Category Archives: Chinese Symbolism

Chinese New Year of the Dog Meaning

Meaning of the Chinese Year of the dog
Meaning of the Chinese Year of the dog


Chinese New Year of the Dog 2018:
This Chinese zodiac animal takes trust and companionship to a whole new level. Consequently, the year of the Dog is one of understanding, faith and devotion. Dog signs see the best in people, and they take great effort in coaxing those good highlights out of people. They are always up for a good time, and enjoy making people laugh. This makes them super-fun to be with. They make excellent friends, and they are the go-to pal when you need a supportive hug or just someone to listen to your woes.

You may note that Dogs and Horses have similar attributes (friendliness, faithfulness, etc). The Dog distinguishes himself by his willingness to serve. Where the Horse is a teacher, the Dog is a servant. Now, in our modern, independent way of thinking – the idea of “servitude” may not sound all that glamorous – but let me tell you – it is. Without the tender-hearted, thoughtful nature of Dog signs, we would not have hospice, charities, soup kitchens, fund-raisers, homeless shelters…you get the idea. The world needs more compassionate Dog signs. Thankfully, the year of the Dog interjects a quality of empathy at a level that is seldom seen in other years.

I want to touch on that word “willingness”. Dogs are ever-willing to fight for a cause. Dog signs act on their impulse – not because they think they should – not because it’s the “right thing to do” – but because they know it’s the right thing to do. They are willing to put themselves on the line for what they feel is decent, humane and honorable. Dogs often sacrifice a lot in order to stand up for their beliefs. They’ll do this even when the odds seem insurmountable. Hence the term “underdog”. Of all the signs in the Chinese zodiac, the Dog is the last one to compromise his morals or values. This sign will fight ‘doggedly’ for what he believes in.

Dog signs are also natural-born guardians. They don’t take on this role in an aggressive way though. They just keep a weather eye out for their loved ones. They tend to watch from a distance…just making sure all is well…just keeping watch – like a sentinel. Of course, they can be on the attack if their loved ones are threatened, but they usually try to resolve conflict in well-mannered, intelligent ways. Dogs are slow to anger – but when they do get mad (especially on a loved one’s behalf) – katy bar the door, because that dogfight’s gonna get intense.

Here again – it’s that “underdog” mentality. Dog signs will fight for the defenseless, the underprivileged, the misunderstood. So, it’s a good thing Dogs are so even-tempered, and a very good thing they handle mistreatment with diplomacy rather than aggression.

The year of the Dog will have that same kind of advocate feel to it. Those who have no voice to speak are somehow able to get their point across in the year of the Dog. Those who cannot stand on their own, will somehow have the support they need. This year is all about acknowledging those we have forgotten, and paying mindful respect to the unspoken heroes who deserve it.

Things to watch out for: Because the Dog is super-sensitive, and ultra-concerned for the well being of others, the Dog contends with a constant element of worry. In fact, Dogs can worry so much, they’ll imagine the most impossible scenarios of threat to their loved ones of areas of value. This behavior may crop up in the year of the Dog too. Be aware of nervousness or excessive worry throughout this year. If you experience that noodling concern – cull examples from your past that prove how things can work out just fine. Remind yourself that your daughter has driven that Volvo a million times, and she’s come home just fine. Remind yourself that thousands of people undergo surgery every day, and they come out just fine. Remind yourself of all the times people have pulled themselves out from adversity – only to become better and stronger for the experience. You get the idea.

More Dog symbolism and meaning here.

Also, Chinese Moon Sign Meanings here.

As always, thank you for reading, and I hope this year of the dog will grant you all the greatest joys.



Symbolic Thunderbolt Meaning

thunderbolt meaning
From Chinese to Celtic, thunderbolt meaning is a deep symbolic element around the world.

Crashing Into Classic Thunderbolt Meaning

The most basic definition of thunderbolt meaning is when a flash of lightning happens while thunder strikes at the exact same time. The occurrence of thunder and lightning clashing together at the same time is uncommon.  I think that, in itself, is symbolic.

When Nature tosses out something rare in our experience, it is worthy of a second look…it’s worthy of some pondering.

