Nathalie Mourier has worked for fifteen years with major groups from the Paris Bourse CAC40 listing. As an IT project manager and change management consultant she has been a successful part of the development of the companies she worked for in France and abroad. At the end of the 1990s, this enthusiast of Asia had the rare chance to meet a contemporary grand master of Feng shui, Master Yap Cheng Hai. With him, and in accordance with tradition, she learned the different theories and practices of the classic schools of San He (the study of the environment), San Yuan (the study of time), Xuan Kong (mysterious vacuity) and Ba Zhai (the 8 houses). She passed the different examinations that accompany the training reserved for professional consultants and holds the Mastery Graduate Diploma, the highest diploma available. Ever since she has kept training with renown Taoist masters and is deeply involved in the research program ‘Feng Shui and health" which she launched in 2002; a program of data analysis and collection with people who suffer from serious pathologies She co-founded Marip The feng shui firm in 2001, a consultancy agency entirely devoted to feng shui. The team offers exclusive services to corporate, commercials and individuals, sharing and taking advantage of the experience gained in their earlier positions as managers. The team has gained a solid reputation for handling its clients’ needs with great professionalism, integrity, creativity and enthusiasm. This dynamic and creative company has been instrumental in the dissemination of traditional Feng Shui through training schemes, conferences, articles, TV programs and radio talks. They have designed a special lopan, the geomantic compass used by feng shui master.
Interview with Nathalie Mourier
Can you explain what principles and philosophy underlie Feng Shui? How does the concept of energy relate to Feng Shui?
Feng shui is a classical Chinese art that aims at designing and arranging external and internal environment where harmonious qi (vital breath, Chinese term for energy) prevails and support our activities.
It has been used for over 2000 years by Emperors to rule the nation, by businessmen to grow their business, by political leaders to build prosperous towns, by religious authorities to erect monasteries and temples.
Until the 20th century this subtle and delicate art has been extensively used and still is very much in favor. In Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, work never ceased, and it has now resumed in China. In the early ‘80s the news broke in the west that Chinese mastered strange techniques. The story went that they used to build up corporate, residential and commercial environments that helped them prosper and support their endeavours. This triggered curiosity and great interest. Masters started teaching non Chinese, books went on print, TV and radio programs have been on the air regularly in the last 10 years.
What do you mean by "cycles of formation"?
Most of our time is devoted to our business and private clients, auditing places for them, designing environments and sites that will support the in their endeavors to achieve their public and private goals.
Feng shui was always taught from masters to disciples. There is a large body of theoretical knowledge but practice is very much needed in order to understand what rules apply and how they do. Hence feng shui is always taught in the way of a transmission. We do our best to convey to enthusiasts of all paths what we were taught by our masters. Therefore we devote some time each year to teach beginners and more senior practitioners the art of feng shui. Those students when they have reached a certain level of knowledge, confidence and experience contribute to our research center and to the practice of feng shui.
We offer teaching in 2 day sessions, the complete training spreads over two cycles that take the beginner from the basic principles to the most elaborate formulas.
How has traditional Feng Shui been refined over the years?
Principles of course haven't changed but the way we look at our environment had to incorporate new inputs: that of modern living in cities basically. Also in the past decades serious practitioners and students were considerably more exposed to a larger number of principles and got a chance to explore far larger territories than some previous generations. This is mostly due to the fact that communication has gone clearly international, information spreads faster, more easily. Also lots of information that was kept secret are now more widely disclosed even if still many formulas remain "hidden" and are only transmitted to students carefully selected by their master.
What are the tools that you use to apply Feng Shui in any context?
To make it short and nice I'd say that feng shui is based on 3 pillars: time, space and the individual reaction to qi. We look at the quality of the qi in a given space, estimate its characteristics at a given time and consider how specific individual interact with it. That's the way our team likes to work: tailor made.
We fine-tune places according to their characteristics and depending on the needs of our clients, be them individuals or professionals.
How do you know that Feng Shui works? What has been some of the research that supports your practices? Are the results measurable?
Ah, that's a very very good question. At first I was very taken by my first master enthusiasm and obvious profound knowledge. When that passed a bit and after I had learned quite a lot I started wondering if this whole system made any sense. So I started experimenting and did research here with medical staff. For about six months I visited intensely very sick people in search for what might explain their situation. In a relevant number of cases, feng shui diagnosis that I did as blind tests proved to be very close to the problem and in a number of cases straight to the point. This research work gave me confidence: I knew from first hand experience what feng shui really is and how it works. That also opened my eyes to new perspectives.
I have been working as a professional for the last seven years now and I had many chances to check with my clients how appropriate feng shui is. Don't misunderstand me: it's not making miracles but it offers a wide range of tools that allow us to understand what's at stake in a given place and how it be can dealt with.
How did you come to be involved in Feng Shui?
I used to work as a senior consultant in the field of business strategy and management. After fifteen years in duty I felt solutions we were implementing or projects we were building lacked in something vital. Also most of my clients were executives who could hardly cope anymore effectively under the stress of circumstances.
I have been close to the Asian culture since 1990 and have practiced zen meditation then tibetan buddhist meditation ever since. Slowly this has led me to rethink lots of the principles underlying my life, the way I live and the way things may be working. At one point I decided to take a major step forward and work accordingly to my beliefs: reality isn't just simply what we grasp through our senses. Feng shui is a great tool to understand what lies behind, beneath and ahead of us, because it's complete and efficient.
This is when I met with my first Feng shui Chinese master. I've dropped my job, joined a teaching group, travelled a lot to attend classes and workshops and have slowly built a customership. I keep doing research in the field.
What have been some of the highlights and disappointments you faced in establishing The Feng Shui Firm?
When my associate and I founded Marip the feng shui firm, we thought we'd work mostly with large companies on heavy projects. Things happened actually quite differently: we have been graced with a steady stream of a very varied clientele.
Business wise, feng shui tends to evolve quite differently from one country to another because culture creates different situations. The one type of project we have not worked on so far and we'd love to is a project involving heavy town planning. A good feng shui town planning project benefits so many people!
Can you give us an example of how you applied Feng Shui to a specific environment that you were commissioned to do.
One of the projects I've been working on in 2007 is very dear to me even though it's not the largest one. I was called by a still quite new company to audit their premises because bankruptcy was nearing and they thought this time they would not go beyond the end of the month. The managers and owners were very dedicated to their business and if a solution could not be found quickly they'd have to dismiss their remaining staff and close the place.
When we did the audit some of the reasons why they failed to achieve their goals appeared quite clearly to me. We managed to rearrange what could be rearranged at a minimal cost (I think they might on the whole have spent about 100 euros), I monitored them very closely every month and they followed strictly the recommandations I gave them. After one month, they had nearly doubled the sales, and three months later sailing fine again. No staff were dismissed and business is doing great.
This was a great project because it shows the power of feng shui when it's implemented correctly. My client is thankful because their business keeps going and I'm thankful because they offered a nice opportunity to display effective solutions. Everyone is happy.
Nathalie has authored :
"Qu’est-ce que le feng shui ? Carnet de route d’un maître de feng shui (What’s feng shui ? The travel diary of a feng shui master) – 2006
2 Correspondence courses: "Ba zhai and principles" (2006), "Flying stars, vol. 1" (2007)