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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.