7786 Emory Chase Ln, Knoxville, TN 37918  (865) 973-1475
 
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Feng Shui Consultant - Moni Castaneda

Moni Castaneda

10 things to know about me:

  1. I hold a six year degree in Architecture from the Central University of Ecuador in Quito, Ecuador (South America), my country of birth.

  2. I have lived in the United States since 1995.

  3. I am fluent in two languages: English and Spanish. I learned to read and write in both languages at the same time.

  4. I started my training in Eastern Asian arts at the age of 20 with my first mentor. Then at 24 I moved on to continue learning in a Macrobiotic Community.

  5. I have been a Feng Shui Consultant for over 15 years, and have been teaching for over 12 years. I have authored several text books on the subject.

  6. My Feng Shui method, the Nine Steps to Feng Shui® System, is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  7. Because of my architectural background, my Feng Shui advice is modified to be usable, practical, and look good in our modern life, with our current design styles.

  8. I am married to chiropractor, and use Chiropractic, Homeopathy and Macrobiotics as our main health care choices.

  9. I have two sons that my husband and I home-school.

  10. I have trained in several spiritual healing modalities, and have partnered with healer Bill Austin to create Feng Shui vibrational healing products, books and a healing and clearing modality. (Angelic Feng Shui Training)


Five fun facts about me:

  1. I am constantly thinking about food.

  2. I am a great cook.

  3. As a consequence of 1 and 2,
    I teach fitness classes in the mornings, especially dance fitness, so I don't have to watch what I eat so much.

  4. Every day, the boys and I choose an animal to "be" for that whole day, usually it is cats, so I get called "Mama Cat" as often as I get called just "Mama," but some days they call me "Mama Raccoon," "Mama Red Panda," or "Mama Dolphin."

  5. "Mama Cat," like all cats, is not "all there," and she tells her kittens the most outrageous stories about the origin of the Universe, and the origin of Life. She and her kittens laugh a lot together.


If you need my short bio to place on your website, please use the text below:

Moni Castaneda is a Feng Shui consultant, teacher and author. Moni has written five text books on Feng Shui: Feng Shui for Us: The Art of Space Arrangement, Feng Shui Your Own Home, Feng Shui Your Own Life Areas, Feng Shui Your Own Yard, and Declutter Your Own Spaces.

Moni obtained her degree as an architect in Ecuador. Upon moving to the United States she devoted over a decade to study and research Feng Shui.

Moni is the founder of Feng Shui for Us™ and developer of the Nine Steps to Feng Shui® System.

The most common feedback Moni gets from students and clients who use her services, have taken her classes, or read her books is: "I feel more hopeful and confident about my life and my future. I know now I have a say in what happens next."

Moni's school of Feng Shui is based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Moni offers Feng Shui Consultant Online Training Courses.

Contact Moni at:

moni@fengshuiforus.com

(865) 973-1475

www.fengshuiforus.com

Hey there!

I am glad you found this website and are taking the time to get to know me a little better.

My journey with Feng Shui started in 1996. I had moved to the United States a year before, only one month after I graduated as an architect in Quito, Ecuador.

Shortly after I arrived I interviewed at an architectural firm for a position. There I learned that my six year degree was not recognized in this country.

The architect that interviewed me had checked on this between the time they received my resume and the interview. If I wanted to practice in the United States I would have to go back to school for at least four years, then work for another architect as an associate for three years, before I could even take the board exams.

I had felt such relief to graduate from what had been several years of grueling studying, with lots of sleepless nights, and such stress that to this day I sometimes dream that I have some really big project due in a few days and I am not finished.

Going back to school was not an option.

What was really confusing to me was that I got a very clear message from Heaven that studying architecture was my right path, and after all those years, to find myself in a position where, for moving to another country to live with my love, I would not be able to practice! There had to be a divine reason for this!

Feng Shui was the Reason

When I found Feng Shui it became clear to me why I needed to study architecture even though I would not have a chance to practice it: architecture gave me a knowledge base that I could use to study Feng Shui objectively and kick the confusion, superstitions, and fear out of Feng Shui!

The first book I read on Feng Shui I got as a door prize. It was a book with 101 Feng Shui tips for landscaping. It made sense to me, so I went on to buy the other two books available by the same author, these on 101 Feng Shui tips for homes and 101 Feng Shui tips for businesses.

I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the subject and was ready to start applying the knowledge to the Feng Shui of my own home. However, whenever I tried, it seemed the features in my home were all exceptions that were not included in the books. How I wished I had a Feng Shui consultant nearby to ask some questions! But there weren't any consultants nearby, and the internet just wasn't what it is today.

Here I was, armed with 303 Feng Shui tips, and I could not Feng Shui my own home!

I went out to the bookstore and I bought every single book available on Feng Shui. To my surprise, the more I studied, the more confused I got. What kind of a subject was Feng Shui that learning more about it increased the confusion, instead of giving more clarity?

Something Here Was Wrong!

I felt such passion for Feng Shui, I didn't want to give it up, but there were so many contradictions and varying information – it could not all be correct.

There had to be a way to sift authentic Feng Shui knowledge from incorrect information.

One morning, as I woke up, that inner voice that uses no sound told me, "You need to write a book on Feng Shui."

I protested, "I cannot write a book when I am still learning."

But the voice was very insistent, and there was a clear message to take superstitions and fears out of Feng Shui.

"Write it and it all will become clear to you."

I still did not set out to write a book on Feng Shui per se, but I did embark in the task of organizing all the materials I had collected and see what made sense.

First I grouped all the things that the different schools agreed on, and set that aside. Then came the grueling task of looking deeply in the face of all the contradictions. What was the truth?

I needed a point of reference that I could use to contrast the information and test it for truth.

One night, I was studying yet another book on Feng Shui when I glanced at my husband, who was sitting next to me, reading his own book. He was studying the same things I was studying.

Surprised, I asked him, "What are you reading? Are you reading Feng Shui?"

He was reading a book on martial arts. This book was about using pressure points (acupuncture points) in combat. The chapter he was reading was about the three cycles of the five elements. He was learning the pathways of each element to know where to strike.

I was studying about the cycles of the five elements as they are used in Feng Shui to determine color combinations and corrections.

An Integrated Culture

The fact of the matter is that Chinese culture is an integrated culture. What I mean by integrated is that their arts, science and cultural expressions are all based on the same fundamental principles of Universal laws.

So it doesn't matter whether you are studying flower arrangement, calligraphy, drawing, painting, martial arts, medicine, or Feng Shui, as part of your studies you would all be learning some of the same subjects.

If you went to a school based on Traditional Chinese Wisdom, regardless of the major you choose, you would be sharing a classroom with people who have chosen to study a variety of professions.

You would all be learning that the Tao is the power from which all of Creation comes (some people confuse the term Tao with God. Tao is better understood as the Power of God)

You would also learn that the Tao created the Universe and that there are two major forces in the Universe: Yin and Yang.

You would learn that movement is life and that there is a life force called chi, which imbues the whole Universe with life, and many other fascinating facts that would reveal to you the nature of the reality in which we exist.

A Stroke of Good Luck

Around that time, I reconnected with a friend, also my first worldly spiritual teacher, who was a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Like me with Architecture and Feng Shui, she had a Western degree in a medical field, that gave her a more ample perspective of acupuncture, the main art she practiced.

I engaged the help of this friend for a period of over a year, to contrast Feng Shui knowledge from my "confusing and contradicting" pile with a base of knowledge that had not been degraded by the addition of superstitions and other fearful beliefs.

My point was, you could argue what is good Feng Shui or bad Feng Shui until you were blue in the face, but you could not argue in the same way what was good or bad acupuncture, you would know by observing patients and finding out whether they are getting better or worse with the treatment.

To my surprise, things that I had discounted as superstition, such as the eight trigrams and the I-Ching, are used – quite often – in the practice of Chinese medicine.

In the practice of acupuncture other facts of our existence are acknowledged as realities, such as past lives and life missions. For example, the acupuncturist seeks to find out if the current state of the patient was started in this life time, or before conception.

Other knowledge that I had taken as true, fell apart in the light of acupuncture, such as the use of color in Feng Shui. It was at this time that I discovered what bad idea it was to paint the whole room in the color of the life area on the bagua map. Really bad, because it messes up the harmony of the five elements, and the five elements precede the eight trigrams that rule the life areas in importance.

To Use the Magnetic Compass or not?

