Unlike the definition of the word energy in English, the word Qi (chee) in Chinese has a few meanings.
Some of these meanings are:
Air, the air in our atmosphere, which is vital to our existence.
Energy, a mixture of the earth’s magnetic field, sun’s light, cosmic radiation, etc.
Spirit, our will that enables us to be strong, survive and prosper.
Luck, good or bad, its existence can be felt but not proved.
The word Qi is a combination of all these meanings. The multiple meanings for Qi cannot be replaced by the single word energy. And that’s because Qi is, in fact, more than energy.
As a student of Feng Shui, you have to train yourself to think this way to understand Qi. The secret is to never draw a line to distinctly separate the abstract concepts of energy from the concrete ones.
The ancient Chinese were prolific and dramatic in their descriptions, understanding, concepts, and explanations about Qi. For example, one of the oldest Chinese classics that details their knowledge of Qi is the I Ching.
It describes the universe as a continuous cyclical process of transformation. It states that if we can understand these transformations as they relate to our surroundings, we can learn to live in harmony with our environment and achieve happiness and well-being.
Qi is the air we breathe, the earth’s magnetic field, and sunlight. Qi is our spirit. Qi is luck. Qi underlies all these things and more. Feng Shui seeks to understand and harness the positive forces of Qi to better our well-being.
Qi is the underlying substance, essence and soul of things. It is the all-encompassing, all-permeating, and unifying force at the heart of the heavenly, earthly and human realms.
Both physical and metaphysical, Qi is the fundamental vital nourishing force that drives life forward. It is the field of information that connects us all.
Qi is always changing and moving. It is in a constant perpetual process of change. It accumulates, dispersed, expands and condenses. It moves quickly, slowly, up, down, in and out. Qi meanders and spirals. It flows in straight, angular and curved pathways. It rides the wind (Feng) and is retained by water (Shui). We are all products of and subject to Qi’s enormous power.
As you can begin to see, compared to the English explanation for energy, there is no direct translation for Qi; the closest English meaning is “Life’s Breath.”
How does Qi manifest?
Qi manifests in two distinct ways – through Forms and or through Formulas. And like most Feng Shui concepts, there are positive and negative representations of Qi.
Sheng Qi (Auspicious Energy)
Sheng Qi is positive Qi. It carries auspicious currents that nourish your well-being. In English, we use the term “good energy” as equivalent to Sheng Qi, but they are not exactly equivalent. The following descriptions illustrate this point more clearly.
When a garden is full of “Sheng” Qi, the grass is greener, flowers attract butterflies and insects, and birds come to sing.
When a person is filled with Sheng Qi, they look confident and vibrant. A person’s Qi can be seen in their manner, energy, and aura.
When a home is filled with Sheng Qi, it is clean and tidy, full of sunshine, fresh air, joy and laughter, and more importantly the people that live there are happy and doing well.
When a workplace is filled with Sheng Qi, people are diligently working with cooperation, have good work ethics and habits and there is a feeling of growth and support for each other.
When a restaurant is filled with Sheng Qi, the food served is delicious, customers leave filled with satisfaction and want to return.
When a retail store is full of Sheng Qi, customers are attracted inside, linger and browse and spend money happily.
When a community is full with Sheng Qi, roads and pavements are clean, plants are thriving, grass grows greener, flowers bloom, homes are well maintained, and there is overall prosperity and happiness.
Whether in an external or internal environments, Sheng Qi always meanders slowly. It never moves fast and it never moves in a fast line. In places where there is a good balance of Yin and Yang Qi, it settles and accumulates.
Sheng Qi requires the air to be fresh and clean. When the atmosphere is overly damp, wet, and dry or hot, Qi becomes stale and stagnant. When a place is dirty, the Qi turns foul.
Beneficial Qi brings good fortune and is described as vibrant, energetic and full of vigor. It is different from wind, but travels like the wind. It exists in the air, under the ground, in water and in the human body. The ideal air environment is gently circulating breezes that will, in terms of Feng Shui, accumulate energy in your vicinity.
Qi stops and settles each time it encounters the right type of water, which is why water features are very auspicious. This is a key wealth application in Feng Shui. Water needs to be oriented correctly for its right and full benefits to be realized.
Sha Qi, (Evil Qi)
Hostile energies within the living environments are described as Sha Qi. The opposite of Sheng Qi is Sha Qi. The following description will help to illustrate what Sha is.
When a landscape is filled with Sha Qi, the vegetation is withering, dry and the lawn is overgrown with weeds. Dead trees and a sense of stagnation, and or decay can be felt.
When a persons under the “attack” of Sha Qi, they look pale and weak. Their voice is hardly heard and everyone can feel their pessimism and gloominess.
When a home is filled with Sha Qi, it is dark, stuffy, stagnant and the people inside the house are either depressed or angry.
When a workplace is filled with Sha Qi, people are not friendly and do not work with cooperation and loyalty.
When a restaurant is full of Sha Qi, the food is unappetizing, waiters and waitresses are depressed or angry and people leave and never return.
When a retail store is full of Sha Qi, the feeling is oppressive, display of goods is unattractive; customers walk by without being interested.
When a community looks run down and dilapidated, there is an air of either sadness or aggravation, and the neighborhood may be filled with drug users and criminals.
Stagnant Qi occurs where the air or water is still or slow moving. Stagnant Qi can also cause fatigue and may compromise the immune system.
Misfortunes ranging from confusion, impulsiveness, illness, loss of job and income, relationship problems, breakups, quarrels, are often attributed to the presence of Sha Qi.
The ancient Chinese created dramatic names for this negative energy. At the extreme, this hostile energy takes the form of what is referred to as “poison arrows”.
Poison Arrow Qi
Poison Arrow Qi also referred as “secret arrows”.
They are “secret arrows” because they cannot be seen. Straight roads, opposing windows and doors, sharp, pointed edges of objects and buildings, anything that is directed to you in a straight line.
“Poison arrows” refer to hostile energy that has been created by either natural or man-made landform.
They can be heavy, massive, very sharp and pointed, long straight lines, cross-like symbols etc. Any uninterrupted stretch of straight lines outside (telephone lines, radio towers, or lines of adjacent buildings) will aim accelerated Sha Qi into your home or office. This qi will either disrupt or further accelerate your life’s pace.
Poison or secret arrows can be blocked off with walls, trees or embankments. The principle is if they can’t be seen they will not cause a problem.
There is much more to say about the positive and negative forms of Qi. As a tool for identifying the various forms of Qi, Feng Shui can help you understand how to deflect and defuse these hostile energies.
The art of Feng Shui starts with the diagnosis of the particular environment. By learning to identify and align yourself with Sheng Qi features in environments, you bring more opportunities, energy and happiness into your life.
And by building your knowledge and awareness of these particular Feng Shui issues and details, you can readily make positive changes for yourself. Awareness is always the key to change.