Feng Shui 101: A Super-Cool Starter Guide To Using The Bagua

BAGUA 101: You likely have heard of Money Corners and Relationship Corners and all sorts of “corners” in feng shui, some great and some verging on superstitious information about these “corners” is swirling around the Internet. I thought it was about time  after receiving handfuls of questions (!) to show you the diagram called a BAGUA MAP and explain a bit about how to use it to learn more about your home and its relationship to the state of your life. Exciting stuff!!!

The nine-sector map known as THE BAGUA in feng shui practice was developed over thousands of years and is based upon where and how people had to live in their homes in order to increase their prospects for survival. How we experience spaces in the modern world have much to do with how well we will survive and thrive as well.  The bagua is a perplexing, much-debated tool in various schools of feng shui. Rather than give you a blanket overview, I thought I would give you some helpful hints to using this map to understand yourself and your home a bit better.

Let’s get down to business! First, position the grid (shown above)  over a room or the layout of a whole space. Align it so that the FRONT DOOR or ENTRANCEWAY is in line with the bottom of this map (in essence, you will always enter through Career, Knowledge, or Helpful People).  To do this, draw a floor plan as closely as you can to accurate, then divide it into the nine sectors as shown above. You can then see what areas of your home correlate with parts of your life from this starting point.

A few special tips about using the feng shui bagua map:

1. The bagua map is excellent to use as a diagnostic tool.  For example, when I enter someone’s home I can generally tell them what is going on in their lives fairly quickly by looking at the bagua map and how each area is being utilized (or abandoned! or trashed!) in their home or office.  If you use the map as a guideline you can see what is happening in your life based on how the area looks in your home.  (*Please note: just because your house was decorated by a designer (even a famous designer), this does not mean that your feng shui is fabulous.  If it was, you probably would not be reading this!)

*I send my ladies (and men, too!) who are looking for relationships and lacking WISDOM to Dr. Pat Allen and her books.

2. The bagua is not to be used as the absolute law; the bagua is more fluid than it is rigid.  For example, if you can’t “decorate” your Relationship area because it contains a radiator, you are not doomed to be alone for the rest of your life unless you move!  More than likely if you have chosen a place with obstacles such as these in one area of the bagua, there are surrounding areas (and issues) to work out that will reinforce that area.  I like to look at the bagua in diagonal pairs as Wisdom & Relationships, Self-Empowerment & Compassion, Self & Fame work in tandem across the map.  So, to go back to the example I started with, if you selected a home with a radiator in the Relationship area, you may actually be best served by gaining wisdom (and fortifying your Wisdom area) to get your relationship dynamics more solid.

3. If an area of the map is “missing” in your home floor plan, make the spaces beside the “missing” areas totally and completely fantastic!

4. The bagua map can be applied to a DESK TOP, a ROOM, a HOME, a CAR, an OFFICE, a CITY… and on and on.  I prefer to use the bagua room-by-room with clients because I can get a better picture of how they are experiencing space and can keep track of how my adjustments affect that overall floor plan.  If you are just getting started with the bagua, the best way to start is with your whole floor plan so you have a good overview and can see where a few repairs or sparkle and polish could make a major change in your home (and, hopefully, your life! ) overall.

With all of that said, please remember that the bagua is just one of about 20 major tools and philosophies at play in creating your feng shui.  You can learn a ton from the bagua, but it would be best if you don’t get too literal and fixated about “corners” and your future.  What WOULD BE GREAT is if this information could motivate you to shape up some lacking areas in your house, dump critical clutter and intentionally decorate (with retrain, fun and personality, of course…) any of the spaces you have left sit empty and plain.

xoxo Dana

Evie March 9, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Hi Dana!

I realize that I’m probably asking the obvious (especially since you explained further in the article) but I wanted to make sure I understand:

I put the map ON THE FLOOR (so to speak) of my ‘area’ with the black square being what you’d walk ON if you came in the door (of whatever area you want to define) correct?

I’m not really sure what to DO with the areas though. Keep it clean?

Like right now, I’d like to work on my: Career and Love Life and to a lesser degree Wealth.

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danaclaudat March 10, 2012 at 12:18 am

Ah, ok, to start with… you line up the bottom of the map with the wall that contains the entrance door, so you will walk into either the blue, black or grey areas depending on where the door is on the wall.
Now, as for what to do, start by seeing what’s going on in those three areas and ix anything obvious (broken stuff, messes, stuff you hate to look at, etc) then… check back for more. Each area has specific “positive symbolism” and elements, but then, you also have things specifically that you need… So, get your basics done & you;ll be ready for future posts ;) xx Dana

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Evie March 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Gotcha, thank you!

