August Newsletter

Lunar Calendar

August 9th – new moon, start a new project
11th – Ramadan begins
12th – Perseids meteors in the night sky
20th – The planet Mercury goes retrograde (until 9/12). Plan ahead for major tech and mechanical purchases.
August 24th – full moon, finish a project

Fire by lake

Fire – the element of Summer

Is this fire on the water? It looks like a conflict in the cycle of the 5 Chinese elements. Water puts out fire. Just like not having the sink (water) across from the stove (fire) in the kitchen, we need to balance the elements when one element destroys the other. This is best done by adding a third element that will take energy away from the aggressor element (water) and add energy to the element being compromised (in this case, fire). The balancing element is wood. Wood soaks up water while it provides fuel for the fire under attack by water. In a kitchen we use a green rug or plant between the sink and stove. In this photo the trees and green grass between the fire and water create this balance.

Feng Shui Tip: By being aware of the 5 elements of feng shui, their colors and shapes, how these elements interact with each other, you will have most all the information you need to balance any room, any artwork, any view. In the picture above see the water, wood, fire in an harmonious relationship with each other.

There is also a small flowerbed on the beach between the lake and fire pit. The balance is there when you look at it from the lakeside.

Firepit on lake beach

The Characteristics of the Five Elements: first in a five part series


The table below shows most of the characteristics associated with each of the five elements. (The table below is available as a Microsoft Word document — contact me to request it as an email attachment.) Look at the FIRE column.

  • The shape or form is pointed, flame like, triangular.
  • The fire colors include more than Chinese red. It could be burgundy, fuchsia, magenta, pink, purple – any color fire like.
  • As we know, fire is a very dangerous element. Candles and lighted fireplaces are great in a room but they can burn the house down when left unattended. That is why we tend to use shapes and colors in environments to represent fire instead of actual fire.
  • The hottest direction is South, where the sun (fire ball) is almost always seen when it shines.
  • Chinese medicine uses the five elements. The organ systems are correlated. If someone has an imbalance of the elements it could show up in the corresponding body area. This is a fascinating field of study related to feng shui because we want a supportive environment to help us heal and balance our physical energy. Many of my clients have environmental sensitivities and/or autoimmune imbalances. (I have celiac condition). These people are the most affected by their homes and workplaces. The good news is that while we are the first to notice any difficulties in a place, we also notice even the most subtle improvements first. We are the canaries in the mine and the first responders. Feng shui is a natural and once you know about it, an almost essential pursuit.
  • The season, of course is summer, hot summer.
  • The taste is bitter.
  • The smell is the scorched smell of burning.
  • The emotion is joy, so be happy and laugh a lot. This is a great time to take a break and do the things you enjoy.

Feng Shui Elements

CREATES Fire Earth Metal Water Wood
FORM Cylindrical Pointed Flat/square Dome/arched Irregular
COLOR Green Red Yellow White Black/Blue
DIRECTION East South Center West North
YIN ORGAN Liver Heart Spleen Lungs Kidney
YANG ORGAN Gall bladder Small intestine Stomach Colon Bladder
SEASON Spring Summer Late summer Fall Winter
CLIMATE Wind Heat Humid Dry Cold
TASTE Sour Bitter Sweet Pungent, hot Salty
EMOTION Anger Joy Sympathy Grief Fear
SOUND Shouting Laughing Singing Weeping Groaning
ODOR Rancid Scorched Fragrant Rotten Putrid
SENSE Sight Taste Touch Smell Hearing
ENERGY Psychic Directing Primal Physical Creative
VIRTUE Benevolence Humility Trust Integrity Wisdom

A Site to See that we are lucky to have AND it’s very close by *
Roof garden at Chicago Botanical Gardens
Plant Science Center Green Roof Garden
Chicago Botanical Gardens, Glencoe, IL
*They also have a great Japanese garden

Green roofs used in Europe and other parts of the world are now becoming part of the green scene in the US. The green roof is designed to act as an insulator, projected to reduce summer heat gains by up to 95 percent and winter heat losses by up to 26 percent. That’s only part of the benefits. Read about it at: worldwide – in Midwest

For those of you who don’t ever think a green roof top or green wall will ever work for you, perhaps you have a yard to mow? To get a start; what about using sedums and other ground covers in place of grass in hard to mow small areas? (Be sure the plants are hardy to zone 4 in Wisconsin. Maybe zone 5 will work in Illinois.) There are some hens and chicks that will stay indoors, too.

Wishing you joy and laughter in the month of August.