December 14, 2005
Fast Feng Shui Newsletter
The Stone of Heaven
Jade is revered in Chinese culture not only for its beauty, but also for its many symbolic meanings. The high value given to this natural stone is as old as the dawn of Chinese civilization itself; jade objects dating from as early as the Neolithic period (that's around 7000 years ago) have been found in China by archaeologists.
The Chinese admire jade above all other valuable materials, even gold and ivory. In Chinese culture, jade is believed to be a link between the physical and spiritual worlds, and is thought to be the material form that most completely embodies both the yin and yang qualities of Heaven and Earth. Thus it is called, "the stone of Heaven." The Mandarin word for jade is "yu." This character is similar to a capital "I" with a line across the middle. The top of the character represents Heaven and the bottom represents earth, with the line in the middle symbolizing mankind.
The following description of the "Eleven Virtues
of Jade" is attributed to the sage Confucius (551-479 BCE):
Another Chinese saying states that, "Gold has value; jade is beyond value."
The ancient Chinese believed that powdered jade taken internally could cure virtually any ailment, and perhaps even bring immortality if consumed in the right quantity. Jade is a non-conductor, so it feels cool to the touch. This coolness is said to elevate and purify one's thoughts, quiet the mind, and help to induce a state of contemplation.
Wearing jade was thought not only to confer greater health and vitality, but also to ward off back luck and misfortune. One ancient text states, "Jade cannot prevent the living from dying, but it can preserve the corpse from decaying." Liu Sheng, the ruler of the Zhongshan State (113 BC), must have been a believer: he was buried (as were other royalty) in a suit of 2,498 pieces of jade sewn together with several pounds of gold thread:
Jade is often carved into representations of gods, bodhisattvas (such as Kuan Yin, "the Jade Goddess") or symbolic animals, especially the dragon, bat (luck), birds, fish, tortoises, and the phoenix.
The color most often used for feng shui items is a medium-to-pale shade of green. However, jade comes in many colors, including white, yellow, brown, green, lavender, red, and black, making it possible to select a jade piece by color to represent any of the five feng shui elements. This pair of "Lo Shu" or dragon-headed tortoises (thought to bring both good health and money luck) are of dark green and yellow jade:
The twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac are also popular. Here's one of my Chinese animal, the Dog:
Some dark resin feng shui talismans feature jade-colored symbols or characters, such as this one representing wealth and blessings:
There are two types of jade: soft (nephrite) and hard (jadeite). Because most jadeite comes from Burma, it is sometimes called "Burmese Jade". Most contemporary jade pieces are made of jadeite.
Many inexpensive jade pieces are made from poor quality stone that may have been dyed or color-enhanced to look more appealing. Others are not made from jade at all, but from synthetic resin that have been colored to look like jade. This does not mean, however, that you must use expensive, authentic jade for your feng shui cures. It is true that the better the quality of the stone, the stronger it's energy will be. However, it is certainly permissible to use a lesser-quality or "imitation" piece to evoke the qualities of jade that you wish to bring into your home - just as you might use a beautiful photograph of flowers or a silk flower arrangement to evoke the chi of fresh flowers when they are not practical or affordable.
Here's a fun "Money Frog" of plastic resin made to look like jade. If this were hand-carved from natural jade, it would be quite expensive. The man-made version makes this traditional feng shui wealth symbol available to those of us without imperial budgets.
This jade and rose-quartz "tree" is a charming and affordable way to evoke both the qualities of a flowering tree and the beneficial powers of jade for your romance corner:
Jade is so multi-faceted in its meanings and qualities that it has virtually unlimited potential for use as a feng shui enhancement or cure for your home or for your personal adornment.
Feng Shui Q+A
(Most questions will have been edited for clarity and length, and any identifying details have been changed. Please note that due to the high volume of email I receive, it is no longer possible for me to respond to every question personally. I still welcome your questions, and if I cannot provide a personal response I will try to address your issue in a future Q+A column.)
Q: : "My neighbor has a cinderblock wall
on the border between our properties. This summer he backed into his
wall and some of the cinderblocks are broken. Can you tell me what to
do with this situation?"
Of course it's not good feng shui to have a damaged wall beside your property, and the more visible it is to you and the more it bothers you, the stronger the effect is. If you can talk to your neighbor and convince him to repair the damage that would be great. If he won't fix it, you may be able to plant some shrubbery to hide the damaged section from your view, or perhaps you could place a trellis or other feature to give you something more attractive to look at.
Clutter Clearing Tip
If you, like so many others, have trouble getting rid of too-small clothes that used to fit, that's probably because getting rid of those clothes feels like letting go of the hope that you will someday fit into them again. Remind yourself that plenty of "skinny" clothes will be available for you when you are ready for them, and that fabrics, colors, and styles will have changed.
When you do slim down to a smaller size, what will give you more satisfaction: fitting back into something now old and outdated, or buying yourself new clothes in a smaller size? Going down in size is not the same as going back in time. If you are sufficiently disciplined and motivated to loose several garment-sizes worth of weight, you deserve new clothes to celebrate the new you.
"So far I've de-cluttered 20 Walmart bags
of clothes, 1 bag of hair accessories, and 7 bags of trash from my closets
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