You are on page 1of 24

The Art of Fengshui

Aligning the Human and Natural Realms

Stephen L. Field, Trinity University

Introduction
The Correlative Worldview
is the belief that the world is a system where
everything is related to everything else. Correlative
thinking was the universal worldview until replaced by
the scientific method. It is the basis of metaphorical
language and is thus hardwired in the human brain.
Take superstitions for example.

In ancient China, the answer to the ontological


question of what constituted the cosmos was
answered by a complicated correlative
cosmology and several interesting
cosmogonies. One of the most famous origin
myths was the story of Pangu.

Greek Elemental Theory of the Cosmos


ELEMENT

HUMOR

TEMPERAMENT

EMOTIONAL
QUALITY

ELEMENTAL
QUALITY

SEASON

AIR

blood

sanguine

passionate

hot & wet

spring

FIRE

yellow bile

choleric

hot-tempered

hot & dry

summer

EARTH

black bile

melancholic

depressed

cold & dry

fall

WATER

phlegm

phlegmatic

sluggish

cold & wet

winter

Chinese Five Element Correlations


Elements

Directions

Planets

Flavors

Internal
Organs

Animals

Colors

WOOD

East

Jupiter

Sour

spleen

scaly (snakes)

green

FIRE

South

Mars

bitter

lungs

feathered (birds)

red

EARTH

Center

Saturn

sweet

heart

naked (humans)

yellow

METAL

West

Venus

acrid

kidney

hairy (mammals)

white

WATER

North

Mercury

salty

liver

shell-covered

black

The Chinese Correlative Universe


1. Heaven
The Astrophysical Environment
(the origin of fengshui theories)

2. Earth
The Geophysical Environment
(the basis of Form School fengshui)

3. Man
The Metaphysical Environment
(the basis of Compass School fengshui)

Part I. The Astrophysical Environment

Neolithic Tomb in Henan province, China

Note the form of the tomb

and the figures that exist within its walls.

A: The circular Heaven covers the square Earth


1. KANYU, the original name of the divinatory art now known as
FENGSHUI, means: Canopy of Heaven and Chariot of Earth

2. A Han dynasty divining instrument called the Cosmograph was


constructed of a dome-shaped Heaven disc that sat upon a square
Earth plate

B. The Heavenly bodies circle the stationary Earth

1. A Han dynasty funereal chest


with celestial ornamentation

2. The Chinese Zodiac

3. The Northern Ladle, or Big Dipper

A view of the northern heavens

The cosmographic view.

C. The circular Heaven falls to Earth

1. The Water Lord battles the Fire Lord

Mid-May

Mid-June

2. The Flight of the Dragon

Mid-August

D. Looking for Heaven on Earth

Dragon Veins

Part II: The Geophysical Environment

A. What is Qi?
The Dao began in the Nebulous Void.
The Nebulous Void produced spacetime;
Spacetime produced the primordial qi. . . .
That which was pure and bright spread out to form Heaven;
The heavy and turbid congealed to form Earth. . . .
The conjoined essences of Heaven and Earth produced yin and yang.
The supercessive essences of yin and yang caused the four seasons.
* Huainanzi. See John Major, tr., Heaven and Earth in Early Han Thought,
The Treatise on the Patterns of Heaven, p. 62

B. Where is Qi?
1. Astrophysical Qi:
The six qi of heaven--cold, heat, wind, rain, dark and light--"descend and
produce the five tastes," but "produce the six diseases when they are in
excess.Zuozhuan, Duke Zhao, 1st year (540 BCE)

2. Geophysical Qi:
"Water is the root of all things and the source of all life. . . . Water is the blood
and breath [qi] of the earth, functioning in similar fashion to the circulation of
blood and breath in the sinews and veins." The Book of Guanzi (5th century
BCE)
"Earth is the body of qi--where there is earth there is qi. Qi is the mother of
water--where there is qi there is water." The Book of Burial (3rd century CE)

3. Physiological Qi:
"Man's life is the assembling of qi. The assembling is deemed birth, the
dispersal is deemed death." The Book of Zhuangzi (4th century BCE)

