Ancient Secrets And Imperial Beauty: The Art Of Authentic Feng Shui
Have you ever wondered what a compass reveals? At first glance, it seems to map the directions of the Earth’s magnetic fields, helping us find our bearings.
While this is true, the ancients, who developed the magnetic geomancer’s compass (the loupan) over 4,000 years ago, included rings (as shown in the photograph above) to read astronomical, astrological and mathematical data in conjunction with magnetic fields. This information helps interpret the relationship between people and their environment, enabling them to make changes to positively transform their lives. From the moment we move into a new place, we begin a relationship with that particular environment and its natural energies. Feng Shui is the art of living in harmony and balance with the energies of one’s environment by harnessing or tapping the positive and powerful energies of that place. A venerable art and science as old as Chinese culture, Feng Shui translates as “wind and water,” two of the most powerful forces of nature. Where wind and water meet, energy gathers and accumulates. Water represents wealth and wind represents direction. Harnessing the positive energies of a place to support and nourish our activities can transform our lives and ultimately even bring the fulfillment of our destinies.
Imperial Secrets of Feng Shui
The origins of Feng Shui date back to around 2200 BCE in Neolithic China. Farms and villages were auspiciously placed within the protective folds of chosen land formations, shielded from harmful winds and nurtured by the gentle, winding streams. The tribes which practiced these principles prospered in agriculture and trade and grew strong and powerful. They produced social, cultural and military leaders unlike their neighbors who were exposed to harsh winds and inhospitable terrain. The art of Feng Shui was refined over many centuries, producing an abundance of learned scholars. Ancient emperors guided by their counsel of sages and diviners used Feng Shui to auspiciously place palaces, cities, and especially their personal grave sites. It was during this time that the foundational tools of Feng Shui were developed: the Pa-Kua (eight trigrams), the luopan (compass) and the theory of change, known as the I Ching. From these building blocks, other healing systems arose including Chinese medicine, acupuncture, Taoist arts and macrobiotics, to name only a few.
Over the ages, many emperors forbade the dispensing of Feng Shui knowledge to their subjects, thereby securing the “power” for themselves. Violations of this law led many masters to their death, although some masters refused to part with the knowledge indiscriminately believing that Feng Shui changes a person’s destiny. Until the recent Cultural Revolution, Feng Shui was an integral part of daily life for the Chinese. It is said that Mao Tse-tung was a master practitioner and used Feng Shui in his rise to power. Afterwards, he outlawed its practice and destroyed many ancient texts. This had been foreseen, however, and the most valuable texts had already been removed to Taiwan. No longer exclusive to the realm of the Chinese, Feng Shui began its journey westward.
Modern Feng Shui in the World
Worldwide fascination with Feng Shui has bred acceptance within the mainstream, but most people do not know what real Feng Shui is all about. Anyone seeking information on Feng Shui faces a deluge of books, articles and programs, many with confusing and contradictory premises, most of which proclaim “quick fix” solutions. People are beginning to realize that in order to obtain lasting results, superficial skimming won’t stand up to scrutiny. Authentic Feng Shui, like Taoism and Chinese medicine, is not based on superstition and requires time and diligent commitment for understanding and mastery of the principles. Feng Shui relies on time-tested mathematical formulas, with recommendations individualized for each person’s specific internal and external situation that work regardless of a person’s belief.
Fundamental to understanding the basic principles of Feng Shui is the concept of “chi,” known variously throughout the world as ki, prana or life force, among other names. Chi is the pulsating, vital, nourishing source that is the essence of all things and the unifying principle of our universe. The budding trees, blooming flowers, gentle breezes and thunderstorms all speak to the living presence of chi around us, always present, yet invisible. Another good example is the invisible energy grid within our bodies mapped out by ancient acupuncturists, and now even documented by science. Just as acupuncture is a tool to direct the flow of energy within the body to restore healing and balance, Feng Shui works to restore the natural balance and vitality of chi present in a location.
Understanding this energy allows us to re-orient our environment by identifying the best layout and internal designs for placement of people, activities, furnishings and elements. The practice of authentic Feng Shui requires in-depth observations to assess information about the environment, people, locations and dates relevant to the occupants. These assessments are made using astronomical, astrological and mathematical systems, including the birth data of all occupants of a dwelling. Using the system of Pa Chai, or Eight Mansions, a client’s best directions are revealed, based upon the year of birth.
Pa-Chai uses the eight trigrams, or directions of the Pa-Kua to locate areas of positive and negative energy in a house, as measured with a compass. Classical Feng Shui schools require the use of a luopan compass; “lo” means “everything” and “pan” means “bowl.” The luopan is traditionally viewed as containing the keys to the mysteries of the universe. In order to most advantageously tap auspicious energy and minimize the negative influences that are present in every environment, an accurate assessment is imperative. Once an assessment of these patterns is formulated, recommendations can be made on a case by case basis. Any changes made should harmonize with one’s own personal taste, style and budget.