Thankfully, ancient cultures around the world have done a lot of pondering about thunderbolt meaning already.  The following points offer some views about how the thunderbolt is perceived in different ways.

thunderbolt meaning

Say what??
Before meteorology and science explained away the wonder of phenomenons like thunderbolts, we humans only had our imaginations to explain such epic events. Around the world, the occurrence of the thunderbolt was thought of as a colossal shout from big, magical sources. Whether angel, god or goddess – the thunderbolt announced a message from an immensely powerful source. Essentially, witnessing and hearing a thunderbolt was akin to receiving a message from the heavens.

thunderbolt meaning

It is ALIVE!
Thunderbolt meaning deals with the creation of life. Perhaps the best example of this is found in that singular, memorable scene in any movie version of Frankenstein. When the thunderbolt struck the creature, it animated Frankenstein’s vision. The Buddhists give us the idea of ‘the rolling Dharma thunder.’ Dharma is the order of life, the order of the cosmos. In this case, the thunderbolt is a symbol of liberating life, and igniting the cycle of living.

thunderbolt meaningOkay, maybe it’s not so alive.
With every ancient cultural view that sees the thunderbolt as a spark of creation, most of the same views also see it as a source of destruction. Look at Zeus (Jupiter). The thunderbolt is one of his symbols. He is considered a creator-father god in Greek-Roman myth. But he was also feared for his destructive tendencies. In Native American myth, the thunderbolt is associated with the Thunder Bird.  This mega-bird is symbolic of the great Creator, it also represents some wicked-destructive forces.

thunderbolt meaning
Is that a thunderbolt in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
The idea of fertility is part and parcel with the creative aspect of thunderbolt meaning.  In many ancient cultures, the thunderbolt is a symbol of libido, virility and fertility.  Anybody who drools over the Thor character in the Marvel comics movies can formulate exactly what I mean. In fact, a thunderbolt is one of this Scandinavian god’s symbols. I guess you could say Thor, and his thunderbolt are kinda like a sex symbols. If you consider the shape of lightning, it’s like a rod. I don’t want to get too graphic here, but let’s just say it causes us to be ‘erect’ in our thinking about the thunderbolt. The simultaneous boom is a very orgasmic feature too. I’ll let your own imagination do the rest of the work when it comes to the thunderbolt as a symbol of virility and fertility.

thunderbolt meaningFlash! Bam! Alakazam!
You know that Nat King Cole song? “Orange Colored Sky” Nat croons that he’s just walking along, minding his own business, and then WHAM! He got stone-cold smashed with inspiration. In his case, he was struck by love. Thunderbolt meaning can certainly be symbolic of being blind-sided by love.  It is also symbolic of being struck by a bright idea. The thunderbolt represents a split second moment of tremendous inspiration.  In Hinduism, the thunderbolt of Indra and Krishna are synonymous with the awakening of the Third Eye. This is a fancy way of saying the thunderbolt represents enlightenment, a spark of intelligence and getting groundbreaking ideas.

Closing Thoughts on Symbolic Thunderbolt Meaning

Whether perceived as a symbol of war and destruction, or an icon for creativity and inspiration – it should be clear thunderbolt meaning is surrounded with lots of smashing concepts.

I hope this post offered you some thunderously thought-provoking moments.  I also hope you take your curiosity about thunderbolt meaning further by doing your own research. I’ve got a few links to other related articles that might keep your symbolic search energized.

As always, thanks for reading!

Thunderbolt blessings to you,


Symbolic Meaning of Lightning

Dreaming Meaning of Storms and Lightning

Symbolic Meaning of the Thunderbird


Elephant Trunk Up – Is That Good Luck?

elephant trunk up
What’s Up With Elephant Trunk Up?

Elephant Trunk Up – Is That A Thumbs Up for Good Luck?

A few weeks ago, I helped my dad move into his new home. First task: Tackle the kitchen. It became quickly apparent that dad had a lot of extra, unneeded stuff.  I mean three can openers and four corkscrews? C'mon dad!

So dad, mom, my niece and I started helping dad cull out the superfluous, and keep the essentials. The result of all this gleaning was my mom and niece inheriting a lot of stuff.  I got the super cool hand can opener I coveted! Lol.

Now understand. My needs are simple. I live in a tiny home - 300 sq ft. Talk about having to cull out the flotsam and jetsam!! I did a lot of eliminating to get the bare necessities in my small space!

But I digress. The reason I'm bringing this up has to do with elephant, trunk up. To explain, while sorting through dad's stuff, pops found two elephants. He asked me if I wanted them. I said, I've got precious little room for anything - much less knick-knacks.   Moreover, elephants don't quite fit in with my decor.  Let's face it, an elephant trunk up doesn't quite mix with skulls and freaky looking gargoyles.  Lol!

Nevertheless, as dad was holding those two elephants, I recalled those pachyderms  on display in my childhood home.  Having been in the family for so long, it was hard to say 'no' to dad.

So I accepted dad's elephant offering, wondering where the heck I'm going to put them.  They're quite lovely, actually.  Here's a pic of these two elephants:

elephant trunk up good luck

It's  the only free space in my tiny home I could find.  I kept that space clear, because as you can see in the background, my a/c and heat unit is there.  Let's just say these elephants have some pretty frosty bums when the a/c kicks on. :o

So, with elephants in place, I started to wonder about which direction they should face.  It matters, you know.  I remember as a kid, mom told me they should face east.  So that's how I situated them.