One big question I had was whether to use the magnetic directions and the compass in order to determine the locations of the life areas on a floor plan, or whether to use the "compass of the heart" forwarded by the late Master Lin Yun.

My heart felt Lin Yun's method was better, but I did not have the knowledge I have now to trust my heart (the heart is the only place where your spirit has not had to lower its frequency to occupy your body), so I waited for a sign from Heaven.

The sign came to me one day when the silent voice suggested I take an alternate route to go see a client Near the end of that route, a man wearing the most unusual winter black hat (in the middle of Summer), too little to fit his head, turned the corner, looked me in the eye and pointed his index finger at me. I still feel goose bumps as I write this. (Let me know if you felt them too!)

Clearly this was a sign to use the "compass of the heart," aligning the bottom of the bagua map with the wall that contains the main door, or "mouth of chi," as Master Lin Yun, head of the Black Hat school of Feng Shui suggested.

It wouldn't be until several years later that my spiritual teacher would share with me why this made so much sense and how this system works better, because it is based in the biology of the human body. If you are curious click here.

To Be or Not to Be

My question was more on the lines of "to become or not to become" certified by an already existing Feng Shui master, or to continue to learn solo, using Chinese medicine as my gauge.

I kept going back and forth with this for a long time.

At some point, I had pretty much decided to travel to California and get trained under master, when I found a mistake in one of the books he coauthored. It was advice given about how to use mirrors opposite doors in narrow hallways. As an architect, I know this is one way you could startle a person into having a heart attack, thinking somebody is coming "right at them." The Feng Shui reasoning made sense, but I new this would not be good in practice. I also read from one of his first students advice to place a mirror at the bottom of a staircase, to counteract the chi going down the staircase and force it to go up again. This is another way to give a person a heart attack (please don't try this at home!), but more importantly, why use a mirror to double a staircase, which is considered to be a huge Feng Shui problem no matter what it's shape and location? It didn't make sense.

Still I did not trust myself and my inner guidance to proceed on my own. How would I ever be trusted by clients if I did not have a certificate and a Grand Master to back me up?

Come to find out, my clients couldn't care less. As soon as they learned of my degree in Architecture, all their doubts dissolved.

By then the Nine Steps to Feng Shui® system was taking good shape, and I wanted to be able to teach it to other people. Would students trust me if I did not have an ancient school to hold my back? Lucky for me, my students felt so great during classes, that they did not care either. They wanted to learn what I had to teach regardless of credentials, because they understood what I was teaching, and when they went home and applied it, it worked! When I was writing my first book one student went as far as saying: "As soon as your book gets published I am going to recycle all my other Feng Shui books."

The problem was that, even though my clients and students did not care I did not have a certificate, I did. I cared very much.

Psychic Help?

It took a sign from Heaven, for me to understand it was not necessary for me to follow another master – that following the mastery in my own heart was enough help others bring out the mastery of their own hearts.

I was about to move to live from Mississippi to Iowa, when Gloria Murphy – a healer and psychic that was introduced to me by my dear friend Regina Catalano, also a healer – offered to give me a free reading as a going away gift. If you know me, you know I don't do psychics and prefer to trust my own inner guidance. I honestly only said yes because she was so nice and I did not want to hurt her feelings.

The first thing she told me was my guides and angels had asked her to talk to me because I had quit listening to them – chagrin –she relayed some advice that didn't make sense to me at the time, but that was crucial to me after I had children.

She wanted to know if I had questions and I asked whether I should continue solo or get certified. Her immediate answer was going to be "Of course you do," but she recognized it as her own belief and not what was coming from Spirit. Spirit's answer was "It does not matter. It would not make any difference regarding what you ultimately came to do."

What I Ultimately Came to Do

What I ultimately came to do, I know now, is to share ancient wisdom which was collected in the studies of Traditional Chinese Wisdom many years ago, to give people back the control of their immediate environments, so that they can improve their collective environment.

To make it FUN and practical, I share this wisdom through the art of Feng Shui!

The most common feedback Feng Shui clients give me is "I feel more hopeful." The most common feedback students give me is: "It all makes sense now."

My main goal in working with students and clients is that they realize their natural spiritual ability to be co-creators of their own lives, and the crucial role that living and working in environments with a healthy circulation of chi (life force) can have in the attainment of their goals.

