These days, the term feng shui usually evokes vague images of oriental new-age looking trinkets, a simplified map of life aspiration corners and lots of positive energy wrapped in lucky red envelopes. The new age approach to feng shui is a feel-good way to inspire positive thoughts and intentions, thus appealing to an individual’s ‘Mankind Luck’ (ie the luck you make for yourself via personal choice and attitude).
New Age feng shui encompasses the use of a Bagwa Map which has set life aspiration corners depending on where the doorway into a house or room is located, or a simplified octagonal map showing the 8 compass directions which are then linked to various set life aspiration areas. New age feng shui (which originated around the 1970’s and 1980’s) has basically borrowed some generalised Trigram associations from the ancient practice of feng shui (originally known as Kan Yu) and has then invented and superimposed additional life aspiration names and associated symbols to various corners or compass sectors of your home via a map which is then used to target key areas in one’s life (eg wealth corner, love corner, health corner etc).
This psychological and symbolic approach is simple, fun and helps focus the individual’s intentions on specific aspirations and goals in life. It also has very little to do with the ancient practice of authentic classical feng shui, which encompasses 2 main compass-based methodologies known as San He (the study of mountains, natural water courses and landform) and San Yuan (the study of space according to cycles of time and magnetic orientation). Both the San He and San Yuan methods of feng shui incorporate the use of a Luo Pan Compass which measures the effects of qi (unseen vibrant/living energy) in and around a building in relation to the surrounding landform.
Feng Shui literally translates as ‘wind / water’ and relates directly to the concept that qi rides the wind (ie travels via unseen magnetic pathways) and can be dispersed by the wind, and retained by water. So, the feng shui ideal has always been to attract positive (sheng) qi via magnetic orientation, supportive landform and the careful placement of water and yang activity.
When examining a modern-day approach to the ancient practice of feng shui, I believe a ‘current-age’ methodology would be to combine the ancient study of Xuan Kong Fei Xing Pai (time space flying stars school) feng shui and San He Landform & Water Methods analysis with a greater understanding and appreciation for sustainable development. The whole underlying principle behind feng shui is, after all, to live in harmony with one’s surroundings.
When planning a house site, one should approach the project with respect and acknowledgment of the land’s natural contours, climate, habitat and resources. Prerequisites for a home should include that it lets in enough natural light, that it is well insulated, well ventilated, energy efficient, secure and supportive of the occupants and designed for the climate and terrain in which it is built. Ultimately, your home should feel like a sanctuary – somewhere to rest and recharge your internal energy reserves.
“Humans require natural views of plants and animals for mental and emotional health. Studies also suggest we need nature around us as a restorative and to stimulate our higher creative functions.” (p115, “Architect’s Guide to Feng Shui’ by Cate Bramble, 2003, Architectural Press).
Xuan Kong Fei Xing (Flying Stars) feng shui addresses the unseen energy fields around us and helps orientate the occupants within a dwelling so they are sleeping in a positively energised location with favourable mountain energy in the wall behind their bedhead (which is also supported via raised landform in the external environment), thus benefiting the health and relationship harmony of the household, while also attracting positive water energy to exterior doorways, windows and active living areas in conjunction with water features placed in precise magnetic locations which benefit the occupant’s abundance potential.
Electromagnetic radiation is a current phenomenon which should also be addressed in each household. I once came across a client whose bedhead was so close to a large transformer and electricity meter box servicing the block of units in which she lived, that she could actually hear the electricity humming in the wall behind her while sleeping in bed at night. It was literally placed just on the other side of the wall, directly in line with her head while sleeping. Many people don’t realise EMR (electromagnetic radiation) can easily travel through a brick wall unless there is some sort of magnetic shielding in place. This client had a metal frame bed, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to hypothesize her continued headaches and inability to sleep might just have a connection to the high level of EMR around her bedhead. She innocently asked me if hanging a crystal above the bed would help. Apparently she’d read this bit of advice in a new age book. I recommended she completely move the bed to another room or at least to the opposite side of the room.
