The practitioners of Feng Shui consult on a wide range of areas. They are consultants for both residential and commercial interior design, architecture, landscaping, building construction, real estate, home staging, personal concerns, and a vast array of holistic and alternative forms of healing. They are teachers, lecturers, authors and merchants. Indeed an individual Feng Shui practitioner wears many hats, in short they do the “whole enchilada”. But are they qualified, affordable, and responsible? These are some of the areas this article will explore as well as the training involved.
Master, Practitioner, Consultant?
There appears to be three levels of Feng Shui expertise available for hire: Master, Practitioner, and Consultant. At first there appeared to be no clear or definite line between these three – it seemed like a person practicing Feng Shui could advertise his/her expertise by whatever title he/she desired.
However, from extensive study there emerged a line, even if it at times it may have seemed fuzzy, between these three levels of Feng Shui experts.
While some sources indicated a Master in Feng Shui could be obtained by reading a single book on the subject, such as “A Master’s Course in Feng Shui” by Eva Wong. Another website offers a nine week home study course for $144.
Certification, however, is another $297, Thus, up to this point it seems really easy and fairly inexpensive to obtain a mastery level in Feng Shui. This is troublesome for me, as my research has disclosed Feng Shui is not the easiest subject to grasp with its highly complex and somewhat foreign (by Western thought) philosophies.
Perhaps true masters of the subject are like BTB Grand Master Lin Yun. Who from the time he was a young child through his adolescence studied with an expert in Feng Shui and a high lama of the Buddhist religion. After about ten years he apprenticed with many well-known Feng Shui masters. Thus it seems true mastery takes a life time to learn. So how can Feng Shui be mastered from a book or a nine week course?
Feng Shui Schools
Those desiring to be certified practitioners of Feng Shui, have special schools available to them. These are located in the United States, and in some of the Asian and European countries. The course ranges from $1500 to $2500. Most are one year courses, followed by a certification exam. Opportunity for advanced study in Feng Shui is often made available. Many of these schools offer post graduation assistance for their graduates regarding employment opportunities and setting up their own private Feng Shui business.
A consultant, generally, is a person who is knowledgeable in Feng Shui philosophy but not necessarily certified; meaning certification is obtained by passing a certification exam. A consultant’s training may consist of a few classes in Feng Shui, or perhaps extensive reading on the subject. Some consultants do complete short courses in Feng Shui, which may be a one semester course at a Feng Shui school, an Internet or correspondent course. This type of course will cost from $90 to about $500.
What Is Taught?
Most Feng Shui schools have a formal curriculum which is taught. The general areas included in this curriculum are:
- Compass Theory
- Black Sect Theory
- Flying Star Theory
- Eastern Religions (I Ching, Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism)
- Cures (Charms)
- Rituals and Magic
I realize some of you, reading this haven’t a clue as to what some of the terms associated with Feng Shui mean, and you may not have a working knowledge of the beliefs of the Eastern religions.
In the first article I wrote about Feng Shui, I discussed the Compass School and the basic beliefs of Feng Shui: Chi, Yin and Yang, Bagua, Gua, Five Elements, and the Lo Shu Square.
Black Sect is also called Black Hat in some Feng Shui circles. It operates on two levels.
- Sying which encompasses tangible environmental factors of Feng Shui – denoting the external elements of chi, as this “energy” affects land, shapes, structure of buildings, which in turn, contribute to the Feng Shui of a place to determine one’s fortune or luck.
- Yi is translated (rather loosely) as a will, a wish or an intention. Yi is considered a blessing as it provides a way of adjusting and enhancing the chi through intuition and the imposition of one’s will (usually the Feng Shui expert, with the permission of the client). Interestingly voodoo operates on the same premise of intention. However, there is no record of Feng Shui ever being used for any purpose but to achieve harmony and good.
Flying Star Feng Shui is an expansion on the more familiar approach of incorporating the element of time. It encompasses the use of numbers as does Compass Feng Shui, but it expands this to include the four seasons, the four directions of the compass, and the four celestial animals, which are:
- East – Green Dragon
- South – Red Bird
- West – White Tiger
- North – Black Tortoise
Use of astrology and placement of the stars has a big role in Flying Stars Feng Shui. A basic concept is that everything moves in a clockwise cycle – elements, seasons, compass directions, celestial animals, and stars. Each have the potential to enhance or destroy each other. This is a very sophisticated form of astrology. (Source: “Flying Star Feng Shui” by Stephen Skinner)
Eastern Religions and Feng Shui
In I Ching doctrine God does not exist. The ultimate reality is an impersonal and mysterious “Tao”. There is no recognition of humanity being born with an eternal spirit. I Ching does not recognize sin. Evil and good complement each other. The Book of Changes is the I Ching scared text. It is used as an oracle to discover the events in the unseen world which parallels ours and this predicts the future. (Source: “Cults, World Religions and The Occult” by Kenneth Boa. Pg. 274-75).
