Ba Gua Feng Shui Essentials (1) – Eight Xing-yaos and Choosing Ceiling Light [Feng Shui Master Class 8]

We’ll start learning Ba Gua Feng Shui in this lesson.

If we have to classify Chi calculation Feng Shui systems, Ba Gua Feng Shui should be belong entry level.  According to this system, houses are categorized into 8 types.  All people are divided into 8 groups as well.  The basic requirement of Ba Gua Feng Shui is to match the house type with the type that the occupiers belong to.

Ba Gua means eight different Guas.  A Gua is a symbol consisting of three lines, either broken or complete.  Eight Guas represent eight directions.  To have a serious study of Ba Gua requires knowledge of Chinese Taoism and the concepts of Taiji (太極), Yin (陰) and Yang (陽).  But for this Master Class, we’ll skip these difficult concepts and let you know only those necessary ideas.

Ba Gua Feng Shui

 

Not only do the eight Guas represent eight members in a family, they also represent virtually everything on earth, such as colors, body parts, shapes, stages of a process, etc.  We have already seen the meaning of the eight directions, which is in fact originated from the Ba Gua theories.  We shall see more about the meaning of the Ba Guas in the coming lessons.

 

What is Ba Gua Feng Shui

Ba Gua Feng Shui examines the qualities of different directions according to what Xing-yao falls on different directions in a house.  There are four good and four bad Xing-yaos.  The location of these Xing-yaos depends on the orientation of a house.

 

The Best Ba Gua Feng Shui

But only knowing the disposition of the Xing-yaos in your house is not enough.  The second level of Ba Gua Feng Shui is to find out the whereabouts of your own Xing-yaos.  In fact, you personally also have the Xing-yaos in eight directions.  The most desirable situation we want to achieve is to have the Xing-yaos of your house matching exactly your own Xing-yaos.  For example, if the Tien-yi (天醫) direction of your house is the same as the Tien-yi direction of your own, this is the best Feng Shui, because by using your house’s good direction your own good direction is also triggered, thus doubling the lucky effects.

 

The Second Best Ba Gua Feng Shui

The second best situation is to have the four good Xing-yaos of your house the same as your personal four good Xing-yaos in a collective way.  For example, if the four good Xing-yaos of your house is in North, East, South and West, even if the exact four Xing-yaos of yours are not in exactly the same four corners (e.g. the house’s Tien-yi in North while your personal Tien-yi is also in North), as long as they also occupy North, East, South and West (e.g. the house’s Tien-yi in North while your another personal good Xing-yao such as Yien-nian is in North), this is good Ba Gua Feng Shui too.

 

The Worst Ba Gua Feng Shui

The worst scenario is certainly the total mismatch of the house’s Xing-yaos and your own.  Why?  For example, if according to the house’s Xing-yaos the bed room should be located in South, but South is your bad direction according to your own Xing-yao, no matter you put the bedroom in South or not there is one set of Xing-yaos that could not be satisfied.  In this case you should consider relocating.

 

The Eight Xing-yaos of Ba Gua Feng Shui

Let us first learn what the eight Xing-yaos are and what meanings/effects they carry.

 

Sheng-chi (生氣)

It means success.  It is the best Xing-yao among all, which brings good health, wealth and luck.  It would be very best if the critical elements in your house are located here, such as entrance door and bedroom.

Continue reading “Ba Gua Feng Shui Essentials (1) – Eight Xing-yaos and Choosing Ceiling Light [Feng Shui Master Class 8]”

Feng Shui Floor Numbers, Building Shapes and Colors [Master Class Lesson 7]

Hello!  Welcome back to the Feng Shui Master Class.  We have studied the internal environment in the last two lessons.  The internal Feng Shui is what you could control via interior design.  In this week we will look at things you cannot control after buying the flat.  They are the floor number and shape and color of your apartment.

Yes, the floor number and building shape could affect Feng Shui.  Usually when I check the Feng Shui of an apartment, I would firstly check if the floor numbering is good.  I would also look at the shape of the whole building.  The reason is simple, you can change the interior design to whatever style as long as the structure of the building so allows.  But you cannot change the floor number nor the shape or color of the building unless you relocate.  These are what many people overlook but actually quite important Feng Shui elements.

 

Your Five-Element Characteristic

To check whether the floor number of your apartment and the shape and color of the building fit you, we need to know which of the five elements you belong to.  This could be very complicated because usually we need to check your actual birthday.  An easier way to do so is to check your year of birth and thus the zodiac sign.  Below is a list of zodiac signs according to the year of birth.

Rat: 1924, 1926, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032

Ox: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033

Tiger: 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034

Rabbit: 1927, 1939, 1951 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035

Dragon: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036

Snake: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037

Horse: 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038

Sheep: 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039

Monkey: 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040

Rooster: 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041

Dog: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042

Pig: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043

There is a trick here.  If you were born before 4 February of a year, you should treat yourself as born in the previous year when finding out your zodiac sign.  For example, if you were born in 20 January 1981, you should be a “monkey” instead of “rooster”.  Why?  According to Chinese Feng Shui principles a year begins in Spring, and Spring usually begins on 4 February.  Before 4 February the new year is not actually arrived.

Five Elements
(Image source: Wikipedia)

OK, by knowing your zodiac sign, we could tell which one of the five elements’ characteristics you have:

Pig, Rat: Water

Snake, Horse: Fire

Tiger, Rabbit: Wood

Monkey, Rooster: Metal

Dragon, Dog, Ox, Sheep: Earth

 

Should I Live on High or Low Level?

Not all people are suitable to live on high levels.  Some people would be more suitable to live in low-rise buildings or the lower floors of a high-rise building.  There is no exact definition for “high” and “low”, it really depends on the general situations of the place you live.

