Exploring Feng Shui and Vastu Altars by Feng Shui Long Island

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Home Stager with Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island #888

 

Many of us use Altars.  Some are for religious reasons (my Grandmother always had one in her home with beautiful Saints, Statues, Holy Water, Candles and a Rosary).  Some are less conspicuous and seem to blend in with our décor but they are items we have of special value, they have a meaning to us and although no one else sees it, we know why they are there.

In Feng Shui some people choose to set up different types of Altars for their own "Sacred Space."  Most are not elaborate and they all vary but to my clients, they all have deep and personal meanings for them.  Some of my clients tend to use items that we would use in Feng Shui and address The Five Elements, an Auspicious Symbol, Color or Number.  My clients do this to remind them that they have made Intentions to change the way they are living, thinking and feeling and are going to keep them.  It can be a powerful, symbolic "message" to see this every day and they will also include Quotes and Words of Inspiration on here.  They keep their thought positive and focused for the results they wish to accomplish.

Feng Shui Consultant Carole Provenzale

The Altars used in the Hindu faith are often much more elaborate.  While my Grandmother addressed her Saints, they also address theirs.  Sometimes special rooms are created for these Altars and most of my clients of this faith will pray two to three times a day.  An example of a beautiful Altar of the Hindu faith (Where we use Vastu, a method that also works on Energy and changes and is very similar to Feng Shui is used) is below.

Feng Shui Consultant Carole Provenzale

In the Chinese and many other cultures they are taught to revere the ELDERS of the family. They have incredible knowledge and wisdom that we will not learn until we ourselves are elderly and have been though many of life's lessons.  We are taught and it's an important principle in Feng Shui to "HONOR OUR ANCESTORS."  Often times we will see that a client incorporates just that into their homes, with their own place of honor on a shelf or table.  They may be actual pictures of someone special or an item that they owned.

I love the idea of honoring those much loved people in our lives who have passed.  It gives us a place to go to speak to them and connect with them in our own special ways.  To my clients that choose this, I do suggest that they keep it in one area of their home.  Of course there is sadness left behind and having its own special place to contain that sadness does not have it filter through our entire space.

I myself have a small Altar but it is not something I use for myself or my beloveds but for my clients.  While many Feng Shui Consultants follow ‘The Red Envelope Tradition' and I do as well, I ask my clients to remember that we are working with ENERGY.  We ask for Red Envelopes when we are using a special blessing or "cure," one that has been passed down for many years and we are now passing it along to our clients.  It is a form of Energy Exchange.  I ask my clients to incorporate something extra, to include an Intention of what they wish to create from this consultation in each envelope.  These are never read but are a further step in infusing their energy into what they wish to create....and they stay close by me for the following nine nights. 

Sometimes a thought will come to me that I hadn't thought of before or I will see a room or part of a room differently then we originally discussed and will share this with my client.  It sounds odd, I know, but when you're working with the sheer force of Energy, anything can happen! 

If you plan to designate a space for an altar the Bagua suggests it be the left center of you home (when you enter from the front door).  This is the area to Honor your Ancestors.  I have found that is not always possible and believe any place my clients choose to put it creates the same Intentions. 

Having an altar is a personal choice but it's something we do think about in Feng Shui.  It may or may not resonate with you or you may choose different ways of incorporating one if you wish.

http://www.FengShuiLI.com

*Carole Provenzale has been a Certified Feng Shui Consultant since 1007 and is the Founder of Feng Shui Long Island providing Feng Shui Consultations on site for all of Long Island and New York City (NYC) and Feng Shui Distance Consultations by phone for Homes, Businesses, Apartments, Offices, Corporations, renovations, pre purchase, realtors and new construction.

                      

 

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Laura Cerrano is a second-generation Certified New York City Feng Shui Consultant Expert. As a full-time Feng Shui consultant, Laura provides bicoastal consultations and workshops for residential, commercial, real estate developments, Fortune 500 companies and healing faculties. In addition, Laura is a resident teacher at the Metropolitan Institute of Design in Syosset, NY. She has been featured in highly respected publications and TV networks such as Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," PBS, CBC Television, BBC Radio and The New York Times. 

