In one of the Chinese classics on feng shui,《黄帝宅经》， it’s mentioned that 『人因宅而立，宅因人而存，人宅相扶，感通天地，故不可独信命也』。What this means is that the human and the house exist because of each other and complement each other, and the house is a medium which allows humans to receive whatever Heavens feels we should receive which is what 「感通天地」 means. The above quote also mentions that there is more to one’s BaZi chart the determines the outcomes of our lives, and this is shown through 「故不可独信命也 」， meaning one shouldn’t just fully rely on fate to determine the course of our lives. In essence, the whole quote above talks about why a house exists, why it is important and what it can do. The purpose of a feng shui audit is to assess if the house is in tune with the laws of nature and its changes because if it is not, it’ll naturally have detrimental effects on the tenants.
A less commonly heard saying in the feng shui realm is『七分命理不出门，三分风水走天下』。What it’s trying to say here is, to come across as a feng shui master is very easy and perhaps just requires you to master 30% of the field, because what is analyzed cannot be checked or cross-referenced on the spot. Whereas for astrological methods like BaZi or Zi Wei Dou Shu, suspicions will arise the moment you say something inaccurate, hence the saying 七分命理不出门，that you wouldn’t even dare to step out the door even if your proficiency for astrological chart readings is at 70% proficiency. This quote has been one of the key reasons why I started out with BaZi first as it forces me to truly understand the concept of Yin Yang & 5 Elements and gives me a better appreciation of how other methods of metaphysical studies came about. BaZi is also extremely useful in identifying immediate areas of concern in someone’s life which cannot be revealed through the house’s feng shui.
You will always see a lot of new-comers claiming to be feng shui masters in the Chinese metaphysics field, because it’s so easy to become one, especially when there is no barrier to entry and no way validate their proficiency.
I’ve been getting quite a number of feng shui enquiries lately and realized that I’ve not really covered how I conduct feng shui audits on my website. I thought I’d take this chance to write a bit more about it so everyone can be more informed before they engage me.
An Introduction On Feng Shui Schools
There are two main major schools of feng shui. The first is the Landform School of Feng Shui (形势派) where emphasis is placed on surroundings like rivers, mountains and landform features that are able to harness and hold on to good ‘qi’, which is known as the primordial ether that gives life and binds everything together according to the Chinese. The second school is known as the Compass School (理气派) which combines different areas of Chinese metaphysics, such as Yin Yang, the 8-Trigrams (ba gua) and the stars. The name Compass School does not accurately portray what this school of feng shui stands for, but the word “compass” is used because we need to the 8-Trigrams and stars all have to do with direction and astronomy.
These two schools of feng shui are definitely not the only schools you would have heard of. They are the major schools, but bear in mind there are also minor schools which are a derivative of the two major schools, especially the Compass School of feng shui. For example, you would have probably heard of the Eight Mansions feng shui method or Flying Stars feng shui – these come from the Compass school of feng shui and they place emphasis on different things. The Eight Mansions feng shui method focuses a lot in the house’s interior and how the laws of the 8-Trigrams unfold within a house. The Flying Stars feng shui method, as its name implies, looks at the stars.
There are several other schools of feng shui, but I won’t go into that for now.
The Feng Shui Methods Schools I Specialize In
I study both Landform and Compass school feng shui, and within the Compass school, I use mainly the Eight Mansions and Flying Stars method. There’s no special reason why I specialized in these schools. They are the most common schools and proper records were also passed down from feudal China. One these two schools of feng shui still thrive today is because they are the easiest to understand amongst all the different schools, because other schools go into areas like the 64 Hexagrams and even BaZi, which is harder for the layperson to pick up. This is the reason why Eight Mansions and Flying Stars feng shui are the ones you’ll always hear during Chinese New Year, because they can easily simplified.
Similar to what I do with my BaZi consultations, I combine the different feng shui methods I know because why not? It really does give you a new layer of perspective when analyzing someone’s house.
The methods that I use are primarily from the books 《阳宅三要》 which falls under Eight Mansions, and 《沈氏玄空学》which falls under Flying Stars feng shui. The Eight Mansions method is not as widely used by modern-day practitioners for reasons unbeknownst to me. Perhaps it’s because most people find the 8-Trigrams a bore and harder to explain to the client, because the 8-Trigrams are the very first symbols created since the dawn of the Chinese civilization.
I usually do a feng shui analysis of the house using Eight Mansions first, followed by the Flying Stars method. There is a reason for this and I’ll explain why.
Feng Shui Audit Using The Eight Mansions Method
The Eight Mansions method divides your house into eight sectors, of nine if you wish to include the middle sector which technically isn’t part of the 8-Trigrams. You’ll often see something like this:
You imagine a feng shui compass being superimposed onto your floor plan, after which it’ll make the eight sectors very clear. Analysis using Eight Mansions often revolves around making sure the important areas of the house are in the right positions, and we see this in 《阳宅三要》 which is a book which places a lot of emphasis on room and kitchen placement.
