My Honest Thoughts On Feng Shui, ‘Lucky’ Items & More

Posted On Last updated Jun 8, 2020 | Published on Jun 7, 2020

I’ve been spending a lot more time thinking about feng shui, especially given the recent discovery that the Chinese sages might be wrong about when Period 9 starts. The Home And Decor interview also gave me a nudge in wanting to talk about feng shui a bit more. I know a lot of things are happening around the world and I’m not ignorant about it, but I don’t want my blog to stray to those topics for now. I am not an expert in those areas and I don’t want to end up saying the wrong thing accidentally. I just hope things get better, and that those who are not worthy to be in positions of worthy get stripped from their positions.

Anyway, there are a few reasons why I don’t blog about feng shui as much:

  • The most practical reason is because out of all the services that I provide, feng shui takes up the smallest volume. Clients who eventually engage me are usually those who have gone through my blog and really trust me.
  • There are a few posts on feng shui in my blog that addresses extremely important things, and I felt that was sufficient. Although I think those posts have been buried deep beneath the newer posts and I should bring them up again.
  • I put a lot more emphasis on BaZi and the philosophical aspect of things because those are the things that truly matter. If you don’t get those things right, there’s really no need to talk about feng shui.

The purpose of this post is to reiterate a few things to my newer readers and also to add in some of my more recent thoughts. There will be some screenshots of my chat with others, but rest assured permission was asked long ago as I was writing the related blog posts.

The House Feng Shui You End Up With Is Fated

This is something you will always end up hearing me say. It is not an opinion. It is true.

Perhaps most of us don’t appreciate this as much because our cases are not that exteme. The most people experience is bad health, and nothing too calamitous happens. How severely you are affected by feng shui also depends on your BaZi chart.

That aside, some cases do get a bit extreme.

One of the most shocking cases I’ve got was a referral case. The Chinese classics pointed out that the house’s male tenant will perish, and turns out he really did.

A quick translations states that the middle-male of the house will perish, but the eldest male will take precedence if the middle-male isn’t around. The couple has a daughter, so only one male head of the house was around.

I blogged about this before: Your Astrological Chart & House Feng Shui Are Interconnected.

I also want to make it clear that the mere physical presence of someone cannot bring calamity to another person. In the case above, the wife’s mere presence did not make the husband fall ill. Certain things are meant to happen. Like I’ve always said, a couple’s chart will paint the same story. When we talk about a chart that harms the spouse, it always comes in the form of the dynamics between the relationship. Certain relationships just won’t make you grow and will drag down the quality of your life.

I’ve always believed that even our house feng shui and astrological charts painted the same story and I held this belief way before the above case came to me. It’s just that this case left an indelible mark on my mind because someone actually passed on and I had one of those “Oh my Heavens” moments. The chart of the wife also paints the same story where the husband’s health is extremely weak because the spouse element is a critical element, but comes under harm.

Even a beginner in BaZi can tell from the above chart that the spouse element (Yang Wood 甲木) is extremely weak. Everything was set up to be like some horror story of bad feng shui. As mentioned in the old blog post, this house was put up for firesale, which naturally means something happened to the previous tenant too although I don’t know happened exactly. You just have to know if a condominium gets put up on firesale, something really bad must have happened.

No doubt, this house was meant for a certain kind of chart holder with a certain kind of life.

The Prerequisites Of Good Feng Shui

There were a few high-respected Chinese scholars of the 20th century who talked about feng shui. One interesting thing that I noticed, but have not spoken about before, is that these scholars placed a lot of emphasis on character cultivation and argued that this has to come first before one can benefit from feng shui. The Chinese call it xiu de (修得). One scholar that I really respect is Nan Huai Jin (南怀瑾). His books were one of the very first books I read when I got serious about Chinese metaphysics. He simplifies a lot of topics on Chinese tradition, history, and even Buddhist scriptures.

I had a hard time understanding what these Chinese scholars meant initially, but over a period of a few years, I think I’m starting to get where they were coming from. I too, once felt that feng shui was just a matter of picking a good place, or getting a practitioner to pick it for you. Turns out there is really more to it than simply hiring someone to hunt it out down for you.

The saying you need good karma to end up in a place with good feng shui is easy to say, but not easy to appreciate unless you are a practitioner. When you start looking at BaZi charts and people’s home, you’ll slowly understand why the Chinese sages said the things they did, because houses and charts really do paint the same story. The reason why It’s not easy to appreciate because every Tom, Dick and Harry feels they can get a place with good feng shui and every pseudo-practitioner just entertains that thought instead of speaking the truth. Laypeople also can’t read a chart or assess houses, which makes it harder for them to appreciate such a correlation.