 

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Rainer
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Trace Galle
Designs by Trace - Kelowna, BC

Hi Carole,

Very interesting post. I have never thought of having an alter in my home. But then when I think of an alter I think of your traditional alter. Then reading Cynthia's comment I realized too that you could use anything as an alter. Thanks for this information.

Jan 09, 2008 01:05 AM #6
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Melissa Grant
A Serendipity World - Greenbackville, VA
The Law of Attraction In Life & Business
What a great post Carole ! I love it ! My Alter has always been the leather recliner that sits in the corner of my bedroom by itself. I can go there, sit and release all my negative energy and just completely start over !
Jan 09, 2008 01:21 AM #7
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Carole , I found this post exceedingly interesting and began  to think about the altars we all have in our homes. I believe that mantles with family photos are a type of altar too....as are special shelves with mementoes of trips, etc.

I realized by reading your blog that my china cabinet and the area above it is an altar....it's where I keep all my special antique small family mementoes, things passed down to me from my Grandmother's (some china and figurines), special small rocks and stones people have given me or I have collected in special places and photos of some of my ancestors...it always gives me such a comforting feeling to gaze upon that area and when I pass near it, I am flooded with peace and warmth.

thanks for this wonderful blog and for sharing this knowledge with us,

Jo 

Jan 09, 2008 02:16 AM #8
Rainmaker
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Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro
Hi Carole--I had a Vietnamese hairstylist for many years. She had an alter and area in her home with photos of her mother who had passes and some other realtives. Interesting as I hadn't thought of it until today.
Jan 09, 2008 04:06 AM #10
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Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate
Carole, reading this post brought to mind the "Day of the Dead" when the Latin cultures create personal shrines...usually with family photos.  It is a very touching experience despite its rather bleak name!
Jan 09, 2008 05:04 AM #11
Rainmaker
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Bonnie & Terry Westbrook
Westbrook Realty - Ada, MI
Grand Rapids MI Real Estate
I have a sacred space set up where I meditate and have an altar of sorts. It works for me and that is what is important. Interesting subject for a post.
Jan 09, 2008 08:53 AM #12
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Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Sally, I haven't seen one built into a wall, I imagine it looks lovely.  The Red Envelopes are used for an Energy Exchange and for money (they are always used for gifts to brides at weddings)  but I haven't heard of them being used in a passing although it's possible.  I'll have to see if I've missed something in some of the other ways they are used.

Deborah, Hit that Gong hard...and then for me!  In Black Sect it is thought of as "ringing in the money" and there are many things to do before the Chinese New Year which I will post about and hope you follow.  Last year I did them all and later wondered if that's why I had one of my best years!

Cynthia, It's interesting that an altar can be anywhere and it's what it signifies to you or the person creating it...and never needs to look like one which my clients sometimes like to hear as some don't want anything obvious.

Kathy, I have worked around more then a few but I believe they are so beautiful.  One of my clients also had a full sized altar in her office space as well as at home. 

Julie, I suggest one that doesn't have to look like one to clients who are saddened over a loss; that way they have a place to go to connect.  They love the idea and it is a principle of FS to Honor your Ancestors.

Trace, Hi, it doesn't have to look like one at all.  Mine that is out has pictures and special items that were left to me by someone I love and it all blends in, you would never know it's an altar.

Melissa, It's so nice to have your own special "retreat."  I have a special place too in my home when I want to think or meditate or just relax....and no one is allowed to bother me :)

Jo, Why am I not surprised that not only do you have one, they are lit up?  I have several of those flameless candles near my special things and I too get a good feeling when I am there--or I go there when I want to connect, it makes it easier for me.  Thank you for sharing that lovely picture!