For example, in the city where I live in, Hong Kong, most residential buildings are over 30-storey high.  So we are used to count the 10th floor and below as lower floors, and 21st floor and above as high.  But in cities where the population density is lower, the buildings are usually lower.  A general rule of thumb is to divide the building into three portions, the lowest 1/3 being the lower floors, than the middle floors and the rest 1/3 are the high levels.

 

Pig, Rat

Lower levels are more suitable to you for residential purpose.

 

Snake, Horse

If possible, you should choose to live on high levels.

 

Tiger, Rabbit

High levels are most suitable for you to live.

 

Monkey, Rooster

Same as Snake, Horse, Tiger and Rabbit, high levels are most suitable for you to live.

 

Dragon, Dog, Ox, Sheep

You are most suitable to live in low to medium floors.

 

Your Lucky Floor Numbers

7-Floor numbering

(Photo by Gideon Tsang, CC License)

With the knowledge of your zodiac sign and the five-element characteristic you possess, we could find out the floor numbers that are good for you:

 
Continue reading “Feng Shui Floor Numbers, Building Shapes and Colors [Master Class Lesson 7]”

Feng Shui Interior Design (2) – Study Room, Toilet and Living Room [Master Class Lesson 6]

Hello!  This is the second Feng Shui Interior Design lesson, also the sixth lesson of the Master Class.  In the last class we learned the three critical elements of Feng Shui interior design – door, bedroom and kitchen.  This time we shall learn the principles governing the interior design of other parts of your house/flat.  Do you want to know how to design your study room/home office?  Where should you pay attention to when designing the toilet?  How to decorate the living room?  We shall look at these topics in this lesson.

 

Feng Shui Interior Design – Study Room/Home Office

It is quite common nowadays to have home office in residential units.  Many people who work freelance or even full time prefer and have the luxury to work at home. Even not, if you have a kid at home who goes to school, the study room is where you need to put a lot of efforts in when doing Feng Shui interior design for your house/flat.

To fully explain the requirements of a study room/home office, it would take the length of a whole book (in fact I have an e-book in this topic: Feng Shui Office – Your Quick Start Guide).  Here we look at the essential elements that all Feng Shui masters consider when looking at the Feng Shui of a study or working place.

 

6-Feng Shui study room home office

 

The above is a perfect setting of a desk for study or work.  Because it conforms with all requirements.  In regardless of directions and calculations, this is how an office should look like.

Firstly, there should be a solid backing support.  Just like what we studied in the external Feng Shui lesson, it is preferred to have support at the back.  The full height solid wall in the figure above meets this requirement.  If the back of your seat is not firm and stable, e.g. an aisle, the sign of “flow” and “movement” would affect your career life.

Secondly, the left hand side is higher than the right hand side since the computer / cabinet is on the left.  Why is this important?  According to Form Feng Shui theory, left means benefactors (support) while right is bad person (challenge).  In the past, when people find a location to build a house, they look for places where the mountain on the left is higher than the right.

We re-create the same in the office.  The best situation is you have a full-height cabinet on the left hand side of the desk.  If not, put the desktop computer or piles of documents on the left hand side of the desk.  The ultimate goal is to have a higher-left and lower-right.

It is not difficult to achieve the second requirement, because you usually can decide what to put on your desk.  But what if the back of my seating is not a wall?  What could I do?  Read the paragraph below.
Continue reading “Feng Shui Interior Design (2) – Study Room, Toilet and Living Room [Master Class Lesson 6]”

Feng Shui Interior Design (1) – Door, Bedroom and Kitchen [Master Class Lesson 5]

Welcome back to the Feng Shui Master Class, this is your lesson 5, Feng Shui Interior Design.  In this lesson, we’ll look at how the general layout of your house affects all people living in it.

 

Feng Shui Interior Design Critical Elements

There is a traditional saying about Form Feng Shui: “The 3 most important elements of Feng Shui are door, bedroom and stove” (陽宅三要門、房、灶).  We shall have a look at the guiding principles around them, with particular focus on the modern society, i.e. how these principles about the door, bedroom and stove could affect Feng Shui interior design for a modern house.

 

Door to Door

Architects like symmetrical designs and sometimes this cause troubles.  Door-to-door is one of the most commonly found bad Feng Shui interior design in modern buildings.  In apartments, if the entrance door of your flat faces straightly to the door of another flat, it is a bad Feng Shui.  According to traditional Feng Shui theory, it looks like two people confronting face to face.  People living in both flats are prone to having quarrels with others.

5-Feng Shui Interior Design - Door to Door

Remember in the last lesson we said that Feng Shui theories contain a lot of analogies?  The reason of door facing door being bad Feng Shui is because it looks like two people confronting each other face to face.

The same also applies to door within the same flat, say, bedroom’s door facing the main entrance door.  The person who occupies that bedroom has a higher chance of having quarrels with people around him/her.  In the following example, bedroom 2 and bedroom 2 suffer from this problem, occupiers of both rooms would have higher chance of having disputes with others.

Feng-Shui-Interior-Design-In-House-Door-to-Door

What if the doors are not in exact opposite but only overlaps partially?  Well, in this case, if we door a straight line passing through the center of both doors, we would get a line not exactly in 90 degree (i.e. not normal to) either side, but somehow an inclined line.  You may think that this is a weaker “sha”, but unfortunately it is not.  In fact, this is an even worse situation, meaning that the magnitude of dispute would be greater.

Another variation is door facing the door of kitchen or toilet.  So it is not simply door to door but door to kitchen/toilet in effect.  What’s wrong with it?  Well, in these cases the bad effects would mostly be about bad temper and/or health.

If this is the case of your house, don’t worry. Try putting something in between two doors, say a tall plant, fence or cupboard.  For entrance door to entrance door case, hang a curtain or blind in front of your door.  It works like covering your mouth by a mask, thereby reducing the chance of direct confrontation.

