As a predictive art and metaphysical science, feng shui has been in practice for thousands of years. It comes from a very superstitious culture, where the masses didn't have access to the science and methodology behind this secretive system. Culture rituals and placebos became substitutes and have been perpetuated unknowingly, even now by popular Western authors. As well, a whole truck load of New-Age interpretations, have created yet even more myths.

1.. Images of fish or real fish bring prosperity. FALSE. The fish has taken on the symbol of prosperity, when in actuality it is the water they swim in which can help attract wealth. The fish move the water around the same way a pump can in an aquarium or circulating fountain. The inside joke amongst old-time feng shui masters is that it is the moving water which generates the prosperity, not the fish themselves.

2.. The number 4 is unlucky. FALSE This little myth has ruined more real estate transaction than probably any other. Even to this day, some Chinese will not buy a house with a four in the address or work on the 4th floor of a building because the word four in Mandarin is pronounced almost the same as their word for death, "sze." This is purely a psychological association that has no significance regarding the real luck or energy of a building.

3.. Hanging a wind chime will keep negative spirits away. FALSE In certain circumstances, the ringing windchime or bell can actually attract ghosts. They need to be used very specifically in feng shui, when a moving metal remedy is called for, but not in every circumstance.

4.. Hanging crystals makes a room positive. FALSE. The man-made glass crystals that are routinely used by New Age practitioners add little to a room unless they are being used to soften a direct line of air currents (from directly aligned doors or windows.)

5.. Having a frog figurine with a coin in its mouth by your front door will bring in wealth. FALSE This can only work as a placebo in the same way that having a rabbit's foot in your pocket might make you feel lucky.

6.. Painting your door red will make you lucky. FALSE. In Chinese Culture, the color red has many positive associations, but energetically it is the fire element. Large surface areas that are red, such as doors and walls, can be very harmful when used in the wrong location, contributing to accidents, arguments, and sickness. People often paint their door red if it is facing south because south is associated with the element of fire. This too is an overly simplistic approach that is incorrect about 80% of the time.

7.. Dried Flowers represent death and decay. FALSE. This is a New-Age interpretation and not to be taken seriously. A dead or dying landscape surrounding your property is another story however and that should be corrected.

8.. Having antiques in your house is bad feng shui. FALSE. This is also a New-Age spin on what it means to possess things that use to belong to someone else. The Chinese actually love to have things passed down to keep the memory of loved ones alive.

9.. Pictures of red peonies or love birds will bring romance to a single woman. SORT OF FALSE. Again, this is an example of how psychological impressions, cultural symbolism, or wishful thinking can be mistaken for authentic feng shui remedies.

10.. And one of the most annoying New Age myths created just in the last 20 years is that you have to keep your toilet lid down or you will "flush" your wealth away. This is FALSE ...In fact, if there is potential to lose your wealth through your toilet, then why do the rich have so many more bathrooms than the poor?

For more "Feng Shui" click here to view back issues.

Visit Kartar's site at

© Melt Magazine 2002