Dr Bill Wolverton is a retired NASA scientist who discovered certain indoor plants can be used to help clear the air of toxins such as trichloroethylene, xylene, formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia – all chemicals found in common household cleaning agents and/or emitted from photocopiers and various other appliances frequently used in offices. Of course, the first objective is to live and/or work in an environment where you can actually open the windows and allow fresh air to circulate throughout the space via cross ventilation on a regular basis. A house with closed windows and doors due to continual air conditioning can lead to health problems due to lack of fresh air (esp if the air conditioning unit is not properly maintained with the filters being cleaned regularly).
It is more difficult to energise positive water star energy from a feng shui perspective if all the doors and windows are regularly kept closed, because water star energy literally needs an open exterior door or window to initially flow into your home on a regular basis. It can gradually enter your home via travelling through glass, brick and mortar etc, however the energy is greatly depleted via this route and by the time it then enters your home, it is not nearly as potent and useable as it could otherwise be.
So, back to the 'new age' versus 'current age' concept. Rather than simply placing a 3 legged toad near your doorway or in the far left hand corner of the room or the Southeast sector to represent money luck, (as per new age symbolic feng shui guidelines), you'll achieve far better results by placing an exterior doorway or window that is frequently opened and located in a water star 8 or 9 location according to the xuan kong feng shui natal chart of your home. This location also responds particularly well to a body of active water, thus retaining the positive qi. You could even tie in your mankind luck with the actual feng shui of the building by placing your positive aspiration object (ie the 3 legged toad or whatever else represents abundance to you) in this location.
And as for the concept of 'decluttering' which appears in many new age feng shui books, my approach is to be practical, and to stop obsessing about continual tidiness. Obviously, it is better to avoid having a house full of decomposing mess that can contribute to allergies, mould and mildew, and from a psychological point of view, a chronically cluttered and disorganised interior will often signal occupants who are not coping well with life in general. My home is not always tidy - with 3 kids that's impossible! But it is welcoming, warm and comfortable. From a decluttering perspective, it is advisable to make sure favourable water star energy is not blocked from entering the building via external or internal clutter or closed rooms that are unused, yet contain the most beneficial and as yet wasted energy.
I regularly encourage clients to create a positive internal pathway of energy within their home or office by first walking to the water star 8 abundance location of the building, opening an exterior doorway or window or placing a fountain or moving object in that favourable sector and absorbing the positive qi, before then walking throughout the home or office, thus carrying and distributing the positive energy throughout the building. The more you do this, the more you can positively energise your living or work environment.
(Feng Shui Article by Derelle Ball www.fengshui1689.com providing Feng Shui Consultations for Brisbane, Cleveland, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast QLD
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"The nameless is the beginning of Heaven and Earth. The named is the mother of all things." (Tao Te Ching - Lao Zi, Chapter 1)
The term ''Ba Gua'' means ''8 Symbols'' and refers to 8 Trigrams which are made up of sequences of three lines (solid and/or broken) placed in a vertical row, one on top of the other. When the Trigrams are combined (ie doubled), they become 8 x 8 different combinations known as Hexagrams, which are explored in detail within the 'I-Ching' (also known as the 'Yijing' or 'Book of Changes'), which originated around 2205B.C.E. The meanings associated with the 64 Hexagram combinations provide a blue print for exploring and understanding the various underlying patterns and cycles in nature and the unseen energy forces around us.
"The broken and unbroken lines correspond to the dots and dashes of the binary code exactly .... Scientists have also discovered that the 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching correspond to the 64 DNA genetic code that are the basis of all life on the planet. It is thus possible that in the I Ching lie the hidden meanings to life's existence." (Flying Star Feng Shui for the Master Practitioner, 2002 by Lillian Too, p10)
Trigrams are the foundation of yin and yang philosophy with the Qian Trigram (made up of 3 solid lines) representing Heaven/Yang qi and the Kun Trigram (made up of 3 broken lines) representing Earth/Yin qi. There are 2 sequences of the 8 Trigrams used in xuan kong feng shui - the Xian Tian Ba Gua and the Hou Tian Ba Gua, which are used to observe the cyclic interaction of yin and yang qi and determine how the movement of qi affects people.