 

Door to Window

According to traditional Feng Shui, it is not good to have the entrance door of a flat faces a window opening into the external air.  It may be difficult to understand but let me explain.

5-Feng Shui Interior Design-Door to Window

Feng Shui is about managing Chi.  The ultimate aim is to bring in good Chi and store it (聚氣) in your house. This gives energy and wealth to all people in the house.  Doors and windows are openings that could let Chi go in and go out.  Door and window along the same line means the Chi flowing in could leave immediately.  It’s like a company that makes a lot of money but soon spend it all.  Money comes and go and nothing is left.

Of course, in the eyes of modern architects cross-ventilation is good for health.  Therefore, to have the best of both worlds (health and wealth) it is better to have door and window on opposite planes of a house but NOT directly face to face.
Continue reading “Feng Shui Interior Design (1) – Door, Bedroom and Kitchen [Master Class Lesson 5]”

Outside Your House – External Feng Shui Principles (2) [Master Class Lesson 4]

Welcome back!  This is the fourth lesson of the Feng Shui Master Class.  We shall continue our study of external Feng Shui.  In the last lesson we talked about the natural environment, trees, hills, rivers and other natural objects.  In this lesson, we shall look at artificial objects outside the building.

In ancient times there are not so many artificial objects that may affect Feng Shui.  So when modern Feng Shui masters need to apply Feng Shui, they need to think of ways to interpret the artificial objects using the old Feng Shui theories.  How do we do this?  We compare things by analogy.

Let’s see how we compare the man-made things with the natural objects.

 

Buildings

In Chinese Feng Shui theories, “with one inch higher it is the mountain, with one inch lower it is the water” (高一寸即是山,低一寸即是水).  Even if there is no mountain around your home, if there is a taller building nearby, we treat it as a mountain for Feng Shui’s sake.

Remember in the last lesson we mentioned that it is preferred to have a mountain / hill behind your house?  We used the Forbidden City in Beijing, China to explain this.  If you live in a city where it is a large flatland, chances are your house does not have a mountain/hill behind.  In this case, the second best choice is to have a building behind your building.

There are two things to remember.  Firstly, we consider everything in front of the main entrance of your building as “in the front”, “behind” is the opposite.  What if there are more than one entrances?  In the past most houses in China has a main entrance and a few side doors.  The side doors were only used for delivery of garbage and ingress/egress of the servants.  The owner of the house and his family, who are the master of the house, goes in and out via the main entrance door.  Nowadays, we consider the mostly used entrance as the main entrance, and certainly we ignore those back doors used for delivery only.

Secondly, not all buildings are useful as an artificial hill behind your house.  Only those which are taller count.  In other words, if the building immediately behind is lower than your own building, this is bad Feng Shui.  It means no support by others.

Then, how about buildings in front of and on both sides of your own building?

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As we said last time, we do not want a hill  in front of our own house, so we certainly don’t want a building in the front.  Of course, in modern cities it is very hard that you have a house with no buildings in front, unless you live at the seafront.  So our next best choice is to have no buildings “immediately in front”, and preferably have a small space there.

On the left and right, we want things on both sides, something higher than the ground but not as high as the back.  If I have to make an analogy, I would say something just like the arms of a chair.  High at the back, support on both sides and nothing in front.

The photo below was downloaded from the Hong Kong Public Library web site.  It shows the Hong Kong central business district in the early 20th century.  The big white building in the middle is the old HSBC headquarters (now demolished).  HSBC is one of the biggest banks in Asia, it is also a multinational bank with presence in all continents except the Antarctica.  I’m not sure if those architects at that time know Feng Shui (probably not), but it so happen the location of the building and it’s design was a good demonstration.

Firstly, there is a hill at the back.  Secondly, there is no building in front.  What you can find in the photo is a garden in front of the main entrance of the HSBC building.  And further in the front is the sea.  On left and right are two buildings, none of them taller than the HSBC building nor the hill at the back.  This is a perfect Feng Shui example.

HSBC Feng Shui

After knowing some good buildings around your home, let’s see the bad ones.  Look at the picture below which shows the top view of some buildings, your house faces a narrow slit between two buildings (it must be narrow to constitute a bad Feng Shui).

Slit outside

What’s wrong with it?  Please looking at the flow of Chi, a narrow slit creates a strong movement of the intangible Chi that comes to your house like a sword.  This is bad Chi.  Besides, if there is light shining through the slit, the light would be so bright that makes everybody seeing it uncomfortable.  All in all, it is not good for the health of the occupiers of the house.

The case below is another innocent crime that could be caused by buildings across the street.  The sharp angle of the opposite building looks like a knife pointing to your house.  The narrower the angle the sharper the knife and the greater harm caused to the health of the occupier of the house.  If you find this situation in your house, you could hang a convex mirror facing the sharp angle to neutralize the adverse effect.

Sharp angles outside

Any more?  Yes, as I mentioned before, you can use analogy to analyse Feng Shui.  Imagine the window/door of your house as your face, what you don’t want to see immediately in front of you are not good Feng Shui.  Use your imagination, you can find lots of bad (and good) Feng Shu examples!

Apart from shapes of outside buildings, the types of building also have impacts on your house.  The worst type of community to live in is nearby cemeteries.  Besides, it is also not good to live near a power station (and sub-station), fire station and police station.  The former is pure Yin while the latter is pure Yang.  Both Yin and Yang to the extreme are not good according to Feng Shui theories.

 

Roads

We said “with one inch lower it is the water”, therefore roads are usually considered by modern Feng Shui masters as water streams.  So the good and bad Feng Shui originated from natural rivers could also be applied to roads.

