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Feng Shui - Symbols and Meanings

Feng Shui

A list of some traditional Feng Shui symbols and their meanings, including longevity, wealth, prosperity, protection, love, and relationships.

Feng Shui, the ancient art of placement, can change your life. Using this ancient art one can, especially with intent, make changes in their living and work environments that can affect an outcome. The idea is that the simple movement of an object from a place of vagueness to a place of precision makes the energy in the space shift.

Many homeowners and apartment dwellers live in places that have inauspicious surroundings. These surroundings, as outlined in Feng Shui, require “cures” to shift their detrimental placement. Often a Feng Shui practitioner will take note of colors, symbols, and shapes of objects when making recommendations for a particular home.

Symbols are often universally used, although a person’s particular interpretation of a symbol due to a lifelong connection or as a result of a profession or belief system may alter its use within their home, across the board. Symbols for Longevity, Wealth and Prosperity, Protection, Love and Relationship are similar in most sects of Feng Shui.

Western versions of Feng Shui allow for the use of personal symbols in addition to or to replace more traditional objects. For instance, angels are not generally part of a traditional Feng Shui practice. Western spiritual beliefs would put them in the protection and guidance category and should be used that way if you are so inclined.


Longevity – Longevity means long life and most Feng Shui is based on the concept of wanting a long life. The concept of longevity is, of course, relative and can be applied to a person’s life, their existence in a dwelling, or a particular job, career or relationship. Symbols that relay longevity typically have the trait of longevity and are universally known for a long life. Some of those symbols might be:

  • Trees – The pine tree seems to be a more traditional symbol, although the Redwood has a history of extreme longevity as well.
  • Particular gods that are known for their longevity. Each religion or culture usually has one or two of these.
  • Chinese or Tibetan characters that have longevity as their meaning.
  • Cranes – Cranes represent an eternal quality that is necessary to longevity in any area of a person’s life.
  • Turtles – The Chinese believe that the turtle has the secret of heaven and of earth within its body. Other animals are often spliced with the turtle, such as a dragon-headed turtle, to give the symbol more power.

Wealth & Prosperity – Wealth and Prosperity can mean different things to different people. The general concept is to always have what is needful and to continually move forward with a sure foot. Outside of love these are the most popular set of Feng Shui symbols as they can be applied to many of the areas in a Feng Shui practice. Some of these symbols are:

  • Goldfish - These can be alive and in water or as a piece of art.
  • Water – Fountains are only appropriate in certain areas.
  • Plants and Foliage – You can use plastic or faux plants, but live ones are the best.
  • Coins – All kinds of coins will work, but the Chinese coins that are enscripted seem to work the best.
  • Chinese characters that mean wealth and prosperity.

Protection – Again, protection is a relative term. You may need protection in a practical way, from intrusion or rowdy neighbors. You can also use protection symbols to use against spirits or entities that do not belong in your space or from general negative energy that may affect your health or well-being. Investigate these symbols, as some may be more appropriate than others.

  • Fu Dogs – Fu Dogs are often seen on vases or ceramics as well as statuary.
  • Dragons – There is nothing like a great dragon statue to protect you. These are sometimes seen in combination with Fu dogs.
  • Tigers – White ones seem to have more potency because they are rarer in real life.
  • Black Tortoises – Here the tortoise is used because of its stability and longevity.

Love & Relationship – One of the most popular concerns in Feng Shui, love and relationship can include many personal symbols as well as the more traditional. Keep in mind that pairs work best. A single item or object can indicate a single life. So if you are placing anything with love and romance in mind, such as candles, lamps, or choosing the right size bed, pairs are the best – two candles, two lamps, or a bed that sleeps two. Here are some traditional symbols to consider using.

  • Mandarin ducks – Mandarin ducks form a strong bond to their partners and are a symbol of conjugal fidelity. Use these in pairs.
  • Dragon and Phoenix – The two together embody the male and the female essence entwined, and symbolizes a strong and successful union.
  • Chinese symbols that stand for Love and Longevity.
  • Crystal Lotus – Used as a powerful enhancer for luck and romance, the crystal lotus can be used in many areas of the house.

Remember, an actual object is best, but in many cases this may not be possible. Some apartments are not conducive to plants or animals and actual sculptures or statues may not be in our budgets. In these cases a photograph, drawing, poster, postcard, greeting card or any other format you may come upon will suffice quite nicely.


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