Which came first: the chicken or the egg? In feng shui theory, numbers
represent all kinds of pieces of information. But that number symbolism
has been easy for adherents to over simplify or misinterpret altogether.
It starts with energy. The numbers represent energies that will interact with each other in a predictable way. Much like H2O is code for water. So in a sense, a number doesn't have the power to do anything until it is paired with another number. And a bad guy can do more damage if he hangs out with another bad guy.
The number 1 represents water and water is symbolic of money. It is the "shui" of feng shui. But water also represents the fluid systems of the body, including the kidneys, blood and circulation.
The number 2 represents earth and can represent loneliness or sickness. It is also associated with the parts of the body around the abdominal area: digestive and eliminative tracts, reproductive organs and the spleen.
The number 3 is wood and it can represent legal conflict, arguments and gossip. The body areas associated with 3 include the feet, throat and nervous system.
The number 4 (wood) is a greatly misunderstood energy because as a feng shui symbol it connotes achievement in the arts, music, writing, and all creative activities. It is only because the word for 4 in Mandarin sounds like "death" that all kinds of unnecessary fears are attached to it. In Chinese culture, it is common for the people to not want to live in a house with a 4 in the address, or to avoid the 4th floor of a building. This is one example of how people have misinterpreted the meaning or energy behind numbers.
The number 5 (earth) in feng shui terminology is quite a chameleon. More so than all the other numbers, the 5 can take on extreme meanings depending on the changing forces of time. As an example, back in the late 1940's and 1950's, the 5 energy was associated with power and money. But now and for the next hundred years, the 5 energy symbolizes pain, arguments, and set-backs.
The number 6 (metal) is associated with power and authority as well as the head and lung region. All of these numbers are symbolic of directions also, with the number 6 representing the direction of NW, as an example.
The 7 (metal) number has a dualistic meaning in the current times we are living in. It represents competition and success, but also potential for betrayal and injury.
The number 8 (earth) is almost universally accepted as representing prosperity in other numerology systems and cultures. The two joined circles refer to the circle of life and infinity, but specifically in Chinese culture the 8 implies happiness, weddings, children, and money. This is why the Chinese love having a lot of 8's in their telephone number or address.
The number 9 (fire) acts like an intensifier when it is paired with other numbers. As an example, when a calculation is done on a house and it is revealed that the unseen energy at the front door is a 2-9 combination, then the occupants are likely to get very sick, since the 2 by itself represents sickness. Whereas, if someone's front door had the unseen influences of 8-9, it would indicate tremendous happiness, good fortune and prosperity.
How does one find out where these numbers (energies) exist in your own house? A qualified Flying Star feng shui practitioner is trained in computing these energy patterns and identifying where they are located inside any structure. But on a primitive, superstitious level, this is why people simply post the positive numbers around their house, for instance, some people think that if they hang a sign with the number "1-6-8" that it will increase their luck. And some place a certain number of fish in their aquarium as well. However, this would be like someone posting a sign that said "H2O" if they believed this would keep them from ever being thirsty.
© Melt Magazine 2003