Feng Shui is an ancient mystical tradition that originated in China. It combines both philosophy and energetic harmonizing in any given environment.
The principles of Feng Shui can be applied to any space, whether indoors or outdoors, private or commercial. It is a popular method of magic these days, enjoying a resurgence in practice all over the world in the past few decades.
However, Feng Shui itself is over 3,500 years old, and the term translates as “wind water” in English. It is one of the five arts of Chinese Metaphysics, and a powerful tool for changing one’s life for the better when used properly by someone who knows what they are doing.
In the ancient past, the Chinese used Feng Shui to properly orient and adorn buildings of spiritual importance, such as tombs and temples. However, it was often used on residential and commercial buildings, as well. It was not uncommon for a building to wait to be constructed until a well-versed Feng Shui practitioner could find the best location for it.
While most people these days work with the Feng Shui of a building that they acquire and are not able to move to a different location, a few highly dedicated people and even businesses still wait to break ground until the perfect location can be found per Feng Shui principles.
Early Methods and Tools for Practicing Feng Shui
The earliest evidence of Feng Shui practice in China can be traced to the Neolithic era, though most of the things that encompass the practice came later, largely in the Han Dynasty.
The practice seems to have developed out of the study of astronomy, as many of its earliest methods and instruments were also used in the practice of astronomy. Most Feng Shui experts believe the first instrument used in this ancient art of placement was a gnomon.
A gnomon is the part of a sundial that casts the shadow. Other astronomical instruments that measured the locations of the stars influenced the way ancient Chinese buildings were oriented when they were constructed. Buildings were oriented based on their purpose, and the best direction for them to be facing to get a flow of chi (aka energy) for their purpose. This direction was determined by the positions of the sun and other stars.
Evidence of this deliberate orientation can be seen in the remnants of ancient Chinese buildings at archaeological sites. A Feng Shui expert, or diviner, was required to use the tools to determine the appropriate placement.
Feng Shui has lead to some innovations that have improved human society in other ways. The most well-known of these is the magnetic compass, which was invented by Feng Shui practitioners soon after the invention of Feng Shui. It is a tool that is still used in Feng Shui today, as well as in many other industries and trades.
The Importance of Qi in Feng Shui
The entire foundation of Feng Shui is built upon Qi. Qi is a moving energy which can be positive or negative, and thus have positive or negative effects on those it touches. The goal of Feng Shui is to arrange an environment so the flow of Qi through the building is smooth, and is only positive in nature.
Determining how to orient a building when constructing it, or how to adorn it to affect the flow and type of Qi once the building is made. It takes many things into consideration, such as the climate in the area, the slope of the land, soil quality, and the types of plants and animals that live there.
Magnetic compasses can be used to determine the flow of Qi in an area. They show geomagnetic currents caused by weather patterns in the area of space around the Earth. Space weather has been shown to affect Qi on Earth, making its quality fall or rise accordingly.
Using a compass to find the flow of Qi and whether it is good Qi and strong Qi is a form of divination that takes practice, but can be learned, usually by master teaching student. Discovering the areas with the best qi is important for the quality of life for the people who live in that area. People with good luck live in areas with good Qi, and people with good karma seem to be attracted to such areas.
Bagua and Feng Shui
Bagua is another important element of Feng Shui. The term “bagua” refers to two different diagrams or charts that are used by feng shui practitioners to help them orient buildings and the objects inside buildings to get the best flow of Qi. Bagua is ancient, and predate any written records on the practice of Feng Shui.
The first Bagua is known as the Lo Chart (translated as River Chart). It seems to be the original bagua chart used in Feng Shui. The second chart was developed later and is called the Luoshu Chart. Both charts are linked to events in the sky that occurred around the sixth millennium, B.C. This further ties in the development of the practice of Feng Shui with astronomy.
The bagua charts use the cardinal directions of East, West, North, and South. However, the orientation of these directions on the charts are determined by marker stars in four constellations that are collectively known as the Celestial Animals. Each cardinal direction on the bagua charts have an associated animal and season, which further influence the orientation of a building and the placement of the objects inside it. These animals and seasons are:
Associated with the Azure Dragon and the Spring Equinox
Associated with the White Tiger and the Autumn Equinox
Associated with the Black Tortoise and the Winter Solstice
Associated with the Vermillion Bird and the Summer Solstice
Practicing Feng Shui Today
Things like Qi and Bagua charts are just as important in the practice of Feng Shui today as they were in ancient times, when the practice was invented. Learning to practice Feng Shui means learning about these things and how they pertain to buildings.
A Feng Shui practitioner must also learn how to combat unavoidable bad Qi in a place and deflect it with the appropriate objects.
Also, you need to know how to arrange the objects in a building to promote a certain desired thing, such as prosperity, fertility, good health, harmonious relationships, and other desirable things to the people who work or live in a building.
You can learn the basic principles of Feng Shui practice from a variety of books. However, to make sure you get it exactly right and don’t inadvertently bring bad Qi into a place, it is important to get training from a Feng Shui master, just like in ancient times. Some areas of Feng Shui practice have adapted to be relevant to modern times. Yet, some elements of Feng Shui, like getting teaching from a master is never change.