Taoism doctrine does not acknowledge a personal Creator or God. Jesus Christ is not recognized on any level. Popular Taoism has degenerated into a system of magical practices and incantations. Taoist believe there is not Holy Trinity. Taoism is involved with nature worship, mysticisms and impersonal principles.
Like I Ching, the fact humanity has an eternal spirit is not recognized neither is sin. Salvation is achieved by following the Tao – living a life of simplicity and quiet. The sacred book, The Tao Tsang, is comprised of about 1120 volumes. Taoism’s authority is based only on human speculation. Those following the philosophy presented by Taoism are plagued with demonic possession and fear. (Source: “Cults, World Religions, The Occult” – Kenneth Boa, pg. 266-67).
In the beliefs of Confucianism there is a hint of God and heaven. But as in Taoism and I Ching, Christ is not recognized, nor is the Holy Trinity. The slight belief in God and heaven is heavily mingled with ancestor worship, animalism and social traditions. According to Confucianism, humanity has never sinned, all people are good. Therefore salvation is not needed. The sacred text is The Analects which contain the sayings of Confucius. (Pg. 266-67 “Cults, World Religions and The Occult.)
With there being many different forms of Buddhism, only a general overview is provided regarding this philosophy. There is no recognition of God, Christ, or the Holy Trinity. Most Buddhist sects are:
- Polytheistic: worshiping many gods
- Pantheistic: God is not a personality but all laws, forces, manifestations of the self existing universe are God.
- Atheistic: belief there is no God
It was propagated by the founder of Buddhism, Guatama, that men have no souls. There are two thoughts concerning salvation:
- Theravada Buddhism maintains salvation is by self effort
- Mahayana Buddhism maintains salvation of one is depended on the grace of others.
The sacred text are sayings attributed to Buddha, but he did not write them. The sacred text was written four centuries after the death of Guatama. This certainly throws a long shadow of doubt over the authority of these words actually being the words of Buddha. (pp. 264-65 “Cults, World Religions and The Occult”).
Feng Shui uses various cures to rid a home of problems. The following are ones I discovered from searching the Internet. Feng Shui Designs, a school for training Feng Shui practitioners teaches these common items in the home can be used as cures (or charms):
- Mirrors: These guide, direct and enable chi to flow. A mirror is considered the aspirin of Feng Shui.
- Crystals are used to alter the flow of chi in windows, hallways or any area of the bagua: These can also be used as a substitute for wind chimes and mirrors.
- Bamboo flutes ensures peace and safety: Feng Shui maintains, flutes lift oppressive elements. When hung over doorways they counteract negative influences.
Another cure, was suggested by Feng Shui Palace, an Internet site: “Using symbols is just like using the real thing. If you need protection and can’t afford an armed guard, place a toy soldier at your door to protect the entrance.”
Other cures hailed by Feng Shui devotees as working like a charm (and charm it is, like in divination): “I put round/white/playful children’s stuff in my kitchen (children’s area of the bagua), and after 4 months I became pregnant. I put 3 names of folks under dining room chair seats (in helpful people gua) who would be in charge of deciding whether I would be hired for a promotion – and I got it!”
The best explanation I encountered explaining the rituals of Feng Shui was an Internet article written by Helen and James Jay, Feng Shui teachers, lecturers, authors. From their article, “The Magic of Ritual and Feng Shui”, a brief overview.
“The ancient Chinese felt that the world was filled with spirits – that they surround us, our homes, and work places and that rituals insure our alignment and hence brought protection to us from this spiritual realm. In Feng Shui, the use of ritual is an integral part of the adjustment of space.” – page 2.
“As early people moved from the nomadic existence to one of settlement, they became the herdsmen and farmers of a dramatic new age. In doing so, they created radical change in lifestyles. The plowing fields, building of living spaces, and encasement of space slowed and sometimes redirected the free flow of chi in the earth. …Mother Earth, their protector and giver of life, was now being altered and needed appeasement. At this time rituals were born to honor the spirit of the Earth….” pg. 3.
Elements of Feng Shui Rituals
All rituals contain an offering of some type. Offerings maybe be:
- Candles and incense, to offer light and fragrance
- Food and drink are also used.
- Flowers and evergreens
- Personal items
- Sound is universal and is used to call forth Spirit. Drumming, singing, chanting.
- Movement is important: Dancing, ritual actions, hands held in a prayerful fashion.
- Intention and visualization are unseen ingredients believed to give a ritual its power of transformation.
- Timing: Favorable times include, full moon, new moon, solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, New Year’s Day (Western or Chinese), birthdays. The hours between 11 AM and 1 PM or 11 PM and 1 AM. Anytime there is trouble or bad luck.
