Of all the many items that can be used as feng shui cures, the four favorites that I consistently use to make quick changes in the quality and flow of chi are mirrors, crystals, the color red, and chimes. To me, they are easy to work with, they can be hidden if necessary, and they work very efficiently to shift the direction and speed of energy in space. Changing the speed or direction of chi to create a different energy pattern that supports your goals in life is what feng shui is all about!
Here’s a more detailed explanation of the four tools and how to use them. I threw in a pinch of science here for those of you who need to know the how behind “how they work.”
A scientist would say that you’re using the law of reflection when you use a mirror, but what would a feng shui consultant say?
They would say that mirrors change the chi in several different ways, depending on your intention. They can double, erase, deflect away or draw in, so you have to know your needs and set your intention before using one.
From an energetic point of view, there is no difference between the item and its reflection. From a feng shui point of view, “what’s in the mirror is as real as the real thing.”
Take a moment to look around and see what you have two of in your house because of a reflection. Perhaps it’s a lovely view or perhaps it’s a nasty pile of clutter. Here’s a list of ways to employ a mirror as part of a feng shui cure:
Use Mirrors to Double
If you want twice the prosperity, place a mirror somewhere near the stove to reflect the burners, because in feng shui, more burners equal more abundance. If you have a water feature in the prosperity part of your house (the back left) with intentions of keeping the money flowing, double it with a mirror with the intention of doubling your income. Avoid doubling things like toilets, clutter piles and yourself while you are sleeping if you want to maintain good health. (Sorry, big mirrored closet doors, you’ve gotta go!)
Use Mirrors to Erase
If you have a wall directly in front of you when you walk into a room or home, or if you are seated at a built-in desk facing a wall (hello, cubicle-dwellers!) hang a mirror on the “in-your-face” wall. This makes more space and erases the oppressiveness of the wall. As a bonus, it empowers you because you can now see the door and anyone standing behind you. You can also apply what I call the “70′s disco cure” to a free-standing column by mirroring the entire column so that it is energetically erased from the space. Use this especially if the column is near the entryway or is competing with major pedestrian circulation.
Use Mirrors to Deflect
Let’s say you have a noisy neighbor that you’re tired of hearing. Just put a mirror somewhere between you and the noise with the intention of deflecting the noise away and you’ve got an effective solution! Go ahead and hide the mirror behind a piece of art on the wall; it doesn’t have to be seen to work. Or place a mirror up against the fence in the yard so the noise doesn’t even enter your yard. I did this with an icky-chi neighbor in the past. I hid it behind a plant, and no one was the wiser.
If you sleep or spend significant amounts of time under exposed beams in ceilings, place a mirror face up somewhere between the top of your head and the beam with the intention of deflecting the beam away from you. (I place them on furniture or shelves next to walls where the beam ends in the room.) If the ceiling is sloped where you sleep or spend a lot of time, place a mirror or two face up on the lowest side, with the intention of deflecting the slope away from your body. Use your intuition to decide the size and quantity of mirrors to use. I usually start with two 6-inch mirrors for sloped ceilings and beams, and go up from there if there is no improvement (with insomnia, headaches, sinus condition, fuzzy thinking, feeling oppressed or squished, which is what that sloping ceiling might get you) after a couple of weeks.
If you or a family member sleeps above the garage, place a mirror under the bed face down with the intention of deflecting the big, loud, honking, toxic-fume-creating cars and trucks away from your quiet, still, health-generating sleep space. The bedroom and garage have issues if they are adjacent to each other. It’s best if these rooms are not right next to, above, or below each other as the energetic function of each space is so different.
Stoves, toilets, and beds are three additional common items that may have adjacency issues within the floor plan of the building.
To help illustrate why, imagine for a moment that you went back in time to become a member of an ancient native tribe. Once introductions were made, you were shown around the living quarters and told how things work. “We keep our horses over that way (garage). We cook and eat right here (stove). We sleep in those tee-pees over there (beds). And we go poo-poo way, way out there (toilet).” You think to yourself, OK, that makes sense. Good rules to follow to keep the tribe safe and healthy.
What if the tribe had no rules and went poo-poo right next to where they prepared or cooked their food? Or what if they slept on the ground right next to the poo-poo zone, or six inches from the horses? Your inner feng shui consultant might have a few issues with how your new tribe operates.
Now, think about your house. Do you have a situation where cook and poo-poo are right next to each other, or sleep and cook are so close, it wouldn’t make sense to the tribe? Is your headboard four inches away from the toilet or stove, only separated by the thickness of one wall? Are your stove and toilet six inches apart with just a wall in between? Or is the toilet right on top of your stove a floor above?
To play this adjacency game, you have to imagine that your house walls, floors and ceilings are transparent.
