Archive for February, 2007

Tips for an auspicious year

Chinese New Year tends to bring out the superstitious in most people. Typically agnostic friends always call me up asking me what is the direction to pray for receiving the God of Wealth or other friends will read their annual horoscope in the newspapers and ask me if this is really the case for them. Often, for the layperson, it is hard to separate what is cultural and religious, from what is Feng Shui. It all seems to be lumped together for them as one big ‘prosperity’ bandwagon that understandably, everyone wants to hop on to this time of the year.

So what relevant ‘Chinese New Year’ advice can you get from a Feng Shui consultant and what can you safely, ignore?

No welcome mat for God of Wealth?

Let me address the God of Wealth direction question first. Classical Feng Shui, as I have often stated, is not religious and spiritual. Accordingly, there is strictly no concept of ‘God of Wealth direction’ in classical Feng Shui per se. However, there is a Wealth Star for the Day and it is often this direction (the location of the Daily Wealth Star) that people attribute as the God of Wealth direction for the year.

The reason people associate the God of Wealth direction with Feng Shui is because there is a direction involved. The religious or spiritual (or cultural) derivative also comes from the fact that some forms of Feng Shui activities, ‘developed’ religious or cultural significance because in the old days, the generally less educated laypeople simply associated such activities with religious or spiritual practice.

So the God of Wealth direction or timing strictly has not much to do with classical Feng Shui itself. In short, whether you pray to it or not, usher or welcome in it or not, has no bearing or significance on your personal Feng Shui or home Feng Shui. It is just a star position for that day. And don’t be scared if you accidentally face the wrong direction or offer your prayers in the wrong direction - there is no calamity or ill-luck brought upon by such a situation. Unless of course, you are psychologically convinced that bad-luck will befall!

Personally, I participate in my family prayers to the God of Wealth but I prefer to see this practice today as simply a tradition that creates a sense of culture and togetherness for the family.

The Grand Duke

Again, this is a term that can generally be said to have entered the public vocabulary. Some people pray to the Tai Sui of the year as well. Now, the Grand Duke or Tai Sui, in Feng Shui terms, is a particular direction that each year, is afflicted by negative energies. The direction shifts every year - incidentally, this year, it is in the Northwest 3 or Boar Sector.

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Prayer to the Grand Duke or Tai Sui is, like the praying to the God of Wealth, a religious or cultural practice somewhat mistakenly assumed to be part of Feng Shui. This practice is given a religious or cultural overtone because the generally less educated classes in the old days simply assumed that Tai Sui was a deity they had to pray to and appease to avoid conflicts in their home. They did not know it was a planetary position in space. The Tai Sui that people pray to and the “Tai Sui” term used in Feng Shui are two different subject matters altogether.

In actual fact, in any year, there are three main afflicted directions that can be said to be negative - the Grand Duke, Three Killings and Year Breaker directions. In reality, these directions are ascertained based on the astronomical positions of certain stars and how they affect our planet in a particular year. And because these are planetary positions, there is really no need to appease or pray to these directions to avoid conflicts. Remember, there’s no spiritual practice in Feng Shui.

When it comes to these afflicted directions, really all that needs to be done is to avoid any striking or breaking of the ground in these sectors. Be careful when renovating or agitating the energies in this sector. Where possible, Feng Shui practitioners generally advise against any activities (renovations, hammering, striking the wall or ground) in these sectors but if it is unavoidable, it is important to select a good date before commencing the activities. A good date will ensure the negative energies of the sector are at a minimum and most benign level in that sector.

Best time to start work after CNY?

Most people are aware of the importance of choosing an auspicious date to start work after Chinese New Year. This actually has something to do with Feng Shui, since date selection is an integral aspect of Feng Shui practice. The idea behind Date Selection is to infuse the activity with energies that suit that type of activity based on certain astronomical positions of the stars.

Often in the name of simplicity and keeping things uncomplicated, some Feng Shui practitioners simply label certain dates as ‘auspicious’ for starting work after Chinese New Year. In fact, going by proper date selection technique, days are never described as just ‘auspicious’ and ‘inauspicious’. Depending on which technique is used, it is possible to actually narrow down the energies that are in force on that day, and what kind of activities these are suited to.

There are a whole gamut of date selection activities such a Shen Sha, Xuan Kong Da Gua , Dong Gong, Wu Tu and Qi Men Dun Jia and each are unique and effective in their own right. However, most of the dates available are usually generic good dates - to truly understand the impact of the day, it has to be viewed in the context of the individual person’s BaZi and also the type of energies affecting the day that may be better suited to certain types of businesses.