But then I got curious. Why face east?  And is that really the elephant good luck law? Or is it just an old wives tale with nothing to back it up (no offence mom).  So I started doing some research.

Elephant trunk up = good luck, apparently.  Elephant with trunk down = not necessarily bad luck, just a different vibe, an introspective energy.

But what about the direction? The preponderance of data I collected was adamant that elephants sporting uplifted trunks should face the front door.  This, according sources such as Feng Shui expert, Lillian Too, and superstition connoisseur, David Pickering...front-door-facing is the rule concerning an elephant trunk up scenario.

Why?  Apparently it has to do with welcoming good chi, or positive energy into the home.  Door facing elephant ornaments are like a big "Howdy! C'mon in!" when it comes to invoking good luck, wealth, a happy family and healthy relationships.

Elephant Trunk Up, Facing East - Is That A Thumbs Up for Good Luck?

elephant trunk up meaning

Interestingly, elephants with their trunks up facing east is also a good idea. According to Feng Shui, east is an arousing energy. East positions tend to entice good luck, and facilitates the flood gates of prosperity.  Same with elephants facing the door - it opens the door to positive mojo.

You know...I'm not the most superstitious person...but if I have an invitation (real or imagined) to allow good juju in my life - you can bet I'm going to take advantage of it.

So I compromised. My two elephants - trunk up - are facing northeast. -North because that's where my front door is, and east because that's a positive position too.  Here are some other things I learned during my elephant placement research:

Elephant Trunk Up And The Real Symbolic Scuttlebutt:

No bums facing the door! Supposedly, this blocks good luck and is extraordinarily harmful to positive chi (energy).

Elephants with trunks up are symbolic of fierce protection to the owner of the pachyderm.

Elephants with trunks down have a bad rap for rotten luck. But this isn't true according my resources.  A downward trunk has an internalizing energy. It's about introspection, and internal growth. Quite literally, internal growth as in producing a baby. Feng Shui recommends a pair of trunk down elephant in the west quadrant of the bedroom if you want to conceive a child with your partner.

White elephants are supposedly the Grand Poobah of good luck.  Their beauty and rarity is considered the ultimate conjurer of good fortune.

Two elephant trunk up meaning: Well, my instinct on the meaning of this one is age old adage, "If one is good, more is better". Lol.  Seriously, double (two) elephants are good omens for partnerships - particularly  for married couples and/or partners living in the same home.

Three elephants together meaning: Three elephants have a 'triple luck' effect.  The number three is hugely lucky.  You ever heard of the idea that if you do something good, karma or the universe will deliver good back to you three times over?  Three elephants kinda emphasize that idea.  They encourage, and intensify what the elephant stands for: Protection, prosperity, luck, and successful relationships (especially with family).

Well, trust me, I haven't covered all the nuances and meanings of the elephant trunk up phenomenon.  But I covered the highlights.  I hope you found this article helpful, or at least entertaining. ;)

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Bright pachyderm prosperity to you,


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Chinese New Year 2014: The Meaningful Year of the Horse


Here we are again on the precipice of the Chinese New Year.  This year, 2014, is the year of the Horse.

The Chinese New Year is activated upon the second new moon after the Chinese winter solstice.  In this case, that happens tomorrow, 01/31/2014.

Not only is this the year of the Horse, this is the year of the Wooden Horse.

To explain, there are 12 animals that govern a particular year (they cycle ’round every 12 years).  And each Chinese zodiac animal corresponds to an element.  Chinese elements (which are a wee bit different than Western astrological elements) are:  Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

It’s noteworthy that the Chinese New Year of the Wooden Horse will have a different quality than…let’s say a Metal Horse, or a Fire Horse.  Just as each Chinese zodiac animal flavors a year with its own unique characteristics – so too does the overarching element offer distinct features within a given year.

So what do we have in store for us on this Chinese New Year of 2014?  What can we expect from that magical Wooden Horse?

Well, it’s nowhere near the realm of Chinese philosophy, but I can’t help but think of the Trojan Horse when I think of what 2014 has in store for us.

Actually, the parallels aren’t that far-fetched.  This year will offer us numerous surprises.

Don’t panic!  These aren’t the kind of surprises that entail Greek warriors jumping out of a wooden horse on the attack.  Nope.  These are going to be serendipitous pleasures – unexpected synchronicities – pleasant coincidences that make us go “OH!”, and “Yeah!”

Why?  Because the Horse is a grounding energy.  Horses are symbolic of stability, structure, and plotting a path in order to reach a destination, or accomplish a task.

This is juxtaposed the Horse’s need to be wild, free and ever-roaming Nature’s glorious terrain.

These two aspects:  Wildness vs. Stability collide to create some pretty awesome “wow-factors” in the year of 2014.

The Horse (no matter what its element), is a teacher.  The Horse guides and shows us the way.  They have amazing instinct, a remarkable sense of direction, and an uncanny ability to detect trouble far better than most humans.

