Feng shui, a practice that originates in China, examines and offers guidelines for how people can build spaces to flow in harmony with the natural world. For instance, the words feng shui translate to “wind” and “water”. Wind and water are two essential elements required for life; humans and living things on this planet need our air and hydration to thrive.
In feng shui, we look at the elements of nature, like plants and flowers, to offer meaning and benefit in our homes. Flowers have always been especially meaningful symbols as they offer beauty, fragrance, and sweet nectar to the environments and creatures around them. The peony is one of the most auspicious flowers in feng shui and has come to symbolize love, prosperity, and beauty.
Peony Symbolism and Meaning in Feng Shui
Peony plants have uniquely beautiful blossoms. In bud form, they look and feel almost like round marshmallows. Once they’re in full bloom, they are especially luxurious, with dense layers of ruffled petals, usually in shades of white, pink, or red. This bold, lush flower is known as the King of Flowers in China. It represents beauty, femininity, love, affection, and good luck. In Asian cultures, people have also looked to flowers as representations of nature. Specific flowers are often connected to the seasons in which they are blooming. In traditional Asian flower arranging, one would aspire to use flowers that are in season in order to embody what is present in the moment.
Traditionally, there is a particular flower associated with each of the four seasons. The peony is connected to spring because that’s typically when it’s in bloom. Summer is connected to the lotus, fall to the chrysanthemum, and winter to the plum blossom. In Asian culture and in feng shui, we look at time and nature as cyclical, like a wheel, and these four flowers are often depicted together to show the whole cycle of the year through the four seasons.
Depictions of peonies are often used to represent the essence of spring, which is also connected to the wood element. Wood is related to the qualities of kindness, flexibility, growth, and compassion. As feng shui practitioners, we sometimes bring representations of the wood element into a space when someone is wanting to cultivate more of these qualities in their life.
The peony is considered a royal flower of romance and grace, and it’s also one of the main flowers found in traditional Buddhist thangka paintings. In thangka paintings, you’ll often see a deity, like a buddha or bodhisattva, holding one or more peonies. The peonies are often shown in three different stages: the bud, representing the birth of something new; mid-bloom, representing the current moment; and full bloom, representing age, death, and falling away. This progression is also a cycle because after death, you are reborn. These three phases are also connected to past, present, and future. In feng shui, flowers also have a connection to impermanence because once they are cut, they are slowly dying. In all cultures, people value the unique energy of flowers, and their temporary beauty can encourage us to be more fully present.
Peonies can also represent romantic luck and desire in traditional Chinese culture. Their full, luscious blooms embody a lot of passion. It can be auspicious to place peonies in a place like your living room with the intention of inviting a new partner for yourself or your children.
Meaning of Peony Colors
- Red is considered the most auspicious color for peonies, because it is the color of vitality. Red also represents the fire element, which is connected to passion and recognition.
- Yellow or yellow-tinged peonies are also auspicious because yellow is an imperial color in China. In feng shui, yellow also connects to the earth element, which has the qualities of stability, groundedness, and nourishment.
- The color pink is related to the Relationships area of the feng shui bagua, so pink peonies have a special connection to love and partnership.
How to Use Peonies in Your Home
There are many ways you can incorporate the symbol of peonies into your home’s feng shui. Here are a few of our favorites:
Grow Peonies in Your Garden
If you are lucky enough to have a garden where you can plant peonies, this is a wonderful way to bring their energy into your space. Peony plants are fairly easy to find and grow, and once they are mature they can produce an abundance of blooms each year. You can enjoy the peony’s beauty in your garden, or bring fresh flowers inside. It’s best not to cut too many flowers from a new peony plant, but once you’ve let them grow for a few years, you should be able to harvest plenty of bouquets.
Place a Bouquet of Peonies in Your Entry
Your home’s entry is one of the most important places from a feng shui perspective. This is the first place you see when you come home, and the last place you see when you leave. Your front door is also known as the mouth of qi because it is how qi, or energy, enters your home. To uplift this area and create a positive and welcoming point of entry, try adding a bouquet of peonies.
Use the Imagery in Artwork
If you don’t have garden space, or are looking for a more permanent way to bring the symbolism of peonies into your home, another option is to look for artwork that includes peonies. Find a piece that really resonates with you, and hang it with intention. Alternatively, you can make your own artwork.
Invite in a Partnership
If you’d like the peony to help you invite in a partnership, try placing a bouquet of peonies or peony artwork in your living room. You can also place it in the Relationship corner of your living room, which is generally the far right corner when you are standing in the room’s entrance facing in.