Several years ago, I came across an article on Outhouse Feng Shui. It was a fun concept and unique application of Feng Shui.
For anyone who has ever gone camping, the outhouse is a welcome essential. While I appreciate their function, I also find them gross so – quick in, quick out! There’s really no need to “Feng Shui” an outhouse in that situation, or is there? Something to think about in your spare time! In the meantime, I actually experienced an outhouse with good Feng Shui!
But let me start at the beginning. In the practice of Feng Shui, every room in your home has a specific function (or should have). There are also clear Feng Shui guidelines for enhancing positive energy (Chi) and mitigating any negative energy in each room, depending on its function and location in the Bagua of your home.
Bathrooms are especially challenging. Their primary function is elimination and, while we certainly wouldn’t want to live without them, by their very nature they drain Chi (energy). Sinks, bathtubs, showers and toilets have yin water energy and it is a draining energy that depletes our personal energy. The practice of Feng Shui advises that bathrooms also diminish your luck in the area where the bathroom is located; if in partnership, for example, it can decrease relationship luck. If a bathroom is located somewhere in the wealth area of your Bagua, it has the potential of draining your prosperity.
Take a look at the Bagua of your home. Locate your bathroom(s). Do you have a bathroom in the health (center) area of your Bagua? Does your bathroom or toilet share a wall with your bed or your stove? Are you able to see into the bathroom from your bed? All of these are considered problems in the practice of Feng Shui and require specific adjustments (suggestions for mitigating the negative energy generated by these proximities).
Generally, if you’ve heard some Feng Shui “rules,” you might know that one rule is to keep the toilet lids down. I am amazed at how many people keep their toilet lid up; not only does it allow energy to drain away, but it feels unsanitary to me! Who likes walking into a bathroom with an open toilet? Your home toilet is not a public bathroom.
If you are feeling “drained” in any way, after identifying where your bathrooms are located in your Bagua, assess the condition of those bathrooms. Any dripping faucets? Leaking toilets? You know what to do!
The flush toilet was invented in 1596, but didn’t become widespread until 1851. Before bathrooms, the “toilet” was a collection of communal outhouses, chamber pots and holes in the ground. As people settled on the Great Plains, a need for sanitary facilities arose. In order to meet this need, outhouses were constructed using lumber or bricks. They were a type of “folk architecture” and soon became commonplace.
While outhouses are one of the humbler elements of our sanitation systems, they have received a surprising amount of design attention and even public affection. They were a considerable advance over many older disposal methods in the United States (open trenches, cesspits), and the U.S. government actively encouraged their use in rural areas in the 1930s and 40s.
Location, location, location! Feng Shui tenets include practicality and function: Outhouses were located in backyards, placed a distance away from the house, yet close enough for easy access. They were also situated away from wells to minimize risk of ground water pollution, contamination, and disease. Sometimes the structures were placed near the family’s wood pile, so users, on their way back to the house, could pick up and carry in an armload of wood, so there would always be wood to feed the stove. And in Colonial times, when few people could read, a crescent moon cutout on the outhouse door was the symbol for women while the star cutout was for men.
My experience with outhouse Feng Shui was at a time in my life when, unhappy with my job, I decided to go on a week-long silent retreat in an attempt to gain clarity and perspective. I called and reserved a tiny one-room hermitage for a week in the middle of January. I was not deterred when I learned it had no running water and an outhouse!
And what an outhouse! It sat about 8 feet outside the door of my cottage on an elevated platform. The door to the outhouse faced away from the door to my little cabin. There was a window, with a lace curtain, and the floor was carpeted. A toilet paper holder, a rack with magazines and a couple of pictures on the walls completed the interior. While I knew nothing of Feng Shui at the time of this experience, I was impressed at the attempt to create a welcoming and comfortable environment in, of all things, an outhouse!
In the article about Outhouse Feng Shui, the author took an historical perspective, honoring the heritage of the outhouse that sat on her property. She also intentionally took a Feng Shui approach by first removing clutter, including dust, cobwebs and weeds. She repaired any deteriorating wood, made sure the door hinge worked, planted flowers around it and even considered bricking the pathway to it. She gave it a fresh coat of outdoor paint and painted the inside a bright, cheery color. I appreciate her nostalgia, and application of Feng Shui by creating function, cleanliness and beauty. I would have loved seeing before and after pictures of her outhouse.
The outhouse, a subject of photography books and posters, certainly seems to have an enduring place in the public imagination . If you just happen to have an outhouse on your property, consider revitalizing it as a delightful, and historical, focal point. It’s good Feng Shui!
Also good Feng Shui are the following suggestions for our modern bathrooms:
Keep the bathroom door closed, especially if it adjoins the kitchen or bedroom.
Keep the toilet lid down.
Replace any leaky faucets (energetically preventing them from flushing away personal energy and money energy).
And, of course, keep everything clean and in good repair.
Life is like a movie, since there aren’t any commercial breaks, you have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of it. Garry Trudeau