This year, based on the traditional Dong Gong method, there are three days that are best suited for starting work after the Chinese New Year. They are:

Fourth day of CNY: 11am – 1pm (Except for those born in the Dragon Year)

Sixth day of CNY: 7am – 9am (Except for those born in the Horse Year)

1st of March: 7am – 9am (Except for those born in Ox Year)

Wednesday 21 February is called the “Success Day” in the Daily Stars method supported by the “Monthly Virtue” and “Sky Happiness” Stars. The Monthly Virtue is a yin benevolent star and therefore is especially beneficial for ladies.

Friday 23 February is an “Open Day” and a Superior day according to the Dong Gong system. Many fortunate stars including Sheng Qi (Life Generating) and Si Yang (Yang Benevolent) are present.

Thursday 1 March is a “Stable Day” and Superior Day according to the Dong Gong calculation. There is the “Yearly Wealth” star governing this day. The Dragon Hour (7am-9am) is a called “Nobleman at Heaven’s Gate” Hour (Gui Ren Deng Tian Men) - perfect for business pursuits.

These dates are generic to a certain degree in that they are generally suitable and good dates for starting work. However to determine what is the best date for yourself or your business, personalisation of the date, using the person’s BaZi is necessary.

Incidentally, there is no need to ‘do’ anything special although often, companies like to have a bit of a celebration for the staff - some food, maybe some angpow distribution or even lion dance. But these are not compulsory nor are they detrimental if you don’t do any of these activities. The most important thing is to get the time right and start work!

There’s technically no need to ‘start work’ on an auspicious day if it is too inconvenient but I would say, look at date selection as giving your year that little extra kick start or boost and if you can start on a good day, why not?

I will be taking a brief break from my column to work on some new projects but I will be back after a 2 month break, to continue sharing with you more about Feng Shui and Chinese Metaphysics. I hope that you, my readers, have enjoyed reading these articles as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Until then, I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year.


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Where to find the qi in 2007

Those of you who have been waiting for the second half of my annual forecast on the Feng Shui of 2007, here it is, with apologies for the slight delay. Nonetheless I hope you’ve found the last two articles relating to the Burj Al Arab in Dubai a fun diversion. A Feng Shui holiday if you like.

This week, I’ll be delving into the positive sectors for the year, and how you can, with some simple efforts, tap into the positive energies of the year. I think it’s more important always to be positive minded about Feng Shui than negative minded - in other words, work with the good parts that you can do something about and don’t worry about fixing the bad parts.

Often people under-estimate the importance of prevention and avoidance when it comes to Feng Shui, because they have a ‘cure-it’ mentality. But like all doctors will say, prevention is better than cure. Not curing the negative sectors of your home is not a problem if you can avoid using them. That’s even better than curing the sector.

Now, a little ‘trade secret’ tip. The key to unlocking the Qi in your property is to remember this simple pointer: good sector = use more; bad sector = avoid or use less. Use more means spend time in that sector or room - watch tv, read, sleep or work there. Avoid or use less means if possible, do not sleep or spend long periods of time in that sector or room.

Golden Boar or Fire Boar?

You may have read that this year is a lucky year to have a child because it is a ‘Golden Boar’ year. In fact, this is incorrect. I think it could be a misprint from a Taiwanese publication, citing 2007 as a ‘Golden’ Boar year. Or possibly, Golden may have been erroneously taken to mean ‘Metal’ in this case. The most recent Metal Boar year was 1971, which was the year of Xin Hai. And strictly speaking, in order to actually have a Metal Boar child, the child must be born on the day of the Metal Boar or Xin Hai. 2007 according to the Chinese solar calendar, which is used for all major Feng Shui and BaZi calculations, is the year of Ding Hai or Fire Boar.

The year of the Fire Boar of course, is already upon us as the changeover to the year of the Boar, from the year of the Dog, was on 4th February 2007. So those of you who recently had a baby, if your child was born after 4th February 2007, under the solar calendar and for BaZi calculation purposes, you are in fact the proud parents of a bouncing little Boar baby!

Despite the fact that the changeover has taken place, it is not too late to make some adjustments. Qi is not, as I frequently tell my clients and students, to be treated like the office employee. Qi does not ‘clock in’ and ‘clock out’ exactly on the transition dates. So even though we are already in the year of the Boar, the energies or Qi of the year will take time to build to their optimum. Similarly, in the tail end of the Dog year, the energies of the Boar year will already begin to subtly make themselves felt. If you know some BaZi and have analysed your own chart, you may already start to notice the impact of the Hai (Boar) in the year, creeping in as early as the Ox month, which was January 2007.

