Who are you?
I’m a feng shui consultant and environmental psychologist, based in London and working worldwide – with over 25 years experience in these fields. I’m also the founder member of The Feng Shui Society – an independent organisation for accredited UK and European feng shui consultants.
What is feng shui?
Feng shui is a 3,500 year old discipline that studies how environments affect people, in a similar way to how environmental psychology focuses on the interplay between individuals and their surroundings. Some authors define feng shui as “The art of placement.” Landscape architect John A Seiler wrote – “Influencing behaviour is almost all of what management is about, and buildings influence behaviour.” One of the best definitions of feng shui comes from Winston Churchill who said, “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” I define feng shui as the art, philosophy and science of designing harmonious and empowering environments for working and living. Every aspect of our immediate environment will have some effect on your health, well-being, and prosperity. The location of your property is an extremely important element of these aspects.
What is of interest to you in this current location of Brompton cemetery in Earl’s Court – which will be surrounded by new high rise developments – from a feng shui perspective?
The proposed Lillie Square and Earl’s Court developments would overlook both Brompton Cemetery and four railway lines. From a feng shui perspective, a placement of this nature is highly unfavourable and can pose all kinds of problems for the people living in those apartments and for anyone buying them as an investment. The Brompton Cemetery is not a park. It is an active cemetery where funerals take place on a regular basis, and where people often go to visit the graves of their loved ones. There are four busy railway lines running nearby – one of which is used regularly to transport nuclear waste!
How are cemeteries perceived in feng shui?
Although originally feng shui was used to identify the best location to hold burials and to site cemeteries, in order that the ancestors could rest in peace – in modern times cemeteries are perceived as negative neighbourhoods. From a feng shui standpoint it is considered unlucky to live near a cemetery. These are not auspicious places, because they are viewed as ‘yin’ areas (places that can drain your energy) that can affect ones’ health and prosperity. From a psychological point of view, it’s quite understandable. One doesn’t want to be reminded about death every time one approaches home or looks out the window. In the Far East this is common knowledge – or common sense if you like. On both a conscious and subconscious or subliminal level – different people will be affected differently, according to their mindsets and world views. Personally, I wouldn’t consider investing my money in a home near a cemetery.
How are railway lines perceived in feng shui?
In feng shui terms, busy railway lines create lots of very fast moving energy. This fast movement, as well as the physical vibration of trains passing by – can create feelings of instability and unease in the people who live nearby. Environmental psychology informs us that people like stable, safe and predictable environments. Just imagine how it would feel if every day you experienced your home being shaken in a subtle way. The current Lillie Square development plans overlook four railway lines, which are the London underground (West Brompton tube station) and the national railway line. All of these lines are very busy, with lots of traffic daily. On top of that, once a week a nuclear waste train passes by using the national railway line (click here to check the nuclear waste trains timetable near you or West Brompton). No matter how safe these nuclear waste trains might be – I wouldn’t like my home to be situated near radioactive waste wagons trundling past throughout the year.
In a global market place how important is it that Western developers consider cultural differences and sensitivities?
London is a very cosmopolitan place, and taking into account how people from other cultures and with different mindsets and worldviews will perceive particular locations for investment, is paramount. Over the past 25 years, I’ve been consulted by many corporations and individuals when it comes to choosing properties for investment, business and living. Developers and business people are very aware of the cultural differences. For example, in many hotels that have large numbers of oriental people, the number four is removed from the numbering of rooms and floors. The word ‘four’ sounds very similar to the word ‘death’ in Chinese. If I was Chinese I might feel uneasy about staying or living in the house with such a number. I’m often consulted on the appropriateness and feng shui aspects of the logos of companies which are planning to open their offices in the Far East. This is a very wise and good business practice.
How important is location in feng shui and is feng shui widely used in the Far East when construction is considered?
Feng shui is taken very seriously and is used on a daily basis by almost everyone in the Far East, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and elsewhere. There are cases where people didn’t want to work in an office that wasn’t feng shui-ed. Feng shui consultants are usually consulted first before any major developmental decisions take place – but not only in the Far East. Throughout the western world – Coca Cola, Orange, British Airways, the NHS, Hiscox Insurance, Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotels, the University of Westminster School of Architecture and other organisations have used feng shui to secure a leading edge over their competition. Over the past two decades, I’ve worked as a feng shui consultant with many businesses and individuals in London and worldwide on choosing the best locations for their businesses and properties.
Many people already live happily next to Brompton Cemetery why would buying a property close to a cemetery which you may or may not live in (it may be a buy to leave investment) be considered unwise?
For westerners living near cemeteries this may not cause a huge problem because westerners have a different mindset from Eastern cultures. However, I have had many British and European clients who didn’t want to live near cemeteries for the very simple reason that they didn’t want to be reminded about death every day because they had a view of the cemetery every time they looked out the windows.
People from the Far East have a clear rule of thumb when it comes to choosing auspicious locations: avoid places near cemeteries, hospitals, railway lines, T-junctions and so on – and for a good reason. Feng shui is very clear about such locations: they can have negative histories and connotations which can cause all kinds of problems. This is 3500 years of feng shui wisdom. The age-old real estate wisdom of “location, location, location” will be heavily tested with the Lillie Square and Earls Court developments. When it comes to investment, I would look somewhere else – there are too many risks involved with these kind of locations.
As an environmental psychologist what interests you about this location?
As an environmental psychologist I’m most interested in how people who purchase apartments in the Lillie Square development, as well as those in the proposed Earls Court Masterplan, will cope with the clear view of the Brompton Cemetery, four very busy railway lines, and the passing nuclear waste trains. Over the years we will see how many people relocate from their homes because of the inauspicious views. I can predict that some of the people who will choose to live there, will resort to all kinds of feng shui remedies to negate and reflect the inauspicious energies of the cemetery and four railway lines. Mirrors are one of the most common feng shui remedies used in such circumstances. You may start seeing mirrors stuck on the windows facing the cemetery and four railway lines. In the Far East, it’s very common to see buildings covered with special bagua mirrors reflecting the offending energies of inauspicious sites, etc. The facades of such buildings never look attractive or welcoming (to prospective buyers), because they clearly broadcast a simple message: there is something wrong or dangerous with the location. But, as the saying goes – prevention (avoidance) is better than cure. You have been warned.