Everyone has a ‘gua‘ number depending on the year you were born, and each ‘gua’ number has its their own unique set of favourable sectors. ‘Gua‘ is referring to a Trigram (卦). Take this image below for example:
Someone born under the ‘qian‘ Trigram (乾卦) will have his or her favourable sectors in the Northeast, Southwest, West and Northwest. This also means this person belongs to a West group of people which you’ll commonly hear of.
With this information, you’ll decide which rooms should go where, and ideally, the important rooms and kitchen go into the auspicious sectors. You’ll find that this is often out of your control because most modern apartments follow a template, and you don’t get any customization, which makes hunting for a suitable house very difficult.
Feng Shui Audit Using The Feng Shui Flying Stars Method (玄空飞星)
What happens next after an Eight Mansions analysis is done, is that I’ll look at the house using the Flying Stars method. As you may or may not know, the ‘arrangement’ of the stars changes every twenty years, which we call one Period. Period 9 will come very soon, so I’ve been advising my clients to look for houses that cater for Period 9.
You will see 9 Sectors this time, with the centre sector also filling up. The 9 Sectors have a relationship with the 8-Trigrams but please remember these two terms are referring to completely different things.
The Flying Stars method focuses on your Sitting and Facing direction (坐向) because as the Flying Stars change every twenty years, it is believed that the forces that govern Earth change along with it. ‘Qi’ that helps one grow and ‘qi’ that hinders growth will all change, and we ideally want to be sitting in a position where we are receiving positive ‘qi’, hence the emphasis on where you Face.
You’ll hear terminologies like 24 mountains, the centre star and star-in-command, but you’ll hear about the Mountain (山星) and Water stars (向星) less often. They are often left out of the analysis but most practitioners, probably due to their lack of understanding of them. Mountain and Water stars can give very valuable hints something unfolds, because each star represents something and how the Mountain and Water stars interact with each other does matter.
The Flying Stars feng shui method can give an overall assessment of a house and whether one should go with the purchase, and it can also go into the different sectors where the rooms fall into.
There are special Flying Star arrangements, or what we call structures, that give different characteristics to the house. The criteria of these special arrangements change with every Period.
The Houses We End Up In Are Somewhat Fated
There is a Chinese saying called 福人居福地， meaning someone with good karma will end up somewhere good. Whether you like it or not, the kind of houses we end up in are fated.
From my experience as a feng shui practitioner, I have never, ever seen someone with a bad BaZi chart end up in a good house. It is simply the law of nature playing its part. Let’s try to visualize this using nature because Chinese metaphysics is studying nature’s laws after all: In a field of blooming flowers that are thriving, you will not find a withering plant there. Even if you do, it will eventually die off and end up being fertiliser for the surrounding plants. As far-fetched as it sounds, the same logic applies to us humans. We need to be strong and do well first before we can end up in a good environment. I know this sets off a whole debate about being unable to do well unless the environment is good first, but let’s leave that for another time. Chinese metaphysics will always present you with a chicken-and-egg scenario.
The reason why feng shui is so popular is that feng shui is believed to give someone a chance to do better than what one’s BaZi chart limits him or her to. We cannot change our BaZi or Zi Wei Dou Shu charts because that is fixed the moment we are born, but we still have some room for where we live.
The kind of practitioner you end up with is also fated. Whether you end up with a legitimate practitioner or a pseudo-practitioner is also written in your chart. It’s similar to how some people will never have benefactors or noblemen in their charts because their chart qualities simply aren’t high enough. This is the reason why I don’t bother with advertisements or even trying to sell my services – I just write what I feel and I’ll let those with an affinity with me decide if they’re comfortable engaging me.
This belief that the kind of houses we end up in are fated also gives a practitioner the ability to forecast a few things just by looking at the house. I’ll explain in the next section.
What Makes A Good Feng Shui Master Or Practitioner?
I don’t want anyone to misinterpret my tone or intent here because I know how this section can come across. The point of my blog is to point out what I feel is wrong with the Chinese metaphysics field and how things can be improved.
There’s a belief in this field that you can never be good at feng shui if you don’t know astronomy (not astrology) because the founding theories of feng shui are all tied to astronomy. Suppose a feng shui master can only tell you what colour to paint your house and how to arrange your furniture during a feng shui audit. In that case, you might want to go back in history and find out how our ancestors approached this field and reconsider of the feng shui master you engaged is taking his or her job seriously.
There is a reason why a feng shui Period is 20 years and why each of the nine Flying Stars has a certain element tagged. If your feng shui master cannot answer such questions, you’ll know he or she didn’t bother going into the history and philosophy of the art. Whether or not they can be good at what they do with such an attitude – I’ll leave that for you to decide.
You’ll often find a lot of feng shui masters not able to tell you much about the history and founding theory of feng shui if you probe them. Applying feng shui is not difficult, but there are still nuances that separate the pseudo-practitioners from those who are serious about this art. These small nuances can make a huge difference in the efficacy of feng shui. More importantly, what I wish to get everyone to consider is whether someone can be good at what he or she does, without bother finding out why something is the way it is.
I’ve had many clients who ended up getting the wrong advice from other feng shui masters and they are the ones that you see ranking on the first page of Google. Although I have to say it’s part of their fate that this happened, it’s a pity they didn’t get a chance to benefit from feng shui.
