This is the first Feng Shui book I had read that was simple, understandable, and universal. The reason why Feng Shui In 5 Minutes is universal is because the author uses an international type of Feng Shui known as Dragon Door Feng Shui. The advantage of this system is that you don't need a compass because its principles focus on the existing position of doors--and it applies in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

The entire text of the book is written in a conversational question and answer format, making the information easy to understand and apply. It engaged my interest immediately, and was hard to put down! There's so much information packed into this handy, 204 page guide.

The author, Selena Summers, studied for many years with Professor Vincent Wu, a former Grandmaster of Hong Kong. She has been a Feng Shui columnist at Woman's Day magazine in Australia for 10 years.

First, the basics. What is Feng Shui? The simplest definition is that Feng Shui aims to increase harmony in your environment. The most common pronunciation is "Fung Shway": Feng means "wind" and Shui means "water". Part of achieving harmony is assuring the balanced flow of chi (also known as qi or ki). Chi is best translated as life energy or invisible life force. Feng Shui maintains that problems arise when this life energy moves too fast, slows to a trickle, or blocks entirely.

Feng Shui originated sometime between the second and fourth century B.C. in China. In fact, the first compass was invented in China not for navigation, but for the purpose of Feng Shui. The Chinese take their Feng Shui so seriously that during British rule in Hong Kong, millions of dollars were paid in compensation to people who claimed their Feng Shui was damaged by government buildings or roads!

The energetic art of Feng Shui has spread all across the world and is used by people to increase vitality, harmony, health, joy, prosperity, and romance. The author shares some incredible stories of individuals applying Feng Shui cures and getting amazing results.

What's interesting is that Feng Shui seems very commonsensical and intuitive. How often have you entered a building and thought "Eww. Bad vibes."? Or you felt claustrophobic in a cluttered room? What about entering a house that felt open, warm, and welcoming? It may very well be because of Feng Shui. In fact, some architects believe that "sick building syndrome" is due to bad Feng Shui--also known as sha qi.

Here is sample of some of the great information found in Feng Shui in 5 Minutes:

Chapter 1 of the book covers Feng Shui basics such as history, Yin and Yang, qi, and the 5 elements. This chapter also explains that the reason Feng Shui works is because our outer lives and inner worlds are connected--and constantly influence each other.

Chapter 2 is an easy guide to the Nine Celestial Cures. Each of these nine cures affects energy movement and creates harmony, as well as boosting health, prosperity, and personal vitality. Mirrors are the first of these cures, and are known as the "aspirin" of the Feng Shui medicine bag. Another cure is household pets. Psychology and medicine have already confirmed that pets lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Modern science is confirming principles that Feng Shui practitioners have known for centuries! Other cures include harmonious sounds, goldfish, and plants and flowers. (Now you know why there is often a tank of goldfish in a Chinese restaurant!)

Chapter 3 discusses the Ba-Gua, pronounced "Baa-Gwah". Ba-Gua means eight sides, and represents eight life treasures: Prosperity, Fame, Marriage and Relationships, Children, Helpful People, Career, Wisdom, and Family/Health. It is a visual interpretation of the ancient I Ching book, known as the "Book of Changes". There is an illustration of the Ba-Gua; Feng Shui practitioners superimpose the symbol on a room, house, or block of land to access the correct placement. Since the author uses Dragon Door Feng Shui, all you need to do is locate the main door and arrange the eight sections accordingly. Also discussed are the colors that go with each Ba-Gua point. One interesting pointer in this chapter is that an open fireplace at the Prosperity area sends money energy whirling up the chimney! Cures are given for this and other problems associated with the 8 "life treasure" areas.

Chapter 4 is about harmonious home and workplace locations and addresses lucky and unlucky shapes, money magnet sits, neighbors and omens. Did you know that having a water view from the front of your home is excellent Feng Shui--but overlooking a cemetery is not. Cemeteries bring in too much Yin energy, but it can be remedied with things like lattice screens covered with vines or blinds on the window. The author also explains the Feng Shui of shapes of land, intersections, and house and room positions.