What other kind of strange adjacencies do you have? Is the fuse box six inches away from your head while you sleep? Is the toilet directly on top of you while you sleep? Yes, when the poo-poo function came inside the house, it opened a whole new feng shui can of worms.
If you can’t move things around to negate these or any other odd immediate adjacencies, use a mirror to deflect them apart if they are right next to, directly above, or directly below each other. Place a mirror between the headboard and the wall if there is a toilet, plumbing pipes, a stove, or an electrical sub panel on the other side. Face the mirror towards the wall. Or place a mirror behind a stove facing the wall if a toilet is on the other side, etc. Don’t forget to give it the intention of pushing these two items apart and deflecting their functions away from each other.
Use Mirrors to Draw In
Because of their doubling properties, you can use a mirror to bring something in that is energetically outside the house. (How does it know when to deflect things away or draw things in you ask? Your intention. I know you can’t see intentions, but when playing physics and feng shui games, you have to understand that they’re real.)
A client named Shelly hired me because she was desperate to get one single night’s sleep without her four-year-old daughter, Kate, crawling into bed and awakening her. Gone was the passion in her relationship with her husband, due mostly to sleep deprivation. No matter what she tried, it didn’t work. Fortunately for Shelly, I’ve seen this many times and easily identified the problem: the child’s bed was positioned inside the house but in a location that was sticking out in front of the front door. The bedrooms that house roaming-in-the-night kids are almost always between mom and the busy street. Kids somehow feel that their mom’s bed is safer than their bed, not just because mom’s in it, but because the room is towards the rear (more yin) section of the home. Energetically, it is safer!
My two-part recipe for her was as follows: First, place a picture of mom, dad, and Kate in a frame on her night stand to symbolize that her parents are near her in her room. Second, place a mirror somewhere inside the home or behind the front door, and hang it so that it reflects the room back into the behind-the-door part of the house. It worked from the first night on.
Use a crystal when the energy is moving too fast or too straight; for instance, in a long hallway. Now when I say crystal, I mean a multi-faceted, leaded glass ball versus a natural stone crystal. You can often find them in knickknack shops, new age bookstores, online, or even the crystal department of department stores. In feng shui, crystals disperse chi. Similar to a mirrored disco ball that takes one stream of light and evenly sprinkles it around the room; crystals do the same for chi. (That’s why I prefer the round ones.) You’re using the scientific law of refraction to redirect chi by changing the direction of a light ray. This is similar to putting a straw in a glass of water and having it appear to bend.
A couple of other common places to hang crystals are between the front door and staircase, front door and large rear window, or even front door and back door if any of these align inside the home. You don’t want chi to come into your home and then go straight out the back door or window. It just won’t be able to hold enough energy inside for you. It’s like having diarrhea of the house, and you don’t want that life situation to show up in your life with love, money, or health, right?
If the stairs are in line with the door, the chi may be confused as to which way to flow through the home. It may actually come in, start up the stairs and then slide back down and back out the door. This is a definite no-no, somewhat like your house dry heaving! (The more you personify your home like this, the easier it is to picture how the chi is flowing; so stick with me here, OK?) If you don’t want to hang crystals from the ceiling, it’s certainly OK to place them on a table or other piece of furniture as long as they’re placed in that line of speedy chi, and placed with intention.
I also use a crystal in situations where a ceiling fan is directly over a high-use area like a bed or office chair, as that chi is fairly harsh for hanging out in over the long haul. Ceiling fans are like vertical cylinders of chi going too fast. Simply hang a crystal from the pull chain to disperse the chi from hitting anyone head-on below.
Another common way to use a crystal is to use it to complete a missing piece in a room or the entire home, or cure the erratic chi that comes off of a corner that protrudes into a room and points at a spot where you spend a lot of time. This corner is often called a “poison arrow,” which by name alone sounds like unhealthy chi that can strike you. Take a moment to do a 360-degree spin around your bed and office (and Lazy Boy recliner if that’s your other big hang out), and see if there are any poison arrows, ceiling fans, or doors in line with you in these spots. Then make a note to place a crystal somewhere between you and the offending item.
For example, if you have a poison arrow pointing at your knee all night while in bed, your knee is definitely not being supported by your surroundings. It’s as if that knee is lying across the chi freeway all night, and that’s way too much chi for a knee.
My advice here is to first only cure the poison arrows where you spend time. Then, if you still have health challenges after about three months, cure the others.
The Color Red
The color red does two seemingly opposing things, depending on your intention. Red can either attract and activate chi, or red can stop chi. Isn’t it interesting that a stop sign is red? It gets your attention and screams STOP!
Ask a blind person, and they will tell you that colors feel different. Among other things, you’re working with subtle molecular vibratory variations when you work with color.
Use Red to Activate Chi
Use red to activate a tired-feeling or chi-less house by placing splashes of it here and there, inside and out.
