The Taoists believe that all energy is aligned. This alliance, called Tao, is represented by the figure of the yin and yang. Customarily, the yin is dark, female, and welcoming; the yang is light, male, and aggressive. Yin and yang are believed to be connected to one another and always fluctuating, each complimenting the opposing other. Examples of this relationship can be seen everywhere: midnight and noon, mountains and valleys, hot and cold, sweet and sour. Without one, there is no other (Levitt 6).
In order to chart the chi in a certain area or home, a feng shui compass must be used. This compass, the ba-gua, is composed of eight trigrams, or lines stacked three high, arranged to create an octagonal center ring. The ba-gua map is divided into eight separate sections and the center, with each section representing a different life area. These areas are fame, wealth, family, knowledge, career, helpful people, children, relationships, and, in the center, health (The Ba-Gua, par. 3).
The next step in understanding and manipulating chi' is in the knowledge of the five elements'. Sophia Tang Shaul and Chris Shaul state in their article, "The Five Elements", that "these elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water are the foundation theory for Feng Shui balance (para.1)." These elements carry their own separate and well-defined qualities, and are intended to be used in areas of the home where there is an imbalance in the energy flow (Shaul, para. 1).
Creation, or "new life", is representative of the element Wood and is characteristic of both the yin and yang (female and male). Like the season of spring brings life anew, the five elemental cycle' begins with Wood. Although wooden furniture and the color green are often used in homes to represent this element, live plants are of much greater value, as their chi' is alive and flourishing, cleansing and deodorizing the air we breathe (Shaul, para. 2,3).
The Fire element is the most yang of the elements, and is represented by the color red. As in nature, fire is nourished by wood. Our food is prepared over fire; its heat keeps us warm. Objects used to symbolize the Fire element, candles, lamps, and even live animals, should be used sparingly in the home, as fire is extremely destructive when not controlled (Shaul, para.5).
The distinctly yin Earth element is the center of the ba-gua. Earth, or, Mother Nature' in western philosophy, is represented...