A Brief Q & A Interview with Stephanie Stewart

What is your background?

I grew up mostly in small towns in Arizona. I attended a small liberal arts college on the east coast, majoring in Classical Studies with a concentration in Ancient Philosophy. At that time, there were still departments just for Greek and Latin. Imagine that. After I graduated I moved back to Arizona for about a year. I moved to Seattle in the late 80s.

After college I worked in several different academic libraries, usually behind the scenes. I also worked at the legendary Gravity Bar on Capital Hill in Seattle where I met my husband. Salad days.

I left work to start a family with my husband, we bought our first house, and that is where I planted my first garden. I’ve been gardening for almost 18 years.

After my children had grown out of the toddler stage I happened to attend a feng shui class at a local nursery. That is when I found the intersection of my interests and talents and became a life long student of Chinese Metaphysics.

Why do you write?

I enjoy writing.

I write for the blog when I feel inspired by something I’ve been reading or studying. Working in my garden gives my mind time to wander in directions it doesn’t normally go. If I’m having writers’ block I find that any of these three things (reading, studying or gardening) will help me push through it.

Writing is part of my feng shui and ba zi practice as well. If I’m writing reports I tend to run out of words for the blog.

What are you working on now?

Since 2002 I’ve been studying and practicing feng shui. Gardening is what sparked my interest in feng shui and it’s a way to add to my understanding of Five Elements theory through daily observation. Many people focus on interiors in practicing feng shui but the land is a much stronger influence than the house itself. Some of my most successful and fun jobs involve landscaping and plant selection.

I’ve been the “admin” and a contributor on Fresh By Northwest since 2009 when I took a hiatus from my feng shui business. I love learning and have a pretty good set of technical skills so I set up and have maintained the blog right from the start.

In summer 2012 I decided to re-start my business and set it off by adding a new component of Chinese Metaphysics to my practice. That is when I began my formal study of ba zi or Four Pillars of Destiny. It is known as a system of Chinese Astrology but to explain it in the most mundane (yang) terms it is a statistical and logical analysis of the birth data, used in conjunction with certain algorithms. The yin side of this is that every birth chart is different from any other and so there are no absolutes when it comes to interpretation. One of the biggest things I have learned so far is that being open minded is not the same as embracing relativism. Ba zi is my current obsession.

What do you mean by “Fresh By Northwest”?

My very first feng shui teacher once said “Future energy comes from the northwest”. She was talking about feng shui and how energy changes its cycles. It’s a true statement whether you’re talking about feng shui or the Pacific Northwest. Seattle is a place that leads us into the future in many ways: engineering, technology, music, writing, ideas etc. I have known that since the first time I visited Seattle. I want to convey that spirit throughout the blog. Beautifully positioned on the Pacific Rim, the culture of the Pacific Northwest is continually evolving out of a unique convergence of the past and the future. You can live in a 100 year old house that’s wired for all the latest technology, buy the freshest local produce at a 100+ year old farmer’s market, and have a feng shui business or work in a cutting edge software company, all in the same town.

What is fresh is what lives in that intersection where something familiar takes us in a new direction; where something “old” meets something “new”. That intersection is what I want to share with you.

Do you cook too?

I enjoy cooking for my family and I cook dinner almost every night. Leftovers are my inspiration on many occasions when I feel rushed or have run out of ideas. I have packed lunches for my children for almost 10 years. My latest challenge is planning dinners that will satisfy omnivores and vegetarians alike, without anyone feeling deprived.

How do I get in touch with you about your feng shui and ba zi services?

Use the contact form or call me at 206.963.0363. For more information about my feng shui business click here.