Remember the image below we saw in the last lesson?  Consider the river as a curved road and the two farmlands as two houses.  You can easily figure out that the Feng Shui of house A is better than house B, applying the principle I taught you in the last lesson.  In fact, we have two terms specifically used to call these two situations.  A is “環抱水” or “玉環帶腰” (“embraced by water” or “jade belt around one’s belly”) and B is “反弓水” (“convex water”).

River around farmland

In traditional Feng Shui, water means wealth (水為財).  However, if there is a long and straight road pointing directly to the entrance of your house, it is not good.

Imagine a water hose with strong running water pointing to your face.  You won’t feel comfortable since the splash of water goes into your mouth and nose.  For the same reason, a long and straight road/water stream creates a movement of Chi which is too strong to the occupiers of the house.

A road is not limited to one on the ground.  Flyover (or overpass) also counts.  Look at the photo below, you will see that the buildings fronting the blue circled area have bad Feng Shui due to convex water (just like the Farmland B).

Flyover Bridge

(Photo source: http://kxcyg.blog.163.com/blog/static/59492764201010795324443/)

Besides, even if a flyover is not curved, if it passes right outside your window, it is not good.  Firstly, it will block the natural light and ventilation.  Secondly, the view outside would look very tense.  Finally, the traffic outside may bring sound and air pollution.

Straight Flyover

 

Lighting

Having sufficient lighting is good, but if there is strong light from outside it is bad.  The image below, which shows a real situation in China, is a good demonstration of bad Feng Shui due to strong light from outside.  On the right hand side is a residential building and on the left there is a giant signboard.  Do you think you can sleep well if you live in this building?  Certainly not.

Light pollution

(Photo source: http://www.hj.cn/html/200710/09/098266510.shtml)

Another common source of strong light is the sunlight reflection from glass wall of the opposite building.  Although the light would only exist in daytime, the annoyance it brings is not to be under-looked.

On the other hand, if your house is surrounded by buildings that shade the natural sunlight, it is also a bad Feng Shui situation.  Sunlight is Yang, without sufficient sunlight the house would be heavily inclined to Yin, which is a source of bad luck.

 

Sound

Just now we mentioned how roads could affect Feng Shui.  No matter the shape of the road, if the traffic is heavy and the road is close, there is chance of noise pollution.  You don’t need to ask a Feng Shui master to tell how bad living in a noisy place is.

Similarly, if unfortunately you live in a community with many pubs that operate overnight, chances are you had the experience of annoyed by noise (from strong music and the drunk men who yell).

I has the experience of living on the second floor of a building which faces a garbage collection station.  Everyday at 6am garbage trucks come to that station to collect the garbage, while producing lots of noise.  It worked like an alarm, I could wake up everyday at 6.  This experience told me that I should never live nearby a source of noise again.

 

Other Objects

Remember the image below that I showed you in the last lesson?  Imagine it is not a tree but a light pole.  The bad effect is the same.  Basically, we don’t want any think similar to a flag pole that goes directly into the heart of a building.

Tree in front of door

Other artificial objects outside your home that could cause bad Feng Shui include electricity pylon (transmission tower), chimney and any other things that looks bad.  Just use your imagination and you could find out more.

 

Human Actions

We studied the effects of artificial objects.  How about our actions?  Would what we do affects Feng Shui?  Sure.

Years ago I examined the Feng Shui of an office.  The company that occupies that office ran into trouble.  I tried Ba Gua and Flying Star Feng Shui but found no reason of that problem.  Later, I found that the trouble was caused by the fault of the gardener.

What did the gardener do?  He trimmed a tree right outside the office entrance!  The tree originally looked like a big umbrella that shelters rain and wind.  Now with much less branches and leaves, it became a bad-looking fork!  A folk that is pointing towards the office!  Now you see why the company experienced a bad time since the tree was trimmed.

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Takeaway Feng Shui

In traditional Feng Shui we call the above bad Feng Shui designs “Sha” (煞).  Usually Feng Shui practitioners in Chinese society recommend hanging a Feng Shui compass on where the Sha exists.  The rationale is that a Chinese Feng Shui compass has all kinds symbols representing all elements in the universe.  No matter which type of Sha there must be one or more symbols that could neutralize the Sha effects, like acid neutralizing alkali.  Knowing that Feng Shui compass is less common outside China, an alternative is to print out the graphics of a Feng Shui compass.

Another common Feng Shui items for Sha neutralization is calabash.  According to traditional Feng Shui theories, calabash can absorb negative Chi and Sha and trap them inside.  Therefore, if you want hang a calabash facing a source of Sha, make sure it is opened.  A top-sealed calabash does not neutralize Sha.  If you live in places reachable by Amazon online store, you can easily purchase one by searching for “Feng Shui Calabash“.

Or you can hang a convex mirror out, facing the Sha direction.  It reflects the Sha and decentralize its effects.  However, since the mirror may accidentally reflects the Sha to the building opposite to you, I usually would not recommend this method unless there are no other choices.


Outside Your House – External Feng Shui Principles (1) [Master Class Lesson 3]

Welcome to the third lesson of the Feng Shui Master Class.  This time we’ll look at external Feng Shui, things that surround your house but affects you.  Although they are not inside the house, their impact to occupants in the house could be as great as the internal Feng Shui.  This is why all authentic Feng Shui masters must check the external environment in the first place when commissioned to do a Feng Shui diagnosis.

There are lots of things that you should check when examining the external Feng Shui.  We’ll split this topic into two lessons.  In this lesson, we shall look at the natural environment and objects, i.e. mountains, trees, rivers, etc.  The next lesson will be completely focused on artificial objects such as roads and buildings.

 

Mountain / Hill

Is it good to have a mountain / hill outside your house?  Well, it depends.  Generally speaking, we love mountains and hills behind your house, and dislike those in the front.  By saying “front”, I mean the location where your house’s entrance door faces.  “Behind”, would mean the opposite.