"When the world began, there was Heaven and Earth. Heaven mated with the Earth and gave birth to everything in the world" (King Wen, Zhou Dynasty, 1122-256 BC).
For many people in the western world the term ''Bagua'' is known for having 8 specific Life Aspiration labels that correspond to various directions and elements, (which is loosely based on the Hou Tian sequence of Trigrams). This concept was invented in America around the late 1970's and has been simplified even further to a ''Fixed Bagua Map'' which no longer includes any actual directional aspect, other than being orientated from an external doorway leading into a building and/or the doorway leading into internal rooms.
Many clutter busters, space clearers and interior designers incorporate this simplified 8 Aspiration Fixed Bagua concept into their work and automatically label it Feng Shui. So, it is then assumed for example, the North sector and/or the front centre section of any home, business or internal room automatically corresponds to the "Career" location. This method then automatically allocates the water element to this area and dictates you can improve your ''Career Luck'' by decorating with a water feature and also by nurturing the water element with metal element colours and forms in conjunction with placing a plethora of symbolic objects in this location to support "Career Luck" for all the occupants living or working in the building.
And here is the problem - you see this is not authentic Classical Feng Shui, but rather a fun, quick fix, easy to apply, one size fits all approach that corresponds very much to an individual's Mankind Luck (ie the individual's personal aspirations). The westernized new age quick fix simplified Bagua approach does not address the inherent qi (living/transformative energy) of the surrounding land form, (which corresponds to your ''Earth Luck'' and has the greatest impact on the actual Feng Shui affecting any building) or the time period of construction and compass orientation of the building itself, which reveals the internal flow of qi affecting the occupants.
Note: the concept of Qi itself is a very complicated and fascinating topic and while in this article I refer to Qi as 'living/transformative energy' this is the most simple identifier of Qi in the english language although in reality it falls far short of the myriad of complex meaning behind the multi-layered concept of Qi. This link provides a more detailed description of Qi by Howard Choy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DlYfBAO8Tw&t=1s).
While applying the new age 8 Aspiration Bagua Methods to their home or business, most people feel empowered that they are affecting positive change in their life. This is great as long as they realise they are focusing positive energy on their individual Mankind Luck when doing so (ie their internal qi which corresponds to their personal aspirations, goals, intentions, education, values and desires in life), however they are NOT addressing the actual Feng Shui because this method does not examine the actual flow of energy and unseen forces actually affecting the building.
Classical Feng Shui examines the macro and micro Earth qi (ie external environment as well as inside a building) in order to determine who is being affected by what type of energy, where it is occurring, what the most likely result will be and how to balance, retain, protect and harmonise this energy flow inside and outside so the building is fundamentally nurturing its occupants.
Xuan Kong Da Gua is a specialised branch of Feng Shui that allows the practitioner to further fine tune nurturing potential and synchronicity of the qi affecting a home and/or business in conjunction with specific periods in time and the inter-relation this has on the Hexagrams of the individual's day and year Gua according to their date of birth. This method is great for fine tuning the strategic placement and activation of water features, internal office furniture orientations, activating for fertility and so on.
Many Classical Feng Shui practitioners examine the 4 Pillars astrology of their clients and address the inherent strengths and weaknesses, character traits, clashes and combinations of qi and periods of time deemed most favourable to them personally. This astrological practice examines the individual's Heaven Luck which cannot be changed, however it can be navigated with advice given in regard to which area of their life is currently affected in a potentially positive or negative way and recommendations on how to better deal with and approach the peaks and troughs in their life accordingly.
Space clearing is a wonderful practice for addressing built-up energy or energy voids lingering inside and around a building via the residual interaction of people via arguments, sickness, unhealthy pastimes, depression, predecessor/ghostly phenomena in conjunction with an assessment of underlying qi affecting the building via the surrounding landform.
