The Mysteries of the Plant World

HbirdI have found the plant world fascinating for as long as I can remember. According to my father’s recollection, I picked every weed and flower within my reach, only to pull apart and detach each part or petal, one at a time, until only a naked lonely stem remained in my chubby clenched fist. A puzzled look formed on my face as I watched the pretty little remains of the plant slip away into the summer’s breeze.

Nothing was safe during my safaris. Daddy said my favorite varmints were those with the most legs and I would delight in showing the latest catch to Mother, who reacted with screams which woke up the dead, he related. Upturned rocks revealed critters in every size and shape, I recalled. “Rollie bugs were really fun, as it took them a long time to escape. Snakes slithered at rapid speed, scooting across rocks and hiding deeper into cracks and crannies, and I learned if you grabbed them by the tail, it sometimes fell off, but the slick long body didn’t slow down and scurried on its way, with or without the remaining skin. “How did that happen,” I wondered.

Grubs and worms could be found in special moist dark dirt. I delighted in collecting the creatures with my Grandfather Sheppard for his fishing trips. I rode in his old black car on an upturned bucket, which replaced the passenger side seat on fishing days. But by Sunday morning the car was cleaned and polished and the “real seat” put back in place for my Grandmother. Mama and Papa Sheppard’s car was fully packed with grandchildren on the Sabbath, like sardines, as I recall. On my mother’s side of the family I had twenty- two cousins and there was never a dull moment when we got together. It took a lot of fish to fill up “us children” and their parents for Sunday dinner.

Out of all the cousins, though, I was the least squeamish youngster and could be counted on to help Grandpa bait his hooks. We were a lot alike. He loved the outdoors, the silence and at later at eighty-three years old, took up painting. He painted on any surface that didn’t move and created many, many wonderful pictures before he “went home to his maker” at ninety-seven. I still have two of his masterpieces, one of two Indians and another of a country scene with a house, trees and a fishing pond. We had a wonderful letter-writing relationship during his artist days, as I was teaching college art and he asked many questions about paints, brushes and thinners in his correspondence. We shared a lot in common about gardening and wildlife, which was also passed down to my Mother before I was born.

FMavPoppyLater I studied at length on the properties of my of these “foods” used by “Mother’s people.” From sassafras to dandelions, the plants we now call weeds provided our ancestors with vitamins and minerals needed for health. Poke and Dock were two “weeds” which “cleaned you out” and were cooked with spinach to tone down their effects. The greens, as they were called, simmered on the back of the stove, until they were safe to eat. Vinegar was added to give them tartness, and sometimes turnips were added to pot and boiled in the dark juices.

Some of my favorite herbs are as far away as your back yard. They vary from climate to climate, but living many different places in my life, I have been able to gather and use easily, dandelion, which contains many minerals and cleanses the liver. Its golden flower contains beta carotene and can be added to pancakes and muffins, mullein for the lungs, horsetail contains silica, stinging nettles is a super plant to restore blood and has a multitude of uses. As a young plant can be cooked as a vegetable, oat straw to calm and heal nerve damage, plantain for insect stings, sage for crones aches and pains, red clover as a blood cleanser and cancer preventive, Hawthorne berries for regulating blood pressure, whether high or low, rose hips for a vitamin C tea, chamomile to calm the nerves and help for sleeplessness, fennel for a spicy treat, miner’s lettuce to add in salads.

Walking into your own backyard, you may still find many of these powerful helpers, as they tend to come to you when you need their help. When giving Feng Shui consultations, I always observe the plants surrounding the property. Nature has a unique memory and will support your body. Although not all people are interested in finding out more about these natural foods and medicines, I feel fortunate to have learned this knowledge from my Grandfather and Mother. I give classes on tincturing many of these natural remedies and hope the names of these plants may give you a desire to see what cures are living in your own backyard.

Hello from Mexico

FdesertSouth America has welcomed Feng Shui with open arms. There are many Feng Shui books translated into Spanish, especially from some of Professor Lin Yun’s early students. This country is at home with the Earth Element and builds houses to reflect its nurturing Mother Earth feeling. I feel very at home in Mexico. We lived in Arizona for many years. I used my little bit of high school Spanish when we crossed the border often to shop or fish in the desolate lower and wild regions of Mexico. With my features and olive skin tones I was always mistaken for a local and so was warmly welcomed and approached by strangers until they heard my Oklahoma accent, and then we would all laugh at my attempt to communicate.

