One of the many arts closely connected with the tradition of Daoism is Feng Shui or literally ‘Wind and Water’. This is the art of time and placement with regards to both Yang dwellings (homes) and Yin dwellings (graves). As with many ancient practices it has a tendency to be quite fluffy in modern times with the new-age scene getting a hold of what was a sensible ‘science’ of governing the energetics within a space and turning it into an often silly game of ‘what looks nice in your front room’. It is beyond the scope of this article to go into how exactly Feng Shui works (that is a later project) but in short it is based upon the manner in which the sense functions of the human mind interact with a space upon entering it. As you perceive the space around you this generates movements of Qi within the body. These movements follow various directions and pulsing shapes. If Feng Shui has been utilised correctly then the movement of Qi initiated by the Yi will be positively charging for both your health as well as your mindset in general. Feng Shui consultants ascertained that if certain movements of Qi were established then a person could have their mindset adjusted to make them more effective at certain things. For example, configuring the Qi of the mind in one particular pattern with perceived expansion on the left corner of the visual spectrum would cause a person’s problem solving and business mind to become strengthened. In this way energetic psychology became integrated into the study of magnetic fields and biorhythms and the resultant study became the basis of Feng Shui within the interior of a home or workplace. Obviously this is just a starting point for understanding the practice; at a later stage (the middle of 2017 is planned at the moment) I will present a full working model of Feng Shui that people can apply to their lives but for now this is just an introduction.
As with all of the arts coming out of Daoism there are contradictions between systems. Each school of Feng Shui thought, whether it be the placement school, the directions school or the Gua school, had their own way of working and their own set of principles. Feng Shui practitioners tend to fall within one of these camps and then utilise some methods from the other systems. Not many Feng Shui practitioners are very ‘pure’ in their application any more; such is the result of much easier access these days to different sources of information. In the same manner, I tend to come from the placement school, sometimes called the ‘form school’ though I also use methods utilising the Luo Pan compass and others.
One of my students is in the process of moving house and so he asked me to take a look at his place and see what Feng Shui tells us about the building. I thought it might be interesting to share the consultation though I wont have much time to explain the ‘why’s’ of the results I am finding. Again, I will explain in more detail in the future. This article is really just to give an overview of the kinds of information Feng Shui readings can find for those who have little to no experience with the art.
So the house in question was built in 1870. It was completed in September of that year. It is in the South of the UK and is a two bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a building with another apartment above it. I only have the floor plan for the ground floor and I have not seen inside of the house so I can only give a reading from what I have in front of me. Feng Shui purists will right now be gritting their teeth and pointing out that no Feng Shui consultation should be done without visiting the place! Yes I know; but I don’t live very close to the address and we can only work with what we have! Below is a picture of the floor plan that I have been given:
Looking at the house online we can see that the compass in the floor plans is actually incorrect. The main entrance is actually facing North East, so 45 degrees of of what is shown in the image above. It is perfectly aligned to 45 degrees as well, so that makes it a house facing North East and receiving from the South West.
So the first thing to look at with regards to the situation of the house is its facing direction. Houses facing North East are considered to have attributes of the Gen Gua which is shown below. This is the ‘mountain’ Gua which is indicative of stillness and peace. It means that underlying the feeling of the house will be an air of tranquillity with regards to the mindset of those living here. That does not mean that there will never be any disturbances, definitely not, but instead implies that the general feeling of the house will better suit those who like stillness, peace and refinement in their lives. This is definitely not a good house for those who like to party as the Qi of the building will quickly quench this side of their life. It will be a good place to practice meditation and cultivate contemplation but a poor place to use for entertaining large groups of people. Since the house sits absolutely cleanly on the angle of the Gen Gua this feeling will be very strongly felt within the living space by its new inhabitants. Houses of this sort would benefit from emphasising this kind of energy so colours such as red should be avoided as this will generate a clash within the living space. Elementally this direction also brings a strong sense of Earth Qi and so the kitchen will be the centrepiece for the home. The Qi of the kitchen will fuel the rest of the building and so great care must be spent on ensuring that the kitchen space is looked after, kept clean and decorated in an auspicious manner.