Why a mountain / hill at the back is good?  Because the back is supposed to be the support, and with an object bigger and taller than your house is effectively a good support.  It means you could get support in real life when you are in trouble.

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The photo below shows the model of the Forbidden City in Beijing China, which was the palace of 24 ancient emperors in two dynasties.  I downloaded this image from Wikipedia.  The blue arrow I added points to the front of the working place of the emperors.  The red arrow points to a hill, which is located behind the palace.  You probably know that Feng Shui was used by ancient Chinese emperors as a tool to strengthen their power.  So you know why when they chose the location of their palace, they selected such as place with a hill behind.

Forbidden City with hill behind

So if you work in the office, you’d better have a seat where there is a wall behind you, because the wall is just like an artificial hill.  If you cannot find a wall, at least you should get yourself a high cabinet to create this effect.

On the other hand, a mountain / hill in front is not good, because it blocks the view of your house.  It is always good to have a large space without obstruction in front of the house.  This makes the accumulation of wealth more easy.  Besides, it is also good to health.

How about a mountain / hill on the left / right of the house?  In this case, usually we prefer a mountain / hill on the left than the right.  It is believed that, generally speaking, the left is a good position while the right is not.

 

River / Stream

In traditional Feng Shui, water means wealth (水為財).  Generally speaking a house with water  nearby should have good Feng Shui.  However, if there is a long and straight river/stream pointing directly to the entrance of your house, it is not good.

Imagine a water hose with strong running water pointing to your face.  You won’t feel comfortable since the splash of water goes into your mouth and nose.  For the same reason, a long and straight water stream creates a movement of Chi (氣的流動) which is too strong to the occupiers of the house.

How about water going in front of your house?  Well, it depends.  If the water stream does not go straightly but bend to embrace your house, it is good Feng Shui.  On the other hand, if the water runs like a sickle against your house, it is bad.

Let’s have a look at two parcels of farmland, A and B.  With the river running in this shape, A and B receive “embracing water” (環抱水) and “sickle water” (反弓水) respectively.

River around farmland

As time goes by, sediments in the water naturally accumulate along the perimeter of A while the soil of B would gradually be washed away by the movement of water.  It turns out the farm land size of A would grow and that of B would shrink.  In the past farmland is the source of income, so the income generated from A would increase while that from B would drop.  Now you know why a house with an embracing road is good!

If you want some proof about this natural phenomenon, the following photo downloaded from Wikipedia shows the accumulation of sand and mud on only one side of the river at Mississippi River.  The soil on one side is eroded by water while the other side has a sand bar formed.

Mississippi River

 

Trees

Similar to modern living science, in traditional Feng Shui trees are considered good for people in general.  However, trees are not always good in Feng Shui.

The location of vegetation in relation to your house could have significant impact on the occupiers.  For example, Flying Star 3, when meeting “wood” elements, would cause interpersonal disputes.  If there is a tree outside your house in a direction where the Flying Star 3 occupies, you may have quarrels with people or even get involved in lawsuits easily.  We will learn Flying Star Feng Shui in this course soon, you’ll know what how trees could affect Feng Shui in detail.

For now, you should remember that trees are not always good.  When trees are in close proximity to windows and doors, they shelter natural sunlight.  Houses with insufficient daylight are believed to attract spirit of the departed easily.

Trees outside building

You may not believe in the existence of ghost.  Let’s say “seeing dead people” is simply a psychological phenomenon.  Modern science has already proven that always living in a dark environment could cause depression more easily.  No matter what, if your house is blocked from access to sunlight due to trees, it is definitely not good.

So does it mean that my house must be very bright inside?  No.  If your house does not have sufficient shading and the windows are large, the sun light may go directly into the house through windows.  The interior may be too bright, which is not good.  Bright is Yang (陽) and dark is Yin (陰), we do not want the two extremes but a balanced condition.  People living in a house with over-strong natural lighting may have anger easily.  It is also not good for health.  So a house should not be too dark or too bright.  Sometimes trees are good to provide some shading to your house.

Another case you need to beware of is tree outside entrance door of your house.  In the following top view, you could see that there is a tree right in front of the main entrance door of a house.  Is this good?  No, certainly bad.

Tree in front of door

Why?  To have a tree in front of the door is like a gun pointing to your mouth.  You won’t feel good if this actually happens.  Besides, this may also bring bad health according to Feng Shui theories.

 

Wind

Is wind good?  What if my house is located up on a hilltop where it is windy?  Same as lighting, we want a house in balance.  It is not good to live in a house without natural wind.  However, a windy place is not a good place for living.

Wind and Feng Shui

The first problem with wind is sound.  In windy places you can hear the annoying sound of the wind blowing through windows, tree leaves and other objects.  The constant noise is not good for health.

The second problem with wind is temperature.  Usually when wind blows over a house it takes away the heat.  This makes the house cooler.  It would be nice if the house is located in hot and humid places, but not so good if the place is already cold.

What if I live in a windy place?  Should I move?  Well, if you cannot afford moving, the best thing to do is to build a fence or plant some trees in the yard as wind shield.

 

Smell

Odor is definitely bad Feng Shui.  If you live in a place with bad smell, your health is in threat no only according to medical science but Feng Shui as well.

Usually the origin of bad smell is man-made.  We will cover these locations in more detail in the next lesson.  However, there are some places that are natural odor generators.  For example, some dried streams may have sludge accumulated.  The sludge is a good place for microorganisms to breed, and bad smell may be generated easily.  Avoid living in such places.

 

Sound

Similarly, noise is not good for health.  Living in a noisy place is not easy, I had this experience before.  It would be difficult to fall asleep.  Insufficient sleep could make you feel drowsy during the day (of course), besides it also means losing temper easily and poor concentration.

