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Feng Shui

Reader Can Still Rest Easy in a West-Facing Bed


Question: I was so excited to see your column in The Times as I've been reading your book and enjoying it very much. You write that you should sleep north to south. That's not possible the way my room is set up, and even if it were, I wouldn't want to change my bed location, which is east to west.

I live in the hills and from my bed I have a gorgeous southwestern view of the mountains and canyons facing the ocean and I love waking up to that beautiful view every day. At night it's so relaxing to watch the planes in the distance as they come in over the ocean into LAX or watch the fog roll in and, of course, those amazing sunsets.

Please help!HAPPY IN THE


Via e-mail

Answer: You aren't the only person losing sleep over the question of whether the head must be positioned like a compass needle--due north--while it's on the pillow.

William Foley of Long Beach says he's "read somewhere" that the best direction to position the sleeper's head is north. Relax, you can have your view and good feng shui too.

Feng shui master Johndennis Govert says sleeping with your head to the north will help you remember your dreams and enhance your perception and understanding of them.

But this is not something you must always do. In fact, I caution that you shouldn't go for the north-south sleeping alignment if you would be violating other feng shui principles for auspicious bed placement.

It's auspicious and pleasing to face a beautiful view when you awaken. So don't change it! Moving your bed would deprive you of that gorgeous view and probably interfere with what sounds like excellent feng shui in your bedroom.

But your question prompts me to remind you and Mr. Foley, and anyone else interested in following the principles of feng shui, to beware of recommendations from an "expert" if they feel wrong or upset an already satisfactory situation.

With feng shui (and so many of life's other endeavors) the maxim "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" continues to be good advice.

Art Studio Should Be Bright for Creativity

Q: I have looked in many feng shui books to get help with my studio. I am a teacher aspiring to be a full-time artist. I have a small bedroom in my home that I have turned into a studio. Do you have any ideas to enhance creativity and success in the studio?


Via e-mail

A: There are several ways to enhance creativity and success with feng shui.

You mention that you've turned a small bedroom into a studio. As long as you're not still sleeping in that room, the setup is probably fine. But it could be a problem if you're using the room for both sleeping and creating.

A restful bedroom should be fairly yin. That is, the energy (and light) level are low, the predominant mood is soft and passive. These qualities are excellent for sleeping but terrible for creating, which needs much more yang: hardness, brightness and an abundance of energizing chi.

If you are using the bedroom as a combination working and sleeping place, either set up the studio elsewhere or sleep in a different part of your home.

To concentrate on creativity, paint the studio white. This will increase chi and incorporate the color of the west, the direction that governs creativity.

Identify the west wall of the studio and create enhancements using metal (west's element) in a way that makes you feel good about being in the room. You could choose anything from metal picture frames to metal vases or sculptures to metal planters, lamps or bookends.

Without knowing you or seeing the room, it's hard to say which of these might be best. I'm guessing that as an artist you'll have an excellent intuitive sense of what will work well.

Keep in mind that few artists actually make enough to support themselves entirely through their art. With this in mind, pay particular attention to enhancements for prosperity linked to career accomplishments.

These are governed by the north and the element water, which symbolizes money (water flow equals cash flow). North's corresponding color is black, or shades of dark blue--representing the deepest water and indicating vast wealth.

I suggest a table fountain or an aquarium if you have room for one and are interested in keeping fish. If you go with the aquarium, you'll have yet another symbol of abundance (there are always more fish in the sea).

If neither an aquarium nor a fountain is practical, you can always use symbolic representations of water through art.

Do you paint seascapes or waterfalls, by any chance? Placing your own depiction of deep, flowing water on the north wall could be a very powerful feng shui enhancement for your goals.

Same Theories Apply for Those Down Under

Q: I have friends in Australia who have heard of feng shui but aren't sure about the applicability of feng shui theories in the southern hemisphere. Are the attributes assigned in feng shui to the various compass points applicable in the Southern Hemisphere?



A: Tell your friends Down Under that they may be farther from magnetic north, but the life areas influenced by the ba gua are not different for them.

The five elements--fire, water, earth, metal, wood--have similar energy, and the importance of balancing yin and yang remains the same.

This is, however, a matter of some debate within the compass school of feng shui. Anyone who would like to read about this issue in more detail can find Joseph Yu's interesting discussion at

Just out of curiosity, you might ask your friends if being farther to the south has brought them any special blessings, since south is the direction governing fame, fortune and festivity.


Kirsten Lagatree is a Washington, D.C., writer whose books include "Feng Shui, Arranging Your Home to Change Your Life" (Villard, 1996) and "Feng Shui at Work, Arranging Your Work Space for Peak Performance and Maximum Profit" (Villard, 1998).

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