The bad news is that house sits on a Sha or negative line with its placement. If it had been off by even a degree or two that would have been better but as it is the house is receiving a line of what would generally be understood to be ‘bad luck’. In actual fact ‘luck’ has nothing whatsoever to do with Daoism or Feng Shui; this is an awful translation of a western concept that has caused many problems throughout the arts. You can switch ‘luck’ for ‘Ming’ in almost all cases. The house is sat on a line that will cause Ming disturbances. For those who are after a more complete definition of Ming please refer to my book ‘white moon on the mountain peak’ which discusses Ming in detail. In particular the final chapter on the Yi Jing looks at lines of Ming and what these are.
This is not a problem, it is only a Sha line on the Earth axis and so the front door of the house can be used to adjust this issue (Again, explaining all of these terms will come at a later date). The door of the house is the ‘mouth of Qi’ and the first perception of the space which people will encounter when they visit the house. The line needs breaking up on the door. If this cannot happen on the communal entrance then it is enough to do it on the front door to the individual apartment. The easiest way that I would advise is a metal ‘guardian’ to the space as in the example shown below from my own front door where I live (I also have a somewhat inauspicious line where I live).Any ‘guardian’ type figure will do to break up the line of Yi perceived by those entering the apartment. With time, the gathered Yi of visitors will distort the Earth line enough that there will be no affect upon Ming. The Heaven and humanity lines of the house seem fine so there are no other angles to consider with regards to the ‘mouth of Qi’ on this house.
Looking at surrounding roads on Google maps. There is a road approaching a T junction moving towards the house from the North West. This is an auspicious direction for the home so this is fine. Other local landmarks seem fine; nothing bad and nothing particularly good either. The sea is just to the South of the house. Though it sits behind in a generally weakening direction it is masked from view by several streets and I do not believe that it will cause any major harm. behind the house is considered the ‘turtle’ position and large bodies of water in this region are said to damage the ‘turtle’ which can result in fatigue and Kidney issues for residents.
The next stage in my application of Feng Shui principles to the house is to look at the Lo Shu chart which was said to have been found on the back of magical tortoise. Ancient China must have been a very strange place indeed! Wherever it came from, the chart looks like this:
It shows the elemental numerology which went on to form the basis of many medicinal theories within Daoism. Feng Shui is one such practice based on the Lo Shu chart along with nine palace theory which is featured heavily in other arts such as cosmology and even martial arts. The chart goes through many changes as the elements cycle around one another with the passing of time. Each year has a different format of the chart and so for this house I must look to its creation year of 1870. This is the equivalent of looking for the time of birth of a person in order to look at their astrological chart. The house is numerologicaly based around the number 7 as this was a Metal Horse year. The corresponding numbers around the chart show me where the elements sat at its time of creation. I then add in the chart of the month, September getting the number 1. A Water month. Putting these two together I get a series of correspondences for what each element was doing at this time. These elemental changes are dictated by the movements of the stars and so by doing this I get the astrological influences upon the building at the time of its completion. According to Daoism, completion of a house brings with it a certain quality of Qi which influences Ming. This quality is unique for each house that is built as the elemental results must be overlaid on the house. The combination of time and shape of the building show me the following for this particular apartment:
- The actual timing of the building of the house is pretty bad. We have a lot of clashes within the space, especially when we place this over the layout of the floor plans. This house has a high chance of generating poor health and Ming related issues. The occupants will age quickly and develop a tendency towards pain in the head, upper sections of the body and also have a tendency towards low mood.
- There are a number of clashing elemental areas within the space. Congenitally it is a weak space for the movement of Qi. Especially in the ‘sun room’ area of the map. Luckily though, the creation of this space (which I presume is a later addition to the house) has drawn some of this weakness away from the kitchen which is the (as mentioned earlier) hub of the buildings essence.
- The most auspicious region of the house is actually now the main hallway in the centre of the building.
- The lounge is a little too ‘Yang’ in nature and so this Qi will need calming, definitely no red in this room!
- The main bedroom has too much Earth Qi and so it is likely that those waking in the mornings will suffer with aching joints and stuff bodies if something is not changed.
- Unfortunately the Qi of the spare bedroom is actually a lot better than the main bedroom so sleeping there would actually be a better choice.
