How do I find an apartment with a good Feng Shui in a big city ?

The day has come I’m prospecting apartments in order to find the apartment of my dreams and so the phase of visiting various sites has begun. I soon realize that it’s not easy to find an apartment that applies all Feng Shui principles. My wish to combine harmony and welfare at home in combination with the stresses of urban life; densely populated and noisy, is often a challenge.

Good Feng Shui firstly requires an auspicious landscape. Indeed, the external surroundings make up 70% of the overall Feng Shui whereas the interior layout only represents 30%. In the theory of Feng Shui, an apartment is considered to be part of the whole building, like a room is part of a house.

To check the effect the environment might have I have a look at everything surrounding the building: the street, waterways, railroads, neighboring buildings, parking spaces, the square, parks and nature strips, shops and offices, the school, the hospital, cemeteries, electricity poles, a bridge...

Ideal Feng Shui requires the presence of the "four animals" around the building. In ancient China, mountains and hills surrounding the palace of the emperor represented the four animals. In a huge modern city, other buildings usually represent these. The four animals are:

- The Tortoise, he’s positioned at the back of the building.
- The Dragon, he moves on the left of the building.
- The Tiger, she walks on the right of the building.
- The Phoenix, she sits in front of the building.

The Tortoise embodies back support and protection of the building. The Dragon on the left side, preferably higher and more stretched than the Tiger, represents masculinity, business, money and innovation. The Tiger on the right, smaller and less stretched than the Dragon, symbolizes femininity, authority and power. Finally, the Phoenix, at the front, provides an unobstructed view. It’s a sign of fame and luck and it assists the occupants with their future development.

When the four animals are not present, which applies to 95% of the buildings in town, due to strong and uncontrollable urban density, I can’t compensate for their lack. I can still get an acceptable Feng Shui, with a neutral environment, by avoiding the menacing presence of structures or "poison arrows"*, which is already a lot!

Even if the Feng Shui in the interior is good but an inauspicious configuration affects the building then the overall Feng Shui is not good. In this case, the remedies provided in the apartment have a secondary impact and do not really improve the existing Feng Shui and therefore the lives of its occupants. The better is the enemy of the good. It’s better to have a neutral environment outside and acceptable Feng Shui inside, than a harmful environment outside and very good Feng Shui inside.

Achieving good Feng Shui is a question of dosage. Unfortunately it’s impossible to create 100% beneficial Feng Shui. Yet, that was the goal of the Feng Shui Masters in ancient China while wandering around the Chinese mountains in search of the perfect location for the emperor. In modern times, urban constraints do not allow to find the ideal land to build a house.

Modern buildings have changed the landscape and I, like most people who live in urban areas, must adapt. Often, these densely built zones do not match the Feng Shui requirements of harmony.

In case of a building facing another building nearby, the phoenix is limited by the building too close in front. In this case, the outlook and growth perspectives for the occupants of the building are blocked.

A building can also be affected by “poisonous arrows”* when another property points onto the facade. It also happens in a large city with it’s narrow streets and multiple buildings, to see triangular buildings at the intersection of two streets like the famous “Flatiron” building in New-York. These were often built in the nineteenth or early twentieth century, after the infrastructure had been established. This explains the triangular shape: an architect is required to respect existing roads.

Moving in to such a building is not a good idea. It’s imbalanced and doesn’t promote stability. It is somehow stuck between two streets that meet at a narrow end. When living in an apartment with narrow and crooked rooms, I’d feel discomforted! Life in such an environment will not be calm and smooth. It’s a place of transition where I cannot imagine thriving and living for several years.

Living in a building that respects the rule of the "four point gold” i.e. a square or a rectangular building with foursquare angles is preferred. The triangular form in Feng Shui represents the Fire element and this kind of building could be suitable to a company requiring dynamics for its activity.

Finding an apartment conform Feng Shui principles is a laborious search and the idea of being able to reach perfection is utopian. It’s thus necessary to look for a more neutral Feng Shui, without damaging external factors and without poisonous arrows.

The primary purpose of Feng Shui is to neutralize misfortunes of all kinds and accompanying worries that could affect me. Improving inauspicious external factors enhances good Feng Shui. Once this condition is met I can focus on determining the best Feng Shui for the occupant, planning the placement of furniture.

When using the tools of modern technology, I can quickly and easily evaluate a location judging the landscape to be good, neutral or inauspicious. I use ‘Google Maps’ satellite photos as a preparation before visiting a property. It allows a quick overview of the environment to determine the presence of the four animals and the layout of streets and buildings around. But this first step does not replace experiencing the feeling on the spot and using my own five senses.

Florence Ricaud - English translation by Philamonk

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