These regal beasts have a lot to teach humans.  You  horse-people out there know exactly what I mean.  Many a tale has been told about a horse saving a life, knowing the way when a human is clueless, or sniffing out trouble way before a ‘two-legged’ would have an inkling of foul play.

Consequently, the Chinese Year of the Horse has a quality of full-on alertness.  This year will find many of us on-point, switched- on, and in-tune on a level we’ve never experienced before.  Because this year is enriched with the equine vibe, many of us will inherit the Horse’s ability to detect trouble and get savvy about how we react to our environment.

Hand-in-hand with that alert quality, comes an element of protection.  We’re going to find ourselves divinely guided, and ultimately protected in 2014.  This is super-auspicious.  This means that when we were tentative to take risks in previous years, this year we’re going to feel the gumption of the Horse.

In other words, this year’s Horse is going to kick us into action.  What’s even better, is that Horse energy is going to stick around with us to make sure we don’t fall flat on our faces.

Horse-energy may give us a swift kick in the pants for motivation, but they won’t kick us to the curb, alone and defenseless.  No way.   Horses hang out with their human counterparts to make sure the path is clear for exploration and achievement.

To underscore that point,  we’re going to have the Horse’s guidance and protection at our backs to buffer any ill-influence we might incur from our choices.  In other words, this is a great year to take a risk.  Have you been thinking about playing the stock market?  Embarking on a new career?  Setting out on a new adventure?  Thinking of exotic travel?  Do it!  This is a fabulous time to do so – while under the watchful, supportive eye of the Horse.

The Chinese sign of the Horse is also extremely amicable – meaning, this sign represents the spirit of friendliness.  Therefore, this year will likely see you making new friends, forging new business partners, and broadening your social circle.

The Horse also has an innate willingness to help those in need.  This kind of charitable energy will underscore 2014.  The world could certainly use a little kindness, and the Horse is just the sign to bring that to the forefront.

As a Wooden Horse, you can expect growth and passion.  The Horse is a pretty passionate sign to begin with – it’s that wild streak they all have within them.  But wood also expresses compassion in the form of combustion.

Consider: What do you start your campfires with?  Yep, wood.  The freedom-loving personality of the Horse combined with the flaming potential of wood makes for a transformative year.

Here’s the Chinese New Year of the Wooden Horse in a nutshell:

  • Expect some unexpected (but wonderful) surprises.
  • Acknowledge guidance and protection.
  • Anticipate new connections in the form of partnerships and relationships.
  • Observe the teachers around you, and embrace new knowledge that is bound to come your way this year.
  • Get ready to get ignited. The Wooden Horse is primed and kindled to set you afire with passion.

Now having said all that, I am obliged to tell you this:  No matter how powerful astrology (in any culture) is, the ultimate factor of your path and destiny is YOU!  Please don’t let the stars and planets govern you.  Simply know that you are the ruler of your fate.  Yes…the constellations and the whirly-twirly of our cosmos are certainly influential…but the final factor is you.

I hope this post on the Chinese New Year 2014 and the meanings of the Wooden Horse will help you navigate through the year with ease and joy.

If you liked these observations, don’t miss my page on Chinese Zodiac Signs and Their Influence on the Chinese New Year.  You might also like my symbolic meaning of the Horse page here.


Other pages of interest:

Feng Shui Tips Using the Numerology of Your Street Address

Feng Shui Tips Using Numerology (image by Avia)

Did you know you can align the energy of your home using Feng Shui and the numerology of your street address?  No joke.  These Feng Shui tips really help (I’ve gotten great feedback!).  I know this is a long post, but you don’t have to read all of it.  Simply crunch the numbers to get your street address down to one digit, and look up the Feng Shui according to your home number.

Feng Shui is an ancient Asian practice in which strategic placement of certain auspicious objects in your environment can release positive energy (also known as “chi“).

Numerology is the practice of interpreting the deeper energy of a number and utilizing that vibe for optimal understanding and alignment.

By combining the energy of your home address with Feng Shui, you can encourage the flow of beneficial energy in your home.  So let’s get started!

How to get your single digit home-number:

First, you’ll need to determine the prime root number of your home address.  We do this in numerology by a process called reduction.  Here’s how to do it:  Take your street address, and add all the numbers together.  For example, if you live at 2542, add them up like so: 2+5+4+2=13.  If you come up with a double digit such as in this example, add the two numbers together like so: 1+3=4.  In this case, your prime number is four.  Of course, if your address is a single digit, you can skip this step altogether. If you come up with a 10 in your calculations, your prime number will be one.

Now that you have your prime address number, it’s time to open your home up to luck, love and good mojo!

Simply refer to the guide below according to your prime address number to stimulate your chi!