C. What does Qi have to do with fengshui?

1. Geophysical qi recharges physiological qi:


"Truly, life is accumulated qi. It solidifies into bone, which alone remains
after death. Burial returns qi to the bones, which is the way the living are
endowed." The Book of Burial

2. Geophysical qi can be harnessed:


"The Classic says, qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when
encountering water. The ancients collected it to prevent its dissipation, and
guided it to assure its retention. Thus it was called fengshui [wind/water].
According to the laws of fengshui, the site that attracts water is optimal,
followed by the site that catches wind." The Book of Burial

D. How to locate the Dragon Lair


1. Look for the Dragon Veins:
"Arteries spring from lowland terrain; bones spring
from mountain terrain. They wind sinuously from
east to west and from south to north. Thousands
of feet high is called forces [shi]; hundreds of feet
high is called features [xing]. Forces advance and
finish in features. Where the earth takes shape,
qi flows accordingly; thereby things are born. For
qi courses within the ground, its flow follows the
contour of the ground, and its accumulation
results from the halt of terrain. For burial, seek the
source and ride it to its terminus." The Book of
Burial

2. The Four Heavenly Deities become the Four Terrestrial Palaces.

"Where forces cease and


features soar high, with a
stream in front and a hill
behind, here hides the head
of the dragon." The Book of
Burial

A. White Tiger, B. Dark Warrior (Turtle), C. Green


Dragon, D. Red Bird

Part III: The Metaphysical Environment

Dao sheng yi, yi sheng er, er sheng san, san sheng wanwu.

The Dao begat the One,


One begat the Two,
Two begat the third,
Three begat the Ten-thousand things.
--Laozi Daodejing

A. The Evolution of Qi

Qi
2 Primary Forces:

Yin and Yang

4 Seasons:

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

5 Elements:

Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water

8 Trigrams:

Zhen,

Xun,

Li,

Kun,

Dui,

Qian,

Kan,

Gen

Thunder,

Wood,

Fire,

Earth,

Lake,

Heaven,

Water,

Mountain

9 Stars:

Tan Lang, Wu Qu, Ju Men, Fu Bi, Lu Cun, Wen Qu, Lian Zhen, Po Jun

10 Heavenly Stems:

Jia,

12 Earthly Branches:

Zi, Chou, Yin, Mao, Chen, Si,

Yi,

Wood, Wood, Fire,

Rat, Ox,

28 Lunar Lodges

Bing, Ding,

Tiger,

Jiao,

Kang,

Horn,

Neck,

Fire,

Hare,

Di,

Wu,

Ji,

Geng,

Earth,

Earth, Metal,

Wu,

Xin,

Ren,

Metal,

Water,

Wei, Shen, You,

Gui
Water

Xu,

Hai

Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig

Fang,

Base, Room,

Xin,

Wei,

Heart,

Tail,

The 10,000 Things

Ji,

etc.

Basket, etc.

B. Wu Xing: the Five Elements


1. Heaven has the three lights; Earth has the five movements. [Zuozhuan]
In its first appearance in the philosophical tradition, the wuxing were understood as natural
processes such as water sinking, fire rising, wood bending, metal molding, and soil growing. By
the Han dynasty the wuxing had become five states or phases of qi, analogous to the three states
of water: solid, liquid, and gas.
2. Production and Destruction Orders. These phases were continually transforming into one
another according to the following two laws of nature:

Mutual Production
Order

Mutual Destruction
Order

Earth harbors Metal

Wood digs Earth

Metal condenses Water

Metal cuts Wood

Water nourishes Wood

Fire melts Metal

Wood feeds Fire

Water extinguishes Fire

Fire burns to Earth

Earth dams Water

C. Ba Gua: the Eight Trigrams


Sky

Thunder

Mountain

Earth

Wood

Lake

Fire
Water

1.

The Eight Trigrams are the symbolic basis of the Yijing, or Book of Changes, which is
composed of 64 hexagrams, or doubled trigrams. For example, the trigram for "earth" over
the trigram for "wood" forms hexagram 46, "Pushing Upward" (because plants push up
through soil).

