MODULE 8: MAKE AN ENTRANCE
YOUR ACCESS POINT TO TRANSFORMATION
It's very telling that when the word entrance originated in the early 1500's, it actually had a very different meaning. Born from the combination of the words "en" - "trance", it originally meant "to throw one into a trance" or to bring one to a state of delight and bliss.This referred to the fact that simply by entering a space that was energetically powerful, a person's state would be altered.
Indeed, the entrance plays a significant role in the creation of sacred spaces, both in the worlds of Temple-making and in Feng Shui.
If we follow the principles of temple making, walking into your space should be an experience that allows us to leave behind the outside world and enter a state of bliss, inspiration, or anything else we are hoping to achieve, that we want others to experience.
It was common to find statues at the entrance of temples and pyramids of ancient civilisations, and very often, they were snakes, which symbolised rebirth as a snake eats its own tail, killing itself before coming back to life.
Ancient temples also built entrances in a way that the initiate to be purified as they walked into the space, their energy field would be cleared by the time they reached the altar, helping to keep the energy intact.
For example: the entrance of the pyramid of Saqqara used 7 columns which to form 7 energetic portals which aimed to affect our beings. As we walked past each portal on our way in, we would be slightly altered, and transformed by the time we reach the alter.
Interestingly, Chartres cathedral also uses 7 large arched columns on the path to the altar, also allowing the guest to be deeply impacted before reaching the altar.
The use of the number 7 is interesting. Some believe it is chosen because of our 7 chakras and walking by each of the columns allows each chakra to be aligned one by one, allowing for full expansion at the end.
It could also be that 7 represents the forces that shape the universe, the prime notes of sound.
On a smaller scale, this type of idea could be replicated by keeping 7 small artworks or perhaps 7 crystals which all aim to impact us in a certain way as we walk through the entrance of a space.
What you place at the entrance of your space will depend on its cardinal orientation.
It is a good idea to review the module on orientation when making this decision.
If the space is facing North:
The element of Earth will be strong, so use something outside which relates to earth, crystals, stones, tress or plants are all good.
The theme is Grounding: so choose colours and materials which represent grounding, earth tones, browns, greens, beiges are good,
If the space is facing East:
The element will be Air, so hang a feather, or a decorative element which contains a feather or feathers, some incense or a wind chime.
The theme is understanding, so choose colours which are light and airy and represent the light of day, light shining on our shadows and helping us find clarity.
If the space is facing south:
The element is fire, so it's a good idea to keep candles or volcanic rock, or an image of something relating to fire.
The theme is empowerment. decorate this space using elements which represent strong power.
If the space is facing west:
The element is water, so its a good idea to place a water element there.
A fountain, an aquarium or another kind of water feature is great.
The theme is communication, so anything relating to diving inwards and being with yourself is great, or anything related to self-expression works well.
As we read in the module about crystals, they can be quite a powerful element to bring a capability of transformation into a space.
As in the old temples of ancient civilisations, the entrance to a space marked an opportunity for a shift in the state of being of a visitor.
As we have seen, the best crystals for transformation of energy are the pyramid shaped clear quartz crystals.
Keeping a pyramid shaped clear quartz crystal at the entrance is a great way to transmute any energy flow before it reaches the space, but also help support transformation in visiting guests.
You can also hot two birds with one stone and display 7 crystals, one for each chakra, representing the 7 chakra colours at the entrance.
It's also a good idea to use the number nine (9) in some shape or form on the entrance of a space.
Both Chartres Cathedral in France and Chichenitza temple in the Yucatan in mexico display the number 9 prominently in their shapes.
this represents the ultimate divine perfection: notice how a baby takes 9 months to be developed before birth, for instance, or how when we fall in love we say we are on cloud nine.
Some ideas on how to use the number nine would be to either use nonagon shapes, a nine-point star, or simply 9 of something.
For instance, if your shop front is tiled, it could perhaps be tiled in a grid of 9 tiles (3x3) or even 9 rows of tiles or 9 columns of tiles.
Be creative and see how you can integrate this important symbol of divine perfection in the entrance and or shopfront of your space.
In Feng Shui:
The entrance is called ‘the mouth of chi’. It is where luck, opportunities and people enter.
Taking good care of this area is essential to making sure we can counter any Sha chi, negative energy.
Pay attention to the slope of your street and or area. It is a good idea for your business to be located towards the bottom of a hill so the energy flows more easily towards your space, and , ideally, with hills or mountains somewhere behind so the energy stays contained.
