Does Feng Shui require a Compass?

Does Feng Shui require a Compass?

Yes, Feng Shui is only Feng Shui if a compass is used. Without it, one is only practicing design and personal preference.

Let’s see how specific it is. There are eight directions; North, South, East, West, Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, and Northeast. On a Lo Pan, or Chinese Compass, these directions are divided into three different sections. On a Lo Pan then, there are 24 divisions of 15 degrees each. Each division’s orientation can result in a totally different house in terms of its prosperity. A few degrees one way or another is a completely different house type.At a basic level, Feng Shui does blend with interior design principals. These addresses the environment you live in. But at a deeper level, the true nature of Chinese Feng Shui is based on geomancy or “earth wisdom”. It looks at how Qi is influenced by time and direction. A Feng Shui analysis is very specific and requires the use of a feng shui compass.

One of the most important aspects of Feng Shui is time. To find out just how important the time factor is, we multiply the 24 divisions by the nine different time periods (A time period here is 20 years) and so we can see that there are really 216 different house types, not just 24. Multiply this times an unlimited number of floor plans and you get an infinite number of Feng Shui analyses. One size does not fit all. There is no fixed area for wealth, health, etc. These forms of Qi can be present, but it takes a qualified practitioner to uncover them.
All of this is based on calculations. Feng Shui can be very exact. It is not guesswork. What makes it confusing is that there are practitioners with varying degrees of knowledge. Some practitioners only look at the 8 house trigrams. Some look at the time cycles, but they do so without a deeper understanding of the correct calculations. For example, there was a book about Feng Shui written in the last few years. It is one of the few that explain the time calculations. It is one of the few that show the calculations. Unfortunately, the book. s calculations seem only work in the North Sitting, and South facing orientation. Turn the orientation 15 degrees and the calculations do not work.Further, there are variable Qi energies depending on the time. These are 180 years, 20 years, annually, monthly, and daily. So what does all this mean? Well, if you are in a house that was built between 1964 and 1983, then in 1984 it became weaker. And during this 20-year period, there is the possibility that a house can be “restricted” or have a difficult periods for either the people or money. This lasts for the particular time cycle. It can be a month, year, or even 20 years. This explains why a lot of times that a particular house can be very good, but for a certain year, money is a struggle, or perhaps relationships are difficult to find.

There are many different levels of Chinese Feng Shui. The commonly used teachings include:

Form – The Form method only addresses only the external or internal environments.

Eight House – (Also known as the East/West teachings) This method addresses the basic orientations and how best to align one’s self to the favorable directions.

Xuan Kong – (Also known as Flying Star Method) This is a Time specific Feng Shui which looks at orientations and time factors. This is used to map the specific qi within a building, room, or other area. This is a very detailed method and can be very accurate if performed correctly.

These methods are all are necessary and work together. You can analyze the Feng Shui on a Form level without a compass, but you are only dealing with such issues as “clearing the clutter” or how the outside environment affects the house. Eight House theory is based on orientation and requires a compass. If you use Xuan Kong, which deals with specific issues of Qi, then you also must look at Form as well as the Eight House theories to accurately analyze the Feng Shui. With this method, you must have an accurate compass reading.

To look at the Feng Shui any deeper than the Form Method, you must use a compass to determine the direction. Many times, people think their house faces a certain direction, but are incorrect when a compass is used. For example, many people in Los Angeles think that the ocean is West of Los Angeles. In actuality, most beaches in Los Angeles are South Facing. Many cities are based on grids that are North/South or East/West. But is it true North or magnetic North? Feng Shui looks at magnetic North. So remember, that is if there is no exact measurement of orientation, then there is no way to judge the Feng Shui beyond the basic environment. A complete Feng Shui analysis uses all three methods to accurately look at the environment of the building and how the people can feel their best in that building.

Feng Shui Earth Element

Feng Shui Earth Element

The Feng Shui Earth element can be both the bad guy and the good guy. It is at the center of the eight trigrams and is in the opposing directions of Southwest and Northeast. Looking at the Post-Heaven Trigram, it is also in the Center. Its colors are earth tones, yellows, or tans. This elemental qi is responsible for wealth and money. But watch out for it can also be responsible for delays, illnesses or accidents.

The earth element is unique in that, during this time period, it is not used too frequently to correct other elemental qi. Rather, it is typically the recipient the correction. This may sound confusing, but really it is very simple. After a careful Feng Shui analysis, the practitioner maps out the qi within a building. In certain areas there might be Earth qi. This qi can be favorable or unfavorable, depending on the corresponding trigram. If there is qi present from either Kun (the Southwest Trigram represented by the number 2) or the center trigram (which has no trigram but is represented by the number 5) then it can be considered unfavorable. This earth energy can create delays or even sickness. This is usually remedied by metal.

