One of our readers wrote to ask about the practice of Feng Shui and if it is compatible with Christianity.
Using the principles of the I Ching, a divinatory tool, it is used to orient buildings or determine which areas of the home are “positive” or “negative” depending on how the furniture is arranged, which direction the home is facing, etc. This “science” becomes very complicated with all kinds of factors coming into play, such as how many chairs should be in a room, where to hang a mirror, where the stove and sink should be placed in a kitchen, etc. For this reason, people often hire Feng Shui experts to guide them in how to make their home more harmonious and peaceful.
Clients are told to define the feng shui energy map of the house (called the Bagua) by using a compass in order to determine which areas of the house are connected to specific areas of life. For instance, the southeast area of the home is connected to the flow of money into the home (if only it were that easy). If a person needs to improve their health, specific furnishings such as plants and wood furniture should be added to the East area of the house.
A person is also directed to determine their “lucky directions” so they can adjust their bed, desk, or dining room seating in those directions.
Needless to say, none of these views are compatible with Christian teaching. Of course, all divination is condemned (Catechism No. 2116). Superstition is also denounced in the Catechism (No. 2111) because “it can affect the worship we offer the true God such as when we attribute an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary.” When we attribute some kind of magical power to the placement of a bed or chair to improve our luck, we’re engaging in the same kind of superstition we would be if we carried a rabbits foot in our pocket.
If we really want a peaceful home, have it blessed by a priest and keep blessed objects and pictures on display. More importantly, strive to always live within this home in the peace of Christ by staying close to Him in prayer and the frequent reception of the Sacraments.