago. And while the core principle of Feng Shui remains true -- that manipulating your environment can result in health, wealth and prosperity -- westerners have adapted some of its rules to reflect their own sensibilities.

Fortunately, there's no need to be absolute when it comes to Feng Shui. Like a Chinese menu, you can pick some things from Column A and others from Column B to create the most desired outcome. Remember: Feng Shui is all about flexibility!

Colors

East

The meaning of colors varies greatly from culture to culture. Therefore, eastern Feng Shui practitioners prescribe different color cures than their western counterparts. In China, the color white is associated with death. Conversely, black is the color of money. Red is the color of ceremony, and considered very auspicious -- bridal gowns are typically red in China. Blue is linked to both mourning and hope in the east. Yellow symbolized authority to the ancient Chinese; this color was reserved for the Emperor.

West

Westerners associate the color white with purity (think bridal gowns and cowboy hats). Black, on the other hand, symbolizes death, evil and mystery (think funerals and cowboy hats). The strength of the U.S. dollar has made green the color of money, while red connotes passion, excitement and anger. Blue symbolizes rest and relaxation. Purple is associated with both royalty and spirituality, while yellow is linked to clarity and optimism.

Numbers

East

Chinese Numerology is based on the way numbers sound. If the Chinese word for a number is similar to a word meaning prosperity, that number is considered lucky. On the other hand, if the Chinese word for a certain number sounds like a word that conveys loss, that number is considered unlucky. For example:

One -- Sounds like the Chinese word for "honor;" conveys stillness, independence.Two -- Sounds like the Chinese word for "sure." Symbolizes the quality of symmetry, as well as steadfastness.Three -- Sounds like the Cantonese word for "growth" and represents abundance.Four -- Sounds like the Chinese word for "death" and represents misfortune.Five -- Represents balance because of its association with the Five Elements.Six -- Sounds like the Chinese word for "wealth" and conveys affluence.Seven -- Sounds like the Cantonese dialect's word for "sure" and symbolizes effortless happiness.Eight -- Sounds like the Chinese word for "multiply" and symbolizes fertility.Nine -- Sounds like the Chinese word for "longevity" and promotes a sense of personal fulfillment or completion.

West

Western Feng Shui doesn't consider numbers to be lucky or unlucky -- each represents a distinct principle. A number's energy can be manifested in a positive or negative fashion, depending on the person who falls under its influence. For example:

One -- Represents independence, but can lead to isolation.Two -- Symbolizes partnership, but can result in co-dependence.Three -- Conveys enthusiasm, but can turn to impatience.Four -- Represents stability, but can lead to stubbornness.Five -- Symbolizes excitement, but can result in restlessness.Six -- Conveys nurturing, but can turn to martyrdom.Seven -- Represents spirituality, but can lead to pessimism in the material world.Eight -- Symbolizes ambition, but can result in insensitivity.Nine -- Conveys humanitarian ideals, but can turn to selfishness.

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