What are the natural sources of sound?  Well, it certainly depends on the sound level.  If you live at a distance from a water stream you may think it is nice to hear the sound of the water.  But if you live right next to a river, the sound may be too loud.

It also depends on the quality of the sound.  High pitch sound produced by wind blowing through a narrow slit is definitely bad.  It takes some judgment to decide, but the rule of thumb is if an ordinary man would hate the sound.

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Takeaway Feng Shui

In the “Trees” section above, we mentioned having a tree right in front of the entrance door is bad, because it looks like a gun pointing right towards the mouth.  In fact, personification is commonly found in Feng Shui theories.  Just consider your house as a person, you could easily think of many Feng Shui principles by analogy.

If you say the facade of your house/flat is the face of a person, than having a lift (elevator) right in front of the door is just like looking at a pair of scissors everyday.  In ancient times there is no lift, so no Feng Shui master in the past would imagine any Feng Shui theories about lifts.

Lift doors

By analogy, you may consider the lift doors as medical scissors that are used in medical operations.  Believe it or not, according to my observation over the years, for flats in a multi-storey building which faces a lift directly, the occupants may have bad health conditions easily.  Many of them may need to have operation.

Another interesting observation I made over the years is the impact of air ducts and air conditioning louvres.  Some residential flats, especially those in the densely populated areas in Hong Kong, faces the air duct openings and air conditioning louvres of the opposite buildings.  It is already not so good to see one or two of these, but what if you see many of them right outside your window?

My find is that, since these openings looks like mouths, it seems like there are many opened mouths in front of you.  In Chinese we call quarrels “口舌” which literally means “mouth and tongue”.  People living in such a place may have disputes with people easily.  The problem would be aggravated if there is a blowing fan inside the air duct or behind the louvre.

These are just a few of the examples of personification in Feng Shui.  We will come across some other examples in this Feng Shui course.  In fact, if you can imagine, you can think of some other Feng Shui principles.  Everyone could be a Feng Shui master!


What Do 8 Directions Represent in Feng Shui? [Master Class Lesson 2]


In the first lesson we have seen what Feng Shui means and what are the different systems.  From this lesson onwards, we will begin to learn some real things, things that you can use and apply to your house.

We know that Feng Shui is about the “space” we live in.  No matter which system or school of Feng Shui, the major element must be “directions”.  Back in elementary schools we learnt that there are 8 directions, namely North, East, South, West, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest.

Twenty Four Hills

But in Flying Feng Shui, which is the system we will mainly learn in this e-course, there could be 24 directions and each direction could be further divided into 3 sections.  You see how complex Feng Shui could be.  But in this course and for the time being, let us focus on the 8 directions first.  The reason is not that I want to keep the advanced skills to myself, but since we don’t need to know that for now.  We’ll certainly study in detail how the 24 directions could affect us.

 

The Meaning of 8 Directions

The 8 directions of Feng Shui correspond to the 8 Guas (卦 in Chinese) of the I-Ching (易經 in Chinese), one of the most mysterious books and philosophies in Chinese society.  It is believed that everything in the world could be categorized under one of the eight Guas.  For example, each person in a family is represented by a Gua.  Each part of your body is also represented by an individual Gua.

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So this is how we could use the meanings of the 8 directions to interpret your house’s Feng Shui.  If there is a problem in a certain direction, a particular person in a family who corresponds to that Gua and direction may be more affected by the problem than the other family members.  Besides, there is a higher chance that the corresponding health problem may be more probable to happen in that family.

Below are brief explanations of what the 8 directions mean.

East

East belongs to the “wood” element, with the meaning of patience, kindness, self-motivation and self-esteem. It also represents the oldest boy or son, or male of approximately 31-45 years old. For health, it is related to arms, legs and the nerves.

Southeast

Southeast also belongs to “wood”, it means stretching ability, benevolence, compassion and patience. It represents the oldest girl or daughter in a family, or female of approximately 31-45 years old. Bed Feng Shui in this direction may trigger health problems in liver, gallbladder, eyes, nerves, limbs and skin, as well as stroke for elderly and alopecia other occupants.

South

South means the girl or daughter in the middle or female of approximately 15-30 years old, it has “fire” characteristic and is related to fashion, culture, punctuality, sports and self-discipline. For health, it is about heart, eyes, blood, small intestine, tongue and brain.

Southwest

Southwest represents old lady or the mother, or female above 45, “earth” element, inclusiveness, tolerance, frugality and credibility. For health, it means the belly, stomach, skin, lips, tumors and the back.

West

West is the youngest girl or female below 15, “metal” element, social skills, creativity, sense of humor, financial management skills and recreation. It represents lung, larynx, colon, ridge, nasal bone, articulate, chest, breasts, vocal cords, bones in the health aspect.

Northwest

Northwest means old man or the father, or male above 45. It carries the meaning of leadership, management, courage and perseverance. For health, it means bones, head, face, brain and joint disease.

North

North belongs to “water”, with the meaning of integrity, strategy, resilience and lust. It relates to kidney, blood, bladder, ear, uterus and urinary system. It represents the boy or son in the middle or male of approximately 15-30 year old.

Northeast

Northeast is “earth”, religion, inclusiveness and speed of action.  For health, it means nose, back, stomach, muscle. It is the youngest son or boy in a family or male below 15.

 

Interpreting Feng Shui Problems

So how do we use these meanings of the 8 directions?  Good Feng Shui in a direction is a positive sign for the corresponding characteristics and vice versa.  So if there is bad Feng Shui in the East, the occupants of this apartment may lose patience easier, have lower self-motivation and kindness, etc.  The problems would more easily happen on the oldest son or boy in the family.

