The energy map used in feng shui to optimise the energies and harmony in your house is called a Bagua. It offers a systematic way to evaluate and plan the energy flow of your environment.
The name is Chinese – “Ba” translates to eight, “gua” means area – so “bagua” literally translates into “eight areas”.
The Bagua consists of eight symbols used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality – seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts.
The Bagua is arranged as eight areas around a centre. In feng shui, these different areas are seen as connecting to different aspects of your life. Each area also has layered meanings, such as colours, shapes, numbers, organs etc.
As Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practise that is over 3,000 years old, it’s not surprising that the Bagua contains in its construction many other philosophies – Chinese numerology, the five elements, the I-Ching, and many more, create the foundation for the Bagua.
The common thing between these ideologies is that they are all inspired by nature, and seek to balance how humans can live in harmony with the natural world.
How can I use a BTB Bagua map in my space?
A Bagua map is used to divide your space into specific areas – each one relating to a certain theme. The centre is considered the heart of the home, where the energy is distributed on all the different sectors.
There are different Bagua maps depending on which school of feng shui you’re using. The simplest Bagua is the BTB Bagua, so I’ll show you how to use that here. The use of the Bagua in classical feng shui is a lot more complicated and requires compass readings and calculations to align with the principals of classic feng shui.
Most beginners find it easier to work with the BTB Bagua. Just note though, that if you read or research more about feng shui, you’ll find that the BTB school of feng shui is often ridiculed by the traditional Chinese feng shui practitioners.
Classical feng shui is very deeply steeped in Chinese culture and holds on strongly to tradition. As a school of thought, I personally find it quite restrictive (even old-fashioned at times), and I’ve found that the more intuitive approach of BTB feng shui has worked wonderfully and has been easier to apply in daily life (without being religious about feng shui).
Working with your space in a mindful way is always a good idea – this is simply one way of getting some guidance or structure in your planning and organising.
So the BTB Bagua is most often depicted as a square energy grid that you lay over a floor plan, and you can lay it over the entire home (the main floor if your house has several stories) – or over a single room. But this conceptual map can also be superimposed over your yard, your desk, I’ve used it to organise bookshelves, you can use it for your garden or even your block!
The energy grip shrinks and expands, but the proportions always remain the same – nine equal areas in a three-by-three grid.
How to apply the Bagua to your home
- Turn your floor plan so that the wall with your (main) front door aligns with the bottom of the Bagua.
- If you’re using the grid for a single room, align the wall with the main entrance to the room with the bottom of the Bagua.
- Locate all the areas of the Bagua within your home.
If you have a challenging floor plan that isn’t easily aligned with the Bagua, try applying it to your bedroom only. Bedrooms are often regular shapes, which can make it easier to apply the Bagua.
What to do with missing and extended Bagua areas
Unless you have a perfectly square or rectangular home, you’ll probably see some areas of your home that don’t exactly fit into the Bagua. This can be especially true for apartments.
To balance a missing area, you can typically use a mirror in the area to ‘extend’ the space. Placing plants in (or as close to) the missing area will activate that area for you and complete the Bagua.
Extensions are usually a positive thing, so long as the space as a whole is in balance with the overall design. Extensions can simply be considered as a part of the area they extend from.
How to activate the different areas in the Bagua
After you’ve plotted out the different areas in your home, it’s time to activate them! Every area is different but there are some easy ways to make sure the energy is flowing throughout all of them:
- Keep things clutter-free and organised
- Use the colours related to that area to decorate it
- Add an object or element related to the area
- Spend time in the area
- Move furniture around to direct the flow of energy
When you’re thinking about how to make the most of the principles of feng shui in your home, consider how the energy flows in your home. You want the energy to enter your home and, like a river, flow through every area of your home.
If you have dark corners, add light (lamps, candles, daylight), mirrors (make sure they reflect light and things you want more of), and living plants to increase the flow there.
If you have two doors facing each other directly, place some furniture or decoration between them to divert the flow of energy from flowing in one door and directly out the other.
A general rule of thumb is to keep things clean, organised and welcoming. Check out these 7 ideas for how you can add good feng shui to your home.