Pam Kai Tollefson sounds like she knows what she is doing — if you don’t know anything.

What She Says Reality Check
feng shui literally means wind and water. +sigh+ Let’s repeat the mantra: The term feng shui is shorthand for “The energy that rides by the wind stops at the boundary of water.”
feng shui began with Buddhism in India and came across Tibet, picking up folklore, Yin-Yang philosophy, Confucianism, and Taoism, of course. This is the dogma of the Black Sect Buddhist Church.

Buddha lived in Nepal in the sixth century BCE. Buddhism came to China around the first century CE (that’s 700 years later). Moreover, Buddha considered the practice of finding lucky sites for buildings a low art. He forbade his disciples to practice it.

Feng shui is a Chinese practice that does not seem to have been influenced by Vastu Shastra (the “low art” Buddha, as a Saka, was most familiar with). Feng shui was used at Banpo c. 4000 BCE, which is a lot earlier than anything remotely resembling Vastu. (And while south is the best direction in feng shui, it is the worst direction in Vastu.)

Feng shui was ancient history in China before Buddhism — Tibetan or otherwise — arrived.

Tibet has never been a hotbed of Confucianism! What has she been smoking?

Feng shui is very eclectic, based on thousands of years of Chinese observation by the ancient feng shui masters who saw certain things reappearing in everyday life. Maybe Tollefson is actually a feng shui version of Dilbert’s Mission Statement Generator — otherwise, chicanery can explain why Tollefson gets things so very wrong.
Statistics tell us [feng shui dates] anywhere from three to five thousand years [ago]. It began so gradually, that there is no specific time frame. Statistics? ! Wrong word choice!You never know what will be invented by the lunatic fringe.
It is only been within the last 30 or so years that we, in the west, have heard about feng shui. Feng shui has been a part of the Chinese-American community beginning with the first Chinese immigrants. White New Agers started selling McFengshui to white pop culture in the 1980s — nearly two centuries later.
In answer to the question Is feng shui basically a Chinese art, Pam claims that feng shui originated in India. Back away from the crack pipe, Pam! Extraordinary claims like this require that you furnish a lot of good evidence! But she can’t — because there isn’t any evidence to back up her outlandish comments. 
Nancy asks whether the typical American home (usually a square or rectangle) is a good design for qi flow. Tollefson replies

Actually, these are not bad shapes. In fact, there is a lot to be said for the basic box, because it’s a regular shape.

“Regular shape,” is weird — what makes it “regular”? Actually the square has been proven to be more ecologically efficient!
The octagon shape is so powerful that to use it consistently in our homes is not too good a thing. An octagon is usually saved for sacred spaces. If you look at pagodas, the places where ancestors are honored, to put that shape in your home is a lot to deal with. It takes a very special person to live in an octagon-shaped house. A Pagoda is defined as a cone-shaped mountain built in honor of Buddha and it is derived from Indian stupas. Pagodas came to China with Buddhism in the first century CE, several thousand years after feng shui was firmly in place. Pagodas are square, circular, or polygonal.
Traditional Chinese altars and sacred sites have always been combinations of squares, rectangles, and circles, because of tianyuan difang.
The circle is an ideal shape, unfortunately it’s not an easy thing to build. It would cut out the corners, as far as energy flow, but I can’t say it would be that much better than our squares and rectangles. Circular dwellings are traditionally considered more “intuitive” than the “rational” rectangle. Neolithic circular pithouses (like those of Yangshao culture at Banpo) and beehive huts often predate rectangular structures.
Circular structures preclude the expansion of interior space like a rectangular form. The way to expand the circle is to build additional structures that link to existing ones (this reduces exposed area and maximizes space). Construction like this provides an efficient, large thermal mass to protect against external heat or cold.
… to have a southern exposure [of a house] so that the crops would grow was also desirable. The siting of traditional Chinese farmhouses has nothing to do with how the crops grow — the crops aren’t grown indoors! Some farmhouses are built into mountains or underground, which would seem to preclude anything to do with the location of the fields.
A regular lot is ideal. Many things can be said about the shape of the lot, whether it resembles a money bag (collecting good qi) or a dust bin (where your money is filtering through), the shape of the lot can impact the wealth acquiring abilities. Frank Lloyd Wright said, Find the best place on your lot and then build your house so you can see that spot. Many things can be said about these silly pontifications.