Deborah, Jo's picture IS lovely and she's got it lit up!  It's something I helped my mother create and she loves hers too.

Teri, It really is.  People from so many cultures have one and yet it's not something we do anymore.  My Grandmother was very religious and had a beautiful altar which I'll always remember.

Diane, I'm not aware of this tradition and you're right about the name.  It must be another way to honor those that have passed that I'm not familiar with but all the cultures are so lovely.

Bonnie, I love people having their own special space and glad to hear you have one as well.  It's difficult to learn to meditate and a bit easier when you have a special place to do it.

Jan 09, 2008 10:44 AM #13
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Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services
Carole- Having lived in Hawaii and traveled to Japan and China; I have seen a lot of alters in people's homes. I respect all cultures and religions. As a Christian I do not have any alters. I do have my Feng Shui prosperity sections but those are intentions and money attractors not alters. Katerina
Jan 09, 2008 05:33 PM #14
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Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

Carole, I haven't visited your blog for a few days.  Glad I caught this one.  Now I understand why I see the Alters in businesses sometimes.  This sounds like a great idea.  I have friends who have these spiritual places in their homes, but I've never done it.  2008 would be a good time to start.

Can you do a blog post on the Red Envelope and fully explain how we layman can use?  You pass a red envelope but don't read it?  hmmm, not getting that.  Sounds really interesting and I'd love more info.

I appreciate all that you put into your blog posts and how you share your incredible knowledge with us.

Jan 10, 2008 12:32 AM #15
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Roberta Murphy
San Diego Previews Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
Carlsbad Real Estate and Homes
Carole: Lovely article! I keep a glass topped white metal table by a NW window in our home that overlooks a sand garden. On the table are photos (in metal frames) of my deceased mother and other helpful people in my life. There is also a silver box filled with red slips of paper--each with separate intentions and good wishes.
Jan 10, 2008 01:20 AM #16
Rainer
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Trace Galle
Designs by Trace - Kelowna, BC

Hi Carole,

I realized after I do have an alter of sorts, on my bookshelves I have a shelf with my kids pictures on it at different ages and some little things they made for me in grade school or bought me when they were little. Also things from my grandmother. Okay truthfully now looking at my bookshelf I think it is more of an alter than a bookshelf!! I have more treasures on there than books. :) Thanks Carole.

Jan 10, 2008 01:28 AM #17
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Jo-Anne Smith
Oakville, ON

Carole,  The lamps on my china cabinet are antique oil lamps that I sometimes use on my dinner table or on an end table.
They are the lighting of my Grandparent's childhood days. I never light them up while they are sitting on the china cabinet (where they are in the picture), so, no, I don't have my 'altar' lit up. 

Thanks for your insightful thought though....you have a way of making us look at everyday things in new ways.

Jo 

Jan 10, 2008 02:53 AM #18
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Jeff&Grace Safrin
F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate - Valparaiso, IN
SpousesSellingHousesTM

Hello Carole - very interesting post Carole - thanks for sharing....I have run across a few altars during showings here in NW IN -once we were surprised to find during a showing that one family had a room (very small dimensions- probably once a large closet) made into a prayer room! have you run that?

Sincerely,

Grace

Jan 10, 2008 07:07 AM #19
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Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains
Carole:  I find your field of expertise more and more fascinating as I read your posts.  I admire the Chinese for the way they value and honor their ancestors.  I think there is great importance in younger people learning from their elders and to respect the fact that they are older and ultimately wiser.  I think the American culture is just horrible when it comes to respect and honor of our older folks. Instead, I see all the time on TV and even in public, how older people are made fun of and put down as though they are useless.   
Jan 10, 2008 10:48 AM #20
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Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Katerina, I love and respect the altars I see as well, some done unintentionally.  I have had several clients who were grieving the loss of someone and I will suggest a small altar to give them one area of their home to connect.  I have two, one for my clients intentions and one that wouldn't appear to be an altar to anyone but myself.

