Hulu (葫芦) is the Chinese term for the bottle gourd or calabash. Also known as Wu Lou or Wu Lu, the gourd has been an icon of good health, longevity, prosperity and abundance of blessings for many centuries.
In Chinese culture, objects can become symbols because of their similar pronunciation to auspicious Chinese words or due to cultural, history or mythology associations. “Good Luck Symbol – Hulu, the Calabash Gourd” is recommended for reading to have a better understanding of where the various symbols of the gourd are derived from.
As the gourd is rich in symbolism, it has become an important tool in the enhancement and cure of feng shui problems.
Types of feng shui gourds
In olden days, the natural dried gourd and the metal gourd were the two types of gourds used in feng shui. Traditionally, the natural dried gourd is used in dealing with feng shui sha qi while the metal gourd (e.g. brass and copper) is for health problems.
Nowadays, besides the above-mentioned gourds, gourds can be found made of wood, jade, crystal stones, ceramic and Zisha clay. Some gourds are plain while others have images, talismans or mantras painted, carved or embossed on them. There is a great variety of gourds to choose from, catering to different feng shui purposes.
For health and longevity enhancement, the metal gourds often have images of the Eight Immortals, bagua, longevity symbol, Eight Immortals’ spiritual tools, cranes, deers and Chinese herbs (such as Ling Zhi) on them. These representations help to strengthen the gourd’s potency as a health and longevity enhancer.
As for prosperity enhancement, the metal or wood gourds are usually decorated with motifs of good fortune and good-luck symbols. Often, six ancient coins are included as the number 6 represents wealth.
Usage of gourd in feng shui
The abundant ways of using the hulu gourd in feng shui are as follows:
• To weaken sickness-related stars
Under the Xuan Kong Flying Stars Feng Shui, the No. 5 Yellow Star and No. 2 Black Star are sickness-related stars. Besides causing illnesses, these stars can also cause injuries. The position of the stars changes every year. If they happened to be at your main door or the centre of the house, then the health of the household will be affected.
According to the Five Elements theory, Metal Element can weaken Earth Element. As the sickness stars are of Earth Element, metal gourds would be the cure for the health problem. Furthermore, the gourds themselves have the potency to absorb and confine the negative energies in their endless bottom, thus shielding you from the sickness qi.
For prevention purposes, you can display a brass/copper gourd each at the location of these two stars. However, the ceramic Anrenshui Wu lou shown here is recommended. Anrenshui 安忍水 (salt water) is often used by traditional feng shui masters to dissolve the adverse effects of these stars, and is said to be a very potent cure.
(Note: For 2012, the No. 5 Yellow Star and No. 2 Black Star are at Southeast and North, respectively.)
• To enhance personal health luck
Under the Eight-Mansion School of Feng Shui, Tien Yi (天医) is the star governing our health. If you are often troubled by chronic health problems or in poor health condition, place a brass/copper gourd in your Tien Yi (health) corner of the bedroom, to enhance your personal health luck.
• To enhance health luck of household
Based on Feng Shui Bagua Formula, the East sector is the general health luck corner. Put a brass/copper gourd in the east of the living room to enhance the health luck of the family.
Displaying a natural dried gourd or brass/copper gourd near the front door can bring peace and safety to the household too.
• To dissolve illness energies
For someone who is ill, place or hang two brass/copper gourds on either side of the bed. The gourds can disperse the sickness qi and aid in the recovery process.
For prevention purposes, put a brass/copper gourd next to your bed or dangle it at the bed head to absorb the bad qi in the surroundings.
• To attract wealth and blessings
For wealth enhancement, put a brass/copper gourd or yellow jasper gourd at your personal wealth spot. The gourd can be displayed on the table or hang on the wall.
Recommended is the brass gourd shown here that has the crane and deers depiction. The crane is an extremely auspicious symbol that heralds longevity while the deer signifies wealth and prosperity. Many of the gourds sold in feng shui stores are designed to serve both as a health enhancer, as well as a wealth enhancer.
Five natural dried gourds (or wood gourds) fastened together with a red string is known as “wu fu lin men” (五福臨門), meaning “five blessings arriving at your door”. The “Five Blessings”(wu fu 五福) are blessings for longevity, riches and honour, good health and peace, kindness and virtue, and a natural peaceful death. The “Five Blessings” is also called the “Five Happiness” or “Five Good Fortunes”.
• To dissipate bad luck
If you are having a streak of bad luck, carry with you a small black obsidian gourd to absorb negative energies from the environment. Having absorbed harmful qi, the obsidian must be cleansed regularly under running water.
Alternatively, display a black obsidian gourd or brass/copper gourd at the place where you spend most of your time.
• To improve love relationship
A brass/copper gourd or wood gourd can improve your relationship with the opposite sex. Display the gourd at the annual No. 4 Flying Star position. For 2012, this star is at East. If you have someone in mind, it is preferable that his or her photo be placed in front of the gourd for maximum effect.