I sometimes don’t get pseudo-practitioners. If a house is bad, just say it’s bad. Don’t put up an act and say you are activating whatever dormant energy in the house. There are bigger forces at play than how you put your furniture. We are but mere humans – we don’t get to manipulate these things so easily.

There was a case I mentioned during my interview with Home And Decor where I mentioned a client split up and the then-husband wasn’t very pleased with me because he didn’t believe in what I saw in the charts and the house. The related blog post is here: What Feng Shui Masters Go Through During Audits

It still baffles me to know that a man in his 40s can think that he can get rich simply doing something to some dusty corner in the house. He’s definitely not the first of such clients I’ve encountered. I’ve had quite a few. Which is why I decided I’ll just screen my feng shui clients too.

I won’t keep repeating what I said. Basically, this is a case of a bad BaZi chart, meant for a bad house, and negative events triggered the moment the elements were aligned.

Why was 2018 the year the marriage was annulled? Simple. The spouse element, which is a beneficial element, gets completely removed from the chart. Category 4 bad BaZi chart? Most definitely.

I once gave the example of how you won’t see withering plants in a lush flower field, because a good environment will not allow a decaying organism to stay around for long. The same logic applies for human life. The laws that apply to nature apply to us too.

Feng Shui Items And Whether They Really Work

No matter what you say or how many positive cases you throw at me, I still refuse to believe in this. I will, however, take the opportunity to address this.

The Law Of Falsifiability

This is basically your “if you wish to prove not all swans are white, you just have to find one black swan” argument. Although it might not be entirely fair to apply this law from philosophy of science to metaphysics, we can still use it to guide our thinking.

The simplest way to put it is this: Instead of finding a thousand people where feng shui item worked for them, we just need to find one incident where feng shui items didn’t work to prove that feng shui items are a farce.

I’m quite sure you won’t just find one incident, but thousands of them.

The Argument That Every Item Has Energy

Yes, I do believe that everything has energy and a form of vibration. If you truly believe in this, by all means, go ahead and place whatever you want if it makes you happy. I just hope the clutter doesn’t make you trip at home or something heavy doesn’t fall on your toe.

Do you know what to know what else has energy and vibration, and it perhaps the most important ‘object’ of them all?

Look in the mirror.

If you don’t get it, then Heavens help you.

The Argument That An Object’s Form Has Meaning

Another popular argument is that certain object’s shape and forms has certain meanings. You need elephants at the front door to suck in wealth, or you need a Qi Lin (Dragon Horse) to expel negative energy.

I think what people fail to realize is that the meaning behind something is what we assign to it.

Let’s do a thought-experiment:

To us, Chinese, an elephant, a Qi Lin, a mythical creature without an anus, or maybe even a pig sitting on a gold ingot might symbolize auspiciousness. We believe that such items will bring good luck when placed in the right sector, and its ability to attract auspiciousness has to do with the meaning behind it.

But what happens if we want to apply feng shui to someone of a different culture? What if the meaning and symbolism behind these items are different?

Here is my first counter-argument: If feng shui really works, then surely, these items will work arbitrarily for anyone from any culture and civilization. But let’s be honest with ourselves. We will never feel that something we don’t like brings us good luck, and to have something we don’t like around the house is only going to annoy us.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly: Even though Chinese metaphysics is originated from China (duh), it doesn’t mean Chinese heritage gets exclusivity in determining what signs or symbols are considered auspicious and what’s not. It would not only be arrogant, but absurd to think this is so.

The only thing that is Chinese about Chinese metaphysics, is that it was developed by the Chinese. Other than that, the laws in Chinese cosmology are universal and impartial. It does not take the form of ethnicity, culture and what not. It simply exists.

Someone, somewhere in the world will go “What the hell is this!?” when you place a one-legged frog biting a coin in the house.

Come on guys… Even I went “What the hell is this!?”

Fine. I know what the above is and the story behind it. But seriously – why this? My point is that we don’t ask ourselves how these symbols came about and if it really does affect things. Millennials prefer unicorns these days.

If I were to give an even more extreme example, why don’t people wear a necklace in the shape of a turd? It’s a great fertilizer and a progenitor of life. Without it, we might not have enough food harvests and the world will fall into famine. It is Confucian virtue to know the source of your blessings even if it’s in the form of bovine excretions. At least a turd is real. I’ve yet to see a horse with a dragon’s head.

Does everyone get what I’m trying to say?

