In this post, I’ve compiled some of my practices to help set the tone and intentions for the new year. These practices are specifically related to our space and a bonus tip for personal goal setting. This is by no means an all-encompassing representation of every Lunar New Year tradition. So please take what works best for you and leave the rest.
You can download this year’s Annual Feng Shui guide to follow along.
Background on Lunar New Year
When we think of the new year, we automatically think of January 1st. That is because we all follow the Gregorian calendar like the rest of the world. January 1st marks the start of a new year. A reason to celebrate, wipe the slate clean, and start brand new. Even though the same can be said about the significance of January 1st in Asia. It is far from the level of festivities that go into the Lunar New Year celebration. However, the actual date of the Lunar New Year can vary from year to year. And the range is pretty wide. Lunar New Year can fall any day between January 21st through February 20th.
So why is the Lunar new year not on January 1st?
During the agricultural age, farmers would observe the waxing and waning of the moon to track the passage of time. While the moon phases are predictable from month to month, it was not very accurate in predicting seasonal transitions. Temperature fluctuation is vital information that lets the farmers know when to plant the seeds, harvest their crops, and everything else in between. So to remedy that, the solar calendar was adopted to account for the year and the seasonality based on the earth’s rotation around the sun, in about 365 and a quarter days. This was much more reliable in predicting seasonal transitions. The only issue was that the lunar and solar calendars did not align precisely. So a lunisolar calendar was created to sync the two calendars. You may also hear them referenced as the yin-yang calendar or the agricultural or farming calendar.
Traditionally, the lunar new year represents the start of spring. This is also the reason why Lunar New Year is also referred to as the “Spring Festival”. Because from an agricultural standpoint, it is the time of year when farmers will plant new seeds and lay the foundation for the upcoming year. Which resembles the modern-day practice of setting goals at the start of the new year. The difference is that a big part of the Lunar New Year celebration is in preparation for the festivities. Nowadays, we tend to focus overly on the goal itself, but more attention should be paid to the preparation process to help us realize the goal.
New Year Feng Shui Practices
First, I recommend checking next year’s energy and figuring out how to adjust your living space to avoid negative influences.
Download this year’s Annual Feng Shui guide to follow along.
To do this, I suggest having your floor plan updated with your current furniture arrangement and the general direction of each space. You can figure that out by standing in the center of your space with your compass. You can also do this without a floor plan, but I find it a lot easier to use a floor plan, especially if you want to get others on board with the plan before making any changes.
After you have your floor plan and next year’s energetic blueprint, you’ll want to look for the directions where the #5 star, the 3 killings, the Grand Duke, and the year breaker reside.
Specifically, we are checking for three aspects.
- Which rooms are safe to use
- Which directions are safe to face, and
- From an external perspective, which directions are safe for a renovation
The #5 star is one of the most malicious energies that can impact your health, relationship, and finances. The direction of the #5 star takes up 45 degrees. So wherever they land each year, you’ll want to take proactive steps to minimize their impact on you. That includes adding a salt cure, avoiding renovation in this sector, and minimizing the usage of this space as much as possible.
The 3 killings is another direction to watch out for because it represents obstacles, setbacks, and calamities. The 3 killings direction covers 90 degrees. Like the #5 star, you can minimize the negative effect by adding a salt cure and minimizing the usage in this area as much as possible. However, it is okay to sit facing the 3 killings direction.
The Grand Duke represents the ruler of the year, which means we have to make sure not to confront the Grand Duke by facing the Grand Duke’s direction or offend the Grand Duke by renovating in the Grand Duke’s direction, which covers 15 to 22.5 degrees.
The year breaker is directly opposite the Grand Duke, which means it is the direction confronting the Grand Duke. The year breaker can negatively affect your finances or cause unexpected spending if afflicted. It is best to minimize this area’s usage, keep it quiet, so there is no renovation, and avoid facing this direction.
Once you have identified these directions, you can cross-reference them to your floor plan. This is when we work with our space and determine if using an alternative room is possible or changing the furniture arrangement to minimize the effect.
First, check if any of your main living spaces, like your living room or bedroom, are located in one of these afflicted directions.
In feng shui, we focus a lot on exposure. Our goal is to maximize our exposure to the best sectors and best directions. Think of negative energies as a smoke-filled room. Ideally, you should use a different room, but if that is not possible, the next best thing is to face away from the source of the smoke.
Note: Avoiding every afflicted direction can be very difficult. Certain years may be easier than others, where the afflicted direction may overlap; in other years, it will be more difficult.
The permanent energy of your space is also vital to take into account. The permanent energy always has priority over the annual energy, especially when the annual energy is auspicious and the permanent energy is inauspicious. Also, your layout and its innate structure can restrict how and what you can move. So, do the best you can with the space you have. Consult a professional if you plan to move your furniture based on the annual feng shui recommendations. A professional feng shui consultant can help you analyze your permanent and annual energy together.
When the layout is finalized, the next step is to select an auspicious date to rearrange the furniture. Ideally, this date is personalized to you based on your birth chart. This is especially important if you are planning to move your bed.
After all the dust has settled from rearranging your layout, you can commence deep cleaning your space in preparation for the new year.
The significance of this process is to shake up your space, reach into every nook and cranny that has been collecting dust all year and inject some new energy. The goal is to clear out the stale energy so that your space can welcome the fresh energy from the new year.
Annual BaZi Analysis
Once your space is ready to go, is it an excellent time to consider your goals and intentions for the following year. A good practice to pair with is checking your BaZi (Chinese astrology) against your goals for the new year. Your annual BaZi can give you insights into areas of your life that you should pursue further and where you should take more caution. This way, you can adjust your goals and expectations accordingly and maximize your success rate. However, I am not referring to checking the zodiac sign for your birth year. That is very surface-level, and one size fits all astrology.
In BaZi, there are eight characters in our natal chart. The annual astrological predictions only focus on one of the eight characters, so it’s more for entertainment than something to take seriously.
A proper annual BaZi review considers the eight characters from your natal chart plus 2 characters from your decade pillar. Then it layers on an additional 2 characters of the annual pillar, plus 2 characters from the month pillar to break down the highs and lows of the following year. As with everything in Chinese metaphysics, it is always more complicated than it seems. So the rule of thumb is to take in customized recommendations rather than generalized ones.
I hope this gives you a glimpse into one version of the Lunar New Year preparation. And for those who only celebrate New Year on January 1st, know that Lunar New Year is around the corner, and it can be your second chance to start the year.
Here is the video I made if you wish to watch this instead.