What does it mean by a Feng Shui problem?  Most Feng Shui problems we are talking about are “Form” problems.  In other words, they are mostly related to the shape, size and disposition of objects.  An easily found situation is a recessed corner or projection.

Missing corner

A good apartment should usually be in rectangular shape, if there is a large recess or projection in a direction, it is not good Feng Shui, corresponding bad effects may happen and the corresponding person in a family may suffer the most.  Please note that in modern days building are usually not in perfect square so minor recessions and projections aren’t big issues.

For missing corner/recess, which is a common Feng Shui problem, the solution is to put a piece of specific ornament in that direction to neutralize the bad effect.  You need to use the specific shape of ornament mentioned below because that shape serves as a supplement to “complete” the missing corner.

2-Missing Corner Solutions

There are other “Form” Feng Shui problems that are commonly found in and around modern buildings.  There will be separate lessons when we talk about them in much more detail.

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Take-away Feng Shui

This lesson’s practical tip is how to use compass.  What? I need to learn using compass? Isn’t it something that everyone already knows?  Well, if you talk about using compass for way-finding, yes I assume you know how to use it.  But using compass for Feng Shui purpose is different.  For advanced Feng Shui calculation, we need to carefully find out in which region your house face, because every region could have its own Flying Star Pan (星盤 in Chinese).

In this Feng Shui e-course, I don’t intend to go into such details. We’ll instead use some basic yet effective systems to check your house.  However, it is always good for all Feng Shui beginners to learn using compass.

 

Measure from Outside First!

To begin a Feng Shui measurement, we need to find out the orientation of a house.  Remember!  The first thing to do is NOT going into the house.  This is a mistake that not only beginners make.  Some “Feng Shui practitioners” make this mistake too.

Instead of going straight into the house, you should find out the directions outside.  If you have a compass in hand, let’s do a test now.  Stand in the middle of your house, note the direction shown on the compass and where the magnet points to.  Now move around inside your house, try approaching the walls, columns and electrical appliances.  Did you find any unusual movement of the magnet?

Modern houses are built with concrete and steel reinforcement.  Concrete may contain minerals and steel reinforcement bars are metal, these are things that could interfere with the compass’s interaction with the earth’s magnetic field.  In the experiment above you were effectively walking in a big cage made of metal bars and magnetic materials.  I have seen cases where the magnet moved over 30 degrees within the same house.  Now do you think you can find out the correct directions by just measuring in the house?

And please switch off your electrical devices, including cell phone and iPod, or hand them to somebody else while you use the compass.  I don’t want to scare you but if you do not eliminate all sources of interference, chances are you may mistake a good Feng Shui house as a bad one or vice versa.  A wrong determination could have serious impact on the occupiers.

The proper way of measurement is to hold the compass in front of your waist, keep it horizontal and align it so that it is parallel to the house.  All authentic Chinese Feng Shui compasses are in square shape.  Unfortunately most common compasses are not.  If you only have a common circular compass, imagine there is an intangible line normal to the facade of your house.  Make sure this line runs through you and your compass.

Then, turn the compass so that the N mark aligns to the magnet’s North pointer.  Make sure you got it right but not the reverse.  If you do not know which side of the magnet points to North, try calibrating the compass by facing the sun in the morning.  North should be roughly on your left hand side.

OK, now you should be able to tell in which direction your house faces.  If your house has more than one doors, consider the main entrance which is the most frequently used one.  Mark down not only the eight directions but the degree as well.  It may be less useful for Ba Gua Feng Shui, but you may need this information if you study advanced Flying Star Feng Shui.

 

Back to the House

“You just said we should measure from outside, now you are asking us to go back to our house?”  You may ask.  Well, I did say you should do the measurement outdoor FIRST, but I did not say you should only do it outdoor.  You should go back to the house, do a measurement and check if there is significant variation of the results.

The next step is to overlay the direction plan you got from outside the house onto the internal layout.  In this way you find out in which direction the rooms and doors are located.

Superimposing directions on layout plan

2-Superimposing Directions on Layout Plan

To do this you must find out the center point of your house.  Knowing that many modern houses are not rectangular, I have prepared some examples below for your reference.

Measuring the Center

This is a practical knowledge you should know if you want to use Feng Shui in the right way.  Most Feng Shui books teach you what to put in what direction, but they seldom tell you how to properly find out the directions.


Different Feng Shui Systems and the Best Place to Live in this Decade [Master Class Lesson 1]

Welcome to the first lesson of the Feng Shui DIY Master Class!  In this lesson I want to lay a good foundation for your learning, so I’ll explain to you what Feng Shui is and how it affects us.

The theories may seem boring but no worry, I have included a practical Feng Shui tips in this article.  Feng Shui is not simply about the interior design of your house, the place where you live also matters.  Even in the same country, there are some regions / counties / provinces / communities that are far better than others.  The first practical Feng Shui tips I’m going to giveaway is the method to choose such a good place to live, not for today only, but fot the coming 10+ years.  Do you want to learn it?  Yes, I bet you want.  So let us begin the lesson!

 

The “4 Schools of Feng Shui”

If you have attended any Feng Shui classes or read any Feng Shui books before, chances are you heard of anyone or more of the following so-called Feng Shui theories.  These are the most popular way people categorize Feng Shui systems:

  • Form Feng Shui
    • A system that disregard or pay little attention to directions.  More focus is put on the look, color and form (巒頭) of the external and internal environment of the house.
  • Compass (Ba Gua) Feng Shui
    • A system that divides a house into 8 sections, each has a Gua (卦) number.
  • Classical (Flying Star) Feng Shui
    • A system that assigns 9 flying stars to 8 directions and the center of a house.
  • Western (Spiritual) Feng Shui
    • A system that puts a Ba Gua (八卦) – a grid with 8 cells, onto the house without aligning it with actual directions.