For enhancement of harmony in marriage, hang a brass/copper gourd, or wood gourd at the bed head. Look for a gourd that has the crane image as the crane symbolizes marital harmony. Two cranes depicted together represent an everlasting love and a blissful marriage.
• To boost fertility
The gourd is a symbol of fertility as its seeds represent many offsprings. Infertility, in some cases, can wreak havoc on a marriage. Those who are desperately trying to have a child can consider displaying a brass/ copper gourd at the bed head or in one of the lucky locations in the home.
The metal wu lou shown here is recommended because of its hidden meaning. On its surface, there is a big gourd tree with lots of small gourds, which implies abundance in offsprings. In addition, there are four Chinese characters “Ji Xiang Ru Yi” （吉祥如意），meaning “auspicious and wish comes true”.
A gourd with images of 100 children is also suitable for this purpose. You can find it in some feng shui stores.
• To negate overhead beam’s harmful effects
Apart from feeling oppressed, you will be affected by the downwards cutting inauspicious qi from the overhead beam if you are sitting, sleeping or studying underneath such beam(s) for an extended period of time. Illnesses or relationship problems may arise.
Ideally, the bed or chair should be repositioned to avoid the overhead beam completely. However, this might not be possible in some cases due to space constraints. Then hanging a natural dried gourd or wood gourd at the overhead beam would help to neutralize the harmful effects.
• To disperse sha qi
Your house is said to suffer from certain sha qi (malevolent energies) if the door or window is facing:
- hospital, funeral parlour, cemetery or butchery (“yin qie sha” 阴邪煞)
- police station or prison (“guan men sha” 官门煞)
- garbage dump or public toilet (“du yin sha 独阴煞)
Such afflictions can affect wealth, career, health, interpersonal relationship and mood.
A natural dried gourd or wood gourd above the affected door or window will be the cure for such problems.
• To reduce risk of traffic accidents
Malevolent qi can cause accidents. Dangle a mini black onyx gourd or yellow jade gourd at the rear-view mirror of the car. For motorcycle, scooter and bicycle, the gourd can be hung at the handlebars.
Combined with careful and responsible driving, this will help to reduce the risk of traffic accidents.
• To serve as a gift
As the gourd symbolizes good health and longevity, it makes an excellent birthday present for the elderly people, or a gift for someone who is in constant poor health.
The brass wu lou shown here is recommended for its powerful Antahkarana symbol, which is an ancient healing symbol used in Tibet and China for thousands of years. Coupled with images of gourd trees and Chinese characters for health, this gourd makes an ideal gift.
The brass gourd with crane and deers mentioned earlier is also another appropriate birthday gift for the elderly.
Things to note
- The above should only be treated as a general guideline on the usage of feng shui gourd. The metal gourd, which is commonly used, might not be suitable for certain people because Metal Element can be unfavourable for them, based on their bazi (Four Pillars of Destiny).
- For maximum effect, buy gourds that have been blessed (‘kaiguang’ 開光). Also, choose an auspicious date and time to display the gourd.
- Many gourds sold in feng shui stores have a red ribbon or red thread tied around them, said to be for enhancement or activation purposes. However, if the gourds are to be displayed in the locations of the No. 5 Yellow Star and No. 2 Black Star, then the red thread or red ribbon should best be avoided because the red colour (Fire Element) will enhance the sickness-related stars (Earth Element).
- As with all feng shui items, once the gourd is damaged or tarnished, it has to be replaced.
- Fu - the Chinese character for Blessing -- Chinese Culture Symbols
- Antahkarana - A Powerful Healing Symbol That Is Easily Used
- 五福 - 维基百科，自由的百科全书
© 2012 pinkytoky
Sandra Sihakoun on February 11, 2020:
Where can I get the blessing gourds
pinkytoky (author) from Singapore on August 08, 2012:
Dear Lady Enchantee
I also like gourds very much since young. Somehow it seems to have some soothing effect on me. I cannot resist buying the big, natural dried gourds whenever I see them. So far, I have 3 nice natural dried gourds and a few metallic gourds in my collection.
Thanks for commenting on my hub again.
Lady Enchantee from My Enchanted Garden on August 07, 2012:
This is a wonderful hub! I love*love*love gourds...& all things Chinese...so we k-n-e-w I'd find THIS hub! ;)
The gourd is very auspicious, indeed! *wow* I learned so much here in this little hub, & I'll treat myself to your other hub on gourds after I get some editing done.
Thank you so much for sharing your extensive knowledge of feng shui with all of us here. Although I have practiced the basics for over 2 decades, I have so much yet to learn. Your hubs are helping me to improve the beauty, joy, health, prosperity & happiness in my home, & for that I am entirely grateful.
Keep writing, my dear...you have an eager audience! :)
Warm regards...Lady Enchantee