Like the song says, one can be the loneliest number.  One-energy can express isolation.  It’s the first in the procession of numbers, and it can represent a “lone wolf” feeling.  This is great if you’re a loner, but if you want to attract lots of friends, family and good juju in your home, you’ll need to jazz up the south quadrant of your home.  In Feng Shui, south represents fire, and lightning.  Activating the southern area of your home will connect the initiatory (new beginnings) flavor of number one.

  • Activate the south wall of your home by painting it with a warm, fiery color like amber, gold or blood-red. Number one is an initiator, and this color in this quadrant will enhance a quality of igniting energy, making your environment energized and welcoming.
  • Since one is a solitary number, incorporate pairs in your home.  For example pairs of fish, swans, fu dogs, geese or double lanterns are all lucky symbols in Feng Shui.  Consider hanging these items (in pairs) in the southern area of your home.  Doing so will enhance a sense of balance, partnership and equanimity.
  • The number one is a yang energy (male, aggressive, assertive), so it’s a good idea to temper that, especially if you sense a bit of assertive tension in your home.  Incorporate yin energy (female, passive, reserved) in the southern area of your home.  Some ideas for yin items include moon motifs, silver accents, flowers, or a water feature.

The number two encourages balance and partnership, which is great if you share your home with a committed partner.  Two is also a wonderful number for families.  The drawback with number two energy can be a sense of indecision, duality and doubt (inability to make your mind up about choices/decisions).  We’ll activate the northwest area of your home to neutralize a bit of that doubt. The northwest represents ‘big metal’ and activates creativity as well as paternal energy in the Feng Shui practice.

  • Consider hanging a wind chime made of metal in the northwest area of your home.  The number two is a yin (feminine) energy, and the metal or silver marries well with this chi.  The chime accentuates harmony and balance, while still activating your senses with its musical tones.  These tones will encourage clarity and mental stimulation.
  • Place a vase in the northwest section of your home.  This structure will “capture” feelings of doubt or frustration.
  • Think about painting your northwest wall a light color, like pastel blue, ecru, or ‘barely there’ pink.  These soothing colors will stimulate a sense of security and comfort, making it easier for you to know what you want, and how to get it.

Three is a number that rules creation and creativity.  It’s an outstanding number for artists with studios in their home.  However, the number three can produce too much creativity, which may lead to a sense of chaos under your roof.  Too much activity, too many ideas…these can lead to a sense of being overwhelmed, and not knowing which project/direction to pick.  We’ll look to the southeast sector of your home to neutralize that potential crazy vibe.  Southwest represents the ‘big earth’ in Feng Shui, and breeds a sense of grounding as well as receptivity.

  • Soften up some jagged nerves by placing a vase of pink flowers (peonies are especially auspicious in Feng Shui symbolism) on a delicate end table in the southwest corner of your home.
  • Another way to neutralize an over-active three vibration is to place a water plant in the southwest.  Get a lucky bamboo plant, place it in an elegant, glass vase or bowl.  Water is a purifying agent, and will cleanse your home’s aura.  The green of the plant is also a great way to attract luck and wealth! Be sure to change the water when needed, so it’s always clear and clean.
  • Take that calming water element a step further and consider getting a goldfish!  A goldfish will enhance creativity in the home, while the water will encourage emotional well-being.  The most ideal set-up would be a small aquarium with a bubble feature (an oxygenating device).  The bubbles will make your goldfish happy (you can have more than one if you like), and will activate the receptive flavors inherent in the southwest section of Feng Shui practice.  Be sure not too overfeed your goldfish. Also, change the water as needed, keeping it clean and clear of algae.

The number four is an energetic expression of community, stability and is THE number for homesteads.  It’s a rooted energy, and very structured.  Consider the four points of a traditional home foundation (most homes are square).  It’s a optimal number for building a solid home, and a solid relationship/family/environment.  The drawback is, this sense of stability can become too overbearing, and you may get a sense of rigidity under your roof.  You may also get a feeling of being ‘closed in’ if number four is too overbearing.  We’ll look to the east to balance that potential cloistering.  The east governs thunder and the ‘big wood’ in Feng Shui.  Wood will encourage stability, while thunder will insure things are not overly structured by shaking things up a little.

  • There’s no better symbol than the dragon to introduce spontaneity and vibrant chi in your home.  Display an image of a dragon, or place an ornate dragon figurine in the east of your home. Dragon energy is sure to get you out of a rut!
  • Consider shopping for a jade ornament or figurine (jade dragons, fu dogs, or turtles are perfect!) and placing it in an east corner of your home.  Jade is incredibly lucky, and wards off negative energy.
  • The jade plant (a succulent which loves bright light – perfect for an east window) is synonymous with jade stone.  This plant will oxygenate the air, which will stimulate your sense of well being, and thwart any kind of stuffiness looming in your home.  If jade plants aren’t your thing, consider orchids, or a chrysanthemum plant.  These are all very auspicious in Feng Shui.  If you don’t have a green thumb, an artificial plant will do.  Either way, pick a plant with bright green leaves, a perky demeanor. If you opt for a live jade plant, follow nursery instructions to keep it happy in your home.