When talking about the trigrams, we mention the directions such as Southwest, but this is not always where it is found. Feng Shui is based on the I-Ching, or “book of change” which states that all things cycle and change. Nothing is fixed. So do not consider that you will always find Kun qi in only the Southwest. That is its home, but it is not always where it is found. The same is true of Ken. Northeast is its home, but it too can be found in different places in different houses.

If the qi that is mapped out results in the Ken trigram (Northeast and represented by the number 8) then it is very favorable for money. Even generally speaking, in the Chinese culture, 8 is related to money and is a sought after number. This is folklore and not necessarily Feng Shui, but they still prefer to have an 8 in their address or license plate. Because earth is strengthened by fire, there are times that the fire element is used to enhance the potential for strong income.

If the earth element is needed itself as a remedy, then possible ways of utilizing this earth element are through the use of terracotta pots, adobe sculptures, ceramics, or even actual rocks (if they fit into the environment that you are trying to create.) To give you some examples, should you need earth in your entry, then perhaps a nice ceramic statue would work. You might also use some large adobe pots with beautiful flowers growing in them. There are a lot of creative ideas on how to use the earth element.

Earth can also be used to “ground” the fire element. Electricity can be considered fire in the cycle of elements. If you should have an electrical transformer box in your yard, consider putting some decorative stones between the house and the electrical box. Place them naturally and do not put too many either. Be sure to check with your electric company first to ensure that you do not create a problem for them, such as their access to the box, infringing on their property rights etc. Remember too that anything you do should look natural and beautiful. Do not create a “sha” or unsightly influence.

The earth element is the heart of the trigrams. It is both desired and unfavorable. Many people do not think of the earth element as being attractive, but choosing carefully, you can find very attractive earth solutions. Even jade is an earth remedy. If you are working a lot at the computer, consider putting a small jade statue on the desk between the power supply and yourself. Remember too that all Feng Shui solutions need to be carefully analyzed to ensure that you are placing them in the correct area.

Feng Shui Wood Element

Feng Shui Wood Element

Being that it is springtime and a time for renewal, the Feng Shui wood element is the ideal place to begin a discussion of the elements. Of the five elements, wood is one of the most refreshing and easily adaptable solutions for one’s home. It is associated with spring, new life, and the directions east and southeast. Wood is used frequently to break the direct flow of Qi into a soft and dispersed flow. So let’s explore how to use wood to bring out the best this spring.

What exactly is the wood element? Wood is living and breathing plants. It can also be the color of green. Can you use tables and chairs made of wood? Of course, but not for the Feng Shui remedy of wood. Wood is a unique element in that it purifies Qi. It redirects Qi. It slows down Qi. Living plants are unique in that they take impure air and freshen it with new oxygen. For those who celebrate Christmas, think about how fresh the house is when there is a tree in your living room. Wood is refreshing.

Solving issues with Feng Shui wood element

First, you can use wood to enhance your environment. A beautiful ficus tree or perhaps a philodendron can be used to resolve several Feng Shui issues. The most common question in Feng Shui is what if I have a front door opposite a rear door? The answer would be to place a large bushy plant in the pathway between the doors to break up the direct flow of Qi.

Another example of the effective utilization of wood is to use a large shrub or small tree to break up the effect of a sharp angle (Metal Sha) from a corner that points directly at you. In one case, a client placed a grove of trees to offset the corner angle of an apartment building that was pointing at his house. Another client inside placed a beautiful ficus tree at the corner of an interior wall that was pointing right at his bed. Use plants (Feng Shui Wood) to soften this harsh projection of Qi.

Feng Shui Wood Colors

Plants are also a great remedy for odors in the house. Today many people recommend air purifiers. We know firsthand that these work well, yet we still prefer the traditional method of using plants and flowers to cleanse and provide a fragrant environment. Used in combination, you can’t go wrong.

feng shui wood elementCan you use the color as a solution in Feng Shui? Yes. The color green is warm and is a popular color in the ’90′s. Homes that have their sitting side (usually the rear of the home opposite the street) to the east or southeast can utilize the color green as an accent on their house trim. These homes are associated with the wood element and adding the color as the trim can assist the Feng Shui of the home. Using green highlights (such as green pillows or perhaps even drapes with some green tones) within a room that is in the east or southeast can also be beneficial.

