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What is Feng Shui?
Feng Shui (pronounced fung shway) is an ancient art and science that developed in China over 3,000 years ago. It grew into a complex body of knowledge setting forth ways to balance the energies of any given space so the inhabitants would enjoy better health and fortune.
"Feng" means "wind" and "shui" means "water". In Chinese culture gentle wind and clear water have always been associated with good harvest and good health, thus "good feng shui" came to mean good livelihood and fortune, while "bad feng shui" came to mean hardship and misfortune.
Feng Shui is based on the ancient Taoist understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with energy, which is called "ch'i" (pronounced "chee") in Chinese. The ancient Chinese believed that the land's energy could either make or break the kingdom, so to speak. Thus they made a detailed study of it.
The two other Taoist concepts you may be familiar with are "yin and yang", and the "five elements." Both are included in a Feng Shui Analysis of any space.