Bagua Beauty: A Vibrational, Constitutional Feng Shui Facial
By Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, LAc, Dipl. Ac., MS, MM and Judith Wendell
In our last column, we offered for your consideration a facial utilizing the healing and balancing properties of sound as administered by tuning forks. This month, we will continue our exploration of tuning fork applications, combining them with color and essence and, using the bagua as our compass, helping us chart the facial terrain.
The Chinese term "feng shui" translates into English as "wind and water." All living things need the flow of air and water to survive. Together, the qualities of wind and water illustrate the movement and constant change inherent in the processes of nature; combined, they can be seen as analogous to breath. The metabolic action of breathing brings heavenly qi into the human body, and likewise grounds us in the realm of earth.
The concept of feng shui (or geomancy in the West) has existed, according to certain sources, since prehistoric times; the selection by ancient peoples of preferred sites for their dwellings that incorporate certain attributes, i.e., northern vs. southern exposure (depending on the climate), snug mountain retreats invulnerable to attack, or homes situated near a body of water, might be considered the original environmental science, an "organic" or intuitive form of the art.
Early humans lived in a respectful balance with nature, and observed and honored the cycles of the Five Elements as reflected in the perennial change of the seasons.
The Five Elements
Chinese manuscripts dating from 300 BC were recently discovered that delineate the seasons and the Five Elements in the form of an ancient calendar. Although we have not yet had the opportunity to see these documents, it is our understanding that they depict quite vividly how the seasons, elements and colors interact with nature to promote a healthy flow of qi.
In other words, feng shui, like Chinese medicine, is a system of relationships, in particular the relationship between humanity and its environment. It is a practical, and, perhaps more importantly, a flowing art. The Book of Changes, which was written some 5,000 years ago and is the basis of the bagua, emphasizes the importance of constant adaptation to both our internal and external climates. This message is particularly relevant for human beings, who now live in a world so markedly out of equilibrium, as demonstrated by wild climate fluctuations around the globe and an almost universal state of disaffection and unrest.
The entire cosmos is composed of a combination of the Five Elements, physical manifestations of the cycles of qi and change. It is our interaction with these elements and their associated cycles that helps us determine the status of our internal environment. Perhaps we cannot personally modify our genetic makeup or inherited jing, but we can attempt to live our lives in greater harmony by transcending our elemental patterns, and in so doing, embrace more of our cosmic universality.
Each of us can be seen to embody a basic constitutional elemental archetype, arrived at from a consideration of our birthday (nine star ki), physiognomy, the bagua and other components, determined by such diagnostic methods as Five-Element hara palpation, tongue and pulse diagnosis, etc. Identification of these elemental archetypes can provide us with greater personal understanding, and clarify how our temperaments/personalities are individual distillations of the constituents of the natural world.
Bagua Beauty Feng Shui Facial Five Elements: An Overview
dark blue, black
fluid, downward-moving, cool, gentle
still water (yin): intellect, clear judgement; moving water (yang): career, business and social life, money, success
Liver/ Gall Bladder
expansive, creative; moving both upward and downward
family, new beginnings (new projects); wood is either stubborn or inflexible, like bamboo, or easily influenced, like a floating weed; balanced: a mature tree
Heart, Small Intestine, Triple Heater, Pericardium
explosive, consuming, outward and upward moving, fast
reputation and recognition, excess: easily angered; deficient: internalized anger; balanced: experiences anger and expresses it in a clear tone; balanced fire is respected and highly regarded
trust, faithfulness, credibility
excess: sacrifice; deficient: selfishness; balanced: cares for self and others
Lung/ Large Intestine
contracting, cold, stagnant, heavy
excess: demonstrates self-righteousness; deficient: shy, withdrawn, ÒchokedÓ quality (in throat); balanced: speaks up for what is just, ability to complete things, benefactors in life, good at manifestation
The bagua is a map or template placed over a room, corporate office or plot of land. The placement of the bagua helps the feng shui practitioner determine exactly where in physical space various aspects of life such as health, career, relationship and reputation are located. Once the abundance or wealth sector has been determined, adjustments can be made to encourage healthy qi to enter the space to provide nourishment to this area.
According to Chinese philosophy, every life situation can be assigned to one of eight basic areas called guas. In the ancient manuscript mentioned above, the face and certain parts of the body were aligned with each of the guas. Therefore, this octagonal chart, the bagua, can be used not only as a map for spatial placement, but can be superimposed upon the face.
Instead of spatial feng shui, then, our focus will be on facial feng shui, and we will employ the bagua to determine in what manner the balance or imbalance of an individual life has been mirrored in the landscape of the face. We can then ascertain what is needed to bring greater harmony to the patient.
The southern position of the bagua is situated over the mid-forehead. It is called "Li," and is associated with the eyes, but also rules the qualities of recognition and reputation, and the element of fire.
Fire, as delineated in the table above, is explosive and all-consuming; its movement is upward and outward, as in a flame. Balanced fire qi manifests as respect and high regard for the individual.