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Alison April 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Hi Dana, I’m really enjoying your posts. Just wondering, what if everyone uses the back door as a main entrance (both the family & guests)? We live in a remote rural area & no one uses front doors, including us, unless we want to go out onto the front deck & look out over the river & mountains. Or I’ll go out the front door to practise yoga on the deck, so it’s almost like an extra living space. The back door everyone uses opens into a laundry, then the kitchen. So is my front door really my back door and vice versa? Thanks for all the great posts & your lovely writing style :-)

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danaclaudat April 14, 2012 at 12:08 am

Thank you for the compliments! And yes, in your case your experience of space happens from the technical back door of the home. That said, if you were to sell the place, I would orient things in staging the home so that people enter from the front & they can choose on their own if they want to have the alternate experience. But you aren’t there now, so yes: your back door is your front door! xx Dana

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Alison April 15, 2012 at 2:40 am

Thank you so much!

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Lyra April 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Hi Dana :)
I was wondering if I can apply the feng shui colour map having in mind just my room
because I’m sharing the flat with two other friend.
Basically can I figure out the blue/black/grey side with the entrance of my room?

by the way, I love your blog!!

thanks ;)

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danaclaudat April 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Yes, yes, yes : you can directly apply the map to just your room in the flat! Often it works best this way!!! xx Dana

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vinod May 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

hi , all my bedroom in my house is in the help corner please help me and the dustbin is inthe knowledge corner of the walll of my house. io want to know what to do thanks

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danaclaudat May 21, 2012 at 3:39 am

Don’t worry about where everything is, just focus on everything being solid, beautiful & whole.

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Maritta May 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Hi Dana,
I never knew about the bagua map until now.
As it happens in the Wealth and Money corner we have a Sauna, bathroom and a small room with a wooden stove in it..it’s very simple, clean and is made of wood and sauna has a little stove in it too- warm earthy colors of stone, terracotta and dark brown.
In the Relationships and Love corner we have our light green, gold and cream colored bedroom. I have hung small golden hearts all along the walls.
In Accomplishment, Fame and Power room my husband has a music room where he creates his own music.
I went by instinct when decorating this house..
Wisdom and self knowledge corner..kitchen and dining room dark turquoise and gold colors, crystal, with deep golden colored wooden furniture.
Helpful People, Compassion, Clients corner we have a cream and blue living room with green/white curtains and lots of large green houseplants

Is there anything you would change? We are very happy here and have lots of free space and a good flow from room to room.

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danaclaudat May 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Lovely! If it’s not broke, no need to fix! Xoxo Dana

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Christine June 13, 2012 at 3:06 am

What is the best area to put my trash can in?

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danaclaudat June 13, 2012 at 4:44 am

There’s no “one size fits all” answer for this one. But, keep it empty!

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Olimpia June 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Hi Dana have question pls can u tel me wen u put bagua map in the second floor Wer u start wit the front door ori wit the top of the stairs ? Thxs

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danaclaudat June 27, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Try Room-By-Room to start, much easier to figure out!

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Aldii July 19, 2012 at 1:22 am

Hi Dana, I was wondering, where should i put my bed if i have a window in the abundance and prosperity area, another window in the creative and children’s area and the door way is at inner knowledge area. I’m so confused

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danaclaudat July 19, 2012 at 4:08 am

Put it on a solid wall if possible. And away from the wall with the door, preferable across from it but without your feet out the door…. There are lotsa bedroom posts on the blog & more to come, too! Don;t worry about bagua too much, it will just confuse you. xoxo Dana

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Rachel September 2, 2012 at 11:58 am

Hi, i’m interested to learn the feng shui, but it confusses me…I don’t know what to follow. My front door faces east, the sun is there every morning acoordingly with the compass , but accordingly to the bagua, i have to put the carreer square, the black square right on my front entrance. then everything changes in what position is for what.? I did use a compass once, and kinf the follow the compass. But when i read about the bagua i get confused. Please help me…Thank you. Ray

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Sue October 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Hi, Did you get an answer to this as my front door faces east too and I’m confused as to which direction I should place things, e.g. by compass or bagua if the door is at the bottom then it’s 90 degrees around to most houses.