You dont want the hills to be too steep, as that may result in too much energy reaching your home too quickly, which may be unsettling.
But again, it depends on what type of space you are creating. A fast-food restaurant may want to receive more energy at a faster pace than a yoga studio or meditation retreat.
Most businesses tend to be located in urban areas and it may often appear that these are flat. In reality, there is usually a slope of some kind, even if it's hard to perceive. A great way to check for the slope of your area is by doing the following:
Grab a bottle of water, exit the space and walk out in front of it towards the street. (Make sure there are no cars coming your way...).
Open the bottle of water and spill it straight down on the ground. Watch and pay attention to which way the water flows. The ideal is for it to flow towards your home and not away. It may be flowing sideways and appear to be bypassing your entrance.
Pay attention to this, if the energy is not coming towards your home, it will be a good idea to find other ways of attracting the energy and attention to your space.
Getting a shaman to create a vortex in front of your space is ideal to draw the energy in, this will also draw in visitors as well as anything else you need for the space to be successful.
Make sure your shop front is well lit, that the brand name is clearly indicated, that the street number and opening hours are also clearly visible.
Remember, the chi you are trying to attract is like a guest. It is therefore a good idea to do whatever you can for a guest to feel welcome and find the space appealing and attractive.
Cut back any branches or foliage obscuring your front path and doorway, as you want people, post and opportunities to be able to find you.
Pay attention to any streets or pathways that may be leading up to the entrance as they may be bringing in too much energy too fast and need to be countered. You can place a mirror facing your doorway to help counter a fast-moving chi.
Once through the door, it is important that area be kept clear, tidy and clutter-free.
You might also want to place fresh flowers here to welcome people in, and install good lighting, the brighter the better, to improve the energy flow.
As we have seen in previous articles, the direction of the front door is quite important.
According to the feng shui bagua map which we have seen, the front entrance area is the one relating to career and life-path.
This is particularly important to consider for a small business or commercial space, as its usually, for very obvious reasons, quite linked to the owner's life path.
Take a moment to reflect, how does this new business space represent your life path in some way?
For some people, a new business is only a simple investment which they want a big return on. For some, it may be a springboard which they hope will catapult them to bigger and better things, the beginning of something new.
For others, it may be representing a stage of their life where it's time to slow down and take it easy.
Let's do an exercise to figure out what our front entrance should be telling to visiting guests.
Step 1: working with your space's cardinal orientation.
Grab a compass and stand outside your door with your back to the door, facing outside.
Reset your compass and check the orientation, North, South, East, West.
If your space is facing one of the secondary orientations (ie: North-East, South-East, etc) You can choose the main orientation which is closest to your measured one, or choose the one of the two which is closest to your business objectives.
Depending on your spaces orientation, choose the decorative elements, colours, materials, shapes etc, which align with that element and direction.
Step 2: your space's objectives.
How does your business space orientation relate to its broader objectives?
Does it support it, or is it opposite?
For instance, a school facing east is a great alignment as east is all about understanding and clarity.
A school facing south would be slightly less aligned.
If your space orientation and your objectives are out of alignment, it will be important to re-affirm your business objectives even more strongly through decorative choices. For instance, the school facing south should use less of the fire element more of the air element, despite its orientation.
Step 3: your life path and your space
Stand outside of your home facing the entrance.
Close your eyes and find a place of deep connection, connecting to your breath and to the earth beneath your feet. Then, open your eyes and have a good look at your entrance. How do you feel? Then reflect on how you would like to be feeling? How are the two different? What is missing?
Grab a pen and paper and write down what the objectives of this business are for you. Is it simply an investment to make money?
Is it for your enjoyment after a long time of working hard and building your path? or is it the beginning of a path, at the bottom of the mountain, where you are ready to rise to new challenges and reach new heights in your life?
this feeling needs to be reflected in the design decisions you make in this space.
In terms of choosing colours for this area, you could go with the colours recommended by your feng shui bagua map, the colours for the front door area are blue or black. Only do so if this feels right for you and it deeply resonates. Otherwise choose a colour which enables an emotion you would like to be feeling in this space, or how it relates to your life path otherwise.
For my personal home. I chose a light purple, a colour for spiritual growth as this is the most important objective for my space.
You will see more information on colour selection in future modules.
Step 4: Symbolism.