The number five can be a tricky energy.  Five is always seeking to balance itself.  This number is also a very spiritual number because it represents the completion of the elements, which are: Fire, earth, air and water.  The fifth element is ether (spirit)- an ephemeral, all-pervasive essence which imbues all things.  In the home, an over-active five energy has a potential to trigger a sense of instability or imbalance.  It may also render a flighty or ‘spacey’ feel to your home – a sense of not feeling ‘all together’, but rather drifting out into space.  The west sector of your home represents focus, closure and security. West governs the ‘small metal’ in Feng Shui, and prompts joy, stability and completion.

  • If you’re in a mental fog, or feeling discombobulated, consider placing a metal gong in the western section of your home.  The roundness of the gong encourages a sense of cohesion (circles are symbolic of unity).  Give that gong a whack when the urge comes to you.  The tone of the gong will chase away any fuzziness in your home’s energy.
  • Five-homes are prime headquarters for spiritually minded people.  Remember, five is the number of ether (or spirit).  You can enhance a sense of spiritual connection by placing unique crystal elements in the west.  A crystal ball, crystal vase, candle holders…these are all perfect features.  Ideally, place these crystal accents in a window, and watch the setting sun make prismatic patterns on your walls.  This will activate the rainbow within you!
  • Find a sun-and-moon motif and hang it on your westwall.  The union between these two energies will offer balance and stability, while still encouraging a celestial connection for you in your home.  The sun is a yang (male) energy and moon is yin (female) – these are ancient archetypes for perfect harmony.

The number six is the perfect number for sensual evenings by your hearth fire, and romantic interludes.  It’s because the six is the number of love, sensuality and romance.  It’s also a number for nurturing (great for raising families in the home) and physicality.  There’s a flip-side to six if it’s over-active in your home’s energy.  Too much six vibration can lead to obsessive-compulsive tendencies.  If not in balance, the number six can lead to jealousy or potentially abusive behavior.  It’s the passion backing number six that causes a backfire if the vibration in your home is out of whack.  Incorporating Feng Shui practices in the southeast area of your home will assist in keeping that six energy loving and bright.  The southeast region in Feng Shui represents the ‘small wood’, and governs the element of wind.  This Feng Shui sector is also the region of gentleness and clear communication.  Activating these elements will keep your six-house in perfect order.

  • Red is an energizing and passionate color.  Temper that powerful essence by incorporating soft, comforting fabrics in the southeast area of your home.  Lush, velvety pillows or rich window treatments will activate that sexy-six vibration while the soft tactile fabrics gives a mellowing effect.
  • Crystals, like quartz and amethyst are perfect accents for your six-aligned home.  Make a Zen rock garden with a bunch of your favorite crystals and place it in the east corner of your home.  Crystals (especially amethyst) will boost positive chi in your home, while at the same time, eradicate any negative energy looming.
  • Hang a light from the ceiling to unify heavenly and earthly energies for harmony.  Pick out a pretty crystal chandelier.  Or, get a candle holder that hangs from your ceiling for the same energetic effect.

Seven is the number of scholarly pursuit, higher education and serious study.  If you have a seven house, it’s a great place to learn new things, and explore new topics.  Seven also has an introspective quality; its vibration prompts us to go within, reflect, ponder and meditate.  Clearly, these attributes of number seven are valuable, but if the energies in your home are not in balance, seven can bring about a hermit mentality within the home.  If there’s a tendency for you to want to withdraw to an unhealthy extent, or you’re spending too much time holed up in your house – it’s time for a little Feng Shui to put the balance right.  The northeast should be activated in your home to counteract any unhealthy, or overly cerebral tendencies.  In Feng Shui, the northeast rules the element of the ‘small earth‘ which will put a grounder on overactive intellectual pursuits.  The northeast is also a representative of mountains, which will enhance studious behavior too.  Mountains are grounding, while promoting mental/spiritual ascension at the same time. It’s all about balance, so incorporate these Feng Shui elements to get the energy in your seven-home just right.

  • If you’re feeling too much “in your head” consider placing a stone/marble statue in your northeast corner.  The stone will effectively ground you.  Some suggestions for statues to bring you back to earth include: The horse, fu dog, bear, elephant, or a tiger.
  • Warm metals like bronze and copper are nice energetic conductors for mental energy.  They enhance alacrity, while disbursing it too, so your mind doesn’t have a tendency to get all clogged up.  Think about stringing Chinese amulet-coins (they have a square hole in the middle and are marked with Chinese writing characters) on a red ribbon and hanging it on your northeast wall.
  • If you have moments when you feel withdrawn and overly introverted, grab some bright vermilion candles and light them in the northeastern section of your home.  This will energetically illuminate you, and bring you out of yourself.