This is an email requesting a picture I am still trying to locate on my website which I drew to give an example of a perfect house. He obviously finds it and sends the page back to me and I am able to answer his questions while looking at the drawing. You know how computers swallow up things. I need to talk to my webmaster to see if I can locate my onsite page reference on the house!

Hello Caroline, this is from Mexico!

I do want to ask you for a very special favor.

Could you please send me the image in high resolution format?

I’ll build a brand new house taking your ideas … Feel proud of yourself!

PS: Do you think it is important the house orientation?

PS2: What do you think about a “shield” protecting the back, front and both sides? (See attached file)

Let me thank you in advance,
A builder in Mexico

Dear Builder,

Thank you for your interest and insight for building happier homes. I’m sorry I don’t retain the high resolution of the picture you are referring to, it was only a sketch. Where is the page on the website located? I have forgotten where the webmaster placed it.

I’m glad you are building a Feng Shui-friendly house. The best Feng Shui-shaped house is square, round or rectangle, so energy or Chi can’t be trapped. Round houses are very good.

No bathrooms should be in the middle of any structure, homes or city buildings, as all energy of all family members or workers is depleted. Also, no toilets in the far back left corner (Wealth) or far back right corner (Partnership). Bathrooms are best placed between Quas or sections. Also, none over the front door if it is two stories and none in view when entering a dwelling.

No “shields” or special mirrors (Bagua with the I-Ching written on them) are needed, unless you have schools, factories, graveyards, hospitals, etc. next door or nearby, which are Yin in nature or dangerous problems near by. My Master teacher says it is better to be ten miles or more from graveyards.

Yin is not bad as we need Yin and Yang equally to live, but it is best to live in “alive places” which are Yang. Bedrooms should have a Yin or darker feeling and placed near the back of a dwelling so sleep is not disturbed by traffic and daytime activities.


Dear Caroline, I’m glad I got your reply.

Too bad you don’t have the high resolution image, because I cannot understand some words you wrote on it.

Could it be possible you could tell me what’s written on it?

For example: (IN THE WEALTH CORNER) I can read there is a lamp, sliding doors, plug-in fountain, toy storage and computer for the play room, but I cannot read what’s underlined.

Thank you for your help,



persimmonsCould you send me the page to view? I’m not finding it. I will be leaving for Taiwan soon, so am trying to help everyone before I leave next week. . . Thanks for sending the page to review. These are just suggestions that I added to give the viewer ideas to use to bring in the energies. I put a hobby desk, family pictures, etc. in this drawing. These aren’t rules, but family study or a large table for crafts is what was drawn. The wealth corner is also a good place for a dining room, with a mirror reflecting the food on the table. Pictures of fish, a calm lake, crystal chandelier over the table and the color of purple work in this area, as well as grapes, purple walls, or just the color here and there. Don’t forget coins and piggy banks.

There are a couple of things I would now do differently. Try to build the bedrooms to have the all beds facing the front door or having a “view” of the front door (if you could see through the walls). The beds, desk and stove should be in a commanding position to the front door or architectural front door to welcome Chi and opportunities.

Good luck and let me know how the design works for you and your clients.


Dead End Doorways to the Future

Wealth_Symbol_150I receive many questions from high school and college students on the impact of using Feng Shui in their lives. Some parents may not consider Feng shui as a tool to change their children’s lives. They should take a look at the value of this form of balance, as it could help many divorced parents find peace in their homes, which overflows into their grown children’s lives. The Art of Placement does have an effect through color , design and environment. Every house or room you have lived in impacts an energy print on the way you perceive life. Here is yet another question from a frustrated youth. Today’s children grow up too quickly and then return home because of various situations. Try Feng Shui for helping them move forward and finding their future and purpose. Here is some advice for finding that unique path.

Dear Caroline,

I don’t exactly need to know much about the house, but more about my room. I’m 20 and I still live with my mom, I’ve been out of a job since last November when I quit to go see my dad in Georgia (parents are divorced). Anyway, it’s been hard for me to find a job and get on a path to accomplish goals in my life. I recently got into Feng Shui so I’m trying to arrange my room to help me in life. My problem is that when I walk into my room or my Career area, the door opens up so I face a dead end wall (it’s actually the same for the actual entryway to the house), and the rest of the room is on the right. I figure this might have something to do with my difficulties finding work since my Career area of my room is pretty non-existent. What can I do to help fix this problem? A quick response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

A Reader

Dear Reader,

Thank you for realizing your surrounding environment could have an impact on your life! This ancient form of Balance and Harmony called Feng Shui was originally used to find the perfect surroundings to build villages, grow crops, provide temples of worship and be protected from the ravages of storms and drought. Today we can use this same theory to energize not only our homes, businesses, plots of land, cities and nations, but also a desk, room, bed, boat, car and the human body!

