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Feng Shui Q & A

by Aaron Lee Koch


Dear Practitioner,

Thank you so much for your column. It is fascinating and has helped us.

I read a book on Feng Shui for apartments. It refers to the negative locations within an apartment, one of them being Death or Chueh Ming, which it says means "total catastrophe." It says that if your front door faces this direction, you will experience ill health and will risk losing your money and reputation.

My wife and I are living in a K’an apartment, according to the book, as the back wall sits toward the north. The book says that the Death location is in the southwest. This is exactly where our front door is located.

As I read this, I was filled with intense dread. These days, due to high rents, we cannot move just because we wish to. Yet one’s health is more important than any economic factor. I hope you’ll be able to get back to us in your column. A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and we would appreciate your expert advice.

Our apartment is on the sixth floor in the northeast corner of this building. One good feature is that we can see out our back window to a courtyard filled with trees, air, and birds, and we can also see the sky, as there are no tall buildings blocking us. There are no shars or other oppressive features aimed at us, and our neighbors are quiet and peaceful.

My personal number is 8 and my wife’s personal number is 7. I am aware that we may both do better in a different house, but this is where we have been living, mainly because our jobs are nearby and because affordable apartments are hard to find.

My wife has been dogged by ill health for many years, and this has affected our money situation tremendously. It is often as if she feels trapped inside, and it is hard for her to get outside. Once outside, however, she invariably feels much better. Also, she has had a lot of trouble sleeping for over a decade and now is sleepwalking just about every night. I am very concerned. We have both believed for many years that many of our problems are related to this apartment. But then again, so many people here in New York City live in "terrible" apartments. Many would envy us our location, which is the West Village of Manhattan in a rent-stabilized apartment.

If the placement of the front door really does mean that we are courting Death, however, is there anything that we can do about this, or would it be better if we just made plans immediately to move elsewhere?

This front door opens directly into our kitchen. Our large kitchen sink and a shower stall are located in this southwest section. Also found in this southwest sector are the stove, wooden cabinets, and the refrigerator. Does the effect of the sink and the shower stall "wash away" to some extent any negative effects of the door being located where it is?

Sincerely, Gary E., New York, NY

Dear Gary,

I am distressed by the fact that there are books on the market that can leave you in "intense fear" that you are "courting death" based on the misapplication of a weak and obscure Feng Shui formula.

The Feng Shui formula that you are applying to your apartment is dependent on correct determination of the "facing" and "sitting" sides of the apartment. For an apartment on the sixth floor of a building or above, the "facing" direction is the side of the apartment having the greatest amount of window area that opens onto an expansive exterior view. The "sitting" side of the apartment is simply the opposite of the "facing" side. It sounds like the "back" of your apartment may actually be the "facing" side. If I am correct, then your "Chueh Ming" direction, which your book refers to as "death", would be in the northwest and not the southwest as you previously thought.

In either circumstance, based on your and your wife’s kua numbers ("personal numbers"), both the northwest and southwest are good personal directions for both of you. This greatly mitigates any potential problems caused by having a door in your "Chueh Ming" direction, which I doubt is even the case here. I strongly doubt that the door location is the cause of your problems.

More importantly, the formula that you are applying is not a powerful one, as it does not take into consideration the critical time factor. The energy of your apartment is not stagnant. Energy moves over time and its nature and impact changes with time. Only by considering both the period of the house (i.e. when it was FIRST occupied by human life), and the time period in which we are currently living, can you get an accurate picture of the powerful unseen influences in your home. Once you have a clear picture of the unseen influences, cures can be applied that will weaken any actual areas of negative energy so they will not block or harm you, and to strengthen areas of positive energy so they benefit you to the maximum degree. For an accurate analysis of the unseen influences and the correct application of remedies, I would recommend that you use the services of a skilled practitioner of Feng Shui in its traditional form. Authentic Feng Shui is a complex science and art. It is fine to experiment with the basics on your own, but when you are experiencing anxiety over your home and since your wife does not feel well in the apartment, the services of a professional are a worthwhile investment. It is very unlikely that the only solution is to move. Properly applied remedies can make a great difference in almost any home.

Having an apartment door that opens directly into the kitchen can give the kitchen, and food, a very prominent place in your subconscious. This feature can encourage overeating. If possible, it would be best to place a distracting object in the direct line of sight from the door to the stove. In answer to your last question, if the door is badly placed the sink and shower will not help.


Dear Practitioner,

Please tell me what the three-legged toad symbolizes in Feng Shui and where in the house should it be placed.

Thank You, Hazel

Dear Hazel,

The three-legged toad, usually appearing with a coin in its mouth and sitting on a bed of coins, is the most popular Feng Shui prosperity symbol! This strange creature, found in Chinatowns and Chinese markets everywhere, is based on an old Chinese tale.

The three-legged toad is said to have belonged to Liu Hai, a 10th century Taoist magician. Liu Hai spent his money freely yet always had plenty more because of his unique pet. The amazing toad was able to grant any desire or transport Liu Hai anywhere he wished. It is believed that the three-legged toad would go out at night and bring money back to the house. On occasions when the toad ran away, Liu Hai would go over to the local pond and fish it out with a coin tied to the end of a string.

There are several theories about placement of the three-legged toad. If you have several, they can be placed all around your living room and entry hall. If you have just a single toad, then place it near your main door, facing the door at an angle, and in a low place but not on the floor. Make sure the coin in its mouth has the 4-character side facing up.

Aaron Lee Koch is a Master Feng Shui Practitioner, and Director of The American School of Classical Feng Shui. He is available for home and business consultations throughout our area, and may be reached at 607-722-8988 or 718-288-1058, e-mail: FengShui@AmeriChi.com,  web site: www.AmeriChi.com.  As many questions as space permits will be answered through this column. Questions may be e-mailed or mailed to Aaron at AmeriChi Feng Shui, PO Box 983, Vestal, NY 13851-0983.

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