Our homes are, to a great extent, the clearest indication that there is of the kind of person that we are at heart.
We all, as a matter of course, decorate the insides of our homes according to our own particular tastes and the uniquely differing ways that we do this translates itself into an accurate portrayal of both our likes and dislikes.
The ancient Oriental art of feng shui tells us that this is actually a two way process. It explains that our houses – along with their physical position with relation to the immediate local environment – their orientation to the cardinal points etc., determines not only who we are as people but also the kind of life that we tend to lead.
In her book ‘Decorating With the Five Elements of Feng Shui’, interior designer Tisha Morris expands upon these principles. She proposes that by understanding the way in which the five elements of Chinese philosophy work – powers that constitute the essential energy that animates both ourselves and our lives, we can greatly alter the whole course of our lives.
Our personal relationship to the five elements, and how we integrate them into our homes, is of major importance for, as Morris points out,
Aware of it or not, we are constantly attempting to strike a balance in the five elements cycle within ourselves through the kind of foods that we eat, the amount of sleep we get, and the types of relationships in which we engage.
Tisha Morris strips feng shui practice within the home down to its core principles and advises that, like all good decorators, the initial preparatory work is essential to getting good results.
The author has created a three stage process for achieving just that.
Firstly, she recommends that in order to create change in your life you must remove those parts that are no longer working. This is perhaps similar to the process of de-cluttering a space.
The next stage requires you to re-arrange those things that remain, for this gives you time to reconsider what it is you really want and need from your new space.
Thirdly she recommends that you re-energize the space that remains – but prior to refurnishing the new area that you have created.
She advises that it is through the integration of the five elemental principles that this third important step can be most effective and dedicates the rest of her book to explaining how this works practically.
The Five Elements of Feng Shui
In her book, Tisha Morris takes her reader on a journey through each the five elements by beginning with a description of the part that the dual aspects to the Tao plays when it is split into yin (negative) and yang (positive) energies.
Whilst she describes how sees these two energy types at play within people and their personal characteristics she also describes how the same yin/yang balance, or imbalance, can be observed in the qualities of the land; as well as in the type of energy that occurs within our own homes.
These two polar opposite powers are also seen within the cycle of birth and rebirth – which can in turn, be subdivided into the five primary elements of wood, fire, metal, earth and water.
Morris explains how the five elements interact in two primary cycles: the constructive cycle and the destructive cycle.
It is said that each of us is formed from a bias towards one or more of the five elemental qualities.
In ‘Decorating With the Five Elements of Feng Shui’ the author offers the reader the chance to take part in a quiz from which they can more easily identify the element they are.
She also integrates other Oriental practices, including those of Chinese astrology, face-reading and numerology to further help define your essential elemental make-up.
Having identified your element bias the book reveals the specifics to the personal characteristics that you have, the creative qualities you express and even the kind of challenges you are likely to have to face in life.
It also reveals the probable outcome of having an excess of any particular type of energy within your psychospiritual system.
In Your Home
In part three of her book Tisha Morris begins the process of matching your home environment to your element type. This includes the inclusion of the sort of materials, shapes and colors you naturally prefer within the interior spaces of your home as well as advice on how to express them in exterior areas such as in the garden.
Followers of the principles of feng shui will be aware of the application of the Bagua Map, or plan, for identifying which areas of the house relate to specific aspects of one’s life.
In the book this blueprint is used in conjunction with the five elements allowing you the opportunity to enhance your life in different areas; including social, money, travel, and health. This can be done on a room by room basis as well as determined on a whole house basis.
In a final part of the book the author suggests several specific methods that can be used to help to heal the space within your house and to bring it into greater harmony. This includes the use of crystals and gem stones.
In closing, Tisha Morris concludes by saying that
The five elements together are the bridge connecting us to nature, and nature is what connects us with the Oneness that permeates everything. This is the way, the Tao.
Our Review of ‘Decorating With the Five Elements of Feng Shui’ by Tisha Morris
If you are seeking out some good, solid, feng shui guidance on how to bring your home into a closer resonance with harmonious conditions then this is a book that sets things out in a very clear and uncluttered way for you.
It draws upon Oriental principles in ways that many who want to re-energize or redecorate their homes will appreciate and enjoy.
Whilst the book is engaging and well-written I did feel that at times the ideas contained within it leaned too heavily in the direction of the worst aspects to New Ageism including use of Chinese astronomy, crystals and gemstones. It only just stopped short of advocating the use of infusers and dream-catchers.
Life, people and modern homes are never as simplistic as this book seems to find them and this results in a book that is missing key practical guidance on anything that is not pre-formed. Certainly it contains no specific advice regarding children, pets or even for somewhat less, homogenized domestic setups as might be encountered by same sex partners living together in the same space but as different elemental types.
How exactly do extroverts and introverts, yin and yang types decorate a home in mutual harmony? I should have liked to have known.
So, in short, this is a good book that many will enjoy and resonate to but, for me, it was overly-simplistic in its core ideas.
Decorating With the Five Elements of Feng Shui by Tisha Morris explores the world of space, energy and place with reference to the essential building blocks of the Tao. For many who strive for easy ideas to replicate the natural order of things in their home this is a book that offers some simple but important guideposts.