If you'd like to enhance and enliven your living or working space, and perhaps attract more health, prosperity and good luck into your life, installing a water fountain is a great way to use the Feng Shui element of water to make it happen.
For those who aren't familiar with Feng Shui, it is the ancient Chinese practice of orienting to and arranging our environment, living and working spaces to enhance harmony, health, prosperity and success. The term "Feng Shui" encompasses two of the primary motivating forces or energies in Chinese Taoist cosmology: wind (Feng) and water (Shui).
Water, of course, is the essential life-giving element upon which we all depend. Chinese Taoists refer to rain as "heaven's luck," and so it is associated with good luck and prosperity. Water is recognized for its power to nourish, cleanse, refresh and transform. Most of us have experienced the powerful effect of water on our sense of well-being, such as while sitting peacefully next to a flowing stream, visiting an ocean beach, or standing next to a waterfall.
In Feng Shui practice, water — particularly when the water is in motion — attracts cosmic Chi (life) energy. To enhance health and prosperity, it's important to keep this Chi energy flowing, and moving water, such as in a water fountain, is the perfect way to bring more Chi into your living and working space.
Where to Place Your Fountain
Feng Shui recommendations on the optimal orientation of your living and working spaces, and the arrangment of objects within them, may vary depending on which "school" of Feng Shui is being applied. The Compass School, which is based on the eight cardinal directions of the Chinese Lo-Pan or Loupan compass, recommends that water elements such as fountains be placed in the north, east, or southeast areas of the home or work space.
The more modern and simplified Black Sect Tantric Buddhism school of Feng Shui orients elements based on the Chinese Bagua (a Feng Shui eight-sided diagram), which is correspondingly oriented to the main entrance of the home or work space. Generally, placing your fountain near the entrance, either outside or inside, is a most optimal location to attract Chi into your home or work space. If your entrance happens to be oriented toward the north, east, or southeast, all the more auspicious for you!
Ideally, the water should flow in your fountain either equally in all directions, or if its flow is uni-directional, it should flow toward the entrance (if located outside), or toward the interior and away from the entrance (if located inside), so that the flow of Chi is directed into your living or work space.
Avoid placing a fountain in your bedroom or bathroom. The bedroom is a place for deep rest, and flowing water and its attendant flow of Chi, as well as the sound of the fountain, can disrupt your rest. It is also said to cause problems with breathing, colds, and other ailments. Also avoid placing a fountain directly below a bedroom, i.e., in a two story home where your bedroom is upstairs. Sleeping over water is not recommended. Bathrooms, if they contain constantly flowing water, represent the draining away of Chi — and thus your prosperity. (Another reason to be sure to always fix leaky faucets.)
Materials to Use in Your Fountain
According to the Five Elements theory, which describes the productive and destructive cycles of the Five Elements of Feng Shui (fire, earth, metal, water, and wood), the best material to use in a water fountain is metal (particularly copper), as it enhances and feeds the water element, and thus the flow of Chi.
Stone materials, such as rough rock and polished rock, are also commonly used. Do be sure to incorporate metal into your fountain to counteract the dampening effect of stone (earth element) on water. This is often done by simply placing a few metal coins in the fountain; use some Chinese coins, or gold-colored coins for even more wealth-enhancing effect. You can also place your stone materials inside of a copper bowl or basin, or produce a cascading fountain with a series of metal basins.
For a beautifully pleasing effect, you can place a polished stone sphere strategically in the water flow, so that the flowing water keeps the sphere rotating.
Use green plants, either in the fountain (best for outdoor fountains with water plants such as water lilies or lotus) or next to the fountain, to further enhance the flow of Chi. The Water element feeds the Wood element (living plants), so you'll gain even more benefit.
Fine Tuning and Maintaining Your Fountain
The sound of your water fountain is important; it shouldn't be too noisy or too subtle, either. So adjust the flow of your fountain's water pump until your fountain produces a sound that's pleasant and relaxing. [See Putting Together Your Fountain for instructions on adjusting your water pump.]
Be sure to maintain the water level in your fountain, as it can evaporate quickly.
To reduce mineral buildup in your fountain, use filtered and purified water, preferably distilled. Tap water, especially if your local water supply is high in minerals, will quickly make a mess of your beautiful fountain.
To control algae, pour some hydrogen peroxide into the water; approximately 1/4 of a bottle for smaller fountains, 1/2 bottle for medium-sized fountains, and a full bottle for larger fountains. Add fresh hydrogen peroxide to the fountain every week or so, more frequently in hotter weather, as it dissipates over time. Please note that there are commercial algae control products available, but many of them can be toxic to birds, insects/bees and other wildlife. Hydrogen peroxide is safe for wildlife, and also very cheap compared to the commercial products.
Finally, clean your fountain periodically to keep its Chi energy pure and energizing, so that health and abundance keeps flowing into your life.