By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
As an avid reader, I have lately been looking into books that deal with personal development and came upon a concept called feng shui.
This concept has its roots buried deep in the Chinese belief system of balance or chi.
Since this belief is over 300 years old; I felt there might be something to it.
So this year, I am going to design my vegetable garden utilizing the feng shui principles.
What I liked about this concept was that nature was looked at as a whole living organism that is full of energy or chi. To have harmony and prosperity in ones environment, these forces need to be balanced.
To balance these forces, one must first create a fengi shui bagua or energy map. This map is really just an extension of ones gardening journal. Using a hiking compass, all the directions are mapped, which is what I used. If you want a more detail, use a specially designed compass called a feng shui compass.
After the area is mapped, draw a circle around your garden plan and divide it into 8 pie slices. Each slice will be associated with a direction, color, shape, element, and life area.
To give you a quick lesson in feng shui begins with learning about the elements. Each element is associated with several colors, shape and direction. The first element is water, which has a north compass reading. The color associated with water is blue and/or black. Its shape is anything wavy and it covers the life area of career and path in life.
Next is the element earth. This element covers two directions. The northeast direction houses the life area of spiritual growth and self-cultivation while the southwest direction covers the life area of love and marriage. The colors associated with earth include light yellow, sandy earth colors and light brown. Square is the shape tied into the earth element.
East and southeast both have the same element and that is wood. The color of this element is brown and green while the shape is rectangular. The east direction is associated with the life area of health and family while the southeast contains the life area of money and abundance.
The south direction’s element is fire, which hosts the life area of fame and reputation. The shape is triangular and the colors associated with fire are strong colored reds, yellows, oranges, purples, and pinks.
The element metal shares two directions, which include west and northwest. Metal is associated with the round shape and the colors of white and gray. The life area that the west covers includes creativity and children while the northwest hosts the life area of blessings, travel and helpful people.
Once you have the map done, it is time to observe the space. Are there areas with no plants or the incorrect color? Is there clutter, not only material items but also weeds or dead plants? Is the garden space flat with no shape or shapes in the wrong places? All these factors affect the balance of nature and must be changed to not only balance nature but to also improve ones personal situation.
After you have analyzed your space, you can begin to come up with a plan. The Chinese believe that personal misfortune is due to their environment being unbalanced. As I went through the process in my own garden I began to see some areas that I needed to improve upon. These were not necessarily personal areas but areas in the garden space that needed to be changed for better production, esthetics, and overall karma.
What I really liked about redesigning my garden space using feng shui principles was that it was purely organic and encouraged attracting wildlife. Birds, and insects could not only improve my chi but also help me take care of some slugs I have in my garden.
While in recent years, I have had a terrible string of bad luck I hope changing my vegetable garden into a more harmonious area will improve my luck. Only time will tell and before those who think that they cannot apply these techniques because they garden on a patio or deck. You are wrongfully mistaken. The principles are the same and you to can create chi on your balcony.
So until we blog again, may the chi force be with you in a balanced and healthy way.