Red Envelopes

Envelopes_and_CoinsThe giving of the red envelope is a tradition in China.

Red envelopes are used to enhance luck, happiness and prosperity. They are also utilized as protection against inauspicious qi (or chi) and to prevent negative events from occurring. Red packets are considered very auspicious when received as a gift.

Images used on the front of a red envelope wish blessings, long life, prosperity and good health. Through the years, artists have found new ways to improve the message of good tidings such as carp swimming amongst flowering lotus, the fabled creatures of dragon and phoenix, Chinese zodiac animals depending on the year being presented, peonies in full bloom, the three immortals, golden pineapples, Buddha’s and children. They are actually very beautiful and the varied designs we have seen over the years have been outstanding. As a company we hand pick every design as the quality and presentation is very important.

Red symbolizes power, protection and good luck. Payment to a Feng Shui Master is made in previously unused red envelopes for a Feng Shui Consult or when Feng sacred knowledge is transmitted for several reasons:

  • To show respect for sacred knowledge given during a consultation.
  • To increase the effectiveness of cures.
  • To protect the Feng Shui Master from harm for revealing sacred knowledge and from taking on energy of concerns discussed or cleared during the consultation.


Recipients of Feng Shui methods present payment within one, three or nine new red envelopes. Because nine is the number of completion, it is the preferred number. Eight envelopes can contain one dollar each and the last the balance of the consultation fee.

If you cannot find red envelopes locally, they can be purchased online from many sources, or you can make them yourself with red construction paper. It is your sincere intent that is most important in this tradition.

Bagua in My Bedroom?

Dear Caroline,

I live in a house with two levels. I have my bedroom in the second level. The bedroom is accessed by stairs and they are on the left side of the main door of the house, that is on the Knowledge area – I guess.

I don’t know if I should consider the stairs as the main entrance of the bedroom or still use the main door of the house as a reference point.

I have also tried to use a compass to find out for example where the Relationships area is. In theory, it is in the southwest part of the house. But when I use the bagua and use it according to the main entrance situation, the result is completely different.

Could you help me with this? Thank you very much.

With Best Regards
A Reader

Dear Reader,

Please contact me again this weekend to let me know if you are using Black Hat Feng Shui or Compass school? It can be confusing having different books giving different ways of mapping your home.

BaguaAs a consultant, I have found the system which works best for the novice is the school of thought which aligns the Bagua or 8-sided octagonal shaped grid. Master Lin Yun brought this school of Feng Shui to the United States in the early 80s. His teaching of this ancient form of harmony and balance began at Berkeley, California. His schooling began at age five in China, and the world has never been the same. When attending his classes, I witnessed his humility, spiritual awareness and honesty when presenting Feng Shui to Americans.

My newspaper column called West Meets East, archived from the Benicia Herald, can also be read on my website. The archive contains more than 100 stories and teachings to help inform and answer questions pertaining to Black Hat School of thought. Many of these might answer your questions.

Black Hat School can be used without the compass and provide excellent results. I began my career using Compass School, which works very well also, but is complicated for the client. My goal was to educate the client, so the client could take control of his or her life with the diagram or floor plan of their home or office after I left the home. Each of my consultations became a private lesson. This is a very empowering gift for the owner of the dwelling.

So, according to Black Hat methodology, place the Bagua over the house centering the grid with the center of the house as closely as possible. Also include the garage if it is built onto the structure, as most garages nowadays hold 2-3 vehicles and are a large part of the floor plan. Place an invisible thumbtack in the center of the Bagua and swing the Career section of the Bagua to your FRONT DOOR. For most home this works. Now the architectural front door becomes the “mouth of the Chi.”

Next, there are two options at the top of the second story. In Master Lin’s early teaching, the second level was considered a second and new Bagua alignment, and in this second phase the Career zone started at the top of the stairs. Although this mapping is still used by many consultants with success, I find Terah Collins, author of many Feng Shui books and a San Diego school, advice quite helpful. Terah’s idea is, as below so above. (She is also a past student of His Holiness and follows many of his teachings.) This system also works very well on homes with multiple stairways.

During one of Master Lin’s workshops, I heard him contend, yes, the second floor could be considered as below so above. He feels the Bagua is a part of your being,  and this invisible energy or Chi is always changing and always flowing. Life is never the same from second to second, and we must adjust to the Chi’s changing and life forces.

The Bagua can be placed over the home, car, boat, property, the body, the face and the nation.

Choose your consultant wisely and ask questions. If someone suggests a doorway be boarded up or tells you must follow their advice only and predicts scary situations, run, don’t walk to a known and proven consultant. Good Luck!

PS: I am available consultations by email. This service can be done by fax and phone with an appointment.

Caroline Patrick

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.

Various Interests & Mentors

Wealth_Symbol_150Combining her various interests, of teaching, art instruction, herbal knowledge, illustration, writing and Feng Shui, Caroline opened a business called, Caroline’s Arts and Feng Shui Shoppe located on the waterfront in Benicia, California in 1994. The location was chosen with Feng Shui Principles and was an immediate success. The space became a magnet for workshops, unexpected gatherings and guests from around the world.

With the success of thousands of clients ranging from physicians, CEO’s of large and small businesses, school systems, city government, publishing corporations, research facilities, outlet shopping malls, China businesses, health centers, animal kennels, interior design and architectural companies she has gained a reputation of locating the problems quickly and correcting the situation.

Acorn_ChinaAcorn Product Development Company, based in California’s Silicon Valley are North American Leaders in new product design/mechanical engineering.

Over 50 companies in 2007, such as Apple, Cisco, Logitech and Siemens Medical rely on Acorn. She has consulted in their expansion to China and Boston.

When companies expand, Caroline listens to her clients needs and helps them grow according to Chi flow, implementing correct Feng Shui design choices, color applications and select proper art pieces for each space.

Other mentors include Alexis Summerfield, Jean Crain, Mary Evans, Roger Green, Deborah Gee, Teacher Ho Lynn (a.k.a. Jetsun Darma of Yuan Yuan Ed Foundation), William Spears, Lillian Bridges and Katherine Metz. These studies deepen her ability to understand the ancient science and apply it to our modern world of technology.

She is available upon request to educate people, such as CEO’s and employees, of their company’s potential, through city and corporate lectures, evaluating the companies, one family at a time.

Caroline dedicates this website to the late Grandmaster Lin Yun, who named her BorNei and thanks him for his service and compassion to mankind.