Now, for those who want to practice the simplified new age 8 Aspiration Bagua Methods to their home or business, I strongly recommend you avoid painting walls red (eg DO NOT assume the SW sector and/or far right corner of the building or internal room automatically benefits your love and relationships by adding large amounts of fire element colour) and avoid using large water features (eg DO NOT assume you are automatically enhancing your abundance luck by placing a large fountain in the SE sector and/or far left corner of the building or internal room). For some homes, this may be fine, however for others it could be rather disastrous.
The reason I give you these 2 specific pieces of advice is because in the 18 plus years I have been practicing Classical Feng Shui professionally and full time, I have repeatedly come across heart breaking examples where people did add a red wall or a large water feature to their home/property according to the simplified 8 Aspiration Bagua methods which soon resulted in devastating consequences.
For example, the case where a lady painted the walls of her SW sector bedroom red in the hope of stimulating enhanced love energy with her partner. Soon after the colour change her partner hung himself in their bedroom.
I was asked to visit this home around a year after the tragic incident had occurred, and I had no idea about the history of the occupants when I arrived. According to a Classical San He and Fei Xing/Flying Star Feng Shui assessment of the home and surrounding landform, there was sha (negative) external mountain qi affecting the SW sector, the internal energy in the SW sector was inherently negative and needed a LOT of protective metal element and the room required regular access to the ruling 8 energy (which was currently blocked). I told the client the red walls in the SW sector of her home were potentially quite dangerous and should be replaced as soon as possible with metal element colour and forms, recommended a different bed orientation to draw in more supportive qi for her Ming Gua and advised screening of the negative landform outside the bedroom window. At this point of the consultation the client burst into tears and explained what had happened shortly after painting her SW sector bedroom walls red in the hope of attracting more love qi according to the 8 Aspiration Bagua compass method. She tragically lost her partner, fell into severe depression and had been suffering ongoing abdominal issues.
Of course, this could all merely be coincidence and I did not examine the 4 Pillars astrology of her former partner's birth chart, however the negative energy created by the surrounding landform and addition of fire element to the SW sector of this specific home is exactly what the Classical Feng Shui analysis indicated.
A second example is the case of an affluent client who lived in a West facing home with the main entry located in the Northwest sector. According to the Fei Xing/Flying Star Feng Shui natal chart of the building, the main entry was very positive for the client and her family because it generated the ruling 8 qi in the water star, so I advised adding a beautiful water feature to the Ming Tang in this location and positioned it according to 9 Star Water Method which supported a Ju Men water dragon for enhanced income luck. This worked VERY well for them.
Then in early 2006 I heard back from the client asking if I could advise about putting a pool in the West sector of their property. I strongly advised against putting a pool in the West sector of their property because it would unbalance the inherent qi and increase the probability of significant money loss due to legal problems, theft and deception. I emphasized the fact that the annual 5 Yellow energy was currently affecting the West sector of their property and if they chose to ignore my advice, the inherent negative flying star combination, negative surrounding landform feature in this sector of the property, plus the trigger of excavating and adding a large body of water to the West sector that year would greatly increase the probability of severe financial loss and legal problems affecting the occupants.
Of course, the West sector at the front of their home theoretically corresponded to the ''Career'' location according to the Fixed 8 Aspiration Bagua method and the West sector is known as the ''Children and Creativity" location which corresponds to Metal and is in harmony with Water according to the Compass version of the new age 8 Aspirations Bagua method.
I next heard from the client around 7 months later. She was in tears and re-read my recommendations back to me over the phone in ironic hind-sight and confessed they had decided to ignore my advice and had dug up the West sector and installed the pool. Since then, her husband's work place had unexpectedly gone bankrupt and he was left holding the blame as one of the financial advisors, while the CEO had fled the country. Their bank accounts were frozen and they were faced with a lengthy court case and terrible emotional and financial stress.
I have many other examples of negative repercussions occurring to the client's health and/or finance qi when adding a large body of water or painting a large area red in their home according to the new age 8 Aspirations Bagua methods, so like I said earlier, it's fine to use this method with positive symbols and linking them to your intentions as per your Mankind Luck, just don't confuse the issue and assume you are also addressing the actual Feng Shui of your home or business in the process.
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