Kate, Of course I can do a post on my knowledge of the Red Envelopes.  I use them in many of the same ways as we were taught but add something as well that I had tried years ago so it is a bit confusing.  I'll try to explain it better in a post.  The post I would like you to read is about the Chinese New Year which I will post when we get closer to it.  I believe at least part of the success I received last year was from what I did to prepare for that day!

Trace, It's funny that I will often see special things on an entertainment center or shelf and to me, it represents an altar.  These things are precious to the people that have set them up!  The word "altar" to me is less strict then what we've been taught to think of in different religions, it is something set up (even unconciously) with Intention and love.

Jo, If you place the lamps there when not in use, it still represents light.  You are still lighting it up, you just didn't know it :)  I use the battery candles which I absolutely LOVE, they are scattered throughout my house and you can put them anywhere and never worry about a fire!  Mine are all from QVC.

Grace, Yes, I have seen special rooms built for these beautiful altars.  When I open the door I get such a feeling of peace and serenity and find them stunning.  If I come accross another picture I will post it.  I've also seen them in businesses and they take time out during their day to honor and pray.

Donna, I find that aspect wonderful as well and is one of the Reasons I went to an elderly center to do a community service project.  I was shocked to hear many of their own families don't visit them and I should have posted pictures with that; I am so sorry that here the elderly are not cared for very well when they should be honored.  I may rewrite and repost about that place for no points, if it goes out to Localism again perhaps they can get more help.  (Sorry, your comment touched a nerve!)

Jan 11, 2008 01:16 AM #21
Rainmaker
291,304
Kate Bourland
Marketing with Kate - Redding, CA
Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing

Carole, I'm so excited to read about the Red Envelopes.  I hadn't even heard of them until I read this blog.  Now that you mention that they go hand in hand with Chinese New Year I'm especially intrigued.  Can't wait.

I learn so much from you.

Jan 11, 2008 02:54 AM #22
Rainmaker
59,084
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Carole - The photos of the alters are so pretty!  I suppose many of us have some form or another with groupings of family momentos and antique items that mean so much to us in many ways. 
Jan 11, 2008 03:00 AM #23
Rainer
61,320
Maria Borci
Colfax Realty Group - Doral, FL
P.A., TRC, REO - Doral Pinecrest FL Real Esta

Carole-Love your post- as always- I have my own Shrine- I have a Kwan Yin greeting all my guests as soon as they come in my home-is a way of blessing them with her beautiful and compassionate face.

No wonder your Altar is so powerful- now I can understand why one of my intentions had already been fulfilled-hopefully all  they will!!! I know you have the strength and good vibes to do it, please keep all my red envelopes there since they've shown a proven result.

Jan 11, 2008 11:31 AM #24
Rainmaker
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Jeff&Grace Safrin
F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate - Valparaiso, IN
SpousesSellingHousesTM

Wow that's awesome Carole - we have only seen a room devoted for prayer in a home once - open altars are more common. A serene feeling did come over me when we opened the door to that prayer room!

Sincerely,

Grace 

Jan 12, 2008 01:23 AM #25
Rainmaker
2,790,620
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Kate, I want to work especially hard to do a good post for the Chinese New Year....I always do a few things but last year I did them all with Intention and keep wondering if that's why I had such a spectacular year!

Candy, I love them as well.  The other day I saw a beautiful little altar to a much beloved pet which my wonderful client allowed me to get a picture of and post for everyone.  All altars are very special!

Maria, What a beautiful way to greet your clients and friends and family!  I have your intentions on my Altar and they are staying there but I wanted you to send me a print out of your listings by mail.  I'll email you in case you miss this comment.  I am doing something new for clients and the Chinese New Year.

Grace, That room just felt wonderful when she opened the door---and it was spectacular to see such a beautiful prayer room!  I have my own altar that doesn't appear to be one but I do have a special one in my home for clients that is small but beautiful, it is from Taiwan and very old.

Jan 13, 2008 12:19 PM #26
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