2.

A unique characteristic of Compass School fengshui is its reliance on a special configuration


of the eight trigrams to determine good and bad fortune. This figure is called the Magic
Square, because each row, column, and diagonal adds up to 15.

D. The Palace of Nine Halls

NW Metal
1. The Four Western
Halls are compatible with
each other because each
hall produces the other:
Southwest hall
West hall
Northwest hall
Northeast hall

Earth
Metal
Metal
Earth

Earth harbors metal

QIAN
(Heaven)

6-White
West Metal
DUI (Lake)

7-Red

North Water
KAN (Water)

1-White

NE Earth
GEN
(Mountain)

8-White

3-Jade

North hall
East hall
Southeast hall
South hall

Water nourishes wood


Wood feeds fire

East Wood

5-Yellow

2. The Four Eastern Halls


are compatible with each
other because each hall
produces the other:

ZHEN
(Thunder)

SW Earth

South Fire

SE Wood

KUN (Earth)

LI (Fire)

XUN (Wood)

2-Black

9-Purple

4-Green

However, Eastern Halls are not compatible


with Western Halls because each destroys the
other:
Wood digs earth
Fire melts metal
Metal cuts wood
Earth dams water

Water
Wood
Wood
Fire

E. 1948 Natal Guardian Stars 1983


Star

Element

Male

Female

Star

Element

Male

Female

1-white

water

1954

1950

1-white

water

1972

1968

9-purple

fire

1955

1949

9-purple

fire

1973

1967

8-white

earth

1956

1948

8-white

earth

1974

1966

7-red

metal

1948

1956

7-red

metal

1966

1974

6-white

metal

1949

1955

6-white

metal

1967

1973

5-yellow

earth

1950

1954

5-yellow

earth

1968

1972

4-green

wood

1951

1953

4-green

wood

1969

1971

3-jade

wood

1952

1952

3-jade

wood

1970

1970

2-black

earth

1953

1951

2-black

earth

1971

1969

Star

Element

Male

Female

Star

Element

Male

Female

1-white

water

1963

1959

1-white

water

1981

1977

9-purple

fire

1964

1958

9-purple

fire

1982

1976

8-white

earth

1965

1957

8-white

earth

1983

1975

7-red

metal

1957

1965

7-red

metal

1975

1983

6-white

metal

1958

1964

6-white

metal

1976

1982

5-yellow

earth

1959

1963

5-yellow

earth

1977

1981

4-green

wood

1960

1962

4-green

wood

1978

1980

3-jade

wood

1961

1961

3-jade

wood

1979

1979

2-black

earth

1962

1960

2-black

earth

1980

1978

Find your year of birth in the column of your gender (1951 male). Note your Star and Element (4 green wood). Locate your
star in the Palace of Nine Halls (SE of eastern halls). These are your lucky directions (N, E, SE, S). The remaining
directions are unlucky for you (SW, W, NW, NE)
*If your star is 5 yellow, you are 2 black if female, and 8 white if male.

F. How to cure the harmful flow of qi.


1. Destroy the harmful element by enhancing the
environment with the element that destroys it in the
Mutual Destruction Order. [Example: your Natal Star is
Wood, but your living room is in the direction of West,
which belongs to the element Metal. Metal cuts Wood,
so the qi of that direction is harmful. To counteract the
harmful qi, you should enhance the living room with the
element Fire (candles, lamps, mirrors, crystals, etc.)]
2. Produce more of the beneficial element to replenish
that which is destroyed by the harmful element.
[Example: your Natal Star is Earth, but your library is in
the Eastern portion of the house which belongs to the
element Wood. Wood saps Earth, so the qi of that
direction is harmful. To counteract the harmful qi, you
can enhance the library with the element Earth
(terrarium, terracotta pots, etc.)]

Thank you for listening to my lecture! Here are two of my


websites filled with information for your personal use.

The Fengshui Gate


http://www.fengshuigate.com/

Fengshui Readings by Master Ten Li


http://www.fengshuigate.com/MasterTen/reading.html