Chinese Feng Shui

Feng shui (风水 pinyin: fēng shuǐ, literally translates as "wind-water" in English) is a thousand-year-old Chinese art. It relates to the Taoist Arts. Like Chinese medicine or acupuncture, it shares a core outline of knowledge with Taoism.

The Chinese consider Feng Shui as a philosophy of life that allows them to live according to the laws of nature. For centuries they used Feng Shui to conceive their cities, build their houses, and bury their deaths.

Likewise, the architects of all large Chinese monuments, such as the Forbidden City in Beijing or the Great Wall of China, were inspired by Feng Shui principles. Giving their architecture an air of harmony necessary to integrate with nature.

Formerly called "Kan Yu", the naming " Feng Shui " appeared for the first time in The Zangshu or " Book of Burial " written by Guo Pu (276-324 AD). 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. According to the laws of Fengshui, the site which attracts water is optimum, followed by the site which catches wind."

Chinese Fengshui
Chinese Fengshui

Way of the sky and Earth, "Kan Yu" developed under the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD).

It was born from the observation of the strengths between heaven and earth and the study of the environment (mountains and water) by taking into account their shape and their direction. The result of these observations forms the contents of the system San He today.

To apply Feng Shui philosophy, two essential components have to be considered: the notions of complementarily of the Yin and the Yang as well as five elements (Water, Earth, Fire, Metal, Wood), often expressed by means of materials, forms, and colors.

Besides Feng Shui ideology articulates around the Chi, which is the energy of the sum of the energy movements governing the Universe.

It was for several thousand years that astrologer and wise men of old China laid the foundations of Feng Shui. The legend tells that the compass was invented during the reign of the Yellow Emperor. It was used at first for navigation.

It was then modified for use in Feng Shui.

For the inhabitants of former China, the natural elements, as the wind and the water, grasp the energy of the sky and the earth. In movement, this energy is feeder, excessive or on the contrary stagnant, it possesses destructive qualities.

The first Chinese tribes were managed by kings-shamans who knew the ways of wind and water and had power over elements.

One of them was the wise man Fu Xi, who is today held as the protector of science and the art of divination. Especially because he discovered He Tu (the cyclic behavior of the river He).


At the beginning of the Zhou dynasty (c. 1050–256 BC), King Wen was the first one to use Bagua (eight trigrams) to describe the changes of the world.

Around the 8th century B.C., the Chinese used the theory of the Bagua and change of laws. It was advocated to prosper and flourish in the palace and to achieve harmony in the court.

Interestingly, feng shui developed over the centuries, especially during the Tang Dynasty (June 18, 618 to June 1, 907 AD) and the Song Dynasty (960-1279). During this period, there were hundreds of Feng Shui schools.

The final stage of feng shui development occurred during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It later occurred during the Republican period (1912-1949).

In the early Qing Dynasty, the Eight Mansions System or Ba Zhai was created and applied exclusively to the Feng Shui of houses. Ba Zhai tries to tune the protective celestial body of the occupants of that of the house.

During the Republican period, the Xuan Kong school of thought integrated geological information. The Xuan Kong School of Feng Shui Systems is based on the astronomy of "flight patterns of dynamic stars".

Through the three yuans or eras of nine yuns or periods, it had a serious impact on the sides and roofs of occupants who lived in enclosed spaces for at least three years.

The most common interpretation of this criterion is the human residence or shop space that satisfies this prognosis.

The principle on which Feng Shui is based is that all that surrounds us, recover from the universal energy.

There is an immeasurable and unlimited subtle substance composing the whole cosmos and circulating in the world which environs us, in our body and our spirit. It is the Chi (pronounced " tchi) in China, Ki in Japan, and Prana in India.

The aim of Feng Shui thus is to make so that this air lungful of life circulates in an optimal way in and outside of us. This good circulation ensures an attitude, thoughts, and positive feelings directly bound to our health, our family, and professional life.

It is thus essential to make sure that the Chi circulates with fluidity and sweetness inside our houses. Any protruding angles, deep recesses, and overloaded spaces are so much of an energy barrier. This tends to create trouble and dysfunction in our lives.

This notion of a free circulation of the energies is not exclusive to Feng Shui. Borrowed from the Chinese philosophy it is also one of the foundations of certain thousand-year-old Chinese therapies such as acupuncture or shiatsu.

acupunture point

Both depart from such a principle. A person's mind, body (various organs), and immediate environment form a whole, and any disorder, whether mental, physical, or external, can disrupt its energy balance and lead to disease or weakness.

By stimulating, precise acupuncture points, they subtly act on the energy flow to remove these blockages.

Allowing the energy to circulate again freely and harmoniously in the body and spirit. Just like the flight of birds, streams, and rivers in nature, the Chi has to circulate according to ample and wave-like movements in our house.

To know how the situation in your home is, there is a very simple investigation to test the Chi flow inside. You have to support yourself with an unprocessed plan on which you will place all the furniture, household (electrical appliances, accessories, etc.).

Use a pencil to express the Chi from rooms to rooms by describing movements in rings and note every congested, too dark, too big, too small, unused space, etc.

This analysis, joined to that of your needs, is naturally going to precede, the main lines of your future arrangement. This space is yours and so that you feel good, it is important that it responds as much as possible to your needs and to a good circulation of energy.

The Shar Chi

Note however that the energy circulating between your walls is not always beneficial. Feng shui appoints this bad energy by the word Sha or Shar Chi.

This «breath which kills " shows itself generally around all which is not "natural": the straight main lines, the salient angles, the L furniture, the sharp objects; what is too dark: the too deep hidden alcoves, the little enlightened spaces.

Conversely, what is too much enlightened like the streetlights; what is too confined: corridors, muddled cupboards… In brief, every place where Chi circulates badly.

This hostile energy is at the origin of the faintnesses, diseases, and dysfunctions. It is thus wise not to be exposed to it for a long time by setting the adequate remedy. For example, hiding bad wall corners behind plants …

Five Phases of Transformation or the Five Elements

The theory of the Five Phases of Transformation or the Five Elements (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth, and Metal) is the main pillar of Feng Shui. It explains how Qi (all living matter) cycles through various stages of transformation.

These five phases correspond to defined periods. For example the seasons (winter = water, spring = wood, summer = fire, autumn = metal, inter seasons = earth) but also years, months, days, hours.

According to the course of time, the Qi undergoes transformations, and thus changes of cyclical properties. According to this theory, there are two main cycles of begetting (sheng) and control (ke).

acupunture point
Acupunture Point

The Five Elements Support and Control Each Other:

Everything we find in the external or internal terrain belongs to one of the five elements. Each row has a supporting and controlling relationship with the other elements.

When the Five Elements of our body's internal or external environment are in balance, we experience health and prosperity. When they’re out of balance – overacting, counteracting, or failing to properly support one another – we experience disease of one sort or another.

The temporal factor

The cyclic transformation of the properties of the Qi brings the notion of time very important in Feng Shui (as in acupuncture or in Traditional Chinese Medicine).

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