  • Frank Lloyd Wright was not some feng shui savant.
  • There’s an old feng shui saying that one does not build facing the best place, one builds upon the best place.
  • Most feng shui teachers talk about pie shapes, because not every country has “money bags” of whatever idea shape Tollefson is imagining. Pie shapes we know from Powerpoint slides.
    There used to be a saying When the feng shui master comes, be prepared to move. Lin Yun’s followers enjoy repeating this, but unfortunately none of them know what it implied at the time: that the master would have you make so many expensive changes that you couldn’t afford to live in your house anymore.
    How ironic: Tollefson sells a car crystal (“to provide protection for you as you drive” with “directions to empower the crystal for safety”).
    If you are walking into a wall as you enter the front door, then it is good to hang a piece of artwork with some depth to it so that you won’t feel as though you are running into a wall. You want to feel as if you could walk in further if you wanted to. Or you could possibly use a mirror. Mirrors are excellent cures; they help you see behind you. They double your space and expand your horizons. In general, mirrors are considered the aspirin cure of feng shui. Traditional Chinese courtyard homes open to the spirit wall you are forced to turn sharply left or right to avoid. Because evil (as sha qi) cannot negotiate sharp turns it runs into the wall and is repelled from the compound. Here, however, Tollefson seems to be subtly equating her clients with evil spirits. What an interesting twist!

    Traditional, three-room (above-ground) farmhouses still use favorable orientations (that is, they site for solar gain, just as was done at Banpo). Typically the door opens into the middle or largest room where a small shrine is arranged for the ancestors. Farm implements are on one wall, laundry on another.

    The traditional homes of the Hakka in southern China contain one door on the first floor, which has no windows.

    The single-room cave dwellings in the north of China are considered to have auspicious feng shui, as do the subterranean farm dwellings — and yet, no one indiscriminately hangs mirrors in any of these traditional home sites.
    Probably because they are using authentic feng shui, not McFengshui.

    Crystal is powerful. It runs computers. … We also use them as acupuncture needles. Maybe on her planet things do work this way. On Earth, we know she’s excrementalizing.
    Bamboo flutes are also used in feng shui. Just hanging them represents the sound element and they are a good cure if you have oppressive beams hanging over you. Bamboo flutes are merchandise sold by BTB practitioners to the credulous. There is no “sound element” in Chinese culture or science. And flutes have absolutely no effect on beams — oppressive or otherwise.
    Wind chimes or bells also serve as primitive burglar alarms. On my planet — Earth — wind chimes and bells don’t have this peculiar ability.
    You have to watch out for electromagnetic fields. It is true that our electrical appliances have a lot of energy but sometimes they can be over-stimulating. For instance, we don’t want too many electric appliances on at night when we are sleeping. Why, Pam? Will they steal our souls, as some people think cameras do?It would be difficult to “watch out for” electromagnetic fields, because you cannot see them. You need precise instrumentation to find them.

    You don’t want too many electromagnetic fields near your bed, especially if you use a metal bed frame or have a bed with metal coils in the box springs. The steel in the bed is forged with its own magnetic fields. Beyond that, Pam is just another talking head from the Lunatic Fringe.

    For example, wealth is represented by the color purple, partnership is pink, helpful people is gray. We want to have adequate color to bring in support and balance. Pam is quoting Lin Yun color theory. That doesn’t make it real.
    Everything in our space means something. Utter nonsense — but it’s a good way to get the credulous to buy into this steaming bovine byproduct.
    I often suggest to clients to move 27 objects that haven’t been moved in a year. …Cleaning out the closet is an ideal thing to do. Remember, in order to support us, our house needs to be orderly. Why 27 objects?What dimwit would believe this nonsense? After all, the concept of clutter is cultural and personal bias.
    I’ll ask them how long they have lived in the house, what is the history of the house, who did they buy it from and why did those people move?

    BEWARE! If someone asks you all these questions, don’t answer — unless you want to give them everything they need to pull a fraud.

    You should not have to answer all the questions that you are paying the feng shui practitioner to answer for you! To learn more about this kind of chicanery, I suggest Chapter 14, “Memes of the New Age” in Susan Blackmore’s The Meme Machine.

    An authentic feng shui practitioner should ask only for your birthdate, the year the house was constructed and years of any substantial remodels, and possibly also the date you moved in. With this information they can tell you fairly intimate details that, as strangers, they should not otherwise be able to know. This is what constitutes a double-blind experiment. If you answer questions like Pam asks, you are giving the practitioner permission to cheat you.