Feng Shui literally translates from the Chinese to meaning Wind and Water. When the first Christian missionaries entered central China, they asked the locals what this local practice was. They replied that it was like the wind that they could not see, and the water that they could not grasp, therefore they were very unlikely to understand it! This gave a sense that Feng Shui is about working with more subtle energies or forces.

I prefer to see it through my experience and knowledge that it represents in essence being in the right place at the right time.

On a practical level, there are two very important factors that I consider when I advise individuals, families or businesses. Firstly, how can they invite in and benefit from the good Chi in the local environment. It’s vital that we can see this chi and help to direct it toward the front of the home, or the main door, as this is the ‘mouth’ through which we receive this powerful life force, that the Chinese call chi.

Secondly, how can you deflect any of the negative chi that might be coming towards you from surrounding buildings or the landscape. Negative chi can also be found within a property or a room and sources include: sharp edges of shelves or bookcases, beams above beds or workstations, sharp angles from walls near your back.

What is Feng Shui?

I then look to how best to ‘support’ the occupants of any house, building or office. This support in Feng Shui is known as the Mountain, and can be as simple as seeing whether the property has a wall behind it, or a fence, or another building, to give it support. Or, on a lesser scale, has, for example, your own bed got a headboard to give you support? It can also be, in terms of business, what kind of support you have from the chair in which you sit.

Timing is very important in Feng Shui as well. Knowing when to initiate an activity and in which particular direction, relative to where you live or are based, is also very vital. This is the time dimension of Feng Shui which I find fascinating and have practised for more than 30 years now.

For me personally, Feng Shui is more like navigation. It is not about pure intuition. Of course there are aspects of that, I must admit. But if I get into an aircraft from London to New York or Zanzibar or Moscow, I would hope that the pilot understands how a compass works, has a good chart on board, has a watch and understands the movements of the earth and the wind at the altitude at which they are going to fly. I would not trust any pilot that simply pointed the nose of the aircraft ‘intuitively’, roughly in the direction of New York and kept their fingers crossed! When you combine the use of a compass with a site visit and a good floor plan, and the almanacs relating to the winds and tides of time – then it is fascinating and a privilege to navigate people on a safe journey in their lives.

Jon Sandifer was a beloved teacher and friend. He shared his wisdom and insight through many books, classes and lectures. Thank you, Jon!