- The ‘wealth’ of the house is leaking so financially the house is going to bring issues. The chances of it being a wise investment are weakened here and also any enterprises established by those living here will be a case of ‘swimming against the stream’. It will be a hard slog getting new business ventures off of the ground.
Okay, so this looks pretty grim. So sorry to my student but I can only say it how it appears according to Feng Shui! But not to worry, everything can be changed and so the next step is going to be looking at how this Qi will progress once the new inhabitants move in and what needs doing to improve the situation. Even the worst space Feng Shui-wise can be adjusted quite dramatically.
My student has told me that he will likely move in with his wife in March 2017. So, when the new owners move in this is the second time that there is a change in the Qi of the space. The addition of a new couples Yi to the building will shift the Lo Shu reading of the apartment and generate an adjustment to the above reading. The first reading is taken with the important factor of the inhabitants taken out of the equation. So let us have a look. Is it going to be as doom and gloom when we add the owners or have I just scared them to death for nothing? We shall find out…
Well, the new reading for them entering the space is actually a complete elemental reversal which is a rare thing to find. This is what it shows me:
- The addition of the time of moving in changes things a fair bit. I actually checked the month before and the month after March in case there was a more fortuitous time to move into the house. March is actually the best scenario followed by February. Leaving the move until April will actually exaggerate the existing issues rather than calming them as in the case of a move in March or February. The Yi of the owners and the Qi of the building can actually smooth things a little due to the elemental changes that take place in the rooms.
- The overall Qi of the space is still a little weak with one dangerous corner of the building focused in the ‘sun room’. This would never be a healthy space to sleep in though short periods in the room as it is will do little harm. However, we need to make some serious adjustments to the space to minimise the harm here. Classical Feng Shui analysis here actually shows that this region of the space is going to contribute to the development of serious disease is not dealt with.
- The main hallway is still a great space according to the change in reading. For those wishing to build on the wealth of the family this would be the space to make changes to. It sits in a great space with regards to the way in which the Lo Shu converts within the building.
- The lounge has not shifted dramatically. There is still nothing terrible here, it is just extra important that is is a very calm space. White is the obvious colour for the room and a very Zen-like feel should be kept in mind when approaching how it will be laid out.
- The Qi of the main bedroom really needs tackling so as to avoid those aching bodies in the mornings.
- The Qi of the spare bedroom has not changed greatly.
- The ‘wealth’ issues of the house looked pretty terrible in the previous reading, the congenital reading. But with the new reading of moving in during either february or March many of these issues have been successfully curtailed. Don’t wait until April to move in though of these issues will become worse.
These two stages above help us to link time and space together with regards to the building. Now let us look more closely at the basic layout of the house. To do this we overlay the chart of directions and palaces over the building to see what we get. The result is something like this:
So on the map above we have overlaid nine key functions of life according to the Daoists and in particular the Feng Shui schools. From this we can see how exactly interaction between the space, the inhabitants and the Qi of the building will either enhance or weaken their lives. Nothing is a dead certainty obviously; rather we can see if the Qi of the building will help them to grow or hinder them in their progress.
From the example above we can immediately see that there are some strong and weak areas of the building. Firstly the spiritual growth of the building is great and there is a great deal of support for the inhabitants health; this is good news as many of the health signs of the place were not great. This shows that whilst astrologically the space is not great, the palaces of the house will at least counter these affects to a certain degree. If the palace and the astrology had been weak then that would have been a far greater issue. Health will still need tackling but at least we are not fighting a losing battle. The two weakest areas are wealth, uh oh, we already have weakness here, and love or romantic connection. What this indicates is that the people living here are likely to have financial issues, investments will not be supported and that they are likely to find some degree of conflict in their relationship. Matching this to the directions and elements of the house we can see that it is most likely the female of the house who will have the most difficulty with her partner rather than the other way around; it is her unhappiness which must be taken care of. Luckily there are no infidelity signs in the house though so at least we know this is not going to be the issue!
