Feng shui (pronounced "fung schway") isn't just another one of those so-called "ancient Chinese secrets." Rather, it is the idea that individuals should live in harmony with their environment. Literally translated, feng shui means "wind and water." The ancient Chinese believed that if we live in balance with the order of the world (Earth's winds and waters), we could attract fortune and prosperity. That's good.

Although the exact origins of feng shui are debatable, it is thought to have originated in China about five thousand years ago. Scholars theorized and recorded various aspects of feng shui as early as the Song dynasty (960 B.C). However, the basic principles of feng shui were first written down during the Han dynasty (25 A.D.). Over the years, scholars made minor changes to the basic principles and created the "Form" and "Compass" schools of feng shui, which are relatively unchanged to this day.

Primary Purpose: Searching for ch'i

"Ch'i," the dragon's celestial breath, is what the ancient Chinese scholars named the universal abstract energy or life force that governs our world. Pronounced "chee," ch'i brings happiness, prosperity, luck, and longevity. It's like really, really good karma. Although ch'i is present everywhere, it pools in special places which are very auspicious in feng shui. Thus, in feng shui, we are constantly looking for locations with tons of ch'i so we can have health, happiness, and win the lottery. There are a few general tips to use when hunting for ch'i. Strong winds and swift waters carry ch'i away; rolling hills will block strong winds, but mountains may create wind pockets; and ch'i is bounded by slow-moving, meandering water, where it can then accumulate (e.g., Hong Kong harbor). So ch'i is kinda like noxious gases: it's gunk that can travel in streams or through the air. But it's like that good quality noxious gas that you want to live near.

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