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danaclaudat October 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm

I don;t use any compasses or anything. Bottom row of bagua lines up with the wall that contains the entrance door. :)

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krissy September 26, 2012 at 5:50 am

Hi Dana! I have a question. I’ve got a small house. My main entrance opens to my kitchen and there’s another door leading to my bedroom. So, basically, if you imagine, the main door and to its left is the bedroom door. How do I use the bagua map? Per door? So the kitchen area would have its own map and so is my bedroom? or the basis will be the main door to cover up the whole house? Thanks!

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danaclaudat September 26, 2012 at 5:55 am

For beginners say that looking at the bagua room by room is key. It’s how we actually experience spaces, room by room!

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Reza December 5, 2012 at 11:37 am

Hi Dana! Thank you for being there for commentators! I am looking so badly to get in a romantic relationship and I was just wondering if you could help mr remap my bedroom. I also have to add that my bedroom is located in the Relationships area of my flat ( according to the Bagua ). So my main problem is where to set my bed, my desk, my Huge wooden bookshelf and my drawer on which I’ve put a large mirror! I got lots of plants too, but since my window is in the right side of my room, I won’t have much chance to change their place.
Thank U in advance.

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danaclaudat December 6, 2012 at 12:01 am

Your bedroom is in a great place. Perhaps think of moving desk & bookshelf out of it… and the rest is very case-specific so I don’t want to give you bad/wrong advice. The actual mapping of rooms accurately requires consultation unless its super simple (ie- which wall for my bed) and even that gets complicated. My best advice is to read the bedroom posts in feng shui 101 and the love posts to get ideas…and I have a book of DIY feng shui coming out very very very soon that is second-best to consulting with me (or for some, way better!) so that you can get 100% spot-on feng shui. xoxo Dana

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Elena December 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Hi.Can I make a wish card with my husband together?

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danaclaudat December 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

What is a wish card?!

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Elena December 28, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Sorry.Bagua map

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Chelsey December 29, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Hi, Dana.

I’ve been looking into the bagua for a while but have never decided the best way to use it. I live in a two story house, which I am renting to own. Most of the things in the house are mine, but I also share common spaces with others, and they have their own bedrooms (two of them) as well.

My question is: would it make more sense for me to do an overall bagua map, or room by room?

Thank you in advance!

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danaclaudat December 31, 2012 at 7:48 am

Room by room is how we experience space, so try that first! It’s the easiest way to start… But don’t get too hung up in bagua- there are many other ways- like usefulness- to have a space that works for you! Good luck!

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Shannel January 13, 2013 at 4:20 am

Hello, I just started reading up on “Feng Shui” and I love everything about it. I just moved into my townhome and I am having a hard time decorating it. I havent really started. I only got my t.v. and a ottomon for now. I want my home to have the “Feng Shui” feel. I guess what I am asking is, if i stand at my front door (inside) do I use the bagua map from there? or should I do each room separate. I also have a 1/2 restroom in the entry way. is this bad? what can I do? also can you help me to find what element I am? if that makes sense. i was born 9/24/81 . Thank you.

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danaclaudat January 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Hi there & welcome! My advce for you… start with the bagua room by room (less confusing)… and I have a new e-book coming soon that can answer even more of your questions more specifically (you learn to answer some questions for yourself!) and help you through an 8 week feng shui makeover so stay tuned!!! xxx

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Nazy January 22, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Hi!

So I have some missing parts in my apartment. My Wealth & Relationship sections are missing. Should I just share these areas with the adjacent sections? Also, what do you mean by “room by room”?

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danaclaudat January 23, 2013 at 4:26 am

yes, you are on the right track! and room by room is what it is: using the bagua on individual rooms!

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Vanya March 9, 2013 at 1:29 am

Hello,
I am also a starter, and I do try to do room by room, but at the same time I have read the traditional bagua, which my from door (standing inside the house facing in with the compass reading) the far area (straight across from front door) is the North. which makes everything complicated when I read the bagua where the north area is where the front door is…. anyway… I have a fish tank and according to many articles reading, the tank should be in the north or north east, correct? , well my fish tank is in the north area if I read the compass from my front door, then its in the south area if I read the western bagua. the fish tank is located in my living room, which is the north east area (there is: if I read the living room based on the western bagua – as described in your collumn above)……. .I really love my fish tank… please help!! Many thanks and happy year of the Snake :)

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danaclaudat March 9, 2013 at 3:09 am

It does not matter where your fish tank is (except bedroom its too active for!), it matters that its in a place that makes you feel great. North south east west makes no difference :)

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Vanya March 9, 2013 at 5:33 pm

OKAY!! I am really trusting you on that :) thanks SO much for your reply….Actually the tank is on the SE of my home (following the western bagua)… oh good!! and to make it better…..it’s on the WEALTH area <3 and I am happy where it is :)

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danaclaudat March 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm
Denise March 14, 2013 at 11:24 am

I am trying to figure our the bagua map. our home is not perfectly square like the bagua map. the entreance is not in the center of the home. there is a bathroom and laundry room in the front of the house and steps leading down to the basement. i have no idea where to place this. is the laundry room and bathroom in the career and helpful people. our home is long more rectangular than square. so confused! I really need to get this figured out! so many issues need to be corrected in our lives and i’m looking to do what it takes.

