Feng Shui Myths (2): Water Fountain, Wealth Fog and the like

In the last article in this Feng Shui Myths series, we have discussed the use of lucky color to boost luck.  This time, we shall examine another popular topic in Feng Shui, i.e. the use of Feng Shui products.  Do you really believe that these stuff could bring better energy?

Most of the time when you seek help from a Feng Shui master, he would suggest that you place some Feng Shui accessories at home or in the workplace.  There are a large variety of Feng Shui accessories used by Feng Shui practitioners, the most commonly used ones include water fountain (this one is extremely popular), water column, wealth ship, wealth fog, Ba Gua, Feng Shui coins and Wu Lou.  Let me explain their effects.

Water Fountain / Water Column

These two are perhaps the most commonly used Feng Shui accessories.  Whenever we talk about using Feng Shui to bring wealth, we inevitably talk about the use of a water feature.

The logic behind using water fountain / water column is that water represents wealth.  So once we identified the direction where the”wealth star” locates, we should place a water feature there to enhance the power of the “wealth star”.  Both water fountain and water column are features with running water, so they are considered bring a dynamic stream of wealth.

Feng Shui Myths - Feng Shui Water Fountain

Is this true?  Yes.  Water features, if placed correctly, could bring better luck in wealth growth.  According to the Five-element Theory, the “wealth star” has a “water” characteristic, so placing water in that star’s direction could strengthen the power of that star.

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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.

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 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 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.


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!