Question: We inherited a lovely house in a city that is very desirable because of the excellent school district. However, this home is at the end of a T street. The front door faces the street and the walkway goes straight to the T. Is there something that we can do that is not too expensive to correct this problem? We are trying to sell the home, and potential buyers have been lost to the negative feng shui.
Answer: This home location is a classic feng shui problem. A house at the end of a dead-end street or a T-shaped intersection takes direct hits of sha chi (negative energy). The negative energy is channeled straight down the street and aims right for the home that sits in this vulnerable position.
There are also practical reasons why this location might cause problems. Headlights of passing cars may shine in your windows at night, and accidents can occur more readily at unusually shaped intersections.
To mitigate the feng shui problem and cut down on the headlight nuisance, it may be helpful to plant shrubs, a trellis and vine or a tree to shield the front from the direct line with the street. A weather vane would be an even lower-cost solution and would improve the feng shui somewhat, but it would do nothing to protect the house from headlights. The gentle movements of the weather vane on the roof will disperse the bad chi as it hurtles toward the house.
Another possible remedy is to hang a small octagonal mirror above the front door. The mirror will reflect the noxious energy away from the house.
Dried Herbs, Leaves Make Suitable Wreaths
Q: I was wondering if a wreath made up of all dried flowers and placed on my front door is a very good idea. I am aware that dried flowers are not very favorable to have in the house, and I have become concerned about this wreath on my front door. What kind of wreath or decoration would be beneficial?
A: Dried flowers are generally not thought of as promoting good feng shui indoors because they are, after all, dead. They don't contain any chi and are a constant reminder of death for some people. However, I believe that dried herbs, which have a perfectly legitimate life of their own in cooking and aromatic displays, can have a place in a home with healthy chi--especially if they're used outdoors where there are many other sources of life energy.
The most beneficial type of wreath for a front door is the one appropriate to the holiday just passed--evergreen wreaths are powerful symbols of life. But as the year wears on, you may want to put other decorative wreaths on your door. You could certainly use eucalyptus leaves, dried lavender or any of dozens of similar arrangements. Any of these would bring color and good feng shui to your home's entrance.
The most important caution when using dried flowers is to keep them free from dust and dirt and to display them only when they are "fresh" looking and healthy. Get rid of arrangements that have become too dry and have begun to fall apart.
Does the Number Four Connote Death?
Q: Our address is 494, which I believe signifies "death." How can we legally change this morbid sign? What numbers would you suggest, if permissible, within the parameters of Post Office policy?
A: It is true that four is at the top of the list for bad-luck numbers. But don't get too caught up in the number four as a symbol of death. Four is associated with death in Chinese culture because the word for number four is pronounced "si," which sounds like the word for death in Cantonese. But four is also the number associated with the direction southeast, which governs riches and great wealth.
I don't know about the postal regulations for changing addresses; you may not have any choice in the matter of your house number. My advice is to capitalize on the wealth aspect and don't obsess about the death issue.
Compass Method or Black Hat Method?
Q: I just read a book by Lillian Too, who uses the compass method (as you do). Last May, I checked my home's feng shui using the Black Hat method. Is one method better than the other?
The reason I'm asking is that, although our home looks beautiful with the enhancements, I have seen no appreciable results. What concerns me is the positioning of our house: Our front door faces south, which, according to the Black Hat method, would be the water or career area--and the fire area in the compass method--which would call for completely different enhancements.
A: Your question illustrates the problems that can arise when trying to reconcile two separate--and mutually exclusive--methods of practicing feng shui.