We live in the Age of Fire. Transcontinental wildfires, an overheating climate and the sixth mass extinction are signs of burnout for our contemporary society. Cities full of smog, light-polluted skies and omnipresent machine sounds mark the background scene for political and economic actors on their final survival sprint. The homo sapiens has turned its blue planet earth red, grey and black. Like a volcano leaving behind only destruction. But the destruction also brings new sediments on which to grow a new sustainable and regenerative culture. Could Feng Shui help to chill down planet earth, this living organism which has also been called Gaia ?

With common ancient roots, the art and practice of Feng Shui has evolved over the last 5000 years and is now also more widely utilized in Western environments. It was founded to investigate the diverse influences on human well-being and how to unleash a better energy, what is called the vital energy, Qi or Chi. The Qi has various expressions, different paths and finds its way differently to each individual, although many traits are also shared.

These energies are the basic elements Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water associated to specific colours, sounds, body organs, planets, cardinal directions, tastes, mind-sets etc. (see illustration below). Today’s expressions of a dominance of fire are clear, in all life domains: the omnipresence of combustion motors, wildfires, smog or burnout, high blood-pressure related diseases and many more.

In front of this destruction, one may despair. Gladfully however, according to this respectable wisdom from Asia, every element is interdependent, creative or destructive in its circular movements. Their influences operate in cycles of nourishment, destruction or control. Understanding these cycles can help to create inspiring, healing, constructive and well-being oriented environments in places such as cities, rural areas, in offices or at home.

Practicing Feng Shui can help to give back sense to people’s lives, to restore inner harmony (so much needed by a fearful and aggressive society), to become mindful about ourselves and the natural and social environment. Together with other practices such as known in Ayurveda, Behavioral Therapy, Nature-Immersion-Therapy, Naturopathy, movement therapies and many others.

At larger scale, we need to stop deforestation, air and water pollution and start to rebuild a more harmonious society working together, not against, these elements. In landscape design, that means to ensure all elements, not monocultures, are represented, just as much as biodiversity. In urbanism, lacking green spaces, squared buildings and asphalted roads (suffocating energy) contribute to stress. Ecological architecture, the rediscovery of city waters and lush vegetation could contribute to more social peace.

Also artistic practice and the representation of various forms and colours help reviving cities and its inhabitants. It helps to activate the imagination and creative individual potential. Being constantly flooded by visual pollution, such as through ads, is noxious to mental health and reduces the capacity for immersion and resonance with other people or in nature. Deep social bonds and the simple joys of being in nature cannot be developed under such circumstances, depriving people from their development potential.