There are several “formula” rituals like the Walking the Nine Star Path and the Josh Paper Burning Ritual, but according to Feng Shui experts Helen and James Jay, “your sincere intentions is the most important ingredient so don’t be afraid to experiment.”
The training most certified Feng Shui practitioners receive is exhaustive. The subject matter is complex, deep and confusing at times. Yet a central theme has occurred to me, it is divination in numerous forms, and embraces all the traits of the occult as it promotes fortune telling, divinations, idolatry, charms, demonology, atheism, pantheism, and polytheism.
What Price Will You Pay?
It does depend where you are living in the world as to what price you will pay for a Feng Shui Practitioner’s services. As well as what service you are seeking. A general overview:
- Personal consultations - $90 to $100 per hour
- Interior Design consultations at your home – $250 to 300 per hour
- Interior Design consultations at your business – $380 to $500 per hour
- Phone consultations ( 3, 1 hour consultations) – $399 to $450
- Site consultations (new construction) – $100 to $150 per hour
- Instruction ( 1 year course) – $1500 to $2970
- Correspondent courses – $180 to $297
- 1 question by email $10
Where are Feng Shui Practitioner’s Located?
Interestingly with as popular as Feng Shui is and the droves that seem to flock to entering this big business, one would think Feng Shui has covered the globe.
But this isn’t the result of my research.
- Within the United States, all States except 12
- Canada, all providences except 4
- Mexico, everywhere.
- Central America, all countries except 6
- South America, all countries except 6
- Africa, only South Africa
- Asia, only 5 countries
- Australia – All providences except 2
- New Zealand, just the cities of Christchurch and Wellington
- Near and Middle East, plus Arabia – Only Israel and United Arab Emirates
- Europe – all countries but 17
Responsibility For Their Advice
What assurance is made by Feng Shui practitioners for the advice they dispense to their paying clients? The facts I uncovered are alarming.
Feng Shui Research Center issues this disclaimer at the bottom of all their website information (correspondent school, articles, general information).
“Chinese astrology and Feng Shui are ancient wisdom handed down by our ancestors and have been used throughout the Orient for many years. To the best of our knowledge we guarantee that all information on this website are sincere representations of the subject and make no claim for absolute effectiveness.
The adoption and application of the advice or information offered is solely the reader’s responsibility, Feng Shui Research Center and its Associates are not responsible or liable in any manner for any loss or damages caused by following the suggestions in our articles, reading and other services.”
This gives a loop hole, for the possibility that Feng Shui philosophy doesn’t work, and the owner and managers at Feng Shui Research Center does not want to shoulder the responsibility for their advice.
Master Color Achemist and Feng Shui Master, Jami Lin makes this statement regarding the information and advice she peddles:
“Remember you can only do so much with Feng Shui enhancers or reducers, you can not cure energy or Feng Shui.”
Some how I understood this is what Feng Shui was all about, controlling energies. This statement disclaims that fact.
And this advice from a Feng Shui Design Consultant. Her training or credentials in interior design I was unable to ascertain; I am led to belief she has had no instruction or training in interior design.
A client asked why if she used red on her trash can it would stop the chi, and if she used red in one of her rooms, it would motivate people. How could a color be a STOP and also a GO?
The Feng Shui Consultant’s Answer
“With your intentions, of course! …it is up to you to suggest which one you want it to actually do. If that is not a good enough answer, let’s say, “it just does!”
As an interior decorator, myself, I was appalled at this advice. First of all color can not do what Feng Shui claims. Color does have psychological affects on us, but it can not bring romance, wealth, prosperity, love, mend family feuds, cause a woman to get pregnant, heal cancer, get you hired, send you on a holiday to the Mediterranean or give spiritual direction.
The above three example are consistent with many others I discovered in my research on the practitioners of Feng Shui. But, this is not to say all practitioners of Feng Shui are this lacking in responsibility for their advice.
Feng Shui is a big business by any standard. There are no clear-cut parimeters on how much education/training is required for a person to become a consultant, practitioner or master. The training advertised ranges from reading a few books which cost under $50, to year long, or longer courses which can cost from one to three thousand dollars. Although I did see a board for certification mentioned by one of the practitioners, the number of practitioners involved in Feng Shui do not list any certifications in their resume or bio’s.
Similarly, there are a lot of individuals providing advice in areas which they do not show any indication of having received training. Such as interior design, architecture, new construction, real estate, home staging, land landscaping. It seems just because they advertise they are a Feng Shui Practitioner that this qualifies them to practice and provide advice in these other areas as well. This is deception.
But one area that is of great concern is the area of health. There are many Feng Shui practitioners who flock to the area of holistic and alternative medicine forms of healing. Most of these are totally ineffective, and some are definite health risks. This will be our next article: Feng Shui and Alternative Medicine.