In Chinese astrology, there are twelve animal signs assigned, one per year, in a repeating 12-year cycle (not monthly like Western astrology). Each animal sign includes attributes and characteristics which are expected to be dominant in that year. Your animal sign is determined by the year in which you were born according to the lunar calendar and is believed to represent what others perceive you as being or how you present yourself. We are on the cusp of a new year, 2018, in which the Year of the Dog begins his reign on February 16 according to the lunar calendar. For a description of the Dog attributes, check out my earlier newsletter.
Feng Shui also uses animal totems to describe, enhance, and balance the chi. Perhaps the most common are the four used in the practice of Form School Feng Shui, which works with the energy of land formations. You may have heard of the Black Tortoise, the White Tiger, the Green Dragon, and the Red Phoenix. These animal totems describe desirable land formations and are auspicious to the siting of your home as follows:
To situate a house where the life force is strong and supportive of people living there, Form School would look for an “armchair” configuration with the Black Tortoise in the back (mountain), the Green Dragon and White Tiger on either side of the building (hills), and the Red Phoenix in the front (flowing water).
Most of us, of course, live in homes that were already sited and built prior to purchasing them so it is unlikely that our home lots/property align precisely to the Form School dictates of a mountain behind and flowing river in front. But does that mean the life force of our property is diminished? Absolutely not! We can symbolically represent these animal totems on our property to energetically invite the good chi.
For example, on our lot we have a large and very tall poplar tree in my back yard that I have dubbed “my mountain” and it represents my Black Tortoise. To the right of our house, we have a large white rock in the landscaping – it is our White Tiger. To the left of our house, we have a moss-covered dragon statue (his name is Peep) - our Green Dragon - that delights the garden plants. And in front of our home the Red Phoenix is represented by our street, which is the “waterway” of our comings and goings.
Protection, good fortune, abundance, and opportunities – these are definitely qualities I want in my life. You, too, can intentionally invite this good chi by assessing your property to find your animal totems. What can you assign to represent your Black Tortoise, Green Dragon, White Tiger, and Red Phoenix? While you’re preparing for the Sign of the Dog in 2018, don’t forget to assign and acknowledge your Feng Shui allies surrounding your home. Remember, where intention goes, energy flows!