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Are Feng Shui and Aromatherapy OK for Christians?
by Cate Russell-Cole
6/19/2015 / Christian Living
Over the past few years, articles on Feng Shui, aromatherapy and the use of colour therapy in interior decorating have become very popular. I realised that there was an ancient Chinese philosophy behind Feng Shui, but never stopped to think more about the origins of these articles, other than having a chuckle at suggestions to keep the toilet lid closed to keep the bad energy in. Doing some research, I found that Feng Shui is a form of "geomancy." In an encyclopaedia of religion, geomancy was defined as "a form of divination based on the interpretation of figures or patterns drawn on the ground (eg. Ley lines)... The term geomancy is also used to refer to Feng Shui ("winds and waters"), the traditional Chinese technique for determining propitious locations for towns, dwellings and tombs." I also found Feng Shui listed under a chapter entitled "Chinese Occultism." This concerned me. I wouldn't light heartedly read any magazine articles that were blatantly talking about Satanism, Gaia or witchcraft, but Feng Shui had looked innocent. How many other people would avoid it if they knew what it really signified, and the occultic power it was related to?
Australian Better Homes and Gardens Magazine (my favourite) ran Astrology, Feng Shui, Numeracy and Colours lift-out in their July 2000 edition. This was the first time I had seen them grouped together. Some magazines ran a monthly page on Feng Shui that didn't seem related. Their introduction stated, "This ancient Chinese art dating back 5000 years could be the key to complete harmony and happiness in your home. Use these general principles in any room, and feel the good energy flow." The subtitles in the article were "Say Welcome," "Room for Romance," "Be Creative," "Keep It Calm" and "Child Friendly." Sounds harmless?
Feng Shui was first used to predict the fortunes of following generations of relatives, by selecting where they were buried. The philosophy has since been expanded to include determining where to build your home, where cities should be placed, and these days, how to decorate and arrange your home for good fortune. Feng Shui is Gaia, or earth magic. It is about correcting energy imbalances which create "black energy" and affect people's lives. They have been held responsible for illness, accidents, poltergeist activity, and every kind of misfortune. According to the Chambers Dictionary of Beliefs and Religions, "Feng Shui can frustrate or benefit human beings, and it is important that the forces of Feng Shui should be controlled for the well-being of humanity." In simple terms, it is organising your life to get the best deal you can, and it tries to manipulate the forces of yin and yang to create harmonious balance.
Looking at The World of Feng Shui online, they claim that Feng Shui can be used to enhance every aspect of your life. Articles featured on the site include "Getting Your Partner to Commit Using Feng Shui," "Too Busy with Your Career to Find Love? Try using some Feng Shui to find your soul mate." "Bury A Lucky Money Box In The West: One of the easiest ways to enhance your wealth." "Do You Have Problems Conceiving?" After browsing I began to wonder if there was any more to this than another New Age money making tactic, or a way to try and control your life, grabbing some guarantees in a world of chaos. That would have to be one of the strongest appeals. You can buy a pair of Mandarin ducks to produce a committed, monogamous relationship, buy some jewellery which will enhance your happiness, buy a five rod wind chime to "press down" bad energy. Then there were many books and resources to buy which would all be beneficial.
Aromatherapy and colour therapy are other decorating techniques which appear totally non-religious. Aromatherapy, according to the Encyclopaedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, "...is more than a simply a department of herbalism, since it postulates subtle energies of aromatic plants related to life force, which can be correlated with ancient Chinese concepts of Yin and Yang." Colour therapy has a spiritual base in Hinduism. The October 2000 edition of Australian Better Homes and Gardens introduces an article on decorating in green saying, "Turn to green for harmony and healing... Green is one of life's most adaptable, balancing and useful colours... Conversely, people seeking change and growth in their lives will often be attracted to zesty lime green." In colour therapy, the belief is held that colours are energy, and to improve and balance your emotional state, you apply colours which relate to the chakras (cakras). These are the centres of power located in the body, according to Hinduism. Different versions of the Hindu religion identify different chakras. For example, green or pink is the heart chakra, which is located in the centre of the chest. Its qualities and functions are unconditional love, harmony, forgiveness, healing, compassion, understanding, personal transformation, warmth, sharing, devotion and selflessness. If you have problems associated with these qualities or the body, you apply more green, or its opposite colour if there is too much.
Everyone has a free will with which to decide what philosophical and religious path they want to take through life. As M. Scott Peck says, "Life is hard." We would all like to be able to direct events, our health and our emotions the way we want them to go. I can rearrange my home with wind chimes, ducks, crystals, incense, photos, mirrors and all kinds of techniques to try and manipulate my life to flow the way I want it to, but at the end of the day, the greatest predictor of my success or failure is my own actions and heart attitude. If I am selfish, greedy, hurt people, or set no goals in life that I am willing to work towards, guaranteed, success will not come to bring us safely through life's trials and imbalances. He holds the universe and our individual lives in His hands, and is an ever-ready source of help, healing and comfort. I've found that looking to Him for guidance and provision achieves more than I ever could by trying to buy a solution or control my life. When I can't, He can. He is a totally understanding, never changing source of hope and provision, which has set me free from my past and my worries to be a better balanced, happier human being.
This article by Cate Russell-Cole is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Written in Australian English.
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