Remember that everything is to be in balance. Too much of anything is not good. When using the wood element in your home, create beauty, not a jungle environment. Do not decorate a room entirely in green. Use it to accentuate, not overpower. If over used, people who are associated with the earth element can have problems. There is beneficial earth Qi in certain areas that can provide prosperity, but if overpowered by the wood, they might not provide this prosperity. Remember balance. In proper proportion though, wood is always beneficial for providing good Qi in your home or office.

Wood is nourished by water and wood is the source for strength in fire. So next time, we will focus on the Feng Shui element of fire (the summer element).
Images graciously provided by: Darroll Higginbotham &The Palm Farm

Feng Shui Fire Element

Feng Shui Fire Element

Fire is something that has transfixed man for as long as we have had recorded history.  Fire is what keeps us warm. Fire cooks our food. Fire in proportion can be useful.  Fire out of control is devastating. The Chinese looked at fire as being one of the primary elements.  It is the most Yang of the elements. It holds mystery in its flame.  When it comes to Feng Shui, fire is a very potent and strong elemental remedy.  It is not to be used haphazardly.  Not only because of the potential risk inherent in fire, but because fire strengthens the Earth element.   Energetically speaking, the Earth elements can be a very harmful form of qi.   Using fire can strengthen the negative aspects of the earth creating accidents or sickness.  Used correctly though, it can strengthen your wealth qi.

The first question we usually get from people when discussing the five elements is “What is the fire element?” The fire element is the actual application of fire.  A candle or even a red bed spread can be used for the fire element.  As you noticed, the color red can be used too.  Ideally, the actual element should be used.  There are many times though, that the element is too dangerous to use, so we recommend something red.  A good substitute for the actual element would be a red light bulb, or a red lampshade.  These provide a vibrant color and importantly, heat.  These are more effective than a red carpet, although as an alternative a red rug or bed spread works as well.

How does it interact with the earth element?  As mentioned above, the fire element provides strength to the earth element.  This can be negative or positive.  In the eight trigrams, there are two trigrams of earth and the center, which is also earth.  When calculating the Qi of a building or house, we look for either the number 2 (the Kun trigram) or the number 5 (the center). These two trigrams, during this time period, are less favorable and can create sickness or accidents.  The Ken trigram (8) on the other hand, can bring prosperity and wealth. It is also good for children.  This is the one case where fire can be used beneficially to strengthen earth.

Fire can also be used to reduce negative wood qi.  In some cases wood qi can bring gossip arguments, and lawsuits.  This is unlike using the element of wood as mentioned in an earlier article, but rather here we are referring to the qi within a building.  Qi is a form of energy and can take on aspects of any of the elements. When it is a wood qi, it can have the effects mentioned above, or it can bring the flowering of a new relationship.

How can it be applied?  The fire element can be used in a variety of ways.  You can use a candle.  The color of the candle does not really matter so much as long as you are burning it.  If you are not burning the candle, then try to use red or purple candles.  Here it is the color, not the candle itself that is providing the remedy.  As previously mentioned, using a red lampshade or a red nightlight is an effective solution for the fire remedy. Hurricane lamps are also effective because they are safer than exposed candles.  Lastly, anything that is vibrant red can be used.  The actual element of fire is preferred though.

Fire, as a Feng Shui remedy is very potent.  It does take some understanding though on how to properly use it. Used incorrectly and it can bring sickness and separation.  Use this element safely, as it can be dangerous in a practical sense
as well.  Kids, dogs, and candles usually do not mix.  When used correctly though, it can bring money and help with relationships.  It takes a trained Feng Shui pracitioner to determine where best to apply the fire element.  Lastly, use all of the five elements judiciously and in balance. Too much of anything is not good.

Images graciously provided by “The Candleshoppe”

Feng Shui Metal Element

Feng Shui Metal Element

Have you ever held a compass close to something metal, such as an automobile or even a metal table? Metal can effect
the compass needle, skewing it to one side or another by several degrees. Because of this strong effect, one of the
primary Feng Shui solutions that is recommended more times than not, is something made of metal. In Feng Shui Metal is a strong remedy and can be used to prevent illnesses, money delays, and even loneliness. It needs to be properly applied in the correct area to be effective. Since it is one of the key elements and is very commonly available, the metal element has a lot of ways in which it can be applied in Feng Shui.

Metal can be used in a lot of forms in Feng Shui. A metal solution can be gold, silver, brass, bronze, or even steel. The main consideration is that it fits nicely into the environment. For example, a nice brass wall hanging looks nice in a living room. A set of weight lifter plates in the living room does not. However, if you need metal and you have workout weights that you do not use, then the weights can be placed at the bottom of a brass pot, then covered with a small plant, then it makes an effective metal solution because the pot with a plant looks attractive. (The metal is much stronger than the small plant so this is not a wood solution) The idea here is to create a beautiful solution while getting substantial feng shui metal effect. The effect needs to be proportional though. Having a lot of metal in a small room or having too little metal in a large room does not fit proportionally. Try to get a solution that works for the area you are working with.

There are a lot of other creative metal elements that can be used. Some of our clients use brass statues of deer or even a bronze horse bust. A couple of very strong metal solutions include a metal chiming clock and wind chimes. Both of these need to be used carefully and upon the advice of a trained practitioner. Mainly because they are audible, the sound strengthens the effect of the metal dramatically. Used properly though, they can render assistance to areas that are prone to accidents, money delays, and illnesses. Just like Yin and Yang, there needs to be a balance, so too much metal can be detrimental and too little can be ineffective.

One tip about wind chimes; this year (until February 2000) if you plan to do any gardening, or construction in the South, adding a metal wind chime outside can prevent construction delays or accidents. Next year (2/2000 until 2/2001) it will be the North. Again, consider the time cycles, not all Feng Shui recommendations as permanent.

Many of our students ask “Why is metal the primary remedy in Feng Shui?” Well, the answer is because of the time aspect. Since time and space are always undergoing change, so is qi. During this time period, certain earth qi is not favorable and the solution is to use metal to correct it. Because of this, more times than not, the recommendation will be something made of metal. This does not mean to replace everything in your house with something metal, but in a lot
of cases, metal accents in the home can assist in improved health and a reduction of delays. Ideally though, you should seek out a qualified Feng Shui practitioner to assist you in determining whether you need to add metal in your home.

Lastly, remember that Feng Shui is about balance and harmony. Do not overdo it. Any Feng Shui solution applied should fit naturally into your environment and should not appear awkward or out of place. Remember too, if something doesn’t feel right to you, then it is not good Feng Shui. Always use common sense and proper aesthetics.

Feng Shui Water Element

Feng Shui Water Element

Feng Shui literally means wind and water. The ancient Chinese used Feng Shui to study the effects of qi (pronounced “chi” and meaning “Life Energy”) on people and buildings and to create environments that were supportive and prosperous. “Wind disperses qi and Water holds qi” is a common axiom in Feng Shui. Water is one of the key elements in the Feng Shui theory of the Five Elements. Instinctively, people have always had an affinity for water. Most major cities and palaces of the world are located near rivers or bodies of water. Houses or property located near these waters usually fetch higher resale prices. Water, properly applied in Feng Shui can strengthen existing relationships, help to create new relationships, and even assist the overall prosperity of a home or building. Frequently, people ask, “What role does water play in Feng Shui?” or “How can you apply this element to improve your prosperity?” Water plays a key roll in Feng Shui and properly applied can greatly assist the prosperity of a home or building.

The water element is used frequently in Feng Shui. Water can be found naturally in the environment such as a river or lake. It can also be applied as a Feng Shui remedy. For the exterior, water can be stored in pools, ponds, fountains, or even cattle troughs! Water inside can take the form of small inside-fountains, fish tanks, water sculptures, or even large bowls. The key thing in all of these applications is to keep the water clean, fresh and moving. Fish tanks do not necessarily need fish, although Chinese superstition says to put in 6 gold fish and 1 black fish). Fish do help the water circulate though. Video fish tanks do not work as a Feng Shui remedy!

 

When applying the water element, it is important to understand that metal containers tend to work better than earthen containers. Metal strengthens water in the cycle of the elements. We have also seen people put a metal liner in their fountain to increase the strength of the water qi. Another key understanding is that the water has to be fresh. Water that is stagnant or moldy is considered a “sha” or negative influence. It can create a worse situation than if there were none.

 

The colors of blue or black can also be used as a substitute for the water element. North represents the Trigram of Kan. A house that “sits” to the North can benefit from a blue trim. While north is the water direction, this does not mean that you should automatically place water in that direction. Although a lot of books suggest water be used in the north, it really depends on the house and the particular qi it holds.

 

Recently we were asked the following question: “I’ve read that water in front of a dwelling brings prosperity into it, and water behind it draws prosperity out of it. Also, running water moves too quickly and must be cured by windmills or the like to catch the energy so it doesn’t just rush by.” First, a lot of what people read is not necessarily true. The best answer to the above question is “it depends.” In some cases, water behind the house will help the money prosperity. People frequently ask about swimming pools. Water near the house is good because it keeps the energy flowing and prevents it from being “locked.” Each house is different and it takes a qualified practitioner to determine the specific qi possessed by that house.

 

Traditional Feng Shui is concerned about the qi of the house and how comfortable it makes you feel. Further, traditional Chinese Feng Shui does not use “windmills” as a correction. If anything, putting up an embankment or by placing large rocks (then, only if needed) would be the solution. Earth dominates the water element and in order to block the water qi, you would use earth. A softer solution might be to put up a hedge or row of trees, as wood reduces water qi and is a softer solution than earth dominating water. This is not always needed, but rather, these are the solutions that might be applied if the water qi was undesirable.

 

Another positive benefit of water can also be to induce a relationship. Poetically known in China as bringing about the “peach blossom,” water used in the right place in combination with a particular qi (found only in certain homes) can attract male suitors.

 

If you belong to the Chen Trigram (wood), water can be used to give you strength. You belong to the Chen Trigram if you were born after February 4 in 1934, 1943, 1952, 1961, 1970, 1979, 1988, 1997.

 

Until 2043, it can be said generally, that water in the southwest or east, can assist prosperity. The water should be placed outside in fairly large container (perhaps as much 100 gallons). A warning though; if these directions are in front of, or behind your house, you should consult a qualified practitioner to determine if it is okay to do this. Just like medicine, there can be side effects if not applied carefully. If these directions are on the side of the house and you can apply it. Ensure that you use a compass to accurately determine the directions.

 

Water can be used in a lot of beautiful and creative ways. As with all Feng Shui remedies, work to create a harmonious environment that does not look “Feng Shui’d.” Water can be soothing and refreshing, especially during the summer months. Remember to keep it clean and don’t forget it. Water does evaporate, so keep your fountain or fish tank full. Store the qi. Lastly, when in doubt about how to use the element properly, please ask a trained practitioner. Properly applied, the water element can make a world of difference.

Here is an example of a fountain similar to the Feng Shui water fountain in the lobby of the American Feng Shui Institute’s offices.

The Fish Factor – Feng Shui Fish Falacies

The Fish Factor – Feng Shui Fish Falacies

We frequently get questions about fish and their effect in Feng Shui. This is a Feng Shui topic that has a lot of misunderstanding, primarily because there is some basis for what is discussed, but also there is a lot of misunderstanding. There is no such thing specifically as a feng shui fish, although people tend to associate them with gold fish or with carp.

In traditional Chinese Feng Shui, the only recommended solutions are the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water element strengthens wood qi. Fish have been confused to be a Feng Shui remedy, but this is not in itself true. What it is, is a combination of superstition and misunderstanding. In Feng Shui, the number 6 and 7 are used in the calculations of the trigrams and are representative of metal, and 7= Dui or soft metal). Five Element theory says that metal strengthens water. Chinese folklore says that adding 6 gold fish and one black fish makes the water stronger. What this is trying to do is to strengthen the water effect with metal. Actually, the fish only add decoration to the tank. To really strengthen the water element, the tank should have the real metal element with the water.

Fish do add a couple of things though. One is beauty and the other is to add circulation to the water. Further, they are living creatures and they bring life to the environment. This is good Feng Shui, but it is not needed in a strict sense for the Water element to be effective. Personally, I like fish and if I were to add water to an area, I might add the fish, but for the beauty and serenity they bring, but not for the reason of strengthening the Water element. That is environmental Feng Shui, but not elemental Feng Shui. The water element will work with or without the fish, so long as it is kept clean and circulating. Avoid stagnant water. This becomes a “sha” (negative influence) and is not helpful.

Let me give you an example of how people apply fish to Feng Shui. There is a restaurant near our school that was “Feng Shui’d” by someone who knew only the folklore beliefs. All their remedies blatantly stood out. They have a giant (8 foot) fish tank at the entrance with 6 gold fish and 1 black fish. Nothing else in the tank! First, the poor gold fish have no environment to interact with and it appears very stark. This in itself is poorly applied Feng Shui. Second, all the other remedies stand out so much that they feel out of place. This is a not the way to resolve Feng Shui issues. Feng Shui is a natural science. Everything should appear natural. Properly applied, Feng Shui should be so natural that you don’t even notice that a Feng Shui master has been there, except for the feeling that the building is very comfortable. As an example, perhaps you need the Metal element in a room. By putting a beautiful bronze statue of a horse or perhaps a brass plate on the wall, you get the metal influence without it appearing out of place.

Lastly, everything in Feng Shui has an explanation. Feng Shui is based on logic and practical application. If in doubt about the information presented, question “why?” Also remember that Feng Shui properly applied, should appear natural and comfortable, both to people and to fish.

Finding your Best Feng Shui Directions

Finding your Best Feng Shui Directions

Everyone asks us how to determine their favorable and unfavorable Feng Shui Directions for sleeping, working, study, etc. Each person aligns with one of the 8 Feng Shui directions and can use four of the directions to their benefit. Below are some guidelines on finding out what your directions are.

First, Feng Shui is based on the Solar Calendar, not the Lunar Calendar. The commonly known “Chinese New Year” is typically the Lunar Calendar. Some forms of Chinese astrology are based on the lunar calendar, but Feng Shui is based on the sun, which influence our seasons and dictate our climates.

The Chinese hold February 4th as the “Spring Establishment,” or the time when the new solar year begins. If you where born before February 4th you belong to the prior year’ s trigram. If you are born on February 4th or 5th, you should check with 168 Feng Shui Advisors for the exact Trigram based on the time of your birth.

To find out how best to position yourself at home and at work, please find your Trigram based on your birth date. Then look below to determine your favorable and unfavorable directions.

For an Authentic Feng Shui reading from 168 Feng Shui Advisors, please read this…

Feng Shui Directions Birth Year and Trigram Chart

Feng Shui Birth Year Chart

Align yourself with your best Feng Shui Directions:

Using the Chart below, find your Trigram. Then look at the directions across. These are your good to bad directions (from Left to Right). The second chart below shows the significance of these directions.

Ideally, you want to place your back to the A direction (receive support from this direction) and sleep with your head pointing to the D direction. The directions of A through D are beneficial and the directions of E through H are to be avoided. The D direction is your Trigram’s native direction. It is also your most comfortable direction. This is a good Feng Shui direction for sleeping or relaxing.
Feng Shui Directions

 

Feng Shui Directions summary

Do not take these as literal interpretations, but rather as indicators of the “potiential.” Remember that the area of qi you are in has an effect and that can be stronger than the directions. In other words, if you are in a good area of qi and oriented to the negative direction, the qi has a more direct effect on you so you will prosper.

Use this chart as a guideline to finding your ideal directions or areas and avoid orienting yourself to the negative directions or within negative areas. The study of Feng Shui is like an onion. You can peel away the layers one by one and discover that there are other influences on levels. Feng Shui is truly a lifelong study.

Click Here to Learn More about Feng Shui & Directions

For an Authentic Feng Shui reading and a person assessment of your Feng Shui Directions from 168 Feng Shui Advisors, please click here.

Topic: Feng Shui Directions

The 8 Trigrams

The 8 Trigrams

The Ba Gua diagram (literally 8 houses, also spelled as Pa Kua) is the basic tool for tool for Feng Shui analysis.  When a Feng Shui analysis is performed, the practitioner refers to these basic concepts to analyze the situation within each area of the building.  From this representation, the basis of the mathematical calculations are found.  In other words, it is a tool for calculating the attributes of a building, not a general overlay to be used on a floor plan.  Additionally, the trigrams hold the keys to understanding the who or what is effected by the Feng Shui of a building.  Even beyond that, certain personalities can be found in the trigrams relating to both people and their buildings.

The three by three matrix, shown below, is called the 8 Trigrams.  Within the Eight Trigram structure is a wealth of information.  Each section is one trigram.  The Trigram is the 3 level combination of Yin and Yang.   Yin and Yang theory is the first concept needed to understand to use this tool.   Each Trigram contains bars.  These bars might be Yin or Yang depending on which Trigram we are working with.  These bars are representations of Yin and Yang.   Yang is a solid bar and Yin is a broken bar as shown here:

------

--  --

YangYin

These Yin and Yang representations are stacked three high in a combination that yields a lot of symbology including, elemental representation, family representation, a symbology, and a bodily area representation.  The trigrams are viewed from the bottom up based on:

Eldest

Middle

Youngest

------ Heaven

------ Man

------ Earth

 

Summary Interpretations

Directions

Each trigram has a corresponding home direction.   As with Yin and Yang, South is indicated at the top.  North is at the bottom.

Elements

Each of the trigrams has an elemental relationship.  There are two wood, two metal, three earth, one fire, and one water elements.  These elements can interact in productively, reductively, or by dominating one another.  You find that there is a distinct pattern to the elements and the rest of the 8 Trigram chart.  For example the soft metal and the soft wood relate to the feminine, while the hard metal and hard wood refer to the male trigrams.  The five elements follow a pattern based on the Yin and Yang, with wood producing fire, producing earth, producing metal, producing water, thus producing wood again.

Numbers

The numbers in the 8 Trigram chart represent perfect balance.  Summed in any direction they total 15.  This is often referred to as the “Magic Square.”  These numbers are not fixed, but change location with time.  The pattern of the number ascension remains the same; Center, Northwest,

West, Northeast, South, North, Southwest, East, Southeast.  This pattern remains, but the placement of the numbers changes depending on orientation and time factors.

Family Relationships

When a trigram has only one Yin line in it, than it is female and the family relationship is a female.  When the Yang line is alone in a trigram, it represents a male family member.  The Kun Trigram is often referred to as the Mother Trigram as it is completely Yin.  Whereas, the Qian Trigram is completely Yang so it is the Father Trigram.  The family relationship of the trigrams has implications such as when two elemental energies are found together in a domination relationship, then it is possible that the person who belongs to that trigram/element that is being dominated will have problems in a particular body area.  An example of this would be if Xun (4) wood dominates Gen (8) Earth, then the young children could be effected, or if it is an adult, then the hands or spine might be effected.

Symbology

The symbology is based largely on the yi jing.   For example, the Zhen trigram is Thunder.  This is because there are two yin lines above a yang line.  Yin is inverted from its natural position.  Yin should be on the bottom near the earth. (Because yin is coolness settling.) According to the ancient Chinese meteorologists when there is Yang in the air, and Yin at the ground, thunder and lightning strike.   This trigram can hold these characteristics in personality too.  Sometimes people born in a Chen year are prone to explosions like thunder.

Body Part

The Body Part indicates the area of the body that might be susceptable to problems if there is a problem with qi in that area.   For example if in a bedroom Xun (wood) dominates Gen (earth) then the person spending time in the room might be susceptable to back aches or problems with their fingers or small bones.  By introducing the proper elemental remedy, this problem will be eliminated.

Groupings

The trigrams are grouped into two distinct groupings.  The East Group contains all the wood, fire, and water trigrams.  The West Group contains the Metal and Earth trigrams.  People who are of a particular group (example West) find houses that have a sitting orientation to the same group (again West) more comfortable than those houses belonging to the opposite group.   The same can be said of people of different groups.  East Group people are more comfortable around East Group people, as are West Group people with West Group people.  The groupings for People can be determined by which solar year your birth date falls under.  This will be discussed in a future article.  The groupings for Buildings can be determined by the orientation of the building.

The Eight Trigrams

Xun

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4

SE

Element: Soft Wood

Family Relationship: Eldest Daughter

Symbology: Wind

Body Part: Hips & Buttocks

Group: East Group

Li

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9

S

Element: Fire

Family Relationship: Middle Daughter

Symbology: Brightness, the Sun

Body Part: Eyes & Heart

Group: East Group

Kun

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2

SW

 

Element: Earth

Family Relationship: Mother

Symbology: “Mother Earth”

Body Part: Abdomen & Reproductive Organs

Group: West Group

Zhen

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3

E

Element: Hard Wood

Family Relationship: Eldest Son

Symbology: Thunder

Body Part: Throat

Group: East Group

Center

5

Element: Earth

 

Dui

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7

W

Element: Soft Metal

Family Relationship: Youngest Daughter

Symbology: Marsh

Body Part: Mouth area

Group: West Group

Gen

 

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8

NE

Element: Earth

Family Relationship: Youngest Son

Symbology: Mountain, Youth

Body Part: Hands, Spine, & Small Bones

Group: West Group

Kan

 

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1

N

Element: Water

Family Relationship: Middle Son

Symbology: Water, the Moon

Body Part: Liver, Kidneys, Inner Ear

Group: East Group

Qian

 

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6

NW

 

Element: Hard Metal

Family Relationship: Father

Symbology: Heaven, Leader

Body Part: Head, Lungs

Group: West Group

The Five Elements

The Five Elements

It seems that many people today who have heard about Feng Shui have heard about the Five Elements. These elements; Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water are the foundation theory for Feng Shui balance. There also seems to be some confusion about just what these elements really are and how they work. Actually, it is fairly simple and based on common sense. It is easy to understand the elements and their significance. Using them properly and in the correct proportion is what separates a master from a student. The following is a brief description of each of these elements and how they might be applied.

Wood

We start with the wood element since it is the beginning of new life. Just as spring brings new plants and new life, wood is the originator of the five elemental cycle. Many people mistakenly use wood furniture as a Feng Shui solution. The problem with wood furniture is that it is lifeless. To harness the qi (chi) of wood, it is essential you use live wood! A shrub or bushy plant is ideal since it emits live qi and is also an excellent method of retaining qi. Plants recycle the air we breath and can provide a natural filter for the air. A common Feng Shui problem is the staircase that empties into a doorway. A bushy plant can retain some of that qi, when it is placed either on the landing, or more ideally, at the bottom of the staircase. Remember that you want a live plant, so maintain it. A dead plant holds no qi and is actually a “Sha” (unsightly or bad influence).

Wood can be represented by the color green. We find that the colors are not nearly effective though as the actual element. When it comes to the wood element, there is rarely an occasion when you need to substitute the color for a living plant.

Wood represents the directions of East and the Zhen Trigram (3). It also represents the South East and the Xun Trigram (4).

Fire

The Fire Element is the most “Yang” of the elements. It is the hot summer or a blast of heat. In Feng Shui, we usually use a candle or the color of red. 168 Feng Shui Advisors recommends the color red more than a candle as we do not want our clients to risk the possibility of a house fire. Being that Fire is so yang, this is the one example where color does work well. If it is hot, it is even better. A red night light or a table lamp with a red shade make excellent Fire remedies.

Fire represents the South and the Li Trigram (9).

Earth

Earth is an interesting element despite the rather commonplace conception of dirt. Many times Earth is recommended for a larger environmental solution. In this case large granite boulders, or a beautiful clay statue can be used. Terracotta pots filled with potting soil make a great Earth remedy. Earth also represents the Mountain.

Earth tone colors can be used, but they are not nearly as effective as the actual element.

Earth represents the North East or the Gen Trigram (8). It also represents the South West or the Kun Trigram (2). Additionally, it represents the “Center” of the Master Trigram (5). Energetically speaking, Kun – Earth (2) and the center representation (also called a star) of “5″ can have negative influences, whereas the Gen Trigram (North East – 8 – also referred to as the Mountain) can have a very prosperous influence.

Metal

The most common solution, Metal can be found in all forms. Copper, Silver, Gold, and Bronze are a few variations of the Metal Element. Using the Metal Element can take on all sorts of creative ideas. A cast silver deer is one idea. A bronze plate hung on the wall is another. Even iron weightlifter plates can be utilized as a metal solution. Weightlifter plates? Yes, when done properly. This can be done by stacking a few, then placing a brass pot upside down on top and creating a pedestal for a small plant or a perhaps a metal statue. The quantity of the element is definitely there! The key thing to remember is that Feng Shui is about creating a beautiful environment. When utilizing the Metal Element, ensure that it is rounded and pleasing, not sharp and pointed. Metal is the most commonly used remedy for the negative Earth energies as mentioned above. Ideally, the goal is to introduce Feng Shui elemental solutions that are not identifiable as Feng Shui remedies. Feng Shui objects that are unsightly or easily identified as a “Feng Shui Cure” are not recommended. It should blend into the environment and be beautiful.

The colors of White, Silver, or Gold can be used.

Metal represents the Dui Trigram (7) in the West. Dui is a soft metal such as gold. It is also the Qian Trigram (6) in the North West. Qian is a hard metal like steel.

Water

Water is the what give life on our planet. Without it, we would not exist. Our bodies are mostly water. In Feng Shui, Water is a very useful element. Water, when needed, should be clear and flowing. Stagnant water can create more problems than it solves. A simple aquarium, or even a small “metal” fountain can be used. Do not use ceramic or other earthen fountains. This is a common mistake. The Earth element blocks water and neutralizes the positive effect of the Water. Outside, a metal trough, a fountain, or even a fish pond can act as an environmental solution.

Water has always been synonymous with power. Water has been used as an elemental solution by the emperors in the form of moats and by placing their palaces near bodies of Water. If you look at most capital cities today, they are either located near the water or have large lakes or rivers nearby. Most ocean-side and lake-side homes are sought after and usually more expensive.

Water can be represented by the colors blue or black.

Water represents the Kan Trigram (1) in the North.

To conclude, it must be said that you should not use any of these elements haphazardly. Ideally, a proper Feng Shui analysis should be performed by a qualified practitioner. Used incorrectly, the elements can cause harm to relationships, health, or money prosperity. When used correctly, they can strengthen relationships, health, and money.