The Five Elements or Forces (wu xing) – which, according to the Chinese, are metal, earth, fire, water, and wood – are first mentioned in Chinese literature in a chapter of the classic Book of History. They play a very important part in Chinese thought: ‘elements’ meaning generally not so much the actual substances as the forces essential to human life. Earth is a buffer, or an equilibrium achieved when the polarities cancel each other. While the goal of Chinese medicine is to balance yin and yang in the body, the goal of feng shui has been described as aligning a city, site, building, or object with yin-yang force fields.
WHEN May Pang separated from her husband, she wanted to stay in their big house in Rockland County with their two children, but at the same time find a way to start over. Ms. Pang, a music manager, began by getting rid of all of the black laminated furniture in the master bedroom. For a while, she slept on a mattress on the floor of the huge two-story space. (But not the mattress she shared with John Lennon. Ms. Pang, who was famous in the early 1970's as Mr. Lennon's girlfriend before he reunited with Yoko Ono, has stored that mattress in the recording studio in her basement.)
Feng shui or fengshui (traditional Chinese: 風水; simplified Chinese: 风水, pronounced [fə́ŋ.ʂwèi] (listen)), also known as Chinese geomancy, is a pseudoscience originating from China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. The term feng shui literally translates as "wind-water" in English. This is a cultural shorthand taken from the passage of the now-lost Classic of Burial recorded in Guo Pu's commentary: Feng shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The feng shui practice discusses architecture in terms of "invisible forces" that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, known as qi.