by Carol C. Wheelock
How many of you have picked up a feng shui book in hopes of gaining some understanding, only to become more confused? If so, you are not alone. There are many confusing and even misleading feng shui books on the market.
There are a few guidelines that should make it easier to find a book that will be helpful. The first is to be aware that there are different schools of feng shui. I practice western/Black Sect feng shui. These books talk about intention, refer to the grid that is superimposed on every space as the bagua, and don't dwell on directions. They are generally easier to understand.
Books about the compass school and its various branches reflect the more formulaic and mathematical nature of this school of feng shui. They are apt to have many charts with references to birth dates and directions. They often refer to the bagua as the pakua. (If you want more clarity regarding this topic, I have written about the differences among the schools in articles that can be found on my website w). Skimming through a book will give you an indication of the school of feng shui that it represents.
Another important consideration is how realistic and flexible the author of the book is. I stay away from books that state that you should never put an item in a specific place, or never have your front door facing a certain direction, or always do a particular thing. These books have lost sight of the fact that we all have to start with what we have. The goal is to make spaces and lives better; it is not about instilling fear.
Feng shui is very personal. There are no absolutes that apply to everyone in every situation. Yes, there are general guidelines and principles that are followed, but because every situation is unique it is important to look at the whole and not get hung up on something unobtainable. A good feng shui book will reflect this attitude.
It should make you feel encouraged. It will give you some tools that you can use immediately. Yes, some aspects of feng shui are more complicated than others and are best left to the professionals. A good book; however, will leave you with things that you can do to make a difference in your life.
I do have my favorites and have included some of them here. Most of them represent the Black Sect/western school:
Barrett, Jayme. Feng Shui Your Life. New York; Sterling, 2003.
Includes excellent information on developing self-awareness.
Collins, Terah Kathryn. Home Design with Feng Shui A-Z. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 1999.
Simple, clear, and colorful introduction to feng shui. Good for real beginners.
Collins, Terah Kathryn. The Western Guide to Feng Shui. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House,
Still one of the best books on a western approach to feng shui.
Hale, Gill. How to Feng Shui Your Home. London: Lorenz Books, 2000.
Compass school that is very concise and informative. Color photos.
Kingston, Karen. Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui. New York: Broadway Books/Random House, 1999.
The best book on the market for those with clutter issues. Clearly written, it deals with the many types, causes, and results of clutter.
Levitt, Susan. Teen Feng Shui: Design Your space, Design Your Life. Rochester, VT:
Bindu/Inner Traditions, 2003.
Excellent introduction to feng shui. Good advice for teens (and adults who live
in efficiency apartments).
Roberts, Stephanie. Fast Feng Shui: 9 Simple Principles for Transforming Your Life by
Energizing Your Home. Kahulu HI: Lotus Pond Press, 2001.
Many good feng shui tips presented in an easy-to-read format.
SantoPietro, Nancy. Feng Shui: Harmony by Design. New York: Perigee Book/Berkley
Publishing Group, 1996.
Excellent classic book. Includes information on color and chakras. Also includes more traditional rituals.
It's a good time of year to curl up with an interesting and engaging feng shui book. Enjoy!
Carol C. Wheelock, M.Ed. of Feng Shui Vermont is a certified feng shui practitioner who has studied in the United Sates and China. She practices Black Sect or western feng shui. Carol does private consultations for homes, schools, libraries, and businesses; clutter counseling and clearing; spaces clearings; phone consultations; presentations; and teaches workshops throughout the United States. She also does personal clearings.