Feng Shui & Animal Symbols
Article by Kartar Diamond
The Interesting Role of Animals in Feng Shui
There is frequent reference to the role of both natural and mythological animals in Feng Shui theory and folklore. For example, there is a description of an ideal house in many books, which has a turtle behind it, a phoenix bird in front of it, and a dragon and Tiger on either side. These four animals are symbolic of land and building formations. For example, to have a turtle behind the house for support or protection is a metaphor for a larger structure or a literal mountain. On the other hand, to have a bird in the front is symbolic of a much smaller land formation.
There is a concept that “qi” (air currents) moves around a property, and the higher landform in the back (the turtle) protects the house, while a smaller landform in front (bird) helps the house receive the proper amount of qi (a/k/a ch’i.) Like the edge of a bowl, the Phoenix in front helps shore up or contain energy near the house entrance.
The Strategic Placement of Animal Symbols
Then, the Tiger and dragon on each side of the house represent neighboring houses, buildings, or real hills. These forms act as a way of protecting the house. In a general sense, a house that is not surrounded by other structures or land formations is vulnerable and overly exposed to the elements. Some people take these references to the animals literally. They will place figurines of these creatures around their home for good luck and protection. At least one Feng Shui master I have studied with has alluded to the possibility that these animals also represent the shapes of certain important constellations. As above, so below.
Extending Good Wishes for Long Life
Another famous Feng Shui creature is the fish. Fish symbolize long life in Chinese culture, so paintings and sculptures of them are lucky. In the actual application of Feng Shui, fish in tanks and ponds are just an excuse to help circulate water. It is the water, which is the real remedy. But because Feng Shui comes from a very superstitious culture, the number of fish and the color of the fish in the aquarium have exaggerated significance. Different types of birds are supposed to be omens for the occupants if the bird is seen flying by or creating a nest on the roof.
Symbolism for Travel, Power, and Independence
The image of a horse can’t help but symbolize travel and movement. One folk remedy is to place a Horse figurine facing the door for occupants who want to sell their home.
We consider lions and tigers as powerful, ferocious animals. Therefore, according to people who adhere to these animal cures, representations of them in pictures or sculptures should be done with caution. For example, you may see stone lions flanking the entrance or stairs of a large building. However, for a residence, these could be inappropriate.
One of the Zodiac signs in Chinese astrology is a Tiger. Women who are the sign of the Tiger are considered fiercely independent and may have a more difficult time settling down with a man. February is the month of the Tiger. According to auto insurance statistics, more car accidents occur in the month of February. This would be consistent with the Chinese interpretation that the fast-moving Tiger is also accident-prone.
Noted Cultural Differences about Animal Symbols
It is interesting to note some of the cultural differences in how we relate to animals. For instance, in Chinese astrology, a person born in the Year of the Rat can be a knowledgeable person. Metaphysics and spirituality may interest a Snake person easily. In the West, we think of the rat and snake as being sneaky and conniving. In some religions, there is a belief that all human beings have lived at least one incarnation as every type of animal. And, therefore, we have an unconscious understanding of what these animals are capable of in their personalities and strengths.
Some birds are more monogamous than people. So there is a notion that putting up pictures of lovebirds in the bedroom will attract true love. These kinds of things can work as placebos but are not considered the most sophisticated Feng Shui remedies.
Traditional Animal Symbols for Luck and Happiness
Elephants have a reputation in both Chinese and Indian culture for attracting wealth. Images of trunk-up elephants often adorn people’s homes, hoping the elephant will be a lucky image for them.
There are many more animals that have meaning in Chinese culture and are specific to Feng Shui. Supposedly, a metal Rooster placed in the proper location can stop someone from committing an adulterous affair. Taken out of context, these animal symbols can seem strange. But, they are not much stranger than the meanings we attach to some inanimate objects in the Western world. Be it a country’s flag, a car hood ornament, a designer label, or a religious sign. We place importance on many symbols that go unnoticed or unrecognized by other cultures.
Can Animal Symbols Change the Energy of a Room?
I often surprise many people when I do not usually prescribe any of these animal symbols as Feng Shui remedies. While I understand the psychological relief they may provide, I do not feel that these symbols can change the energetic composition of a room. And with symbols ultimately being very personal (like our dreams), I don’t see how they would work for everyone in the same manner.
Article originally posted on OMTimes.com
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