Chapter 5 covers house shapes, room layouts, and workplace designs. Doors and windows are discussed, as well as side doors, garages, and staircases. While skylights are good Feng Shui, sharply sloping ceilings are not--because it accumulates qi. This is why it's a good idea to hang a wind chime at the lowest point of the ceiling. (One of the nine celestial cures is movement, but you've also got the added benefit of harmonious sounds with a chime.)

Chapter 6 discusses good Feng Shui for the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. In Feng Shui, only the position of your bed matters more than the kitchen stove, believe it or not! It's not good to sleep in a "Coffin Position", which is when you sleep opposite the doorway with our feet pointing directly towards the gap. Want to encourage romance as a single woman? Try pink or peach sheets.

Chapter 7 covers good Feng Shui of living and dining rooms, studies, nurseries, and other rooms--as well as seating secrets. Favorable shapes for dining and other tables are round, oval, and octagonal. The reason tense political meetings take place at round tables is to reduce friction and encourage harmony. If you're a lonely single person, don't group chairs in odd numbers. "Happiness comes in pairs" says the Chinese proverb--so go for even numbers instead.

Chapter 8 is about transforming your aparment's energy and increasing luck while renting. The author advises on high-rise block shapes, curved balconies, tall buildings, and so on. If your apartment faces a staircase or elevator, your home will be hammered by excess energy. Hang a mirror on a wall inside your door to reflect the excess energy back outside.

Chapter 9 is about workplace and office success at home and away. Why is a door that is half glass bad Feng Shui? Visitors often see you first before you see them, which causes you to lose power. This is rather common sense, but staying at a job you hate drains your personal qi and keeps you in a state of disharmony. You're much better working at a job you love!

Chapter 10 is about the four protective house spirits and harmony during home renovations.

Chapter 11 cover trees, flowers, paths, and driveways. For example, and all-white garden is bad Feng Shui because white flower symbolize death and mourning. (In fact, the author tells a story in another part of the book about casinos offering the free use of white limos to Chinese high rollers. The Chinese refused, believing white to be bad luck because of its association with death.) This chapter also covers gardens and garden shapes. What shape driveway attracts wealth to a home? Circular.

Chapter 12, called "Water Wisdom", addresses swimming pools, ponds, and prosperity. Pools generate a lot of Yin energy, so the author gives pratical advice on countering the affect of this excellent Feng Shui feature.

Chapter 13 is about the color of good Feng Shui and a warning about clutter. You know, I've heard it said that if you need an energy boost, clean out a closet or a small room and get rid of clutter. Every time I've tried this, it worked! Turns out it's a Feng Shui principle. A famous Chinese saying warns "Qi energy moves like a dancer and cannot abide a cluttered stage."

Chapter 14 contains magic Feng Shui rituals and easy steps to better luck.

Chapter 15 addresses unsual Feng Shui questions. Have you been stuck in a rut for years? Change the position of 27 items in your life, including yourself. Shop at different stores. Try different restaurants.

Chapter 16 discusses Yin Moonlight and Yang Daylight as well as lucky charms. A chart is given to locate your Chinese Zodiac animal sign and the corresponding lucky charms. For example, if you were born in a Dog year, your Yin charm would be a butterfly and your Yang charm would be a mandolin. You can buy items with your charms on them, use decorations and accessories that feature your charms, etc.

The Appendix shows you how to discover your birth year element, with a complete chart up to 2020.

I was surprised at how readily I grasped the concepts in Feng Shui in 5 Minutes--as well as how easily I remembered them! This is a great guide to practical Feng Shui that is immediately useful. The author covers many, many questions about furniture placement, doors, hallways, color, etc--as well as how to create a flow of harmony, prosperity, peace, and joy. You'll find yourself going "aha!" at some of the insights, especially since Feng Shui wisdom is intuitive and natural.

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Content copyright © by Janet Boyer. All rights reserved. This review was written by Janet Boyer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission.
Feng Shui in 5 Minutes - Selena Summers