If you read through the Buddhist scriptures or even Chinese texts, you will always hear this term ‘xiang you xin sheng’ (相由心生). Meaning the ‘form’ and meaning of something is determined by ourselves – our hearts and our perception of it. It is the same as why someone with a good BaZi chart can see difficulties as opportunities for growth, whereas someone with a bad BaZi chart sees it as the universe is against them. It is how we perceive our reality that ultimately determines what is good and what is bad. This is Yin Yang theory. Reality and everything has a duality, and where you wish to stand is completely up to you.

So now the big question that remains is what is more important at the end of the day? The item? Or what your heart and your thoughts are like? That being said, I’m not saying you completely disregard your house’s feng shui and the story it paints, but if you had to start somewhere, then start with yourself first.

By all means, if buying an expensive item and placing it around the house makes you happy. Do it. I’m no one to stop you. But at least understand what I’m trying to get at above. But if you feel an item is going to change your life – that’s not going to happen. The only credit that I will give these inanimate objects is the temporary psychological boost. You will still return to the way you are eventually and look back and why you spent so much money on something that is now collecting dust. There is someone somewhere out there with an item in the shape of a turd and that item is bringing more ‘good luck’ and happiness to him/her than your dragon or block of wood you have in your house.

Look, everyone, there was a point in my life where I tried all these things. It didn’t work at all. It was only when I went deep into Chinese metaphysics, was able to read my own chart and saw the change in my 10-year “Luck Pillars” / Elemental Phases that I finally knew what was going on. It was never about the items, so please, stop insulting your own intelligence.

If Feng Shui Items Were That Effective, Why Weren’t There Records Of It?

There are absolutely no records that feng shui items worked or were considere a remedy.

Yes, symbols and figurines were used a lot, but to me, it’s nothing but a cultural expression of that era.

None of the Chinese classics on feng shui ever mentioned using items, figurines or crystals. If they were that effective, why didn’t the Chinese sages write about it? Because surely they would want the world to benefit.

They didn’t write about it because that was not what feng shui was about. Surely the Chinese sages, who painstakingly measured the movement of the stars and planets should be able to identify such a simple and profound cure to feng shui problems.

To me, only pseudo-practitioners and charlatans would be trying to sell you a crystal, a block of wood, or a piece of jade claiming it will bring you good luck and change your life. I don’t care how small or how expensive the item is. The moment someone sells an item be it in a store or online, I will not regard them as real practitioners. They are a disgrace to what the Chinese sages passed down. Are they wiser, more knowledgeable than our Chinese sages? Do they know something that our Chinese sages don’t? I can assure you these people don’t. They don’t even know if the Song or Tang dynasty came first.

I really don’t care how many testimonials of such items are put up, because it’s all just marketing. It’s going to be a bit mean to say this, but those who are willing to immortalize themselves as people who can’t think by appearing on these videos – they all seem a little ‘off’. It’s not just myself who feels this way. Any reasonable person on the streets will feel the same.

I’ve met a lot of successful people in my life and through my practice, and none of them got to where they were believing in items. They believed in themselves, their work ethic and know that they are serving the greater good.

Did I, As A Practitioner, Do Anything Special To My House?

I mentioned during my interview that the current house I stay in found me. I didn’t find the house. I have to thank my agent for bringing me a house that has near-perfect feng shui under all the criteria I’ve listed.

I didn’t do anything special other than to hunt down one with a good layout and facing direction. These days, you have to choose between one of them, but I was fortunate enough to find one where both layout and direction are excellent.

Some of you have asked for my agent’s contact, so here it is:

Feel free to reach out to her if you need any help. Be nice. Because if anyone’s mean to her, you can be sure I won’t want you to be my client.

Also, when I say someone’s good, you can be assured that they are good. On the flip side, if I say someone’s bad, you’d better believe me too.

Am I Taking Advantage Of Others With The Good Karma=Good House Argument

I know this thought crosses people’s minds. A few special snowflakes think I say all these things so that people will engage me for house-hunting which is a lot more expensive. It’s fine, I’m not offended and I personally don’t care.

But I’ll take this opportunity to make a few things clear for shallow-thinkers who don’t exercise their brains much:

  • If money was really my aim, I would not even offer house-hunting at all. I will charge for each house individually. House-hunting gives me the least returns for my time and effort. I don’t actually have to care if you get a bad house, but I do.
  • If money was my aim, I would be selling items and I dare say I will be the best at it because my forte is BaZi, and I can manipulate you into thinking the item works by selling or asking you to place it at the right time.
  • It’s really easier for me to just visit a house, say “Oh yay it’s good!” or “Oh no it’s bad” and just close the case. The client should have read my blog so he or she should know I can’t do much about it.

