Many Westerners, confronted with historical Western misinterpretations of Chinese culture, find themselves quite baffled when confronted with the real thing. These misinterpretations are pretty basic.
When Westerners first learned Chinese, they naturally more or less interpreted literally everything they heard. Chinese is a very idiomatic language, containing a lot of literary and cultural references. So when the first Chinese speaking Westerners encountered complex idioms, they thought that a reference to a turtle, for example, actually referred to a turtle, not the concept of longevity. The result was a pretty farcical mix of translations, which persist to some extent, even to this day.
When confronted with a very complex range of concepts like Feng Shui, therefore, Western interpretation was not exactly at its best. Feng Shui is a particularly intricate range of concepts directly related to both physical and spiritual issues. Add to this the near-slapstick comedy nature of Western translations and the almost totally different western concept of spirituality, and it’s not hard to see where all the misconceptions come from.
The best way to find out about Chinese culture, particularly something so quintessentially Chinese as Feng Shui, is to go direct to the source. There’s a website (http://www.fengshui-import.com/) run by a company called Feng Shui Imports which is a particularly useful source of information regarding core Feng Shui concepts, principles and practices. It’s a great place to learn about Feng Shui online.
Equally importantly, they also have a positively gigantic range of authentic Feng Shui items. This is a very useful and productive environment in which to learn about Feng Shui. You can quite literally go from the basic Feng Shui information to checking out the actual Feng Shui products. It’s a good learning environment, and certainly goes a long way to correct misconceptions about both Feng Shui and Chinese culture.
A word of advice at this point – Be prepared for a major learning experience. Also be prepared to be dazzled by the beautiful Feng Shui products in such huge numbers. Check out the Feng Shui crystals and have fun exploring the enormous range of fabulous and wonderful examples of true Chinese culture.