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danaclaudat March 14, 2013 at 4:47 pm

start room by room, lining up with entrance door to each room! xoxo

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Sylwia March 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Hey,

My southeast area (wealth area) is the first line of bagua map which is blue area so I’m really confused as I thought it is southeast area for wealth?

thanks so much

Sylwia

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danaclaudat March 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm

1. Please don’t worry about colors on a map 2. Diectional feng shui is antiquated and unworkable… check out my article on feng shui & supestition http://www.fengshuidana.com/2013/03/15/feng-shui-woo-woo-superstition/ xoxo Dana

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Ping Uy June 8, 2013 at 2:52 am

Hi. May I ask how to apply bagua in our 2 story home. The whole Ground floor is our store 2nd floor is our house. For the ground floor all 3 areas in the grid are open and that is where we also enter going to the 2nd floor. We take the stairs which is located on theon the Helpful people area. How do I analyze the floor plan on the 2nd floor? Hope you can help. Thank you very much.

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danaclaudat June 10, 2013 at 11:55 pm

use it room-by-room :)

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joyshree July 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Hi Dana!.. There is closet and bathroom toilet in the love and realtioship area….the master bedroom in the child and creativity sector…i was thinking of keeping dressing table in the closet and a mirror is a must in the bathroom.. I read that mirror in love relationship area is bad.. again how do i fengshui our master bedroom for more love and passion as it is in the child creativity area which is white…there is a color clashes. Should i go by the sector or the room’s intention. Please help.

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danaclaudat July 13, 2013 at 7:16 am

please do not worry about bagua colors, or weird rules like no mirrors in the relationship area. all relationships are mirrors! ;) that said, take a look at the love posts in feng shui 101 section of the blog for some starting ideas, and the e-book might help you rethink the “rules” of feng shui and create a space filled with your intention that works brilliantly for you with no funky stuff involved :) xxx

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Janina July 31, 2013 at 8:28 am

Hi Dana, thanks for this link. It’s very informative. And very easy and enjoyable to read as all your articles are!

I have a question about “open plan” kitchen/dining room/ living room area. Because there are no walls separating them should I apply the map to the whole room as a one room? It just seems so weird because even though they are moulded into one room, the kitchen just feels separate due to its function.

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Hi Dana, September 19, 2013 at 12:05 am

Love this explanation. Just a question. D I place your beautifully coloured map on the floor at my front door. I have a two storey semi detached home. How do I figure out the different areas?

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danaclaudat September 19, 2013 at 5:25 pm

i suggest at first you try it room by room, aligning the map so the bottom row corresponds with the main entrance door to each room :)

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Andrew September 21, 2013 at 6:37 am

Hi Dana,

I am looking to apply the map to my house but I’m confused as to its positioning. I read many things that say to put align the bottom row with the entrance door, but then other articles and readings suggest to line the map up in accordance with the N,S,E and W directions with the front middle section (career) to be aligned north. Is this true because this would mean I would have to line up the career section with the left side of my house. Any insight into this would be great. Thanks.

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danaclaudat September 23, 2013 at 5:57 am

great question! i may blog this one soon. we experience space as orienyed from the entrance door. our bodies (unless you have a special skill!) don’t know what north is…. so we experience space from the front door of a room.
that’s the pragmatic reasoning behind positioning the map to align with the wall that contains the entrance door. :)
xxx

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Fe September 22, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Hi Dana,

You look so beautiful and your smile is contagious…same with your blogs, can’t stop reading it and wanting it for more. Thanks for always sharing your talent & knowledge with us. Keep it up! More P0wer to you and God bless!