Looking at the floor plans we can see that the space where the wealth is weak is actually a communal area or even an area of patio for their neighbours. Anyway it is not their space to change or do anything with unless I have misunderstood the floor plan? In this case we need to strengthen the wealth corner of each space in the house as well as the hallway as this should tackle the weakness of the nine palaces. We will get this later with interventions. The ‘love’ region of the house falls in an area which I believe belongs to the flat. I dont think it is communal according to this map and so basically the owners should have the potential to change this space. They need to draw this space into the floor plans in order to strengthen the Qi of their relationship. The placement of the ‘sun room’ is perfect for this as basically it means that outside of the window of the ‘sun room’ facing outwards into the ‘love’ region they need to build either some sort of garden or planted region. Consider statues which indicate partnership such as sculptures of couples or two matching ornaments. It is important that nothing exists as a single entity in this space as the subconscious aspect of the Shen will then start to affect the Qi of emotional and romantic connections. A great idea would be a bench in this space if there is room (no scale on the map) so that it essentially becomes a usable space according to Feng Shui principles. If these things are done there should be little in the way of issues regarding this ‘missing palace’. The entrance to the house sits in the ‘Ming’ region of the house which is great. This is very auspicious with regards to the manner in which the owners life will progress. There is great scope for life change, travel and growth with regards to personal evolution; this needs to be captured and taken advantage of, remember to make a change to that Earth Sha line as discussed above. The biggest problem is with the ‘social’ region of the house which sits in that problematic ‘sun room’. This needs changing as some of the worst elemental combinations sit within this region of there building.
There are countless ways in which a person way intervene and change the manner in which Qi flows within a house. It is way beyond the scope of this article to discuss them all; you would be looking at several volumes of writing to cover them all. Instead I will highlight room by room for this house simple changes I would make in order to help change the nature of the Qi of the building. If these are followed then there should be little in the way of problems. I will try to make the suggestions as open as possible in order to give the owners a great deal of room and flexibility to interpret the ideas as they wish. Otherwise all of the fun of a new home will be taken away as they will have no freedom of design!
Long Hallway Coming from Entrance
The first space you enter corresponds to the Ming of the building. Actually the signs for this are pretty good already so not much needs to be taken into consideration. Just remember to use calming colours and imagery here. Try to avoid sharp corner and jagged edges. Curved lines and artwork are advised for this space. Make sure mirrors are strategically placed so you do not perceive them as soon as you walk into the hallway and ensure that the space is clear. The hallway here is a metaphor for the way in which you would like your Ming to progress so think smooth, flowing, calm and clear…unless of course you would prefer some chaos in which case go crazy with the decor! Consider images of travel on the walls, places you have been, especially those you would like to return to. Avoid pictures of family and yourselves in this space as it will speed the progression of this aspect of Ming in an unhealthy manner.
Main Hallway Space
Elementally this is a great space to take advantage of when designing your house. The ‘wealth’ of this space is the strongest which should be captured in order to tackle some of the weakness which this building naturally has. Though not often liked very much in the west, the Chinese would put gold statues in this region, consider an alter of gold statues if there is room for one but if not look at having a small shelf placed on the wall above one of the doors (the kitchen doorway is sat in the best direction for this). Decorate this shelf with a gold statue of Buddha or Laozi and place flowers here from time to time to help strengthen the Qi of the space. ‘Rising’ imagery would be good here, think anything that encourage upwards growth or else bamboo plants would be great. Avoid too many ‘watery’ things in this region of the building. For the rest of the house, great, they would actually tackle many of the issues but in this room bright colours and things that ‘go up’ are going to be really helpful.
This is the hub of the house, the equivalent of Jing in the body according to alchemy. There is nothing wrong with a little life in this room with regards to colour but avoid too much green or blue in the case of this house. Keep the space clean and simple but life can be injected into the space with artwork on the walls. There are no major concerns with this space so the earth colours of yellow, terracotta or shade of cream are going to be best for this space.
Okay, so this is the problem space. You need to smash up the Qi here, invigorate the space and take away that negativity that can cause problems with your Ming. You need cut crystals (can be glass, no need for anything too grandiose) to cause refraction of any light that comes into this room. The more refraction the better on sunny days. Wind chimes (metal or glass will be best) outside of the windows of this room will help to break up the lines of Qi (Long Mai) coming into the room. This would be a great place for a water feature of some kind but the water must be moving, look for a tasteful water feature/fountain if you find one as this will help a lot. If you can get hold of any amethyst crystals they would be really helpful, I have one or two which go into problematic spaces in my own house as they create a great deal of change to the Qi of a space. If you have any deities that strike you as important in your life this would be the space to have them in. Remember though that each deity only has any power if they are treat with a certain degree of respect; they need regular incense offered to them at the very least. If no particular deity jumps out at you go with Guan Yin, she is a safe bet and there are some beautiful statues available of her that are easy to find. My own house has several, especially since Roni seems to have a real affinity with her.
There is nothing much that jumps out in this space so stick with the element of Metal in the rooms design. Calm, soothing, uncluttered and Zen-like. Go for greasy, light blues or white in this room to heel it generally a calm space.
The lunge is the ‘heart’ of the house and corresponds to the same organ in the body. The Lo Shu of the house state that the heart of the house should be calm and meditative (The Gen Gua) and so keep this room simple and calm, much like the spare bedroom. Ensure though that there are some strong water elemental signs in this space in order to tackle some of the health difficulties that this house may lead to. These include items blue in colours, water imagery or even water features, flowing lines and shapes, images of fish or boats. Also, as the main space in the house, this room needs to be very presentable, make sure you have ornaments of the greatest value in this space. Each of the elements and palaces should be present in this room but in particular make sure that the top left corner of the room (according to the floor plan) has a gold statue or ornament of some kind or else a healthy climbing plant of some sort (consider bamboo again). The top right corner must have a prominent image of the two house owners as a couple in order to help strengthen the weak relationship region of the building. On the fireplace (a great placement for the fireplace by the way) set up an altar or shrine of some kind to any deity you hold dear or else to something which is important to you as people; maybe family or interests? I know that one of the house owners loves music so perhaps a decorative instrument hung on the wall or something along these lines? If that same person wishes to assist in the development of their artistic skill then musical imagery in the centre of the right hand wall (from floor plan again) would be a great help.
This room wants to be calm and follow the same guidelines as the spare bedroom. The only exception is that unlike most main bedrooms it would be helpful to have a little in the way of water imagery here too. Just don’t over do it. A single item to help express clearly the idea of water should be enough. This should just take the edge off of the signs generating poor health in this room. It should stop the potential for aching limbs in the morning and disturbed sleep. maybe an abstract blue, wavy piece of art or something like this? Be creative but the piece must suggest water to you. Also ensure that you have strong symbols of couples in the top right corner (this time decide the directions from the placement of the bed) of your bedroom. Maybe a photo of the two house owners together or else two matching pieces of art? Even the kinds of statues that have two people intertwined (common imagery in sculptures and easy to find) would be good here.
So, if the guidelines above are put into place then as far as I see it there should be little in the way of issues for the house. I obviously haven’t gone into each room in great detail as I have not visited the house myself; I have only been able to go from the floor plan I was given. Despite this I believe that there is enough information here to get off to a good start with planning the look of the house. Remember that Feng Shui essentially works by changing the way your mind interacts with a space when you enter it. This is means that placement of objects is very important to control and adjust the way in which internal Qi flows. This consultation alone took me a few hours and this was a very simple one, just enough to look at what issues the house has and simple ways to tackle them. A full consultation would have a greater connection between the space and the wider environment as well as a year by year breakdown of how the Ming could develop within the house. It would also look at power lines and other man made influences upon the space. In the case of extremely bad spaces there would also be the option of talismans and Nei Gong interventions but in the case of the above apartment there was nothing that indicated a radical intervention of this sort would be needed. If I were to go into the absolute greatest level of detail possible I would be looking at an entire day just for a consultation on this single floor apartment. Think how long a consultation would take on a much larger house! It is for this reason that the study of Feng Shui for many becomes a life pursuit, such is its complexity and the reason that so many businesses in Asia pay so much for help with the arrangement and placement of their buildings.
All that is left to say is that I hope the new house owners enjoy their apartment, don’t forget to tackle the issues in the ‘sun room’, include a garden to help with the ‘love’ region of the palaces and make sure the wealth issues of the house are tackled as much as you can. Oh yes, and don’t leave it until April to move in if you can!
Please don’t now start requesting your own Feng Shui consultations if you are reading this. I am afraid that I don’t really have the time to be carrying them out for people as they are not quick things to do. I write this article to give you an insight into how a simple Feng Shui consultation might work. In the future I will write more detailed information on the subject so that people can do their own readings using the palaces, astrology and the Feng Shui compass.