Eight is a very cyclical energy.  It represents change, seasons, time, and the realm of the infinite. Eight is a great number for a home because it maintains the emotional flow of its resident’s.  Eight speaks to us of balance, and consistency.  As with the rest of our Feng Shui numbers, these awesome qualities can backfire if the energy of your home is not harmonious.  Some negative results of unbalanced eight energy include stagnation, anxiety and lack of motivation.  Off kilter eight energy may also incite sudden, unpleasant changes in your home, causing arguments and unrest.  Feng Shui can help!  Avoid these unwanted scenarios by sprucing up your west wall with some Feng Shui power symbols.  The west rules the ‘small metal’ which serves as a conduit, keeping chi flowing on a steady current.

  • Adorn your west wall with an elegant arrangement of Chinese fans.  Fans are very in auspicious in Feng Shui, and are believed to deflect negative energy.  Fans will also keep the chi flowing smoothly in your home.
  • Get creative an consider painting the image of a lotus on your west wall.  Or, find a pretty print or painting of a lotus and mount that instead.  The lotus is a symbol of enlightenment, progress, purity and perfection.  This peaceful blossom will insure to keep anxiety at bay!
  • The moon is a universal symbol of cycles and phases in the universe.  Because the number eight is also a cyclical vibration, consider placing a moon motif in the west segment of your home.  The moon is also associated with metal in Feng Shui (silver).  Here we have similar energy between the moon and number eight which deals with cycles, while we have a metal conductor to keep the energy electric and flowing smoothly.

Nine is a number of happy returns and completion.  It’s symbolic of attainment, wealth, abundance and full potential.  For a home, nine is a supremely optimal number because it proposes that you have achieved an ideal residence with positive energy for you and your residents.  Gone awry, nine energy can produce negative qualities like unhealthy egotism (cockiness), greed, lust, mistrust and envy.  Not good.  To keep things in perfect prime, activate the north region of your home.  North governs the element of water in Feng Shui.  North also rules the winter, so it has a cool energy, just the thing counteract a potential powder keg in the home.

  • Consider adopting a live turtle and setting upan aquarium along your north wall.  Turtles are symbolically synonymous with nine energy.  They stand for accomplishment as well as long life.  Incorporate an aeration element (bubbles) in the aquarium to get that vital chi moving.  The water in the aquarium will serve as a purifying agent and marries nicely with the northern energy.  Be sure to care for your turtle, and keep the aquarium clean and clear.  If turtles aren’t your thing, you can get a statuette/figurine or a picture of a turtle will do nicely too.
  • Water is an essential element for nine-homes in the north.  Consider a water feature, like a fountain.  These accentuate the beauty of the home, while assuring continual energetic . If this isn’t an option for you, perhaps you could play a CD with water sounds (waterfalls, the ocean, babbling brooks, etc) in the north region of your home.  You could even paint a water scene (or buy a painting) on your north wall.
  • Adorn the north area of your home with a large, ornate vase.  Vases ‘contain’ good luck, and are symbolic of harmony, wealth and peace.   Choose a vase with lucky symbols on it.  Some suggestions are: Peacock, phoenix, fish, seashells, or floral prints.  Take the power of the vase a step further and place long stemmed flowers in it.  Choose white or red flowers for optimal energy.

As you can see, it doesn’t take a home renovation to adjust the energy of your domain.  Just a few simple additions will do the trick to make the right shift.

I trust these Feng Shui tips will offer you optimal levels of love, luck prosperity and contentment in your home.

Check out these related links on

Yin Yang Symbol Meanings

Chinese Symbols and Meanings

Chinese Symbols for Longevity

Chinese Flower Meanings

Chinese Dragon Meanings

Number Meanings

Reborn Through Art and Ink (a personal essay)

The Journey of a Tattoo

The tattoo gun murmurs its Morse code on my Manubrium, the hard bones perched just above soft curves of cleavage.  From the first tip of costal cartilage, down to the fourth Line of Union on my sternum, I feel the tattoo engraved upon my chest and the fusion is finally complete.

When I discovered the tattoo design, I knew it would be mine.  I knew where it would float above my bones and swim inside my skin.  I wondered, only briefly, about the implications of tattooing a corporate logo on my outrageously anti-establishment design.  But the Nippon Gaikku logo was born in the 1800s, and was crafted with integrity, a brand of honor that now chokes on the smog of modern-day mechanization.

