FENG SHUI CONCEPTS
The Power of Guardian Animals
By Jenny T. Liu, MA
This article is dedicated to the fascinating use of guardian animals in feng shui. I am often questioned about them and in my childhood, I had many dreams about guardian animals. Before we get into the specific guardian animals that are used in Feng Shui, it is important to understand the concept of symbolism.
The art and science of symbolism play a very important role in Feng Shui. Whether we are aware of them or not, symbols are all around us impacting our subconscious mind. As we receive visual information, our mind collects the information and tries to understand it. This happens very naturally and involuntarily.
Today there are new studies; one of which is called NeuroEconomics, regarding logos and their power of suggestion. For instance, Coke and Pepsi are very similar-tasting beverages, yet Coke sells better than Pepsi. There have been studies conducted on this specific issue showing people have a stronger impulse to buy Coke; this is directly linked to their logo and the nostalgic feelings that symbol carries with it.
Evidently, having the right symbolic logo can make all the difference. Our subconscious mind responds in very specific ways to symbols. Because our subconscious mind makes up about 95% of our mindframe, the power of symbols is infinitely strong. Symbols can trigger and invoke memories from our past and stimulate our present experiences.
Symbolism is an integral part of the Chinese culture where everything has a deeper meaning and effect. This is obvious in the Chinese language. Each Chinese word is a symbol — an icon that connotes a specific idea or concept. Oftentimes these ideas or concepts cannot be directly translated or justified in English because of the cultural experience necessary to understand the deeper meaning of these words.
A lot of Chinese words are a combination of different symbols put together. So when we try to translate Chinese into English, sometimes a literal translation can be very misleading. The iconographic Chinese language communicates through symbolism which is very much ingrained in the Chinese culture, worldview, and philosophies.
It is apparent in Chinese art, architecture, literature and even the food, that it is important to have a deeper meaning or purpose. The power of meaning and purpose stimulates our mind at a subconscious level. It is vital for everything to have a purpose, a meaning, and to not do things that are purposeless or meaningless.
Symbols are not always a physical thing. They can be anything that has the power of suggestion. Songs, fragrances and colors can evoke happiness, sadness, or excitement. Even our feelings and dreams in a certain place, or with a certain person, are very symbolic and have a deeper subconscious significance that affect our conscious life.
One of the most popular symbols in Feng Shui we use often is the fish. To many Western cultures, the fish is just a fish and often associated with the sea or food. In Chinese, the word “fish” is “yu” and that word is a homonym of the word for abundance. So to the Chinese, images of fish represent abundance. This symbol is so culturally rooted and accepted, that it is not only empowered by the person who sees the fish, but by generations of memory and generations of people. When enough people believe, reality manifests and this is a very powerful tool.
Inanimate objects, such as jewelry, pictures, paintings and sculptures, all possess symbolic energy. In Feng Shui practice, symbolism is used as a tool to influence our psychological and physical well-being. Thus, it is vital to understand the underlying meaning and purpose of the items recommended in a Feng Shui consultation. When it is not understood, it is arbitrary and appears superstitious.
Once you understand why an adjustment is made, this empowerment makes the adjustment effective. Consequently, one of the key adjustments we can make in our homes and offices is to surround ourselves with symbols that empower our mind with positive energies that promote our well-being, happiness, growth and progress.
What level a guardian animal works for you depends on your own connection with them. Some clients love to collect dogs, pigs, frogs, elephants, or turtles. When asked why, the response is usually that the animal they collect makes them feel happy, secure or there is some personal experience that connects them. Very likely in a previous life, they were very close in some way to that animal, so in this lifetime they have a very strong connection. When they have that animal close to them, they feel like it is a guardian that protects them and reinforces their own personal energies.
Jenny Liu holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design from UC Berkeley and
a Master’s Degree in Architecture from UCLA. She is an expert in the
8,000-year-old Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui who also shares her knowledge
through seminars, workshops, periodicals and the internet. Awarded for her
Master’s Thesis on Feng Shui, Ms. Liu is a fourth-generation practitioner with
her own consulting firm. For more information, see
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