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Chinese Mysticism Feng Shui

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of living in harmony with your environment. It literally translates into wind and water. Feng Shui is often defined as the art of placement because much of it revolves around determining the positive or negative directions for the people, their dwellings, and the relationship between them.

Understanding the Basics

Central to Feng Shui is the belief in the existence of a unifying vital force called Qi (Chi). Qi is invisible, undetectable by our five senses, or for that matter any physical instrument. Qi pervades all things and beings in existence. It animates us, binds us, and moves us through our life cycles. However, Qi, like air, is not of uniform quality. Some is fresh or nourishing while some are stale or detrimental.

In fact, the qualities of Qi can be anywhere between two extremes, commonly known as yin yang. Yin is the female end and is represented by the color black. Yang is the male end and is represented by the color white. The well-known yin yang symbol represents the eternal, dynamic interaction between these two opposites.

Like subatomic particles of modern physics, the interaction of yin and yang give rise to everything that exists, i.e. all things are made up of varying proportions of yin and yang.

Understanding Trigrams

If we represent Yin as a broken line and Yang as a solid line and created all possible ying/yang combinations of three lines, we would end up with the eight symbols shown below.

☵ ☷ ☳ ☴ ☰ ☱ ☶ ☲

Each 3-line symbol is called a trigram. Each trigram has a unique name and is associated with certain attributes such as a compass direction, numeric value, element, color, etc. A partial list of the associated attributes is shown below.

Kǎn Kūn Zhèn Xùn Qián Duì Gèn
Numeric Value 1 2 3 4 6 7 8 9
Compass Direction N SW E SE NW W NE S
Element Wa­ter Earth Wood Wood Me­tal Me­tal Earth Fire

There are several standard ways of arraging the sequence of the eight trigrams. One of the best known arrangements places the trigrams around the yin yang symbol. This arrangement is known as the bagua (literally "eight trigrams").










Another typical arrangement is show above. By placing each trigram in each corresponding compass direction and putting the value of 5 at the center, we get the magic square shown below. If you add the numeric value of each trigram across each row, column, or diagonal, you'll see that they always add up to 15. Variations of the magic square are at the core of much of the analysis performed in traditional Feng Shui techniques.

Schools of Feng Shui

See also