Inside, you could add red place mats in the dining room, a luxurious throw on the couch, or fluffy red towels in the bathroom if those rooms feel blah. A little red can go a long way for your chi level. When you add red inside, it usually draws attention towards it. This is often advantageous when you have homes with huge viewing windows or some other condition where the chi potentially exits too quickly. Red will keep attention in the room or space instead of allowing thoughts (and therefore, chi) to make a quick exit out windows and doors. (Where thought goes, energy flows.)
After reviewing many of her listings, I taught one realtor client to add little splashes of red in each room of a home that she’s having trouble selling. More often than not, the home either has major chi leaks where the eye is drawn quickly out to a view, or the home has a sleepy, worn out, depressing feeling. If you’ve got these issues, try quick remedies with red and see how things change. It made a believer out of her. Cha-ching!
Outside, if you have a front door that is always in shadow, under a large overhang or porch, or if the house is the least noticed one on the street, you may want to activate and draw attention to it by painting the front door red. Some people think your front door has to be red to have good feng shui, but it’s really an option if you have a particular situation like the ones just stated. The goal is to get the chi to come to your door so you can use it. If it’s all heading to the splashy house next door, you and your chi are playing second fiddle to their needs.
Use Red to Stop Chi
Sticking with the front door example, if you have something negative pointing right at your front door, like a corner of a big building or the end of a T street (“the chi is erratic or too fast,” says Goldilocks), this would be another time when you would paint your front door red, but with a different intention. This time you would paint it red to stop the offensive chi from entering your home. This may be used as an alternative to a mirror above the door.
Now you know two different reasons to paint your front door red and two different cures for something harsh heading towards your door. If you don’t have those situations, paint your door any color you want!
If you have that front door/big view alignment (house diarrhea) situation and don’t want to disperse the chi with a crystal, stop the chi from exiting your home by placing the color red across the exiting door or window. Remember, you can hide it! I usually suggest backing the window treatment with red fabric or even running red tape, paint, or ribbon across the top of the molding or behind the valance where no one can see it. You can also use red tape, paint, or ribbon (or fingernail polish or whatever!) around the outgoing pipes of your plumbing with the intention of stopping your chi from leaking out of the house through the pipes. Think of chi leaks as money leaks if you need incentive to follow through with these fixes.
If you choose to employ a chime as a cure, choose a chime that fits the decor and pleases your ears. With this cure, it’s the sound wave you’re using. It is another one of those scientific, invisible energy things. You can’t see that wave, but it’s there nonetheless. In the cases below, it does not matter how many tubes the chime has or if they are hollow or solid, or if it is even metal or not.
Use Chimes to Attract
I often use chimes to attract energy towards the front door if it is not easily seen or found. Hang the chime in a location on the non-hinged side of the door. The chime should not be in a position where it could possibly hit someone on the head as they pass underneath. If there is no good location for hanging it on the architecture, get a planter pot and hang it from a shepherd’s hook in the pot.
If your door is hard to find, or if there is a long and winding route to the door, you may use more than one chime along the way to direct visitors. Give your guests (and the chi) auditory hints as to where to find you. A strange, counter-intuitive feng shui rule is that the chime does not actually have to be making sound to work. Go figure!
If you are using feng shui in a commercial setting, a common way to use a chime is to hang it so that it rings whenever someone enters. It can be hung on the door or near it, so that it chimes when the door opens.
Use Chimes to Detract
Although I often choose other cures (like a mirror) for this situation, a chime can be used as an esoteric cure for noise abatement. Hang a chime between the off-site noise (train tracks, nearby commercial noise, etc.) and the home. This can be in a tree, or hung on the architecture somewhere. The important thing is to hang it between the noise and your ears. Hang it with the intention of intervening with the negative sounds and transforming it to a pleasant one or dissolving it before it gets to your ears.
There you have it: my four go-to cures. Once you start experimenting with these four tools-of-the-trade, you’ll gain confidence and will be able to think on your own two feet in any situation where changing the chi would be helpful. You will no longer need to re-read feng shui books to find the right cure. Mirrors double, erase, deflect, and draw things in. Crystals disperse. The color red activates and stops. Chimes attract and transform. Consider these four items in every situation where the energy needs to shift.
Experiment with these and see how they work for you. I want you to feel free to try things out in not only traditional, but new ways. I experiment all the time at my house just to see what reaction I’ll get. And if I don’t like it (say it is changing my life too fast or bringing too many opportunities to choose), I change it again.
My intentions are always to improve my life. And with those intentions, it is hard to stray too far off. If you’re not writing down every cure you use, and why, in your journal, you might want to begin jotting them down. That way, if you get some result that is not to your liking, you can quickly go back and tweak it. Deflect, double, draw in, erase, disperse, stop, activate, detract, draw attention to: How are YOU going to use these tools? Have fun!