Did I Just Flush My Fame Down the Toilet?


Help! My Fame area (ruled by Fire, yes?) has a bathroom in it! How do I counteract all that water energy?

  • W., from Long Beach, CA


I am so pleased you asked this because almost everyone who has read many of the best-selling feng shui books in the last two decades is also worried about flushing their prosperity and recognition down the toilet! So thank you. Your question is an excellent example of what I happen to think is fear-profiting, superstitious feng shui. The area called the “Fame area” is indeed ruled by the Fire Element… however, there is a LOT of misinformation about how this works in practice. There are very popular practices that do not make sense from the perspective of Classical Feng Shui principles.

Let’s try to sort out some of this “fame area” misconception.

When feng shui was initially developed a-few-to-ten thousand years ago, it was only concerned with where to bury one’s ancestors. That’s it. Where to put the dead people. Chinese people understood that everything and everyone was eternally connected. So everyone made sure to find a proper burial place for Grannie & Gramps because they deserved that much respect and would in-turn reward the family and neighbors for that burial respect.

Over time, feng shui evolved into a more concrete life-on-earth-now practice, working with the forces of nature to ensure abundance and survival. The qualities of life on earth were categorized as being either Yin or Yang (pronounced “yin-yahng”- everyone who reads this will never again say “ ying-yayng.”) Things were then further described as being made up of one of the Five Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. What is amazing is ANY process, idea or object in the universe can be intricately described and explained by these simple categorizations.

Moving along, the Fire element was associated with the South, the direction associated with warmth, fertile land, summer and exuberant life expression. South was opposite the dangerous, cold, mountainous North, the direction full of survival-threatening bad weather, difficult landscape, and invading Mongols. So now we start to understand that North = death, South = life...

The logic and meaning of the feng shui compass directions is intricate, practical, sound, and holds water when applied correctly. So now let’s continue the thinking: our creative potential is supported by the abundance of the southern direction...and that flourishing creative expression then leads to… fame! 

We now have to pause for a commercial break, for a Feng Shui PSA: 

Citizens of Modern America. The Feng Shui you are most likely being fed might not be what you think it is. A myriad of Classical Feng Shui practices, intended to be used independently of one another, have been processed into one single, attractively-packaged Junk Food Feng Shui. Many different theories have been minced up and smashed together to form a kind of yummy Feng Shui sausage patty that is not actually good-for-you. You are being fed a Feng Shui that has been created for easy, fast consumption but has little-to-no nutritional value. 

Now, for the static map of the feng shui directions to actually work, (the map with the Fame section that never moves from the center-back of the house) every home in the northern hemisphere would have to have a front door that faced North. Which we know is not the case. If this really worked like a lot of Feng Shui Shmasters say it does, then pretty much everyone who ever lived in every western-style home, with a logically-placed loo, would not have experienced any notoriety. Which means we would not have had any Founding Fathers, CEOs, rock stars or Oscar winners, because I would wager that most people live with a bathroom located at the back of the house. Left-brained architects tend to place showers and toilets where they should be- out of sight, in the private parts of the home.

So let me get to a helpful point. I apologize for how long-winded this has become...

The idea that “fame” is associated with the Fire element, and that Fire should be spared the dampening effects of too much Water- those are both valid ideas. But the way to DIY this idea is to not be rigid with it. You can feed the Fire element in any room. To encourage the energy associated with recognition or creativity to flow in a balanced way: think about making the focal view in every room one that is uplifting, full of warmth, and perhaps add a reflective surface, some additional light, a candle, or maybe something tall, vertical or vibrant green. (Fire can be supported with red-spectrum colors and objects, but you can also feed Fire with the Wood element, which is why I suggested bright greens and tall, vertical shapes.) 

DO NOT GO OVERBOARD. Please don't create a vibe that feels like a seance at the local whorehouse- that would be too much Fire. Fire features are very active- a little goes a long way. When in doubt, get an expert in there to fine-tune the diagnosis and adjustments.

So FINALLY, and specifically, (you thought I would never get to it) what about your bathroom?? What happens if your throne is in the Fame section of your home? Is all of your potential for fame being flushed and rinsed away? I hope you understand by now that the answer is: NO. 

What feng shui bathroom problems would theoretically look like like: the pipes have backed up, you have no working plumbing, the room has no light, it’s freezing or filthy, or it’s a terrifying room to visit, in an “I’m scared to go to the outhouse in the middle of the night” kind of way. If none of these scenarios apply to you, your chances of fame are still intact, as far as your bathroom has the power to impact them.

If you are like most people who are interested in feng shui, you also like good design and have a bathroom that reflects that. As long as your bathroom is clean, cheerful, restorative, and health-affirming, it’s probably got some good Qi flow. If you feel like you need to give it a little more Fire energy, then add one or two of the Fire or Wood elements I listed above.

The bottom line about anything in feng shui is that it’s about one thing only: Qi flow. Real Feng Shui is not superstitious and will never say that you are doomed to a life of invisibility and irrelevance of you have a bathroom where it actually should be. The goal of feng shui is to keep the Qi flowing smoothly in our environment, just like we want the energy to flow smoothly in our bodies. (A house or building is just a bigger body- from a Chinese Medicine perspective, it’s honestly no different.)

Good feng shui is about making people comfortable in their own homes, which really means getting people to relax in their own homes. If you love spending time in your bathroom, then much of your feng shui mission has been accomplished. Feng shui can surely help increase one's potential for success, but it’s not as simple as some people want to make it. The critical thing to remember is the energy shift starts with you, so add something to your bathroom that makes you feel more creative, more cheerful and Fire-y…always making sure the bathroom is clean, with working plumbing. So that the only thing you’re flushing down the toilet is—


If you need some clarity, some change, or a refresh either inside or out, you’re in the right place. Aubrey Thorne is an astrologer, integrative coach, and feng shui designer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation.