Bull and Bear Meet Wind and Water

How Wall Street is waking up to the economic advantages of feng shui.

Quick quiz. The Amex is overshadowed by the NYSE because:

    It has a lower volume of trading.

    It has lower-status company listings.

    It was forced to merge with the Nasdaq to survive.

    Too much yin.

It's obvious. The inauspicious location and a lack of free-flowingenergy would add up to "D," says Brooklyn-based feng shui consultantStephanie Roberts.



Chi-bang: Dark,reflective doors bounce positive chi back.
Photo credit: EllenLeventry

Translated as "wind and water," feng shui (pronounced fung-shway) is abroad body of traditional Chinese knowledge primarily concerned with theflow and quality of the energy, or chi, occupying a space. (For thoseunfamiliar with the power of chi, see Jean-Claude Van Damme's 1987

"Bloodsport".)

Like the bull and the bear of the market, chi is composed of opposingforces -- yang and yin. Yang energy is light, high, bright and active,while yin energy is dark, low and inactive. An excess of yin translatesinto not enough energy for life -- which means not enough energy forbusiness, says Roberts, who does residential and corporate consulting. Fengshui practitioners attempt to balance the opposing forces through theauspicious placement of buildings, doors, furniture and other objects inorder to create harmony, prosperity and well-being.

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Once solely a New Age preoccupation, feng shui has lured such soulful'90s converts as Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey. The Donald consulted afeng shui specialist before building his hulking Trump International Hotelin New York -- hence the blinding silver globe out front at ColumbusCircle. And Oprah is purported to have worked out her chi issues with aconsultant. Even Wall Street has taken stock of its chi flow.

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