Today is a big day - we are going to temple! Not to wash away our sins or go for confession (that would be not be done in a morning); but to get ready for the Lunar New Year and the year of the (Metal) Rat. A year of new beginnings for many!!
As Andrew and I are both born in the year of the Rat (water rat to be precise), we want to make sure we do our blessings at the Chinese temple, get properly Feng Shui'ed (just made up a new word I guess) and be ready to tackle whatever comes our way in 2020.
We start the day at the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho temple (Goddess of Mercy temple) at Waterloo street. The temple was established in 1884 and it is an iconic Chinese temple architecture and traditional craftmanship. The temple is one the major temples in the area with thousands of devotees visiting the temple to pray for blessings from Kwan Im.
We start with three incense sticks and pray to the heavens (so with the back to the temple and looking up), then you turn around; pray toward the temple and place the three sticks in a big bowl of sand. For those who want; you can pray inside the temple, shake a cup with sticks until one falls out (this stick will tell you a message - which you can carry with you or burn).
A visit to the temple is not complete without going next door to the 'Feng Shui' shop. For those not familiar with Feng Shui; it's a system of laws considered to govern special arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy (chi) and their favourable or unfavourable effects.
For 2020 the flying star lay-out shows each element in different wind directions (North, West, South, East). So if you are a rat (like us) and the horoscope tells to place objects in the north, you don't want to be putting your plaque, or other trinket actually facing full-on north - as you will be creating a hostile environment. I think victory or prosperity are just better options!!
Once you have decided which Feng Shui items you are taking home with you, you can get them blessed right there so they are ready for their duties immediately. Each sign will have different kits with amulets, plaques, jewelry. You don't have to buy everything but I suggest you make your choice(s) carefully.
Even if you are not religious, this is fun way to explore Feng Shui and prepare for the New Year. Try to get yourself a Feng Shui specialist to guide you through the maze of trinkets, statues, plaques, gemstone trees, and amulets as it can be a bit overwhelming if you would go in by yourself and not knowing what you are looking for. Having a Feng Shui specialist at your disposal will make your Lunar New Year preparation even more special - and I am not talking about the rigorous cleaning of your house this month :)
If you want to read more on what is coming your way in 2020, www.wofs.com or www.thechinesezodiac.org provides more details or if you are based in Singapore go check it out before the Chinese New Year.
- Gong Xi Fa Cai!!