Click here to check out my long distance online Feng Shui classes.

I created my own method and school of Feng Shui because I wanted to have a system that was free of superstitious beliefs and that was not associated with any particular religious belief system, but that would be user friendly for people of all faiths, and even for people of no faith.

I had many teachers along the way, that instructed me in the knowledge and arts that would eventually give rise to the Nine Steps to Feng Shui® System.

I express gratitude to my teachers in the school of Architecture and Urban Planning, that gave me knowledge that went above and beyond their duty as teachers, and introduced me to fascinating subjects such as Systems Theory, the Pattern Languages by Christopher Alexander, and Topology, that would become instrumental in my ability to understand Feng Shui concepts and explain them in a way that makes sense to Western culture. These teachers are:

  • Mario Vásconez
  • Guido Díaz
  • Francisco Naranjo
  • Sócrates Ulloa
  • Carlos Velasco
  • Beba Muñoz

I also feel very grateful to my teachers at the Macrobiotics Center the Art of Living in Quito, Ecuador, where I learned the principles of Yin and Yang and natural Asian healing methods, including healing by nutrition.

Special gratitude goes to Dr. Susana Kronfeld, my former visual arts teacher.


Moni's Feng Shui Journey:


Moni's Architectural Background:

 

I also wishes to recognize Feng Shui teachers and authors who inspired me to study the art of Feng Shui and become a Feng Shui Consultant in the early years:

  • Master Lin Yun
  • Sarah Rossbach
  • David Daniel Kennedy
  • Terah Kathryn Collins

Greg Pratt Interviewed Moni on April of 2011. This interview answers some other questions that aspiring Feng Shui consultants and consultants who would like to add the Nine Steps to Feng Shui® System to their art may find interesting.

What exactly does a feng shui consultant do?

A Feng Shui consultant assesses the health of the spaces in and around buildings, both in urban and rural areas to determine whether human life can thrive in them. This is done using methods similar to the ones an acupuncturist would use to assess the health of a patient. These methods are based on the Principles of Traditional Asian Thought, which came about from the observation of nature and people's interaction with nature over thousands of years.

When a Feng Shui consultant or advisor works on a home or business building, he or she checks to see that certain conditions are met for the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing of the occupants.

Some of these conditions are:

- complete floor plans,
- balanced and proportionate areas,
- good circulation of the air flow and good circulation of traffic between the different rooms,
- a connection with nature and natural elements,
- a positive feedback loop provided by the colors, symbols, type of furniture, accessories and ornaments chosen for the locale,
- clearing of clutter and stagnant energies,
- honoring the nine life areas and
- furniture placement for greater comfort, safety and productivity

When a Feng Shui consultant finds that these requirements are not met, he or she suggests doing corrections, called "cures", to fix these problems. Sometimes these cures are of a physical nature and some times of an electromagnetic nature. Practitioners also use cures that have a strong symbolic or spiritual meaning for the client.

What does someone working in this industry get out of it personally (i.e., a sense of satisfaction helping people, etc.)?

Feng Shui is considered a healing art. It is actually one of the five branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (the other four being: acupuncture, herbalism, Chi-Kung, and massage)

There is a great satisfaction in seeing people regain hope for life and realize that much of their destiny is actually in their hands if they learn how to use their space to support their dreams and goals in life. I have seen people go from a state of general unhappiness and lack of health to wholeness and a renewed trust in and passion for life within a year, simply by making sure that they lived and worked in healthy environments.


About 10 years back, Feng Shui was really hip and happening then… is it still or was that a passing phase?

About 10 years ago there was a boom in Feng Shui and though it has calmed down, the interest in Feng Shui is still growing, even though at a slower pace than it was before. More and more, Feng Shui is coming part of popular culture, for example it is mentioned more and more in TV shows and in movies.

I think it is similar to what happened with Yoga in the seventies. There was a boom at that time and then it calmed down, but more and more people in the United States and around the world are doing yoga, with virtually all fitness centers offering classes, in addition to all the private studios.

Similarly, though you may not hear about Feng Shui in the news as often, more and more people are aware of it.

How else has the industry changed over the past 10 years or so?

