VASTU: Transitional Spaces – Thresholds and Hallways
House Protection GodIn Indian culture, like in many cultures around the world, doors and thresholds have deep spiritual and symbolic meaning. Doorways are transitional spaces making the transition between one space and another – between the dust and grime of the streets and the purity and cleanliness of home, the outer world and the inner sanctuary. In Vastu doctrine, thresholds and doorways play an important dual role: allowing positive energy (prana) into a space while keeping negative energy at bay. Linking the thresholds, at the core of the home, are hallways, which distribute incoming prana throughout the rest of the house. The most significant threshold in any property is the front door. The front door is the main point of contraflow for incoming and outgoing energies and in Hindu symbolism the front door equates with one’s mouth.
Indians have been placing talismans on their front doors to ward off negative influences for thousands of years. Try placing an image or object that represents protection to you on or by the door to achieve the same effect. Traditional Hindu households place images of Lord Shiva (the Supreme Being); Durga (the Divine Protectress) in her many manifestations (Parvati, Kali, Shakti, Bhoomika); Ganesh (Remover of Obstacles) and Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth and Happiness) and other deities to bless their homes. Secular images are also used – Purnaghata or “Cup of Life” images or even a statue of a lion. Often small stringed chillies and key limes are hung on the lintel to ward off negative energy. These colourful garlands are often seen all over rural India.
Indians often decorate their front door to attract good fortune. Traditional Indian homes have Laxmi, Ganesh or the Cup of Life carved on their door lintel to give blessings as people enter. Strings of bright marigolds or dried mango leaves are sometimes tied to the frame representing nature’s abundance and to attract good luck.
Some doorways are inherently decorative, with stained-glass panes and elegant tiled porches. If you have a plainer front door, try painting it an appealing colour and grow plants in the porch to welcome guests, and prana, into the home.
The doors within the home serve as openings that allow prana to flow freely throughout the building. It is therefore essential to keep them well-maintained. Oil door hinges so the doors open smoothly and silently without any obstruction and, when open, should rest still without swinging shut.
The position of doors in relation to each other plays a significant role in the effective distribution of prana throughout the house. When doors to two different rooms face each other across a corridor, energy becomes trapped as it goes in and out of the two rooms in an endless fi gure of eight. However, if the doors are staggered, the energy is able to pass down the corridor, flowing in and out of each individual room as it does so. When two doors are facing one another, place a long rug or hanging mobile between them – this will create a break in the flow that redirects the energy into the remaining rooms of the home. Hanging small mirrors in hallways is also beneficial as it reflects energy back into its path and keeps it moving forward.
If your house has stairs leading upstairs as soon as you walk in, opposite the front door, incoming energy will travel directly upstairs, bypassing the downstairs rooms. However, some of this energy can be deflected downstairs to the rest of the house by placing a mirror at the top Mirrorof the first flight of stairs (opposite the front door). Mirrors in Vastu Shastra represent the element of Water. Water is a restless element that is well-suited to transitional spaces such as foyers, stairways and hallways.
Light is such an important element of a home. It is an essential source of prana. All transitional spaces should have adequate light so prana can flow freely. Thresholds and foyers should receive as much light as possible to make a welcoming space for yourself and your guests. Hallways and stairways should receive as much light as possible as well. Thresholds and hallways are also perfect spaces to have decorative niches in the wall to place lit candles or oil lamps to create organic light and to invite good luck into the home. Choose neutral and sattivic (pale) colours for thresholds, hallways and stairways to keep your mind at rest and nervous energy at bay when passing through these spaces.
Resource: The Vastu Home by Juliet Pegrum