Feng Shui refers to the ancient Chinese practice of studying and following the natural currents of the Earth to ensure the proper alignment with them so that Qi is not disrupted.
Some references in writing cited that the traces of Feng Shui were evident as early as 2700 BC. At first, it was used to locate the best position for burial sites in order to bring good fortune to the descendants. With this concept, the standard on arranging the entire villages was set. Kingdoms were planned based on Feng Shui and the capital of each kingdom was built on a land with good energy forces to have positive fortune.
The three ancient fundamentals of Feng Shui are: the compass, the Ba Gua or the pa’kua, and the theory of change were developed by shamans, diviners, and kings.
The compass, called Lo-Pan, was first used during the T’ang Dynasty (618-906 AD). This compass has twenty-four directions and seventeen rings.
The pa’kua was first used by King Wen at the beginning of the Chou Dynasty (1122-207 BC) to describe the patterns of change in the natural world. It was also used in the 8th century BC to bring harmony and wealth to the kingdom by promoting the flow of nourishing energy inside a city of palace.
A basic principal and a key part of Feng Shui is the chi, or the dragon’s celestial breath. It can be really good karma bringing happiness and prosperity, but if it flows to quickly it can be a destabilizing force. Although chi flows everywhere it is more abundant in some places than in others. Clearing clutter and softening sharp edges are some good ways to keep positive chi flowing.
The practice of Feng Shui became forbidden in 1949. After the invasion of the European countries, the intellectuals of China began to question their ancient heritage. Taking after the west, people began to regard Feng Shui with superstition. During that time however, other Asian countries began to practice Feng Shui.
The California gold rush of the 1840’s brought Chinese immigrants looking for fortunes. They introduced the ancient beliefs of Feng Shui to the United States. Now America has a much simpler Western version of Feng Shui.
Feng shui is typically associated with the following techniques.
Xingshi Pai (“Forms” Methods)
Luan Dou Pai, 峦头派, Pinyin: luán tóu pài, (environmental analysis without using a compass)
Xing Xiang Pai, 形象派 or 形像派, Pinyin: xíng xiàng pài, (Imaging forms)
Xingfa Pai, 形法派, Pinyin: xíng fǎ pài
Liqi Pai (“Compass” Methods)
San Yuan Method, 三元派 (Pinyin: sān yuán pài)
Dragon Gate Eight Formation, 龍門八法 (Pinyin: lóng mén bà fǎ)
Xuan Kong, 玄空 (time and space methods)
Xuan Kong Fei Xing 玄空飛星 (Flying Stars methods of time and directions)
Xuan Kong Da Gua, 玄空大卦 (“Secret Decree” or 64 gua relationships)
San He Method, 三合派 (environmental analysis using a compass)
Accessing Dragon Methods
Ba Zhai, 八宅 (Eight Mansions)
Water Methods, 河洛水法
Four Pillars of Destiny, 四柱命理 (a form of hemerology)
Major and Minor Wandering Stars (Constellations)
Five phases, 五行 (relationship of the five phases or wuxing)
Feng shui (Chinese for “wind, water”) is an ancient Chinese belief system that concerns the relationship between objects and their environment and the effect that this relationship has on people. According to feng shui, placing objects in certain locations within a house, for example, or aligning buildings in certain ways, will bring good luck, prosperity, and feelings of harmony by allowing an invisible life energy (called chi) to flow more smoothly—much like wind or water does—through the environment. Conversely, blocking this energy by positioning objects improperly will bring bad luck, poverty, and feelings of disquiet. It is also considered bad to allow energy to flow through an environment too quickly, via an uninterrupted straight line called a secret arrow, because then the energy is going so fast that parts of it fly off and disappear. (However, a secret arrow is considered acceptable if the straight line is on a ceremonial route leading to a sacred shrine.)
Believers in feng shui use these principles and others to make many decisions in their lives. For example, building sites are chosen based on whether the topography is believed to have a good, strong flow of energy. Without such a flow, feng shui devotees say, the building will be weaker structurally, and the activities within it will be performed in a halfhearted, sluggish manner. If the landscape lacks the right conditions but using a different site is impossible, then a feng shui expert is called upon to alter the site’s contours to improve the energy flow and/or to place objects around the building, such as fountains or decorative walls, to contain or deflect energy as required. Similarly, the architects of a house built according to principles of feng shui are careful not to place walls, windows, or doors in ways that will bring the home’s residents bad luck. For example, they do not align doors because if a series of doors were to be left open it would create a secret arrow. Similarly, architects avoid positioning stairways so that they lead directly to—and therefore rush energy out of—the front door, because this is believed to drain good fortune, particularly in the form of money, from a household.
Residents of a home who believe in feng shui are equally careful in the placement of their possessions. For example, they keep rooms free of clutter because it blocks the flow of energy, and they hang small wind chimes near the front door (called the “mouth of chi” because it is where energy enters a building) in order to keep away bad luck and bring more money into the home.
Furniture placed in the wrong spot in a room is said to cause all kinds of problems for the household’s residents, including fights and illnesses, so practitioners of feng shui take particular care in decorating their homes. To determine the placement of furniture and other movable objects, a feng shui expert creates a ba-gua, an octagonal map that divides spaces within a building or within each room into eight sectors, each representing a different aspect of life: wealth, fame, marriage, children, helpful people, career, knowledge, and the family. This map is then consulted before furniture placement. For example, beds are positioned in accordance with the sleeper’s age and marital status. Children’s beds are put in the “children’s area” of a room; couples’ beds belong in the “marriage area”; a young adult’s bed should be placed in an area connected to his or her pursuits, such as the “knowledge area” for a college student or the “career” or “helpful people” area for someone just starting a new job; and an older, unmarried person’s bed should be in the “family” area. Mirrors in a bedroom are believed to cause bad dreams, whereas beds placed directly below ceiling beams are believed to cause chronic bad health or ongoing arguments between couples.
Numerous books have been written on the subject of how to create good feng shui within a home. Moreover, there are so many complicated beliefs and practices related to feng shui that believers often hire professional feng shui consultants to tell them where to put their possessions within a home or office. Some people also consult feng shui experts before designing a building so they will know how to orient stairs, doorways, walls, and windows.
- Earth energy
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning