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Richard Craze - Feng Shui: A Complete Guide

When I first saw this book I thought it was a lot of money for a small book. I showed it to a friend and said, "This book is $18!" He laughed and responded facetiously, "Yeah, but it's complete." At that point I decided to take the title seriously and see just how complete is this book?

The verdict is good news. The author has bent over backwards to take the reader from ground zero through very complicated materials. He completely explains why the elements are located where they are. The charts and illustrations are extremely well-conceived and executed. It becomes obvious why Wood is lesser yang and Metal is lesser yin.

Compass feng shui has a reputation for being incredibly complicated. Craze makes it less confusing by not dwelling on your individual element or animal sign. Instead, he focuses on the direction of the home and what that means to you --- a great book to take along when house or apartment shopping.

He has no objection to using driftwood or a bleached, gnarled, branch to enhance stillness. Nice to see that not everyone objects to these so-called "dead" items. He is against seeing bare light bulbs and I must say that I intuitively agree. He has some clever advice in the Wealth area: "I keep my account books here that record income. Bills I keep elsewhere as Huan Lo is about attracting money, not watching it go out." On page 66 is an astonishing chart of "The eight remedies and their ideal enrichments." This is very valuable information and I have never seen it in any other book. When he describes walking the nine palaces, he gives special consideration to the Center. He includes a very convincing case study here. I happen to love case studies. They are, after all, the reason we practice feng shui.

Craze certainly has no problem with furniture which is angled to the wall. Yeah! On page 119 an entire bedroom suite is angled.

After having carefully read this book, I'm extremely impressed. The last five chapters are absolute marvels:

The home room by room
The garden (specific and very useable)
Offices (the Pa Kua for the desk has the Fame area in the section of the desk where you sit --- interesting.)
Troubleshooting "In an ideal house you would probably avoid patterned fabric and wallpapers, as they play havoc with ch'i. Use instead plain colours and very simple colour schemes. Colour can become cluttered very easily. If you want your walls to have texture try using colour washes and sponging effects as they harmonize the ch'i rather than distracting it." Superb advice!
Feng shui and the I Ching (a small, but most unusual chapter.)

This book is quite complete, compact, and readable. My verdict is "four stars." And it's not expensive. It's actually a bargain.

Trafalgar Square, North Pomfret, VT, www.trafalgarsquarebooks.com (800-423-4525,) 1997, 0-340-69708-3, 188 pages, black and white drawings and color photographs, paperback, $17.95

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