The Entrance: The Threshold of Luck
This lesson is the first step to understanding how interiors affect us. It will examine how different entries can siphon away or stifle luck and opportunity.
The size of the entrance door is also important. The door size should be in balance with the house size. A relatively narrow or short door is similar to a small mouth or constricted windpipe and will not “inhale” enough good ch’i to circulate, thus diminishing occupants’ opportunities for good health, wealth, and good fortune.
How to Invite in Good Fortune
When I look at a home or business, I am stepping into my client’s shoes, seeing how their surroundings are affecting them. I am looking at how structure influences the circulation of ch’i within a home. Ch’i flow, ideally, should be smooth: not too fast and not too slow.
Doors and windows are valves within a home that pump ch’i throughout the space. In fact the entry door is known as the “opening” or “mouth” of ch’i.
Not surprisingly, one of the first areas I consider is the entrance. The entrance is our first impression and experience of our home or workplace. Both the entrance door and the entry foyer should be gracious and to scale to allow ch’i to enter in a smooth, balanced flow.
Learning to Notice the Obvious
Sometimes it’s amazing to me how the patterns of our life can mimic the layout of our homes. One client was a New York investment banker who had lost his job and remained unemployed after more than three years of interviews and fruitless job searches. Out of desperation, his wife called me and sent me drawings and photographs of their two-bedroom apartment.
The most alarming feature in the photos, from a feng shui perspective, was their entrance area. They entered to a dark foyer with a wall of bookshelves piled from floor to ceiling with heavy volumes only five or six feet from the door. While creating a scholarly feeling, the space seemed oppressive: as though the occupants were facing a wall or an obstacle in their lives. This too-close wall facing the entrance door reflected the wall of frustration experienced by the occupants in their lives. (The entrance also happened to be the “career” area of the apartment.)
They resolved the career-constricting entrance by installing a large framed mirror opposite the entrance and within months, the husband had a breakthrough in his formerly dead-end job search and was happily employed. The mirror served to symbolically open up the career areas as well as to visually widen a narrow entry and therefore open up the home — and the occupants — to good fortune.
Don’t Cramp Your Ch’i
The ideal entrance to a home should be spacious and well lit, welcoming you into the home. As the opening of ch’i, the entry should usher you in and encourage your ch’i to rise and flow smoothly. The entrance door should open up into the widest area of the foyer allowing you the most spacious view of your home. If your door opens to the narrowest area, it will cramp your ch’i and stifle your luck, causing physical stress and mental anxiety.
To “cure” this luck-cramping door, either change the hinges so the door opens up to the widest area or hang a mirror on the adjacent wall to reflect the wider area of the foyer.
Narrow, constrained, or dark entrances oppress our ch’i and can choke our luck, causing life to be a struggle. If, for example, you enter into a long, narrow hall, you may suffer from health problems, such as respiratory difficulties or difficult births. A dark, narrow entry can depress you, causing dark thoughts, moroseness, or melancholy. We can cure the dark entry with a bright ceiling light, and a mirror on the wall can counteract a narrow entry.
You can cure a proportionately small entrance door by hanging a mirror above or on both sides of the door to give the effect of a taller and wider entrance.
Stairs that descend directly toward the entrance door are also avoided. A Western architect working on a residential development project in Hong Kong found that the developers nixed his design for a maisonette where the stairs aimed toward the entrance. The developer explained that their home-buyers would anticipate that money would roll down the stairs and out the front door. After the architect reworked the direction of the staircase, his design became highly marketable.
How to Hold On to Opportunity
When Chinese people living in the West are house shopping, they often avoid center-hall colonial-style houses. If the front door directly faces the back door, they believe that when ch’i enters, it flows too quickly and exits without properly circulating throughout the home. As a result, occupants may have money and opportunities come their way, but they will not be able to hold on to and take advantage of them: they will lose both the money and the opportunities.
For example, a young newly married couple moved into a charming 200-year-old farmhouse and found that both his and her businesses foundered. While they both poured a great deal of time and energy into their enterprises, they were not reaping profits. One feng shui reason was the classic front door-backdoor alignment of this center-hall home: money, business, and opportunity entered, but the couple could not grasp them.
There are numerous ways to cure the front door-backdoor problem. A crystal, a mobile, a wind chime, or a chandelier might be hung in the line between the entrance and the backdoor. Or in a large foyer, a plant, fountain, or flower arrangement can be helpful in circulating energy and opportunity with a home.
The stairs on the left are in a bad position — they allow the ch’i to roll right out the door. The stairs in the middle have the same problem, but they have a wind chime placed in the entrance to redirect the ch’i. The stairs on the right allow for good flow of ch’i.
Traditionally, the entrance to a Chinese building often was a doorless opening where visitors stepped over a threshold that rose several inches off the ground. The superstitious reason behind this high stoop was that it would trip up devils. In fact it kept water out during the rainy season and dirt out during dry spells. Once inside, visitors faced an ornate “spirit screen” that was supposed to stop devils and ghosts in their tracks. In fact, the screen shielded the interior from winds.
If your house has a stairway that aims at the front door, hang a crystal or a wind chime between the lowest step and the front door to hold in wealth and recirculate ch’i.
If you don’t enter into a foyer, but directly into a living room, and the view is balanced, this will have a relaxing effect. Many of us don’t use our front doors to enter our homes; we enter through a garage door, or a side door. The rules of good entrances still apply. This entrance still should be well lit, reasonably spacious, and with a balanced view. Cures are discussed on pages 21-25 of Interior Design with Feng Shui.
Making a Good Entrance
We have seen a number of ways to make a good entrance out of a bad one. Another important consideration when analyzing the entry to your home is whether it is harmonious or unbalanced. If you enter and have a partial view, this potentially can unhinge your life. For instance, if on entering, one of your eyes can see into the distance and the other eye is arrested by a wall, this can be either physically or emotionally unbalancing. If the obstructive wall is on the right side, when you enter, you may feel emotionally unbalanced and constantly enter into quarrels with loved ones.
According to Master Lin Yun, these imbalances can lead to divorce within three years if not cured. He explains that if spouses return home every day to this emotionally unbalancing entrance, they will continually bicker until the bickering turns into full-scale marital war.
If the obstructive wall is on the left side when you enter, you will be more prone to violence. The cure for either obstructive wall is to hang a mirror, picture, or other object that positively attracts your attention to balance both your entrance view as well as your ch’i. (For more information and understanding, see Feng Shui Design, pages 152-155.)
Assignment: The Entrance: The Threshold of Luck
Spend some time looking at the entrance to your own home.
- Is your entry balanced?
- Is it spacious enough or do you need to hang a picture or mirror to create a sense of depth?
- Does the ch’i flow too quickly or too slowly?
- What cures would/will you apply to the entrance based on what you’ve learned so far?
- Think about entrances of other homes that make you feel welcome and relaxed. What elements of those entrances create that effect?
If you’d like to spend more time on this assignment and broaden your understanding of the power of entrances, look through some books you’ve got at home with pictures of home entrances. Note your reaction to each and what changes you would make, if any, to those entrances. What are some elements that create consistently good responses in you?