There are other practitioners who offer house-hunting services. By all means, if another practitioner’s price is better and you trust them, go ahead and engage them. My fees for feng shui are determined not just by the scarcity of my time and my experience, but also by what’s happening with my other services. BaZi consultations take up the majority of my time, and if I have to forgo a few feng shui audits to do more BaZi readings, I definitely will because I’ll always fall back on my staple.

I hope everyone understands that I have to take care of myself and manage my time well so that I can do a proper job. It is never about trying to squeeze more from the client and I know a few clients reading this will know I told them to not hunt for a house now, or not do six BaZi charts at one go and just start with two first.

If there are any doubts about my character, then simply don’t engage me. I answer to Heavens – no one else. You don’t even come to this website. You’re taking up my server bandwidth.

Have Faith That Good Feng Shui Will Come To You, But Get Your Priorities Right

Apart from the fact that modern-day apartments have seriously flawed feng shui, I really do hope everyone, especially my readers who believe in what I do, ends up in a place with great feng shui. I hope this happens without the need to engage me even.

You’ll always hear me harping about how you need to work on yourself in other to get the right job and right partner. The same can be said for houses.

I am still unravelling the mysteries of what our ancestors passed down to us. The article on the feng shui flaws of modern apartments in Singapore was an epiphany I got over the course of my career as a practitioner after analyzing countless BaZi charts, meeting the chart holders in person and assessing their houses. Perhaps the country is really going towards a more challenging direction.

Get your priorities right. Get your health and finances sorted, get your relationship and marriage sorted – the right house will come. If not, you’ll likely just end up with an uninspiring house which ends up a burden because of the ridiculous amount you have to pay for it. It goes back to what the Chinese scholars say about placing emphasis on character cultivation I suppose. Because if you don’t, let’s try to imagine what might happen:

  • You are not going to be able to afford a good feng shui house.
  • Leave it because of a failed marriage. I’ve seen this happen before.
  • Have a real estate agent favour another more likeable client.
  • Turned away by a practitioner who can actually help you.

A lot of people fail to see the intricacies behind the cause-and-effect chain. They feel that some things don’t matter and it’s natural that they can get away with it. Sure, you can get away with it, but who you are as a person will ultimately spill over to other areas of your life. I’ve never seen a bad spouse with a good career; I’ve never seen an unhealthy person succeed in their career; I’ve never seen sloth with a good marriage. Everything is interconnected.

Lastly, and I repeat, I have never seen someone with a bad BaZi chart end up with a good house. I think I’ve said enough about what a bad BaZi chart means, so I won’t repeat it here.

At the end of the day, it is your life. I don’t let others determine what I should or should not believe in, and neither should you. Don’t even let me decide what’s right and what’s wrong for you. But the least anyone should do is to find out more and question more, especially in an esoteric field like Chinese metaphysics. You’ll never know what’s right or wrong until you do so. The best way is to go explore it for yourself – that’s what I did. But give Chinese history and culture its due respect and go straight to the source material. They are all there for the taking.

Whatever it is that you believe in, I sincerely hope it brings you to a better place. If it doesn’t, then don’t be afraid of revisiting your beliefs and assumptions. If it makes you feel better, I once believed in feng shui items too when I was younger.

If anyone thinks I’m the only one who screens and filters my clients, then may I suggest you read up on Yang Yun Song (杨筠松) and how he filtered his clients. He was a legendary figure for feng shui in case anyone’s wondering. Not saying I’m anything like him, of course.

Picking clients was hip ever since the Tang Dynasty.

– Sean

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Written by Sean Chan

Sean Chan is Asia's leading Chinese metaphysics consultant specializing in BaZi, Zi Wei Dou Shu, Qi Men Dun Jia, and Feng Shui. A thought-leader in the field, Sean's been featured on Channel NewsAsia, The New York Times Style Magazine and other local media. He blogs regularly about various topics surrounding Chinese metaphysics and aims to educate the public about the field.

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2 Comments

  1. Ivy Ng

    Hi Sean, in the case of the guy who passed on, he probably would not be able to escape this fate even if he did not stay in that house (eg chose to rent a house to stay in instead) since it was already written in his Bazi? Thanks.

    • Sean Chan

      This is not something I can answer. It’s entertaining a “what if” scenario that we’ll never find out. The point I’m trying to make it our houses will paint the same story as our BaZi charts, just that the charts are able to go into a lot more detail and it’s easier to identify. Maybe staying in a better house could have changed things – but we really won’t know. You can’t do an A/B test for such things. You can only try to observe what the signs and laws are trying to point out.

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