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Feng Shui: Bagua, Qi, and the 5 Basic Elements

Feng Shui: Bagua, Qi, and the 5 Basic Elements

Posted by Zoe Ursick on 13th Aug 2018

There’s been a lot of buzz about feng shui over the past few years.

Well, maybe more like the past several thousand years.

The ancient Chinese philosophy has been around since well into the B.C.s, and seeks to create harmony between humans’ man-made environments and the positive and negative life forces all around us known as qi (pronounced “chee”). By following a few simple steps, you can start practicing feng shui in your own home – and maybe even improve your life along the way.

Defining Bagua

To begin practicing feng shui, you’ve first got to define the bagua of your space. Literally translated to mean “eight areas,” the bagua of your home is comprised of eight different facets of life, such as health and family, love and marriage, and spiritual growth. There are both traditional and Western methods for defining bagua, but we’ll be focusing on the traditional method here.

To define the bagua in your space, start by orienting yourself toward the front door, or the main entrance to a specific room. Use a compass to determine which direction the door is facing, and have a basic floor plan handy to write or draw on.

Using the floor plan and a handful of compass readings, define the eight geographical zones of your space: northwest, north, northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest, and west. Since we’re using the traditional bagua method, the areas of life that correspond to each zone are as follows:

  • Northwest: Helpful people and blessings
  • North: Career and path in life
  • Northeast: Spiritual growth
  • East: Health and family
  • Southeast: Wealth and abundance
  • South: Fame and reputation
  • Southwest: Love and marriage
  • West: Creativity and children

The Five Elements

Now that you’ve defined your bagua, it’s time to start nurturing that energy. In addition to the eight areas of life, each bagua area also corresponds to one of the five feng shui elements: fire, water, metal, earth, and wood. To improve in an area of life that you may feel is lacking, you’ll need to nurture its specific energetic needs with its corresponding element.


An expression of passion, high energy, and inner warmth, the fire element is represented by the color red and thrives in the southern bagua area.


The metal element encourages clarity and precision. Incorporate metal pieces in your western and northwestern bagua areas to promote blessings, creativity, and children.


To nurture your northern bagua area and encourage success in your career, incorporate the water element with fountains, mirrors, and shades of blue, black, and white.

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