Simple Feng Shui

by Damian Sharp

Published by Conari Press

170 pages, 1999

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Feng Shui But the Other Books Were Too Thick

Reviewed by Kent Barrett


Author Damian Sharp manages, in a scant 100 pages, to give an instructive overview of "Yang" Feng Shui, the branch of the ancient Chinese art which deals with the flow of energies as they pertain to human habitation.

All I knew of Feng Shui before I began reading this beautifully designed little book was, well, nothing, other than I'd heard that it involved old guys in white hats barking on about underground monsters.

Sharp begins with a (very) brief history of Chinese philosophy and the shamanic origins of Feng Shui, then plows right in with an explanation of some of the positive and negative influences which the physical environment can have on our buildings. He discusses the nature of helpful chi energy and destructive sha energy, how they interact and how these energies must be balanced if we are to live in any harmony with our surroundings.

Engaging, the book covers ground quickly and before I knew it I was eating up chapters titled Fundamental Water Dragon Principles and Business and the Seven Portents. Soon I began to get a whiff of the meaning of Feng Shui as a practical aesthetic. I began to see how an odd number of finches in a strategically placed birdcage could offset the evil sha energy of a cramped straight hallway. I laughed. It was as practical as point-of-purchase displays of magazines at the checkout counters at Safeway. Watch the birdie!

You don't have to believe in subterranean dragons to understand that things will go better in your life if you can wake up in the morning and look out the window and smile at what you see. There are most certainly archetypes in the human experience. Everyone agrees that a beautiful sunset is beautiful, but no one can explain exactly why. And if you know how to paint, you don't have to know why. Why doesn't matter. You can paint a sunset and be certain that people will call it beautiful. The Feng Shui masters have been painting all kinds of weather for as long as there have been people.

But it is practical matters we must put this fine advice to the test of. I decided to start with my office (which I keep in the bedroom for practical reasons having nothing to do with chi). I was eager to see if my office was properly laid out to take advantage of the Eight Enrichments. The room had a northern orientation, I determined, which placed my fax machine in the Generating Breath location. This was good, but my chair was situated squarely in Severed Fate which was not good. I puzzled over my options, wanting to keep anything important out of the dreaded Six Curses area and I was leery of having my pillow in the Five Ghosts. According to Simple Feng Shui, the only thing I could do is put my computers on the center of the bed and sleep strapped vertically to the east wall.

I could handle that, but then it occurred to me that I should check out the Feng Shui of my computer itself. It is after all my main axe. It is the "home" of all my data. Without it I would be, well, better not to dwell. Using Feng Shui, and if I can take the floppy port as the "main entrance," then the dragon is a pile of drives and networking boxes to the left of the screen, the scanner to the right is the Tiger and the Raven is, um, me. Looking down into the guts of the box I consulted the diagrams in the book. Apparently the hard drive should be where the BIOS is and the RAM shouldn't be there at all but in a separate stone box beside the telephone jack, with a goldfish on it.

All in all, Simple Feng Shui is an enjoyable, informative book, one of a series of Simple Wisdom Books planned by the publisher Conari Press.

I hope they do do more books, perhaps one on nuclear physics, a topic which, since it is a much younger science than Feng Shui, they ought to be able to cover in an even slimmer volume, or perhaps on the back of a match book cover. Enjoy. | February 2000


Kent Barrett is a writer and journalist with ridiculous opinions on most topics. You can observe the effect firsthand at his den of nonsense at He lives alone in Vancouver, Canada with Land Rights, his cat, and Salmon Agreement, his Alsatian puppy.