Europe's funny feng shui fascination

17:25, March 25, 2010      

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Famed German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said that the greatest accomplishment of a thinker is to comprehend the things one can comprehend, but respect in silence the things that one cannot comprehend. With a respectful attitude, people in Europe, home to numerous thinkers, are currently introducing a mysterious oriental art, Chinese feng shui, into their lives.

Ghent, an engineer in Frankfurt, Germany, does not fully believe in feng shui, but, like many other Europeans, he still invited a feng shui expert when he built a house for his family. He said that he has built his house in line with the feng shui criteria in almost every procedure, from housing location, design, to interior design. If the gate of a house is designed to lead to the stairs, the house will be considered as an unlucky house. The T-junction cannot directly face the windows of a house; otherwise, the house will need the "supplement of Qi." Ghent believes, "A lot of phenomenons in Feng Shui cannot be explained by science."

Chinese feng shui has been in Europe for several hundred years, but it was not popular until the recent several decades. As European countries have encountered various types of crises, they have started to appreciate the oriental idea of "unity of man and the universe."

Entrepreneurs run their businesses according to the instructions of feng shui experts. For instance, when a famous automobile manufacturer had unsatisfactory sales, they changed the structure of their offices in accordance to the better flow of "Qi."

Several years ago, passing reform in the medical care system was a headache for German parliamentarians. A feng shui expert investigated and found the reason behind their dilemma: "the vital energy of the parliamentarians was completely absorbed by the glass ceiling of the parliament building." He suggested that the ceiling be covered with a sheet of metal.

Europeans also make use of feng shui to improve marriages. For instance, two bird-shaped ornaments are placed in rooms, and the washroom should not be in the bedroom, for fear that their marriage will be "flushed" by water.

In addition to feng shui rules imported from China, Europe also has many of their original rules. For example, the houses in southern European countries such as Portugal and Spain usually face north because the weather is hot and people need to keep away from excessive heat. In northern Europe where there is less sunshine, the houses usually face west.

Kitchens are also considered important family communication areas in Europe, and therefore, there are usually no walls or doors between the kitchen and the living room. Chinese people believe folding screens can accumulate wealth and good luck, but Westerners usually use courtyards to keep the precious "yang qi."

Currently, feng shui consultation has become a new profession in Europe, and many people have obtained professional qualifications by completing courses. Their tools include compasses, pendulum clocks and sticks, and there are many different feng shui factions in Europe as well. Germany established an International Feng Shui Forum in 1996, and over 200 feng shui books written in German and even more in English have been published in recent years.

Since people have become more and more interested in the feng shui many feng shui supermarkets have appeared in Europe as well. The reporter surprisingly found 5,000 varieties of feng shui products in a Berlin supermarket, including cobblestones, compasses and potted bamboo landscapes, as well as special pictures, wallpaper and textile products. Many European feng shui enthusiasts flock to China in tour groups to visit ancient Chinese architectures so they can observe first-hand the delicate architectural designs, and learn the origin and development of feng shui.

Feng shui fever has gripped Europe, but Father Schaefer, the head priest in Germany's Christian religion, does not take it seriously. He said that feng shui is a practical theory, but energies like "Q,i" which can penetrate everything, do not exist for Christians, and in addition, he would like to note that feng shui only advocates using external forces to affect people, but does not call for people to improve themselves.

By People's Daily Online
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