The tattoo design on my chest is the progenitor of the Yamaha logo, the very first to establish its presence for proud craftsmanship of elegant musical instruments.  The tattoo-logo is a Hoo (pronounced haw-oh). It’s a Chinese Phoenix with a tuning fork clamped solidly in her beak.  The Hoo and I may have been married through ink and blood only two years ago, but our journey began many years prior to her debut on my chest.

History between this Yamaha Phoenix and I started in elementary school.  Crippled by grade-school awkwardness, I recall gimping into a tiny music room.  My ungainliness swelled at the site of Mrs. Roan.  She was my 3rd grade music teacher and the object of my youthful and bungling adoration.  Her dark beauty, her zeal, her penchant for tailored white suits and black paten leather shoes with killer heels and pointy tips – so exotic, and all so uncharacteristic of the school-marm stereotype.   I remember the silk of her pant suit elegantly shifting as she walked around the stuffy music room, rounding all her students up in a circle.  She passed out a series of musical instruments to each of us, the first of which was a Yamaha French Horn, an instrument Mrs. Roan professed being quite adept at playing.

The horn was passed from one pair of grubby hands to another round the circle.  Each child attempted, unsuccessfully, to birth sound from the bowels of the nickel-plated beast.

Lastly, the bright, silvery horn was passed to me.  Its metallic skin was bruised from peanut butter and jelly smears left by chubby kid fingers, still unwashed from consuming cafeteria lunches.  I cradled the horn lovingly and I remember whispering to it: “I know you’re magic. You’ll play for me.”

My tiny lips pressed against the cold metal mouthpiece.  With the corners of my mouth downturned, brows furrowed, mind honed on the bull’s-eye of sound, I willed my lips to putter quickly through marble-like mouthpiece.   My efforts were rewarded by a crystalline bellow, a clear herald of the horn’s brilliance, a solid ‘middle c’ note emanated from the horn.  Mrs. Roan stood akimbo in response, her cinnamon eyes glowing in approval at my victory; I won her favor, a cold rose plucked in a moment of sun-kissed glory.  I coaxed sound from this mass of twisted tubing and unlikely metal.  Magic was mine.

Standing in the center of that circle, horn in trembling hands, my peers beamed at me with tooth-missing grins.  In that moment I recall feeling gift-wrapped in attunement;  a Yamaha French horn trumpeted the surprise arrival of homeostasis, and magic.

Years passed and I continued to cut my embouchure on dented King’s and tinny Conn’s – all rented French horns of  dubious quality.  But I persistently played these metal beasts – chromatic scales groaning through the walls of school practice rooms and childhood hallways.

The Summer transitioning between junior and senior high school was one of prolonged anxiety;  try-outs for high school concert band were held the first of August, and I was struggling to spin melodic gold from a deflated, barren Elkhart horn.

A fluke of nature intervened. A serious eye infection threatened to take my vision that July, which would make my right eye a vacuous hole of non-sight.  Laying in the hospital, agony scraping at my optic nerves, my dad fidgeted by my bedside.  My awareness flickered between pain and pain-killers, but I remember my dad’s words uttered from the anxiety of his daughter facing a life of half-blindness.  “Make it through this,” he said, “and I’ll buy you the best damn French horn you’ll ever lay hands on.”

I made it out of the procedures with eyesight intact, and dad made good on his promise.  He bought me a Yamaha 668, the elite of the fleet for its day.  A professional horn with seamless nickel streaming like smooth ripples of water in my hands.   It resonated in my arms.  Within this bright horn, there was music tingling, aching, itching to be released.  I was reborn after playing the new horn for the first time.  The sound I could produce was tangible lusciousness, like being robed in musical satin. That horn took me to 1st chair all through high school, prestige in college years, and even serving as a free-lance musician for both symphonic bands and chamber orchestras.

Now, decades later, sitting in a battered dentists chair doubling as a recliner for tattoo initiates, I think on these memories mixed with melodic overtones.  As my friend and tattoo artist coaxes life from ink, etching the Yamaha Chinese Phoenix on my breastbone, I reflect on the appropriateness of the symbolism.  Reborn indeed.

Was it happenstance that my eyesight was saved?  I don’t think so.  Rather, I believe it was the restorative power of my heartfelt devotion for creating good music, and my love of the French horn rescued me from  living a half-blind life (physically and metaphorically).

Thankfully, it’s not the first time artistic expression has lifted me out of a pile of life’s potentially suffocating ashes.  Good music, played rightly, is nothing short of pure enlightenment and I’m lucky (despite my uber-awkward youth)  I found illumination that day long ago while rendering clear tones from that sticky silver horn in the third grade.

The tattoo gun finally ceases hammering at my breast plate, and I walk to the mirror to behold the new scenery on my skin.    Looking in the mirror, I could swear the phoenix winks back at me – a knowing wink, a shared acknowledgement of restored vision, a confirmation how the drive for creative expression can give way to ascension, leading a willing heart out of the dark.

Avia V.