Feng Shui in the kitchen: the energy of the Qi

2018-02-12 Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art of geomancy which teaches us how to organise living spaces in a way that is harmonious and healthful for the body, mind and spirit.
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in our homes and, perhaps, in our lives. It is not only where we produce our daily meals, but often the place where we consume them together. This means it must be a good place. As good as the food we choose to put on our tables.
Feng Shui is a practice that teaches us to pay attention to the primary energy of places, referred to as “Qi”, and establish a balance between it, the energy of the universe and the energy of the people who use the spaces. For every one of us has a certain type of energy – determined by our birthdate – which corresponds to one of the five elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.
Qi, which is visualised in Feng Shui as a flow of water which enters the home through the door and exits through the windows, or as smoke from incense, is the vital breath that moulded and created all forms in existence in the universe; it flows and forms everything around us, including ourselves.
It is best to begin Feng Shui design in the earliest stages of planning a house, starting with the energy of the place where it is built, and the correct orientation in relation to the points of the compass,” say architects Barbara Ghidini and Paolo Brighetti, founders of Parma Feng Shui, the Italian Academy of Feng Shui Architecture’s office in Parma. Since 2012 they have been offering consulting services for restoring the energy balance in the home, as well as design, interior design, education and cultural promotion services.
In the kitchen too, it is best to intervene before there are restrictions in place, such as the location of water and gas pipes and electrical connections, because it is always complicated and expensive to make changes to the initial situation.”
In a kitchen, practicality must always be combined with good circulation of the natural energy present in the room. “Qi must nourish all the spaces and flow into all the rooms, avoiding both areas where energy pools and areas where it speeds up, as both can be harmful. On the basis of this concept, the places where we spend the most time in the home, such as the kitchen, must not be characterised by either stagnancy or acceleration of Qi.”
The quality of a food, a symbol of prosperity in Feng Shui, “is also influenced, in the Chinese tradition, by the Qi of the person who prepares it, the Qi of its origin, production process and ingredients, and the Qi of the material in which it is cooked".
In the next post we will look at what cooking means in Feng Shui.

According to the ancient Chinese art of geomancy, the space in the home in which we prepare and share our meals has Yang energy, connected with Fire, but is also a place of the mother, which makes it by nature Yin

We all feel it in our hearts. And Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of promoting wellbeing in the home, confirms it: the kitchen is the soul of the home.
It’s the place where we spend the most time during the day, also because it often contains the dining area. “For this very reason,” explain architects and Feng Shui consultants Barbara Ghidini and Paolo Brighetti, “energy must be balanced in the kitchen, so as not to generate a sense of unease among the people using it. Balanced in relation to the home, and in relation to the energy element [Wood, Fire, Earch, Metal or Water, ed.] of the person or people who cook there”.
But let’s be honest: nowadays the kitchen has lost some of its appeal, to the point of being reduced to a kitchen corner, a “bar counter” for super-fast meals or an under-used space which is merely presented to guests and used only on special occasions.
The model of the kitchen that has come to prevail in recent decades corresponds to the lifestyle of the 1980s , when everyone was in a great hurry, all rushing about so as to be super-productive. Our kitchens are often “cold”, in terms of the sensation they create, because of the presence of all that steel and colours like white. They are aseptic, empty, impersonal.”
In Feng Shui, the kitchen is the epitome of Yang energy, a term referring to the male principle of the universe, to all that is connected with growth, with the sun, and with extroversion, while Yin is the female principle, connected with night, introspection and cold.
Because the kitchen contains the stove and the oven for cooking food, it is linked with Fire, as an element, but, as it also contains a sink for washing food and dishes, it is also connected with Water. And as it is the space where the family gathers to dine together, it is the place that nourishes the household, which also connects it with Earth, our vital support, linked with the most feminine of all archetypes: the mother.”
The perfect orientation for the kitchen “is toward the south, symbolically identified with a passion for food, or southeast, representing creativity and inspiration”.
The kitchen is a private place and “its door should never be across from the main entrance door; one should never enter the home directly into the kitchen. The Qi, the primary energy of the universe, would be too strong if the kitchen were so exposed to the entrance, and this is not ideal”.
The kitchen should not face the bathroom either. “Not only because it is connected with the element Water, while the kitchen is tied with the element Fire, but because the bathroom is a “dirty” place where energy is dispersed, while the kitchen is a clean place in which energy is accumulated.”
Now we look at how to furnish the kitchen with Feng Shui.

Want to establish a balance between the place where you cook and the energy of the universe, as well as your own personal energy? Ancient Chinese wisdom can help you decide which shapes and colours to choose and where to position your appliances and table

You know those kitchens that look like shiny, clean operating theatres? And those kitchens packed with grandma’s old furniture, so crowded you get a headache just looking at them? Well, don’t imitate either. The kitchen must be practical, but full of life. Warm and joyful, but not oppressive or untidy.
So says Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of organising space to establish balance and harmony in the flow of natural energies in spaces around us, with a beneficial effect on our lives.
Let’s start with materials. “The perfect material is natural wood, because it harmonises the two elements Water and Fire, represented by the sink and refrigerator and by the stove and oven. But we can also use other materials, provided a balance is maintained,” say architects and Feng Shui consultants Barbara Ghidini and Paolo Brighetti.
The colours we choose ought to be linked with the two prevalent elements in the kitchen: Fire and Earth, as it is the place where the family is nourished. “Warm colours are great, such as red, orange and yellow, which stimulate the appetite (though red can cause anxiety), and “earthy” colours such as ochre, beige, hazelnut and green, a relaxing colour because of its ties with nature, and a colour that calms the appetite”.
What about shapes? Regular shapes are good, without sharp corners, which are considered negative in Feng Shui (which views hanging up knives as a very bad idea), while rounded shapes are positive. “The table should be round too, or have rounded corners if it is square or rectangular.”
As the sink and refrigerator have Yin (female) energy, while the stove and oven have Yang (male) energy, it is important to establish the position of these elements in relation to one another, so that they will not be in conflict. “They should not be positioned next to one another, but at a certain distance apart, and they should not be across from one another so that they will not be in conflict. The ideal position is kitty-corner, never sandwiching, for example, the sink, stove and refrigerator, and never positioning them one on top of the other, as for instance by installing the oven above or below the refrigerator.” Why not? “The fight between Yin and Yang could cause fights and disputes among members of the family.” Not a good idea!
The person working at the stove should never be positioned on a line running from the door to the window, or have their back to the door, as these are destabilising positions. The table should also be slightly offset in relation to the line between the window and the door. “Central islands are not a good idea, because in Feng Shui, the centre of the room should be left free to permit circulation of Qi, the primary energy of the universe.”
The kitchen must be well-ventilated and well-lit. “It’s a good idea to place the sink in front of the window, while it’s not such a good idea to have the stove by a window: the draught would either feed the flames or blow them out.”
One last word of advice: as in any other oriental discipline, everything must tend to establish a balance, and so the pantry and the refrigerator should stand out. And be full of food, an auspicious sign.

Mariagrazia Villa

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