The Feng Shui boom a decade ago resulted in many different schools and approaches to this healing art. Many of them have not succeeded. There is also a lot of confusion about Feng Shui, because a Chinese Dynasty ordered the production of books containing errors in them in an effort to keep true Feng Shui knowledge only for the privileged classes, and some of these false knowledge has taken hold in the West.

The economic down turn at the end of 2008 greatly affected Feng Shui as a business, because many consider getting a Feng Shui session as a luxury and not a necessity.

If it is still a hip and happening line of work, how can people avoid being seen as just trying to capitalize on the trend? Is demand rising, falling or staying the same?

I believe it is still hip and happening. The best recommendation for a practitioner are client testimonials and referrals. Even though the interest in Feng Shui is growing, right now there are less people willing to make the expense.

What trends change demand for those in this line of work?

The economy is a big factor, since most people do not perceive their need for Feng Shui.

I have seen that the degree of success that someone can have in Feng Shui depends on these factors:

- How much they believe in it and live by its principles. I have met practitioners that were somehow ashamed to have certain people in their circles find out what they did "on the side." A practitioner who has faith in the methods and cures of Feng Shui, especially one who "walks the talk" is a lot more likely to transmit that same confidence to clients and prospective clients.

- The area where the Practitioner lives and practices. The idiosyncrasies and world views of the majority of the people in the different communities can have a strong effect in the ability of the practitioner to promote their business. People in coastal areas, where there tends to be more prosperity, are a lot more likely to be open to Feng Shui and be willing to pay for consultations, while people in the Midwest are more the "do it yourselves" type and would be more interested in classes. Practitioners who live in the US "Bible Belt," face other challenges. Some pastors still tell their congregations that things like Yoga and Reiki come "from the devil" and many people are suspicious of Feng Shui because it is originally from Asia and they confuse it with a religion.

I should note that even though some Feng Shui schools are connected with Buddhist or Taoist groups, Feng Shui in non religious, and it does not require for people to change their faith, but it does require to people to expand their perceptions of "what is."

How’s the outlook for the industry?

I think in the next few years we will see a reduction in fees for most practitioners.

What kind of earnings can someone who is involved in this expect to make?

For most practitioners, Feng Shui is a great way to bring additional income to the household, but few do it as a full time business. It is very well paid by the hour, but it is not so easy to find enough clients to stay busy all the time. Many practitioners complement their consultation income by teaching classes and workshops on the subject.

Feng Shui rates are at least a hundred dollars per hour and up to thousand of dollars per session, depending on the reputation of the practitioner and the area where they live.

The success of a Feng Shui business, as in any other line of work, depends not only on how much a person knows on the subject, but on their business management knowledge, and their ability to make connections and promote themselves.

Lastly, how can someone get into this line of work?

Feng Shui is not board regulated and there are no requirements to be able to practice. It is unlikely that it would ever be standardizes as some schools are very different from others in their approach and what they teach.

When choosing a school or a mentor I suggest that a person first read their textbooks to see if they agree with their world view and general principles. The prestige of the school is important, but especially the integrity of the master.

It helps to have some background in architecture (my case), design or drafting. It is essential to be able to read floor plans and make simple sketches.

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Feng Shui Home and Business Consultations are currently available in the following areas: Knoxville, TN and surrounding areas [Oak Ridge, Clinton, Farragut, Lenoir City]; Davenport, Bettendorf, Clinton, Dubuque, Maquoketa, and Bellevue, IA; Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Milan, Andalusia, and Chicago, IL.
For service in other areas please check out our Feng Shui Long Distance Consultations.
If you want to learn What is Feng Shui?, please take advantage of our free Feng Shui online course.


This site designed and built by Monica P. Castaneda
©2004-2014 Monica P. Castaneda
Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese Art of Placement and has been in use throughout the Orient for thousands of years. The complex wisdom of the Feng Shui aspects gathered in these web pages constitutes the dynamic experience of the author and is not necessarily intended to be the ultimate guide for using these principles. An investigation of these inspired words is meant to lead you to your own understanding of this complex wisdom. Neither the website nor the author make any claim for absolute effectiveness. The adoption and application of the advice or information offered is solely the readers' responsibility. Feng Shui for Us and Monica P. Castaneda are not responsible or liable in any manner for any loss or damages caused by following the suggestions in our articles, readings and other services.
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