Comfy seems to be the hardest word

Welcome to Imperial Feng Shui

Richard Ashworth

Feng Shui Diaries

Solar fortnight beginning:

Friday November 22nd 2009

 Hour   Day   Month   Year
 wood       metal  wood   earth
 chia  tsun  gap   gay
 wu   wei   hai   chou
 horse    sheep   pig  ox
 Month:    yute hoi   the wood Pig
 Solar Fortnight:    siu shuut  Slight snow

Comfy seems to be the hardest word

The first big frost comes; late November. That is late indeed. For the first time this year we light an open fire. Sheila celebrates with a new Sky HD box. Now I can see every one of Tyra Banks’ eyelashes.

Mandy emails. Her husband appears to be back on the straight and narrow. They’ve sold the house, she tells me, the chicken image in the bathroom and the red envelopes at full moon respectively, have done their job. Mandy has not been herself recently. A straying husband can do that. When I saw her in the autumn this beautiful talented woman was bouncing off the walls with upset. I remind her that the cheapest feng shui advice is to ask what has been happening in the house you’re about to buy. Her vendor is a lady who is so like her it’s spooky. Just a little taller, she says.

“Her husband left her two years ago for her best friend,” she tells me.

I look at the house online. It’s l-shaped. Some call this a “hatchet” house and say this means it’s unlucky. Actually “Hatchet” is just the picturesque way a Master might help his student remember the configuration, what’s wrong with it is that the heart or tai chi, is outside. It is literally heartless. If you think about it, that is an inevitable feature of the l-shape. People tend not to care for each other in such homes.

This very smart woman talks of being chosen to heal the house. Who am I to argue?

“It’s 15th Century. Is it possible everyone who has lived there down the centuries has been unhappy?”

I don’t tell her but I conjure in my mind the house I have seen that is most like this: l-shaped, mediaeval, with the front door inside the elbow, oh the things that Roger got up to when Marjory thought he was out jogging.

“Whatever we have to do,” Mandy says, “Pagoda, conservatory, porch, crystals. Whatever.”

The agents’ details show there is a millpond which looks all wrong too. The Shadows’ Wonderful Land comes up on my ipod and I am 10 years old staring across a lake in Pennsylvania in the endless summer of 1962. I blink it away.

If she’s hell bent on it, I agree that I will do what I can to change the house. Not for the first time, I wonder if this is weakness. I hate to make people frightened and sometimes I have to unsettle them but ultimately it’s all choice. This is the tao.

When I get back to my inbox there’s mail from Maggie, the healer who was featured in the last diary entry who tells me she prefers to be called Bernadette. Actually her name is Philena. Things are moving for her. She has just freed a young African from bad juju and acknowledges graciously that I had removed the African figures from her healing room in the nick of time. The young man is transformed to the astonishment of his friends. She asks me to print her web address which is  You don’t need to believe in any of this to know she’s a remarkable woman. 

Towards 2012: What to expect from the Metal Tiger

It may be of course that the Mayans just ran out of ink. And if you think they were some race of prehistoric Nostradamus’ just remember that they actually stole their calendar and the accompanying astronomy from their smarter neighbours, the Toltecs. The Mayans like the Chinese, thought in terms of a series of bigger and bigger years. For the Chinese the tai sui or great year is 12 years long and mirrors the orbit of Jupiter around the Sun of a little under 12 Earth years. Our years – the Rat, Ox and indeed Tiger – are in effect months in the greater year. And this mega-year of twelve is itself a month in a bigger ! year again. If I have understood, the Mayans appear to have been suggesting the loss of two of these maxi-months which in a maxi-year of 144 Earth years amounts to 24 Earth years. The world is due to be closed until 2036.

Sticking strictly to the Chinese Cycles, the year 2012 actually mirrors 208BCE, the year of the unification of China as well as 32BCE which might be the year of the Crucifixion; also 1412 when Joan of Arc was born. She would be a Dragon, wouldn’t she? There’s no telling them a thing. 1592 was the year of the first English colonies in America too. More of this in my predictions for the Metal Tiger which will be with you late in December.

Hoppen About

Then I’m at Kelly Hoppen’s for mulled wine and a sniff round; one of dozens, maybe hundreds. I can’t help pacing and orienting. Ms H is as always, frantically busy. Her office sits East-West. And so it should of course. There are some obvious things wrong about the building. You’ll know when she lets me tell her. That’s if she’ll let me tell you. That’s also if I ever get into her planner.

It’s raining as I leave and I’m weighed down with bags. I’m tempted to use the SatNav on my Blackberry to get me to Ladbroke Grove but I’m less likely to end up in Hartlepool if I follow my nose. On my way I pass the new Lutyens and Rubinstein book shop. It’s small and eccentrically-stocked: almost entirely without blockbusters. A lady (Ms. Lutyens? Ms. Rubinstein?) is talking very enthusiastically to a punter about trends in contemporary fiction that it is unlikely I will ever pick up on. The threshold is crowded. Twenty minutes feng shui would improve the outlook for the New Year but like the vampires in Buffy, I have to be invited.

On the train home I get an email from Govinda telling me the eczema that has been crippling her is almost gone. Some Icelandic mud, a dozen or so ba zi sessions, a feng shui survey and a great deal of bottle. Bless her.

Tune Up for 2010 : Last year’s price for next year’s tune up.

 Feng shui is sometimes defined as doing the right thing in the right place at the right time and the Metal Tiger of 2010 is very different from the Earth Ox of 2009. Between January 14th and February 4th Richard will be doing Tune-Ups for 2010 marking the new places to activate for health, wealth and wisdom and those to leave still as well as some crucial tricks that must be done before February. We’re charging last year’s price for next year’s Tune-Up if you book and pay now. That’s now!

 Contact Sheila at:

Richard Ashworth © 2009

Names have been changed to protect..uh…me.

My (still) super-duper (still) revamped website is at and my book The Feng Shui Diaries is available now from the website, online & in stores

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