Everything has a measured energy. Under the earth are energy grids which criss-cross the entire earth. The study of these earth energies is called geomancy. I have learned the basis of this energy or Chi and how it works and how it affects homes and clients. Animals are very attuned to these forces, some more than others. A dog will not lay on a stress line, while a wild cat and some domestic felines seem to enjoy healing the troublesome spot by stretching over the area while sleeping. I’ll relate a quick consultation where this was indeed the case.

A divorced woman called me several years ago to help her overcome her distress of the situation. She was unhappy about her whole life and couldn’t seem to move forward. Her cat followed us throughout the most of the consultation and then disappeared. It was a very hot day of over 98 degrees, which is quite warm for the Bay Area of California. As we walked outside to finish the outdoor session of the consultation, there was the large 14-year-old, longhaired cat lying in the sun on the direct corner of a missing Partnership section of the home. The poor animal was panting as there was no shade on this corner out in the middle of the parched area where a corner post should have been connected a room to this far back right portion of the house. I had already concluded that missing piece of a floor plan could cause stress to a marriage, but the cat KNEW there was an imbalance to the home site.

Underground energies are a big problem when one of these lines falls in an important Qua or section of the eight-sided Bagua used as a tool for the practitioner to map the home.

The other interesting mystery of this consultation was the woman had been divorced 12 years, and I was mislead as to the time frame of the final separation, as in her conversation, it was as if it was yesterday. She could not let go of the past, was in several lawsuits and it showed in almost every section of the home. The cat was certainly working overtime, trying to correct earth energies in the house and under the property. Why am I telling you this? Because the energy in the house where you live does affect everyone in the structure. If you really want to change your future, start in your room and work outward, or work from the front yard inward visualizing what the Chi sees as it passes your Mother’s house. Is it inviting or blocked? If the dwelling is a condo or apartment, it is even more important to distinguish your apartment from the neighbor’s.

Can Santa Claus find YOUR house?

Make it stand out in a positive way by adding red flowers in black pots, for example. So it’s winter, add silk flowers with a seasonal touch. Entryways are truly important. This is called the ‘mouth of Chi’ where the unseen energy enters your home.

Yes, if there only seems to be a few feet to a wall on entry, a large mirror should be hung. Some schools of Feng Shui thought claim differently. Go with what feels right to you. I can tell you in my experience, this is a great cure and opens up possibilities. Get rid of any clutter such as shoes, boots or coats and take your books and mail to another place and file it. I have a three-shelf basket away from the door. Get rid of junk mail as you stand there and don’t let it pile up on the kitchen counter or a desk. When a desk is overflowing it gives a signal to the universe that you are already overloaded in the progress department. A fountain which is maintained, on and running at this entry will help bring opportunities.

Now that is finished opportunities began to flow into the house. Are you ready for the next steps of change? The corner to the right of the entry is also a very, very important Gua called Helpful People and Travel. A wallboard containing business cards of networking people, including your father’s picture or any other important person’s name, is considered an enhancement. A silver container is also a great tool for placing a written note about what you want in the future dated and signed, a mini contract for forward movement. Be ready for opportunities you don’t expect, as opportunities come in different directions, not planned. Clutter busting is the best way to draw the Chi into your space. It leaves the space open for new possibilities.

Now comes your room. Where is it located on the floor plan? Since you are 20 years old a front bedroom is best, grabbing opportunities quickly near the front door. A mirror is also needed on the first short wall you mentioned on entering your bedroom. The reflective surface insures the balance of the element of Water and creates a ‘doorway’ of openings. Check out the far back corner of the home and your room. Both areas need activation for Wealth. A picture of a gently flowing river is a good addition, or something purple. Chinese coins are effective as they are round and square, the symbol of Yin and Yang or the Tai Chi of life.

I’m thrilled you are considering Feng Shui to help you achieve your goals. I get many emails from students in high school and college, wanting information on the Art of Placement for term papers. The practice is defiantly ancient but very useful in our modern world. Last year I spoke to the AMA Continental Congress of Surgeons and their spouses in San Francisco at their conference for a six-hour workshop about mapping their homes. I will again be teaching five Feng Shui classes for a college in the northwest in 2004. There is a foundation on the study of Geomancy in Berkeley, California. Maybe you should look into that for a study, job-related field.

Feng Shui the home and your room for the best results. Good luck and let me know your results using Feng Shui.