Like many other cultures, the ancient Chinese studied the stars, the earth, the patterns and cycles of nature and concluded, amongst other things, that things happen in cycles. Once they knew the cycles they could predict what may be likely to happen in the future because, given similar circumstances, it had already happened in the past.
They also understand a maxim that is currently used: ‘As above, So below’ where the cycles of the universe are duplicated on a smaller scale in man – the macrocosm into the microcosm. Therefore knowledge of these cycles can be applied to our individual lives.
The other aspect of these cycles is that they are eminently simple. Our world is made up of two opposing forces – yin and yang. Yin is the feminine, soft and diffuse energy whereas yang is the masculine, hard and focussed energy. The two meet, each attempting to gain balance so there is never stillness. Life is movement. This dance of yin and yang is split into eight phases and shown in symbols known as trigrams. Each trigram consists of three lines and each line is either yin or yang. And so we have our building blocks of energy that create everything because everything contains a portion of yin energy and a portion of yang energy.
The I Ching is an ancient Chinese text, also known as The Book of Changes, which describes this energy dance between yin and yang. ( A Guide to the I Ching)
By combining each of the eight trigrams with each other it subdivides the phases of energy into 64 hexagrams. Best known as a divination tool the I Ching is also used in Feng Shui when analysing the energy in homes and workplaces.
However, for the purposes of this article, we are sticking with the eight basic energy blocks, the trigrams, and how we can use that information to understand the changing energy of our environment. Each trigram has been given a beautiful descriptive name. it’s important to remember that this name describes the essence of what it is rather than the thing itself. If you’re not sure what I mean by that you’ll get the picture as we look at each trigram:
This is all yang (denoted by three unbroken lines) and is also known as Father. Heaven or Father we view as being responsible, wise, strong and focussed. In this energy we can gain focus, wisdom, authority and leadership.
This is all yin (denoted by three broken lines) and is also known as Mother. Earth and Mother is nurturing, yielding, understanding and forgiving. In this energy we can tap into our intuition and focus on the emotional and softer side of our character.
Also known as eldest son, there is still a lot of yang in this energy but some yin is showing up too. We think of thunder as being a strong natural force that happens quickly and intensely. This energy allows us to explore and find new things. It can be creative or destructive.
Also known as eldest daughter. This energy is mainly yin with some yang. If you think of the wind it’s hard to grasp and contain. It will go where it wants, may be hard or soft and change very quickly. A wind energy is as creative as thunder but more fickle.
This is middle son and is balanced between yin and yang with just a little more emphasis on the yang. Water can both destroy life with its force and nurture it as a life sustaining substance. Water energy is, above everything else, flexible. It can be many things to many people and is strongly tied to our subconscious.
The opposite of water, fire is the middle daughter. And like water, the ultimate fire symbol – the sun can be either life destroying or sustaining. Fire is hot, fast and illuminating.
This is the youngest son who doesn’t have the inclination to tread new ground as his eldest brother. The mountain is solid, immoveable and strong. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes it’s stubbornness. We go to mountains to retreat, either in a cave or on the summit where we can be a spectator of life rather than take part.
And finally the youngest daughter. The lake is a playful, relaxing energy. The youngest daughter doesn’t have to help with the chores or be a substitute mother like her eldest sister. She can just relax and enjoy life and that is what the lake energy is all about.
Now you know the different types of energy, how do you use that information? Well, each year is governed by a trigram. As I write this in 2011 this year is a Lake year. That means the underlying energy is a relaxing one: a time to recover from the harder energy of the previous year and take stock. Of course, one type of energy for a whole year is not particularly realistic especially, as we know, energy is constantly changing.
Within that year, each month will be governed by a trigram. Again as I write this on the 8th August 2011 we have just gone into an Earth month. So, although the underlying theme or energy for the year is relaxed, this month until the 7th September has a nurturing, grounded energy, albeit in a relaxed way.
You’ll probably say that things change for you daily. So you won’t be surprised to know that each day is also governed by a trigram: wheels within wheels and cycles within cycles. Today is a Tai Chi day.
If you’re paying attention at this stage you’ll notice something missing. There isn’t a Tai Chi trigram. That’s because the Tai Chi is the centre of a wheel with all the eight trigrams radiating out from it. Hence a tai chi day is about coming back to the centre, taking stock and grounding before going off again. So, today the energy encourages us to take stock with our minds on nurturing or relationships but in a relaxed frame of mind.
Of course, you can choose to live your day today in harmony with that energy or fight against it. The aim with Feng Shui is to harmonise our lives with the energetic world around us so this knowledge is useful and effective if you choose to use it. To keep up to date with these daily energy cycles you can join my Facebook page.
The next article in this series explains how we use the same system for our personal astrology – starting with your birth star.
The information in this article has been provided to inform you about the general energy cycles that are all around us. As with everything in Feng Shui there are deeper layers and the next layer we can look at on this subject is how your inherent energy interacts with this energetic world.
Jackie Notman is a copywriter, feng shui consultant and e-commerce retailer. This article is from her blog ‘Life – and everything else’ where you’ll find an eclectic mix of articles and information.
This Feng Shui information is general for everybody. However, there are deeper levels of Feng Shui which take into account you and your specific business or home environment.
If you would like to find out more about living in harmony with your environment, and using energy to your advantage, contact Jackie Notman on 07920 461574 or through her website www.fs168.co.uk
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