Community Feng Shui

The Maui Voice – Fall 1998

Feng Shui is the name given to a 3000 year old Chinese art of placement and interior design. The principles and symbology of Feng Shui (pron.: fung sch’way) apply to homes, business, graveyards, city and state planning as well. In previous issues of the Maui Voice we’ve examined Feng Shui applications to increasing prosperity, removing obstacles to health and siting a house on a piece of property. This issue I’ll focus on Feng Shui in the community.

The most obvious consideration is the relationship of one structure to another. In the past we have laughed at the “ticky-tacky” line up of homes in a housing tract – boring and conducive to conformity. How wonderful it is to be a land owner, having the freedom to design and place a home in accordance to one’s own individuality and desire. Yet this freedom can unintentionally lead to community disharmony in regard to position of the structure itself and even choice of landscaping. Often I see a complete disregard as to how a newly built structure may impact a neighbor’s life or the life of the inhabitants of the newly built structure.

One problem that I often observe is the misalignment of one structure with another whether from one property to another, or two structures on the same property. Simply stated when the corner of one structure points at another structure, there will be discord between the occupants of those structures. This is called a “hidden arrow.” [Note: To the subconscious-emotional mind there is no difference between a statue of someone pointing a bow and arrow at you or a real person pointing a bow and arrow at you. Consequently, anything that is pointing at you is perceived as a potential danger. These are called “hidden arrows.”] The Feng Shui cure for this problem is simple to plant a hedge or erect a fence that is high enough to protect the house the “arrow” is pointing at. In addition, it would be wise to hang a metal wind chime to symbolize harmony between the two structures. Other gestures can be placement of fountains or garden statuary.

Another problem is found when one structure is higher up the hill than another. Again a tendency to discord as the inhabitants higher up will try to and probably succeed in “lording” it over the inhabitants of the lower structure. An additional problem may arise if the higher structure are renters or caretakers for those living below as it will appear that the renter or caretaker acts as if they are the owners. In this case, it is usually sufficient for the true owners to place a photograph or something symbolic of themselves somewhere above the higher structure and take back control. The photograph can be laminated and tacked to a fence or hung from a bush.

Another problem arises in the positioning of a structure at the end of a driveway or a T-juncture of two streets. The difficulty here is that the approaching cars “shoot arrows” at the home at the end of the roadway which can bring misfortune, possibly ill health, accidents or financial instability. Hedges or fences again can be used to deflect this negative energy in addition to the installation of a mirror hung outside the home to bounce the energy away.

Mirrors can also be used to deflect negative energy from a disagreeable neighbor. Beside freeing you of some of the impact, it actually might drive them away in their attempt to avoid having to deal with their own energy coming back at them.

In both situations cited, using mirrors that are eight side are considered stronger with the strongest having the eight trigrams inscribed around the center mirror. These mirrors are often referred to as Feng Shui mirrors and they are very powerful to draw into your home good fortune while deflecting negative environmental energy.

Note well: that these Feng Shui mirrors should never be hung inside the home as the negative energy being deflected will richachete around the interior. Likewise, when hanging a Feng Shui mirror outside the home, be conscientious which direction the deflected negative energy will be shooting. After all, you wouldn’t want to bounce negative vibrations into a friendly neighbor’s home.

These are just some of the most obvious mistakes made in small neighborhoods that are also made between places of business as well large structures constructed among smaller ones. Take the Maui County Building for example.

The Maui County Building

My first impression of the Maui County building is how it stands like a tombstone looming over Wailuku town. True all towns have their ups and downs but Wailuku town, which has much charm, has thus far resisted all attempts to revive it with almost all existing businesses struggling to survive. The Maui County building is too tall, too gray, too uninspired and too glum.

And notice the entrance way – nondescript. No particular message. Nothing to symbolize what Maui is or where Maui might be going. As you walk through the entrance, the energy continues to shoot right through to the back door allowing whatever good fortune that might come in to leave easily. In fact, after the chart to the inside left of the entrance way showing the County of Maui Administration, the next message is the Exit sign.

In Feng Shui symbology each corner of a structure represents a different aspiration: wealth, relationships, academics (path in life) and benefactors (helpful people). The planners of the Maui County Building managed to delete all four corners. With the corners missing each of the four aspirations are weakened. Another major difficulty is the positioning of the County Building with its back on a downward sloping hill. This also symbolizing that money, reputation and relationships come in the front door and then “go down hill.”

Each of the first six floors projects the same drab and sterile appearance. The top three floors are different. These floors are occupied by the County Council, County Clerk, Council Chambers, Mayor’s Office and the Corporation Council. As you come out of the elevator you are greeted with positive images of art and Hawaiiana. But without a doubt there is much room for improvement.

I’d like to make two additional points. One, the council members office cubicles are small and contractive with excessive light pouring in. Plus, they are stacked to the ceiling with books or storage boxes and crammed with electronic equipment. All of which contributes to a frantic, insecure and anxious sense of activity. (On the day I was at the Maui County Building only Wayne Nishiki’s office had flowers or any feeling of friendliness.)

Second point, the Council Chamber has pillars and other furniture with sharp edges, (another example of “poison arrows”) which cut the energy of those sitting at the unnaturally long council table. This arrangement undermines the effectiveness of the council members as well as divides them on many issues and makes it difficult getting compromises or non-partisan support.

Maui County Building Solutions

As in each of the Feng Shui articles I have written, I usually describe the problems and then suggest the solutions. With the Maui County Building this is difficult to do. Removal of the building or redoing the facade is out of the question. All other solutions for the most part are similar to putting a small band-aid on a gaping wound. It will help only a little.

What I would recommend that might be feasible is a colorful mural around the base of the building. Something to bring life, to give roots, to emphasize positive growth, to communicate a positive message. Perhaps it could be commissioned as a public works project or perhaps it can be done as a Maui County Public School’s project. The Hana Elementary and High School has an outstanding example of what students can do under the guidance of an art teacher.

Likewise the front lawn area would benefit from a sculpture similar to the ones at the airport. Perhaps one that included a water feature to stimulate positive ch’i (money) flow. I would also recommend on each floor a mirror, appropriate poster or painting to be installed representing the theme of the missing corner. For example: a gold frame with picture of fruiting tree for wealth. Or images of harmony in relationship. Or community working together for helpful people. Academic achievement for academics. The florescent light bulbs can be replaced with full spectrum bulbs to increase the health and mental efficiency of the individuals who work in these lack luster office spaces.

The Council Chambers also need to have the sharp edges softened perhaps with potted plants with round leaves or paper art installed on the walls to inspire and increase the vision of the council members. The long straight table should be replaced with one that is semi-circular to assist in unification and encourage seeking win-win solutions to county problems.

Apply Feng Shui At The Beginning

Without a knowledge of Feng Shui principles we can say the misalignment of one home to another or the construction of a county building that looks like a tombstone was unintentional. But once being informed of Feng Shui concepts, wouldn’t it be a more a wonderful world to live in if everyone created harmonious places to live in and communities that actually were designed for people to work together?

***Be sure to order my book, Choose the Best House for You: The Feng Shui Checklist. For the feng shui student it is a textbook of Landform Feng Shui problems and their solutions. For the layperson who just want to know what to do, the Checklist format makes it easy to go down the list, see what situations relate to you, turn to the page provided, and learn what solutionsyou can use to remedy any difficult feng shui situations.