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The Importance of Color in Feng Shui
by Shelley Nordlund



Editor's Note from Carolyn White: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) evolved over the millennia as an energy medicine because it paid attention to Nature. Various branches of specialization grew out of the overall study of energy, known as "chi" or "qi." Feng Shui arose as the awareness of how "qi" moves through objects in our environment and the balance - Yin/Yang - of that energy. Color plays an important role in Feng Shui as each color holds an energy signature of one of the five elements. You can integrate color into your environment to balance and evoke specific energetic qualities. Feng Shui consultant and teacher Shelley Nordlund details the colors associated with each of the five elements. She demonstrates how you can use color in your life to create harmony and wellness.


The direct impact of color on our lives is easily recognizable.  Some colors make us happy, others make depress us; some help us relax and others energize us.  From the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the time we close them at night, color affects all of us.  Our temperament, our physical movements, our language and thoughts are all impacted by color.

Color plays a very important role in feng shui.  Chinese color theory offers a way to enhance nearly every aspect of our lives.  Color has been a component of many Chinese practices and beliefs: medicine, art and poetry, food preparation and feng shui. This entry is to share some of the most basic precepts in using color within the world we know as feng shui. Feng Shui is over three thousand years old, and was developed by observing nature.

The key to understanding the significance of color in our lives is Ch’i, literally translated as “breath” or “vitality.”  This energy circulates in and around the earth, creating mountains, directing streams and rivers, nourishing trees and crops.  Ch’i is also the blueprint of our personality, our health, our talents and our lives.  There are many ways to improve an individual’s Ch’i, and one way is to apply color.


This theory can be used to analyze, harmonize and improve our ch’i. Out of the interaction of Yin and Yang arise five expressions of ch’i.  All people and spaces are made up, in varying degrees of these expressions.  The Five Elements and their associated colors include:

 * Water:
black and other dark colors such as navy

This element helps one see the big picture and is skilled at communicating in a clear and concise manner. The Water element helps us at setting limits and at evaluation.  This element benefits from time alone to think and rejuvenate.

 * Wood:
green (like the leaves of deciduous trees and the needles of evergreen trees)

This element provides an infectious optimism that is very innovative and motivating. This element helps a person work well with others and is good at conflict resolution. The Wood element often causes one to lack focus and the ability to follow tasks through to their completion. This groundbreaker characteristic is best suited for creating and transforming ideas, rather than carrying out plans.

 * Fire:
red (as well as strong yellows and oranges)

Fire is the social element; joyful, excited, and charismatic with others.  The Fire element provides one with perception and intuition, usually giving the ability to shed light on situations with good judgment regarding people and situations. This person can help us provide a concise (although sometimes exaggerated) point of view.

 * Earth: soft yellow, orange, green, light brown and tan

This element is dependable and accommodating, and the prime directive in life is to serve others, always striving to maintain harmony. This element provides the ability to focus on group dynamics and physical surroundings. Skilled at facilitating and supportive roles, acknowledgement is very important.

 * Metal: 
white, pastels and metallic colors such as silver, brass, gold, and copper.

The Metal element tends to be action-oriented and focused solely on accomplishment. Order and control are highly valued. Metal is about authenticity. Because our culture values the ability to get the job done, a person with a high degree of this element is often rewarded with leadership positions, and is seen as an effective strategist.

These Five Elements are associated with many parts of nature and our lives, including the seasons.  Just as Spring follows Winter, and the harvest in early Autumn leads to cooling temperatures and falling leaves of late Autumn, there is a natural progression, or productive cycle within these Elements.

The Productive Cycle shows us how one element seeds the creation and growth of another in a continuous cycle, again like the seasons.  The circle below demonstrates this series:

 . Water nurtures Wood

 . Wood feeds Fire

 . Fire feeds Earth by creating ash

 . Earth feeds Metal as it contracts and condenses

 . Metal nourishes Water


We utilize the ba-gua to create cures (solutions) for problem areas in our homes and offices.  The ba-gua is a map that we transcendentally lay upon a space, often a home or office. It is composed of nine different guas, or areas that make up much of our lives.  Once again, color can play a basic role in these resolutions.  You will note that the same five elements previously mentioned are encompassed in this ba-gua, and that the four corner guas introduce other elements of life: wealth, partnership, helpful people & travel, and knowledge.

 The color can be added to a particular area of your home or office to fix a problem.  For instance, if you are having trouble getting along with a co-worker, try adding the color grey to the Helpful People gua in your office or home.  If you want to establish a new romantic partnership or improve your current one, add pink to the Partnership gua.  If your home/office isn’t a square or rectangle, it’s harder to know how to lay the ba-gua.  If you need my help, give me a call/email me and we’ll chat about your space.

While I know this might be hard to swallow if you haven’t experienced the wonder of Feng Shui, it truly works.  (You may wish to read the story of my initial experience on www.TransformationsforInteriors.com – just click on the Feng Shui tab.)  What have you got to lose?  A little time and some effort on your part and it just might create a solution!


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About the Author


Shelley Nordlund is an avid and appealing feng shui consultant and teacher, as well as an interior designer who shows people throughout the Northwest how to alter their surroundings to create an uplifting environment at home and at work.  The foundation of Feng Shui is the pursuit of the most advantageous and harmonious place to live and work.  If you wish to learn more about this ancient art form, Shelley assists with instruction at the Seattle Feng Shui Academé. Learn more at www.transformationsforinteriors.com. Connect with Shelley at www.facebook.com/TransformationsforInteriors and http://www.northwesttransformations.blogspot.com/





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