The Benefits of Combining Eight Mansions With Flying Stars
I often see the Eight Mansions method as the foundation or ‘natal chart’ of the house because your house layout and where it faces will not change. The Eight Mansions method gives me an idea of whether the family has a strong base, meaning, their background, their health and where they come from.
Tying back to what I mentioned above about the houses we’re fated for, seeing the layout of the house gives me an idea of the general trajectory of the house. For example, if a client purchases a house and gets me to audit it, and the Eight Mansions method reveals that the female of the house will have poor health, it is almost 100% certain that this will be reflected in her BaZi chart too. This is the reason why I said the Eight Mansions reveals the foundation.
The Flying Stars method, on the other hand, is like the Phases the house has to go through – it is like the Elemental Phases you see in your BaZi chart. Like how one’s Elemental Phases unfold from your BaZi natal chart, the house goes through a similar process, unfolds from its foundation (Eight Mansions), and plays out according to the Flying Stars.
Let’s put things into perspective:
- You can have a very weak foundation, but things progress very smoothly for you. In real life, it might manifest as someone having poor health or coming from an unprivileged background, but life tends to go very smoothly for this person.
- You can have a strong foundation, but you’re always met with obstacles. Someone can have a strong mind and body, but life can still be extremely harsh on this person.
This is what I mean by Eight Mansions being the foundation and Flying Stars being the unfolding of the phases you go through.
Conducting A Feng Shui Audit After Buying A House or Before?
I will always recommend getting a feng shui practitioner to hunt for a house together with you instead of conducting a feng shui audit after purchasing the house.
It’s not that a feng shui master cannot remedy bad feng shui, but to remedy a house or apartment in modern times is virtually impossible. You won’t be able to change the layout of your house or shift the door, and neither can you shift the orientation of the building. The most the practitioner can do is analyse the house and tell you what to look out for. The only demographic of people who can fully benefit from feng shui is those who are wealthy enough to choose their plots of land and build their houses from the ground up. Unfortunately, pseudo-feng shui practitioners can only put up a show and focus on saying things that clients want to hear.
Feng shui is not about buying items, shifting furniture or using colours. If you study the founding theories of feng shui, you will appreciate how ridiculous new age feng shui is. Feng shui was developed using astronomy and observing nature’s laws, and it has nothing to do with what’s being practised today. Have you ever wondered what the point of calculating the planets’ movements to such precision is if feng shui was merely about colours and furniture arrangement is? Our ancestors were amazing people who would never lower themselves to such a level.
Bringing It All Together With BaZi & Zi Wei Dou Shu
My feng shui clients usually get complimentary BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu readings. Your astrological charts hold more weight than feng shui, after all, because whether or not you can get a good place really depends on your chart. Your astrological chart is still the proper foundation of your life.
Combining the astrological methods I know during the feng shui audit gives me unparalleled insight into what’s to come, and it has always been what separates me from other practitioners. The purpose of a feng shui audit alone can let you determine and forecast a few things about the person staying it in, but it still pales in comparison to BaZi and Zi Wei Dou Shu.
The above is just my personal style of doing things that I felt would be useful for prospective clients to know. I do not just stick to one method and apply it blindly. Using multiple methods opens up a lot of new possibilities and ways of looking at things, and they will only complement each other instead of contradicting each other. This not only gives me more confidence in my analysis but also strengthens my conviction and belief in what our ancestors passed down.
It’s important to know that the quality of our astrological charts plays a considerable role in determining what kind of house we end up in. This is not a belief held just by myself, but our ancestors believed in this, too, as they recognized that everything is interconnected. If you have a high-quality chart, it’s natural to end up in a good house, even if you pick blindly. On the flip side, if your chart leans towards the challenging side, it’ll be harder for you to end up in a good house. I come into the picture by ensuring people ‘go against nature’ and end up in a good one. The interesting thing is, I’ve also noticed that for people with a weaker BaZi chart, there will be all sorts of unexpected reasons that they might not end up in that auspicious house they want. Some of the reasons include a last-minute change of mind from the seller, another buyer coming in with a higher price, or the person not liking the house despite it being a good one.
My job as a practitioner is to try to ensure clients end up in a good house regardless of what their astrological charts say. Clients seeking feng shui audits are accustomed to hearing good things and assume that feng shui fixes are easy. I wish to clarify that this is not true, and tapping on good feng shui is not as easy as many businesses make it sound.
At the end of the day, I still can’t emphasize enough how crucial personal cultivation is as that is the key to transcending everything. Yes, your house feng shui matters as it affects your well-being, which will, in turn, affect your mood and how you deal with the world and people, and all those little things will add up in the long run. Chinese metaphysics is an excellent tool to have, but not many people know how to wield it correctly.
I hope this entry has given you some insights and a new perspective. If you’re currently looking to move house, all the best with it, and I hope you find a place with excellent feng shui!
P.S. You can find more blog posts related to feng shui here: My Other Blog Posts On Feng Shui
P.P.S. There is also an incredibly important post you need to read: Feng Shui Period 9: Every Feng Shui Master Got It Wrong