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danaclaudat September 23, 2013 at 5:55 am

omg I am so flattered and thank you so much!!!! hope I can keep learning & sharing stuff that you find helpful! what a gift this message is! xoxoxo

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Rheez October 19, 2013 at 1:31 am

Hi Dana! Thank you for the helpful tips ! I just want to ask, We share the house with 2 of our friends so I am about to use the bagua map in my room, which I share with my husband and daughter. Our room door is aligned to Compassion. As you enter the left side being the career has a mirror on top of a bedside table and the wisdom is aligned to our bed. Is that ok? So much politics has been going in my husband’s work place lately. And I don’t know if maybe I have to do some curing in those areas?
Thanks

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danaclaudat October 22, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Hm, its a bit of a trick to answer this, as I’m not sure of the actual room layout but I would look at ways to energize the “compassion/Helpful people area so that it is really clear and open to allow in as much helpful energy as possible!

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Larry December 24, 2013 at 7:09 am

Hi Dana,

We just bought our first house and my wife doesn’t want red in our bedroom which is smack dab in the Fame area (currently a dark gray with yellow in the bedding and two mirrors on dressers we were given) and our bathroom is the self empowerment purple area, which we painted in gray and there are white shutters a tub in the total corner and shower—any way there is not a lot of fire going on in the bedroom since we moved in and not a lot of wealth money either:) Everything else naturally came together…in the home colors etc. I just want us to be as happy as we can in our new home with our 2.5 year old and I hope you have some insight. How do I help get her on board to try something new? Any small tips or fixes I could try also?

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danaclaudat December 24, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Well, red is not the only element of fir for starters. But, beyond that, lets look at what you have in your bedroom. Earth and metal. That’s complimentary, but not relaxing to most people. Nor is it sexy. You may want to start by adding more texture to the bedroom in ways that stimulate the sense of touch- a fax fur throw for the bed, silk pillows, art that has a passion to it that both of you love. And from there that may open the door to more fire. You don’t want too much fire in a bedroom, as it is stimulating and can interfere with the restful aspect of a bedroom. I hope this helps! xxx

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Dan December 24, 2013 at 7:44 am

I was told the based on my birthday sign (Metal Rooster) that I should avoid the fire element because it is negative for me and use water in the area to counteract it. Have you heard of anything like this?

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danaclaudat December 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm

I definitely don’t work with Chinese astrology in this way. I believe people are people- not roosters, horses, tigers, etc- and you should experience space in a way that supports and energizes you! I hope that helps :)

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jinji January 1, 2014 at 3:10 am

Hi Dana!
Thank you for making your explanations so much easier to understand. I have redone my Bagua mapping (made a mistake of following a conventional compass), I have realized that our entryway is pushed back or sunken or another way of looking at it is, our helpful area is protruding. Our main door is part of the garage area, it’s at the end of the covered garage. Do I consider our whole garage as the entryway or do I look at our kitchen as protruding. Please help

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danaclaudat January 2, 2014 at 6:10 pm

You want to look at what makes the most sense: meaning… how much is one “pushed back” and how much is one “protruding” and then choose the way that is more logical in terms of the amounts of pushed back and protruding for each!

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jinji January 2, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Our helpful area is the kitchen and our main door is parallel to the farthest wall of the kitchen so if I do not count the garage, the kitchen is like the horizontal part of a capital L only that it’s like an L lying upside down with the long part the rest of the house and kitchen hanging down as the L’z short part. Is there anything I need to do to cure this kind of shape? Is this not a good shape? I apologize for a confusing entry… I really hope you can give me an advice

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Astrid February 2, 2014 at 11:47 am

Hello! thanks for all the great advice. I’m a bit confused about our main door. Since we, the family, tend to use the garage because we’re always using our car, is that it? Or is it the official front door that mainly visitors use? I’m very excited to get started but blocked on this most important one.
thanks again!

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danaclaudat February 2, 2014 at 1:42 pm

i’d likely do door from garage to the house to see that configuration, but would try with the main door as well. uyou have to be able to acess what makes most sense. /in other words, whaich way resnates most with the way your life is based on what you see in the bagua each way. hope that helps! xx

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Diana March 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Hi. My house is a split level, with only five steps to get to the second floor from the main floor. How do I bagua this? Do I place the bagua on the second floor according to the landing, or do I treat the second floor as an extension of the first, being that there are only five steps going up? I am so confused about this… if I bagua the second floor differently, it puts my fame and reputation area in the bathroom! And bathroom is all white, and turquoise blue!!! No red to be found…

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danaclaudat March 19, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Hm, it would seem to me that if you only walk up five steps straight up the bagua would be relatively the same. In this case I would likely use the second floor as a part of the first, but it would depend on which scenario of the bagua was more in accordance with your life condition now after looking at it both ways… does that make sense?

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