You may have seen discussions about which system works or not on the internet.  I say these discussions did not get to the point.  Why?

A simple answer is, the above is simply not what’s written in Chinese Feng Shui theories!  We do not categorize Feng Shui systems this way.

 

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Feng Shui As An Integrated System

If I have to “categorize” these Feng Shui “theories”, I would do it this way:

Feng Shui theories

In fact, no authentic Chinese Feng Shui practitioner would use only one of the above systems.  The first system (in red), Form Feng Shui is a school that requires little to no mathematical calculations.  This system simply examines the shapes and relative locations of objects, lighting, sound, movement of air, etc.  If you learn more about this system, you will know it is quite a common-sense science.  For example, Form Feng Shui requires that there should be sufficient lighting in the living space.

The second group (in orange), which includes Ba Gua Feng Shui, Flying Star Feng Shui and some other systems, is a group of theories that requires mathematical calculations.  These systems recognize the characteristics of different Guas (卦) or Flying Stars (飛星) and their impacts on occupants of a house.  By knowing they whereabouts, we know what to do and what to avoid at particular directions.

The third type above (in blue) is almost absent in Chinese society (because it is a contemporary system with a more spiritual focus, in other words, not quite supported by Feng Shui calculations).  In this e-book I also introduces authentic Chinese Feng Shui, we will not look at this fourth system.

There is a saying in traditional Feng Shui theories that “Form and Calculation, none of them is dispensable” (巒頭理氣,缺一不可).  All these factors affect your interaction with your house, so as your house with the environment.  Ba Gua and Flying star Feng Shui systems require lots of Calculations, but without the appreciation of Form, you do not completely understand your house and its effects on you.

After all, Feng Shui is all about identifying a dwelling with good living environment.  Even if you get a house with the best orientation (with Gua or Flying Star support) but situated in a bad location and has bad lighting and color design, you won’t feel comfortable living in this house.

So, an experienced Feng Shui practitioner would look at:

Form and Calculation

This is why Feng Shui is an integrated system.

 

How Does Feng Shui Affect Us?

Feng Shui studies three basic elements, time (時), space (地) and people (人).  Time is usually dynamic while the space is basically static.  People are in between time and location, affected by both of them.

Time

Time changes, so as Feng Shui.  Good Feng shui for a specific time could turn bad later.  A typical example is Flying Star Feng Shui, which put much emphasis on changes according to time.  According this system, there are 9 flying stars changing their locations every hour, day, month, year… different Flying Stars have different characteristics in different time period, sometimes they are good sometimes they bring bad luck.  The study of Flying Star Feng shui is to find out the prevailing Flying Stars and maximize the use of them to boost good luck.

Space

Space is static.  East is East forever.  A red rug is a red rug, if red color is not good for you the bad effect would be here forever unless you remove it from your living room.

People

This is why we say the Feng Shui of a house affects you only if you live in that house.  I explained this in a previous email newsletter by quoting a real story.  Basically, Feng Shui is all about the interaction of the environment with the people living inside.  You may have a luxury holiday house in Asia but you are only affected by the house in New Jersey where you sleep in everyday.  The prevailing Feng Shui of a specific time and the environment of a particular location affect you, because you so happen appear at that time and space.  Does it make sense?

 

So How Do We Begin?

Now you know the basis of Feng Shui.  From now on, don’t be fooled by misleading Feng Shui talks.  If somebody say red is absolutely bad for living room in whatever situation, I believe he does not know the essence of Feng Shui.  Perhaps the prevailing Feng Shui color is red, perhaps the occupant’s lucky color is red, how can we be so sure that red is bad?

In this e-course, you will learn both Form and Calculation Feng Shui.  You will see how you can find out the best Feng Shui for the particular time, space and people.

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Takeaway Feng Shui

At the end of each lesson, I’ll include a practical Feng Shui tip that you can take away.  Especially in the early stage of your learning, you’ll come across quite some theories, and theories are usually plain.  I don’t want you to be frustrated by the boring theories, so I’ll give you one premium Feng Shui tip that you can use instantly.

The tip of this lesson is choosing a place of residence for 10+ years of luck.  You will soon learn the 9 periods of Feng Shui, for now, please simply remember that we are now experiencing the 8th period (八運 in Chinese).  This period began already in 2004 and will end in 2023 (to be precise, until 3 February 2024).  So we still have 10+ years to go before the 9th period comes.

In this 8th period, it is highly favorable Feng Shui if there is running water in the Southwest side of your living place.  If you need to find a place to live, you should try very best to find such a place.  I know it may be a bit hard to understand, let’s see an example.

Hong Kong Satellite Map West Kowloon

The satellite image above was downloaded from Google Maps.  It shows the metro area of the city I live in, Hong Kong (if you don’t know where Hong Kong is, it is a city with over 7 million population in Southern Asia).  Blue color denotes the sea and green is the rural area where mountains and trees are.

The red-shaded area is a reclaimed land created by land fill.  Since year 2000, big residential estates, mega shopping malls, the tallest building in Hong Kong (an office tower) and hotels ran by famous operators were gradually built and opened.  This parcel of land has changed into one of the most expensive area in the city (residential flat prices more than doubled in the last 10 years)!  The largest theatre-exhibition-gallery mix in town, called West Kowloon Cultural District, will also be built here and is scheduled to open in 2015 (the first phase).

A major reason that this area became so flourishing is it location.  You can see in the satellite image above that there is a big sea in its Southwest!

So, if you ever need to choose a place to live, you should find a place where it has a sea frontage in the Southwest.  Or, at least you can see the sea in the Southwest direction!

This is the end of your first Feng Shui Master Class.  I hope you find this lesson useful.  Come back for the next lesson to learn more!