Once you have decided and determined the objectives of the space and how you want visitors and guests to experience it, it's a good idea to make some decisions on the types of symbolism you will want to display.
Consider using a statue of some sort that represents how you want your guests to be welcomed at your door. For business and commercial spaces, Feng Shui practitioners believe a dragon is a great element to have at the front door as it is a strong representative of Yang energy, it is great for prosperity.
A large buddha statue is also great. Middle eastern cultures tend to also like using a blue eye, which they believe helps to fend off the "evil eye" which may be cast on us by others, or a Fatima's hand, which is meant to "wave away" bad spirits.
The next couple of modules will deal with symbolisms, this will be helpful to figure out which one(s) is/are right for you.
Step 5: Some basics
If your space has an exterior entrance to the street, check for the following:
- Is the house number clearly visible?
- are there trees or branches obstructing the doorway?
- is there a street or pathway of some type coming straight towards your entrance?
Make sure you also have enough light in this area, a welcome mat and wind chimes are also great additions.
If you have a long hallway at your entrance, you may want to look into creating an emotional journey through or crystals artworks, similarly to what was done with the energy portals in the ancient temples.
Depending on the length of your hallway, choose either 7 or 3 artworks of some type aligned along the walls, specifically chosen to enable transformation.
Perhaps each of them can symbolise one chakra, using the colours of that chakra or a shape that represents it. (If you are using only 3 artworks, I suggest using colours and shapes that represent the 3 chakras of creation: the third eye, the throat chakra and the root chakra.)
Be intuitive with the selection of art and what you are trying to achieve.
Have a think about how you can use the number 9 in the entrance area. be creative and let your imagination roam free.
It's fine if this takes more time and you add this element afterwards.
It's also important to pay attention to the entire area that can be seen from the entrance.
Keep the area clear, and well lit, and make sure it feels welcoming.
-Dont forget that a pyramid shaped crystal placed at the entrance is a great way to bring transformation to people and energy flows as they enter the room.
Now if you take away one thing from this article it's this:
You need to love walking into your space for others to as well.
Try to keep a good scent in that area as that will affect a good first impression.
CASE STUDY 1:
Back in 2010, while I was running my previous design studio Montage, an opportunity came up to participate in a London Hotel Design Trade show.
In an effort to begin to move away from the commercial projects and create more soulful work, I took on the opportunity, and along with a couple of team mates, designed a hotel room using a philosophy we called Armada supporting spiritual development and transformation.
In many ways, the project was a failure, mainly because I just didn't have sufficient knowledge on the topic of sacred spaces to make it work at the time.
6 years later, as I began to research temple-making and Feng Shui, I found that we had actually unknowingly included some of its principles without even being aware of them.
The entrance was a key feature.
We had designed the room in a way that it actually had a separate entrance and exit, as was the case in many of the most famous ancient temples, creating a proper flow of energy.
In line with feng shui principles, the hotel room number was very well indicated, and the hallway was kept intentionally dark, allowing the visitor to dive internally in exploration before expanding into the space.
The most important feature of the entrance was the use of a series of artworks, shot by my friend Stephen Morallee, each representing an emotion that we wanted guests to experience as they walked into the space (ie: love, heart opening, and eventually euphoria.)
Indeed, we were hoping people would achieve a certain level of transformation simply by journeying into the space.
CASE STUDY 2:
When asked to design the vivienne Westwood shop in Hong Kong, there were a few challenges to overcome.
The white facade was well lit, but the brand names appeared washed out and it was hard for the shop to stand out in a sea of white buildings.
Painting the facade deep purple allowed it to stand out more, having the light magnolia interiors feel more inviting, and making all branding elements feel much clearer.
On the right side of the window, a screen with a monogram made of symbols which relate to the brand can be found. The monogram screen is a different way to use symbolism than simply hang it in front of the door.
CASE STUDY 3:
THE DELI KITCHEN
I recently gave a talk on Sacred Spaces at a place called the Deli Kitchen in Barcelona.
It was a lovely cafe with a great vibe. But one thing that struck me was that the name deli kitchen was hardly visible at all from the street level as the branding for Espai Egg, which is the larger space that the Deli Kitchen is housed in, is much more dominating.
I later found out, through discussions with the owner, that this was her first business venture and that there was a big investor behind her, and she was struggling with truly owning the space.
It seems clear to me that the shopfront, as it is, was mirroring that situation and that she needed to reflect on empowerment and how to better own the space for it to really feel like it is hers.