Red can easily be identified as the color of fire, and likewise is associated both with the season of summer and the southern direction. According to Dinshah's book, Let There Be Light, the color red gives energy; increases circulation and metabolism; treats pale complexion; warms the body (deficient yang syndrome); and helps anemia, low blood pressure and deficient Liver blood presentations, which manifest as pallor, dry eyes, blurring of vision and night (and spiritual) blindness. Contraindications include situations of fever; infection; inflammation; high blood pressure; red complexion; and nervous energy.
Essential Oil: Clary Sage / Quality: Recognition
The name of the essential oil, clary sage, derives from the Latin "clarus," meaning "clear," because this herb was used to clear mucus from the eyes. In the medieval period it was referred to as "oculus Christi," meaning "the eye of Christ"; hence its association with the metaphysical insight of the third eye, in addition to the eyes as physical organs of sight. So, the quality of recognition associated with this particular gua refers to aspects of both outer and inner vision.
Amethyst stimulates the nervous system, supports the endocrine glands, ameliorates headache pain, and stabilizes depression. It is called the "stone of meditation," and is excellent for promoting calm and serenity.
Our theories and practices regarding sound have their origins in the research of the noted Greek philosopher/scientist Pythagoras, involving mathematics and harmony. It is also from Pythagoras and the ancient world that we have inherited the metaphysical concept of the "music of the spheres."
Somewhat later, in the 17th century, Johannes Kepler, a scientist and philosophical descendant of Pythagoras, discovered that contrary to the physical model of the solar system inherited from the Greeks and their predecessors, the planets actually revolved around the Sun in elliptical, rather than circular, orbits. Kepler's precise formulations and measurements of planetary motion have made it possible in this century for us to actually hear the music of the spheres. Swiss mathematician Hans Cousto has been able to build upon Kepler's theories and calculate specific pitches for each of the planets.
The tuning forks are tuned to C# (approximately), and represent the time it takes the earth to travel around the sun through the cycle of the seasons, approximately 365 days. The archetypal energy of this Earth fork is balancing, calming and meditative. According to Donna Carey, co-author of There's No Place Like Ohm, and co-creator of a sound healing system, "The ohm tone is the fundamental home tone. Light holds every color, and ohm holds every sound," i.e., all other pitches are overtones of ohm.
The first overtone of ohm is called an octave, the basic unit of Western music. The word "octave" is derived from the fact that an octave consists of eight tones. "The number eight has been used since ancient times. Sometimes called the lemniscate (when turned on its side), it refers to the holographic aspect of the cosmos in its expression of as above, so below. It is also related to the Egyptian ankh, which symbolizes everlasting life."
In nature, the interval of the octave is omnipresent. Many living creatures sing in octaves. According to Hindu cosmology, ohm was the seed sound that birthed the universe.
Using two ohm forks simultaneously creates the interval of a unison, and according to Lao Tzu, the interval is "the sound of universal harmony between the forces of yin and yang."
This system of facial feng shui is highly innovative and unique, in that we synergize practices of Chinese medicine with Chinese philosophy, basing it upon principles of yin/yang; the Five Elements; the bagua; nine star ki; and the results of other diagnostics, including Five-Element hara, tongue, pulse, etc.
The practitioner constitutionally supports the body's ancestral jing level by addressing the eight extraordinary meridians; the ying level with TCM points; and the wei level with ashi points. To further accomplish our joint goals of beauty and balance, we incorporate the use of color, sound and essence. These vibrational tools of healing are applied to the face and subtle bodies in a prescriptive fashion, based upon the determination of key issues at work in the life of the patient at the time of the treatment.
An example was given above that focuses on the "Li" gua of the bagua, ruled by the fire element. Using data provided both from nine star ki and our bagua questionnaire (similar to an intake form), and direct observation of the patient, it is possible for us to ascertain the color to be used, and which essential oil can be administered to the face via the tuning forks, which have been dipped in the essential renewal oil. The gem energy is applied by vibrating the specific stone in tandem with the tuning forks. Several areas of the face can be addressed in one session.
The face is a highly emotive part of the body, and provides evidence of our habits, stresses and unprocessed life situations. Our focus in bagua beauty is not so much to treat wrinkles, but to provide greater consciousness of how we live our lives. In striving for feng shui's goal of achieving greater harmony between ourselves and our inner and outer environments, we can create the possibility for enhanced beauty to manifest in our faces as a reflection of our shen. It also stands to reason that, by balancing and harmonizing the face, which is the mirror of our personal experience and a reflection of our shen, we open a channel for positive qi to flow into every aspect of life.
Donna Carey and Marjorie de Muynck. Acutonics: There's No Place Like Ohm; Sound Healing, Oriental Medicine and Cosmic Mysteries. Devachan Press, Vadito, NM, 2002 (www.acutonics.com).
Darius Dinshah. Let There Be Light. Dinshah Health Society, Malaga, NJ, 2001.
Click here for previous articles by Mary Elizabeth Wakefield, LAc, Dipl. Ac., MS, MM.