What is Feng Shui?
Classical Feng Shui is a 6000 year old art and science of living in complete harmony with the environment. Its principles are based on science, logic and mathematics. The word Feng Shui can be literally translated as “Wind Water” and is actually pronounced as “Fung Shway.” Feng Shui manuscripts are written in Chinese in the form of verses. Originally, Feng Shui was known as “Kan Yu” or “Di Li.”
Specifically, Feng Shui seeks to utilize nature’s positive forces and ward off the negative ones. It tries to determine the quality of cosmic energy or Qi (translated as Life’s Breath, pronounced as Chi, means energy) that we are surrounded by and evaluates its impact on us. Post this evaluation, it moves on to harness the good energy and weaken the bad. It is an art and science of BALANCING the natural forces such that they foster success, good health, and lasting relationships.
What Feng Shui is Not
It’s a pity that several inaccuracies and misconceptions have flawed the nature and character of Feng Shui. Understanding what Feng Shui is not is just as important as knowing what Feng Shui actually is.
- Feng Shui is not derived from or related to any particular religion and neither does it preach or favor any religion
- It is not a superstition or black magic
- It is not related to the modern school of Feng Shui and it does not divide your property in eight life aspirations also known as the Black Hat Sect Theory
- Classical Feng Shui does not encourage the use of “cures” or good luck objects like crystal lotus, bamboo plants, wind chimes, fu dogs, three-legged frogs, and dragon-faced turtles
- It is neither a formula for instant success or nor a quick fix for your problems
A Brief History
Feng Shui started with designing of the graveyards and then moved on to residences, offices, plots and factories. The ancient Chinese believed that if the deceased member of a family is buried on a particular site, which had a particular land-form, at a particular degree, it will bring good luck and fortune to the deceased’s descendants. However, in the absence of compass, GPS and Google Earth; they used the night sky to guide them to that particular spot. They searched for a particular star formation which are known as constellations. Stars cause a pull on earth’s surface and are responsible for formation of various land-forms we see today. Thus, the location of a particular burial spot was identified with the help of constellations in the night sky. Hence, the famous Feng Shui principle “AS ABOVE, SO BELOW” holds good even today.
Classical Feng Shui is based on three fundamental principles: Yin and Yang, The Five Elements, and The Eight Trigrams.
Yin and Yang
The very essence of Classical Feng Shui lies in balancing the forces of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are two natural forms of energy or Qi. These are contradicting forces of nature which perpetually interact with each other. Yin is female, passive, cold, quiet, and dark while Yang is male, active, hot, noisy, and bright. Both the energies are equally important because because we cannot understand the concept of light unless there is some darkness and unless there is some darkness, light won’t make a difference.
Yin and Yang are like two sides of the same coin; separated yet inseparable. Together they form the universe. As the famous saying goes ” Too much of anything is bad,” it is extremely important to strike a balance between these forces.
The concept of Yin and Yang can be better understood with the help of the following diagram:
The Tai Ji depicts the perpetual interaction between Yin and Yang. They represent change, which is the only constant. The white eye and black eye amid the Yin’s darkness and Yang’s whiteness symbolize that everything that has ever been created is changeable. Nothing can be completely Yin and nothing can be totally Yang.
The Five Elements
The constant interaction between Yin and Yang gives rise to five phases of Qi (energy). These five phases are also the five elements or five kinds of Qi. They are the backbone of Classical Feng Shui. It must be noted that these five elements are actually different manifestations of Qi and not real physical elements. They are named in accordance to their attributes. The five elements are Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire.
These five elements are attributed to different Gua numbers ranging from 1 to 9. The five elements also correspond to different shapes, colors, physical representations, body parts, directions, and seasons. The Five Elements give rise to three cycles. They are:
- The Production Cycle
- The Controlling Cycle
- The Weakening Cycle
These cycles are neither good nor bad. They are used to correct the wrongs as remedies to various problems. They also come in handy to understand the relationships between The Five Elements and their impact on each other.
The Eight Trigrams
Yin and Yang further give birth to The Eight Trigrams. These trigrams are the building blocks that form the 64 hexagrams of the Yijing (I-Ching), the book of changes. These trigrams represent the patterns of change and movement. They are also known as the BaGua. “Ba” means ‘eight’ and “Gua” is ‘the result of divination.’ Metaphorically, BaGua shows the way of creating heaven on earth.
Each trigram has a specific name, gua number, and element. Each trigram also corresponds to a particular direction, body part, and member of the family. Diagrammatic representation of The Eight Trigrams is as follows:
Together, Yin and Yang, The Five Elements, and The Eight Trigrams form the foundation of Classical Feng Shui.
How Does Feng Shui Work?
Every human being is characterized by three types of luck. These lucks are interrelated and inseparable from each other.
The three types of lucks are as follows:
- Tian or Heaven Luck
- Ren or Man Luck
- Di or Earth Luck
- Tian or Heaven Luck is the destiny we are born with; which is given. There is no direct control over destiny. It affects one third of our life
- Ren or Man Luck is also known as Karma. It is determined by our deeds, actions, attitudes, and the initiatives that we take in order to do or get something. Man luck is easily controllable and affects one third of our life
- Di or Earth Luck is characterized by the effect our environment has on us. Earth luck is the luck generated from our compatibility with our environment. It affects another one-third of our life
Feng Shui seeks to address Earth Luck. It ensures that people and their surroundings are in complete sync such that it is favorable. The three lucks are known as “ The Cosmic Trinity. “
The Heaven Luck is the destiny. If the destiny is unfavorable for a particular person, he may face obstacles in his path. However, whether he will fall into traps or bypass them greatly depends on his Man Luck and Earth Luck. Even in the absence of control over destiny, a person can have control over two-thirds of his life. This is the power of Feng Shui. It tilts the balance in your favor.