The number 4 is bad luck, Feng Shui truth or myth?

Unless you are super new to Feng Shui, you probably have noticed that the number 4 is generally avoided.

Many people believe the number 4 is bad luck. In fact, people in Asia will go to great extents to avoid the number 4 in the house number or even numbers that add up to 4.

In East Asia, you never find sets of 4 – anything. You can buy a set of 3 place mats or a set of 5, but not 4.

In many buildings you won’t see a fourth floor in the elevator, much like in many of our buildings there is no floor called 13.

With such evidence, what do you believe?

Is the number 4 really bad luck or not?

A Little Bit of Both – It Depends

In the Chinese language the sound for the number “4” is very close to the sound of the word “death.” This is why it so avoided. It makes sense. You don’t want to live in an address that has the word “death” in it, or drive a car that has a plate number that reminds people of death and dying.

However, there are no intrinsic problems with the number 4.

It’s Super Positive in the West

The number 4 is actually a very positive number, with really wonderful meanings associated with it.

Even in traditional Asian wisdom, the number 4 represents the healing principle of Rhythm, which is an essential consideration in all branches of ancient Chinese medicine.

We have four seasons, marked by two solstices and two equinoxes, although, to be fair, the Chinese do say there is a fifth season (the Indian Summer).

Our days have 4 moments: sunrise, noon, sunset, midnight.

Our own breathing is marked by the number 4: we inhale, pause, exhale, pause. (If you don’t include those pauses you hyperventilate.)

It’s Also the Number for Wealth

In the Feng Shui bagua map, the number 4 is the number assigned to the life area we call Wealth, Prosperity and Self Worth. My students and clients often use groupings of 4 to enhance wealth, and they get amazing results.

In traditional Chinese Feng Shui, they use arrangements of 3 instead of 4, but 4 is the proper number to use for wealth.

The number 4 is symbolic of the four walls in a home, and homes are symbols of wealth.

It’s Not Bad Luck for YOU, Unless…

In short, if you speak a language were the sound of the number “4” is not remotely connected to the word “death” there is no reason for you to avoid the number 4.

However, if your main language is Chinese, you should probably avoid the number 4.

What to Do About the Number 4 If You’re Chinese

If your main language is Chinese and the numbers in your mailbox add up to “4” you can add another number to the right with clear nail polish to symbolically correct the number. If there is a “4” in your house number you can also use transparent nail polish to change it into a 9.

But as I said, if your main language is NOT Chinese, then you don’t need to worry about the number “4” but rather cherish it as the number for wealth.


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