The following case study highlights how quick-fix Feng Shui advice can actually work to enhance negative energy in an environment rather than stimulate the flow of positive chi.
A man going through a contentious divorce received ill-advised Feng Shui advice to place a couple of pink or red candles in his “relationship corner” to pull in new relationship energy and quell the angst of his departing spouse, along with other symbolic cures. Psychologically, he felt better having shifted his environment around a bit and felt boosted by having made the effort and enlisting support, but things continued to decline.
A traditional Feng Shui practitioner was called in who took an accurate compass reading of the external land forms and the house. He asked for the move-in and construction date of the house, as well as the occupant’s birth data. Charts were created, combined and assessed for compatibility. After the assessment was complete, it was discovered that this man had a great house but he entered through a door in his own personal “loss” direction, his bed was in one of his “arguments and lawsuits” directions, and a water fountain was activating “financial drain.” This man was miserable and open to change. The fountain was turned off, the bed was moved into his best sector, and the side door became his main entrance as it was located in his “wealth and success” direction. Other changes were made based on his internal layout, his four best directions and the harmonious flow of energy throughout the house. After implementing the recommendations, he achieved an amicable out-of-court settlement that both parties were pleased with, as well as improved health and career gains.
The Cosmic Trinity
Even though Feng Shui can play a major role in the transformation of one’s life, other factors call for consideration and reflection. The guiding elements of
The Cosmic Trinity
deserve careful attention as they too, determine the unfolding of our life paths. According to this ancient Chinese philosophy over 4,000 years old, humans — embraced by both Heaven and Earth — have their destiny determined by the three foundational luck elements. Each luck element plays an equally important role. One’s level of success and happiness is determined by a combination of these factors. Becoming familiar with the three basic tenants of the Cosmic Trinity will allow you to deepen your exploration of self, evaluate your life from a different perspective and gain an invaluable set of new tools for enhancing your personal life path.
Heaven’s Luck: Understood as destiny, fate, karma, or luck. Heaven is the source of spirit, believed to account for one third of the influences in our lives. This is our gift at birth, our fate, or karmic inheritance.
Man’s Luck: What we develop and achieve through our efforts of hard work, discipline, education and the development of personal virtues. Humans hold their place between Heaven and Earth and are the bearers of that unique force of human spirit, or will. This accounts for another one third of the influences upon our lives.
Earth Luck: The source of essential elements for life. This is where Feng Shui enters our lives by harnessing the energy and forces of nature. Earth’s Luck is our invitation to use the tools provided around us to our advantage. By practicing Feng Shui principles we can alter, enhance and support the positive aspects of Heaven’s Luck as well as channel both the positive and negative aspects of Man’s Luck towards our best interest.
The ideal combination of sublime Heaven’s Luck, Man’s Luck and Earth Luck is quite rare, although it does indeed exist. None of us can escape the reality of low points, trials or hardship, yet there are some who always seem to fare better, even during hard times at maintaining resiliency and equilibrium that others work hard to possess.
Reflecting on the Cosmic Trinity, we might begin to question what aspects of our own life have been enhanced or hampered by personal fate and what can be done to improve them? Being motivated to develop self-reflection, discipline, volition of will, and strength of character all work in one’s favor to strengthen Man’s Luck.
Some believe that destiny is unchangeable. There are those however, who pursue a deeper investigation, often discovering the hidden jewels buried within this powerful philosophy. Able to grasp the meaning and move forward, as the ancients once beheld, the primary purpose of this knowledge is for self-mastery, moving deeper into one’s life fulfillment. In ancient times, to master one’s self was considered to be the greatest service to one’s village and society; even today we know this to be true.
Creating grace, benefiting from our own native luck, and the great fortune to experience the true beauty of life depends upon many factors and is unique to each individual’s development, openness and vision as well as destiny. One thing we can collectively count on, however, is through the development of compassion, caring, warmth, altruistic vision and kindness, not only are we increasing our own personal Heaven’s Luck and Man’s Luck, but enriching the lives of our families, communities, and contributing to the positive evolution of global society. Bringing in the positive elements of Earth Luck through Feng Shui strengthens and enhances our endeavors in all other realms of life. By using this ancient wisdom to create an environment of peace, balance and beauty in which to live or work, we can transform our fate by accessing what heaven has always provided but which may have previously been beyond our grasp.
Melissa Kushi received her master practitioner Feng Shui certification in Asia by Grand Master Yap Cheng Hai, one of the world’s top five Feng Shui Grand Masters. She brings over 20 years experience in the study, practice and teaching of natural sciences from the Orient. For more information on classes and lectures on the practical application of Classical Feng Shui in your life, please visit the website http://www.MelissaKushi.com, e-mail Melissa at info@MelissaKushi.com or call her at 413-644-9050.