I was shown two objects and asked
What do you see?
Mirrors - a muted gold rimmed slight old style oval mirror and a square one - again gold, brighter wider border.
Now as you look at the objects, carefully observe how your eyes move.
Oval mirror - my eyes follow the rim of the oval. Don't recall if I actually looked at the center, probably not.
Square mirror - My eye goes to the edge design, but then moves to the center seeing my reflection (it doesn't follow the rim like it did for the oval one)
They are constantly affecting the energy in your space.
According to Denise Linn, shapes can act in two ways
- Used to focus and project your energy through it
- Function as a magnifier and transmitter of energy, even if you are not consciously focusing attention on it.
Squares And Circles In Your Decor
The energy of the square is static and un-moving. Square based shapes are grounding and calming.
The circle creates dynamic energy, which is unsettled, active, on the move.
Designer and writer Kathleen Cox shares that objects that are squares and rectangles serve to anchor a room. Their inherent stabilizing and static energy works well for the shape of dining tables. We tend to relax and eat slower (good for digestion).
We tend to linger longer around square coffee tables. A square/rectangular work desk actually improves productivity as it helps focus our thoughts.
Ovals and circles trigger movement, they animate us.
Circular tables inspire brisk talks and actions, We eat more quickly and the conversation is more spirited. Such shapes are more suited to conference rooms. They encourage brainstorming and rigorous flow of ideas.
But What If I Already Have A Round/Oval Table?
If you like the look and feel of your circular table you can anchor down the energy by using a square based rug, square place mats, and even square elements in that space - square side tables, squares in frames, on mirrors on the wall. Such elements will introduce a certain calmness into the ambiance.
II. The Power Of Numbers
Three: The number three embodies the power of the body, mind, and spirit; the past, present, future; the Holy Trinity; creation, preservation, destruction; and many more symbolisms.
When placing defining details in each room, remember that three objects (three vases, three picture frames, three statues, etc) is more engaging to the eye than two. Three creates asymmetry, movement, and power.
Two: Defining details grouped in even numbers (two or four) have the same effect as that of a square. They will draw our eye to the center of the display and we are less inclined to take in the defining details.
III. Beauty And Rasavandana
The Vastu Sutra emphasizes the importance of the powerful uplifting effect of beautiful objects and spaces. The focus is to approach decorating a room with the aim of allowing it to function spiritually through beauty as well as physically.
Sherri Silver, author and consultant shares that beauty (Sundari in Sanskrit) is defined in terms of rasas (aesthetic juice or sap in Sanskrit). Rasa is the energetic essence of the material object that makes it pleasing. It is the emotional flavor evoked in us by the art, objects, arrangement, or space.
A truly beautiful object (of art or arrangement in your decor) captures our imagination and leads to a sense of transcendence - described as rasavandana.
As humans we experience 9 rasas (variations on the essence of beauty)
The soothing or uplifting essence of beauty being through the emotions that arouse
- Tranquility (Shanta)
- Playfulness (Hasya)
- Heroism (Vira)
- Wonder (Adbhuta)
- Romance (Shringara)
And the darker sides of beautySome rasas are appropriate for our homes and offices and some are not.
- Fear (Bhayanaka)
- Contemptuousness (Bibhatsa)
- Anger (Raudra)
- Compassion (Karuna)
The darker rasas can be very powerfully expressed through art. These, however, are not a nourishing influence on us.
Such art, regardless of price or artist, should not find a place in our homes and offices. Their influence on us can be very deep at the subtle level playing out those rasas in our everyday living.
I had heard of the navarasas in the context of classical Indian dance but had never connected them to a space.
Over the years as I have learned I came to understand that architecture (Sthapatya Veda), music (Gandharva Veda), poetry (Sabda Veda), and dance (Natya Veda) all originate from the same science.
Rhythm and beauty and connection to a source greater than ourselves are woven deep in all four .
Over time we have worked to weave three of the rasas in our family room. The primary one being Tranquility, with smaller doses of Playfulness, and Heroism.
A large square sectional couch, square and rectangular rugs, and square pillows (squares/rectangles - grounding, calming, stabilizing energy - tranquility) complemented by a few circle patterns on the rug and a large circle swivel couch (to generate a slight dynamic energy inherent in playfulness).
Images, art, and other decor has been chosen carefully to focus on tranquility (A statue of Buddha, Peacock feathers, Seashell pot holders, Mantras written in calligraphic letters and indoor plants.)
To bring in playfulness, we've placed a few handwoven grass baskets filled with children's books (that we love to read most evenings), a small music player and a karaoke machine where kids can access it and play their own music at will, and board games stacked by the rug.
Decor done in threes - three bud vases, three nesting carved boxes, three pieces of art all lend themselves to the mildly dynamic energy of playfulness.
I thought about what would evoke heroism. It dawned on me that a feeling of happiness on something one has achieved, a feeling of accomplishment at a job well done. For us that translated to making a small display of the medals and trophies the kids or other members had won.
This display is not very prominent, most people visiting don't even notice it. It was not intended to 'show off' to others, it serves as an encouragement to us (members of the family) boosting our confidence at low times and reminding us of the heroic qualities that we each possess.
Anything that didn't fit the three rasas of tranquility, playfulness, or heroism, we located it to a different part of the house.
This room has become a favorite of all in our home, serving to relax, rejuvenate, and refuel us.
Take That First Step
This week walk through your space paying particular attention to shapes and numbers. Shapes of tables, rugs, decor. Numbers in placement of objects.
If there is a room where people don't spend time look to see if you have circular mirrors (or circular tables/rugs).
Mirrors can be very powerful in their effects. Circular mirrors bring in very chaotic unsettling energy. Consider replacing them with square/rectangular ones or at least bring in more stabilizing elements in these spaces.
Pick a space and choose a rasa (or two) that you would like to invoke in that space. Chances are that your decor already will have one of the rasas prominent in your decor. Fine tune it by adding a few more elements or removing those that don't work towards your chosen rasas.
Paying attention to these few details can completely transform the spirit in your home. Your home becomes about a connection to something beyond the material things that fill it. It's worth your while to transform your space into a meaningful, authentic environment, that celebrates you, quiet's the mind, warms the heart, and soothes your soul.
What rasa have you chosen? How do you intend to use it in your space? Do share your ideas in the comments below or via email.