Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Nine Fish

I have a painting similar to this one hanging in my office. Yesterday, a client came in and her attention was immediately focused on the painting. “Nine fish,” she said enthusiastically. “You will be very prosperous.”

A quick bit of research revealed that according to the ancient art of Feng Shui, nine fish is indeed a very good thing. Here’s a recap from

A picture of nine fish is very positive image of place near the entrance to your home. Three times three! Three is the most potent male yang number. It represents growth and movements, and also some jealousy, aggression, and tension (all of which are often necessary in business). The number nine signifies the culmination or the highest pinnacle. Ideally, one of the nine fish should be black to protect your health and become too dominant. The color of the black fish also distinguishes it from the eight other fish. Eight is the most auspicious number-it signifies eternal wealth both physically and spiritually. Best used for bringing more activity into your life and increasing your earnings.

Today I studied those nine fish so closely. There isn’t one black fish, but there is one that is different from the others. So, I’m going with the “eight” story, too. Good stuff.

The whole exercise got me thinking about ancient arts and Catholicism, and wondering if the two can co-exist. I don’t know, but I certainly hope so. I have been intrigued by feng shui over the years. I have a couple of books on the subject, plus a crystal hanging above the computer in my home office and a wind chime out back. All pleasant enough accessories that I enjoy. And, I have a brand new appreciation for my nine fish! Anything that affirms that I am going to be very prosperous can’t be all bad. Can it?

I did a quick search on Feng Shui and Catholicism, which didn’t reveal much. Except this recent piece in the LA Times that had me rolling on the floor laughing. The headline was Grappling with Catholic Feng Shui. I thought I was on to something:

Forget about whether Pope Benedict XVI will soften his attitude toward the role of women in the church or discover a more pastoral approach to homosexuals or heed the pleas of manpower-poor bishops for an experiment with married priests. For many Catholics, there is only one question about the new pope's intentions: Will he turn the altars around?

The blogosphere was briefly alive with people who actually think turning the altar around is a good idea. Now, I’m no Feng Shui practioner, just a Cafeteria Catholic, but I just don’t get a good feeling about that. How about you?


At 3:48 AM, June 02, 2005, Blogger Steve Bogner said...

That 'turn the altar back around' thing puzzles me. While it might make some people more comfortable, I think it's just... strange.

It's not the arrangement of the exterior space that changes the arrangement of our interior space (in my opinion).

At 3:53 AM, June 02, 2005, Blogger Steve Bogner said...

Forgot to say though - I don't have anything against feng shui practices. If it makes people feel more at home, more at ease and etc, then I say go for it!

At 5:06 AM, June 02, 2005, Blogger ma01432 said...

I don't remember pre-vatican II days too well. However, I don't buy the idea that turning the alter around somehow makes the sacrifice "less significant". I honestly don't "get" how it all relates to feng shui. Is the priest turning his back to us supposed to make us feel more comfortable?

At 6:41 PM, June 02, 2005, Blogger CafeCath said...

Steve...I agree. Strange! And, inside work is far more powerful than external work. As for feng shui, don't forget about "more prosperous"!

ma...the relationship to feng shui, I believe, was truly tongue in cheek. While some may be more comfortable, I know I wouldn't feel compelled to trek to mass each week to watch the back of a priest.


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