So, let’s find out what are the positive sectors for the year 2007 and how you can make use of them best in the year of the Fire Boar.

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Aim for the #1, #8 and #9 Stars

The auspicious stars for the year 2007 are located in the following sectors: East, Southeast and the Southwest. Depending on what your goals are in 2007, you should look to make the most use of the appropriate energies. The trick in Feng Shui is not to try to enhance everything, or enhance only the money sectors. Sometimes, it’s important to consider the objectives you would like to have in 2007, and then use the appropriate sector. For example, if you have a big business deal pending, but the relationship is wobbly, working in the West, which is where the #4 star is, and which is good for relationships, may be more helpful than just going for the #8 Wealth Star, especially if your deal involves leveraging on a connection.

Here’s a breakdown of the individual sectors:

East Sector - this is a good sector to use if you are looking to start up something new or go in a new direction - it is also the secondary wealth sector for the year. The energies of the East are generally favourable for new ventures and new beginnings. Those with offices in the East should be pro-active in seeking a promotion this year. The energies of the East are also generally good for those looking for romantic relationship luck or those looking to conceive - they should if possible, sleep in an East bedroom to get the best benefits of this energy. For business owners looking to tap into the secondary wealth energies, a Main Door here is a good set-up, or you can place a water feature like a simple aquarium in the East can help stimulate the Qi here. Gua #3 and #4 persons using this sector will benefit the most.

Southwest - this is the primary Wealth location for the year and so those with a Main Door in this sector will generally have good outcomes with their financial endeavours. Don’t have a Main Door here? No big deal. Remember the tip? Use it! Use it! Use it! Put your TV here. Business owners - have meetings in the South West sector of your office if you can. Otherwise, a water feature here can also help a little (not of course as good as natural water, but one has to make do).

Southeast - this sector is favourable for those in artistic and literary fields but is also generally favourable for career development and modest wealth pursuits. This is a good sector to use in the office, especially if you are an employee, as your efforts and hard work will be recognised by superiors and you will find you are well-supported in your endeavours by those above and below you.

In addition to these three sectors, there are also two other sectors that are usable in the year - the West sector is generally best for children facing exams and can be used as a study. Thinking about writing a novel? Look for inspiration in the West. This is also a good sector for couples to use, and is also generally favourable for singles looking for romantic prospects.

Annual energies or long-term energies?

Annual forecasts are part and parcel of the Feng Shui practice but it is important to understand that annual forecasts represents a very short-term outlook - using the annual energies should be to provide just a little perk-up or boost. It is always ultimately better to go with a long-term outlook, which is the approach that most clients will get in a Feng Shui consultation. The reason for this is simple: you don’t want to keep playing musical bedrooms and hopping from cubicle to cubicle just to tap the annual energies.

Admittedly, I have some students who do this - tap the annual stars and even the monthly stars. We call this ‘star chasing’. But really it is not practical for most people and ultimately, a long-term setup is not just more practical, but yields better results ultimately.

Next week, in tandem with the lunar Chinese New Year celebrations, I will share with you some good dates for starting work post-CNY and some insights into the science of date selection.


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A room with a Burj eye view

How does the internal layout of the Burj Al Arab measure up on the feng shui scale?

Last week, I talked about the external feng shui of the Burj Al Arab (incidentally, the Burj Al Arab (incidentally, the Burj is not the tallest building in Dubai, but it is the tallest hotel there). Today, I’m going to take you inside the hotel and show you how its internal layout measures on the feng shui scale.

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In feng shui, “inside” refers to the area immediately outside the main Door and inside the Main Door. So, in the context of a hotel, it would be the area where the guests enter the hotel, and the reception area where the guest are greeted and checked in.

It is important to understand that we only look at the inside after we’ve checked the outside. The external macro feng shui situation always ranks ahead of the internal or micro feng shui. You cannot make up for a poor external feng shui set-up, no matter how good and internal feng shui and how much it complies with the principles of feng shui.

Having a great Flying Star combination at the Main Door is nothing to be excited about if the Main Door itself is not receiving beneficial Qi because the area does not generate positive Qi, or Qi is obstructed from entry by negative forms or if the property is simply in a direction that doesn’t make Qi attraction and collection conducive, such as a Death and Emptiness line.

The face that the hotel has the largest square footage of gold leaf, and items within it made of gold, does not affect the feng shui. It only adds to the opulence.

From last week’s article, it’s clear that the exterior macro feng shui of the Burj is pretty good. We now turn our attention to the Main Door, which is how the Qi enters the building.

The main door: A Qi mouth

Is there anything blocking the Qi from getting to the hotel via the Main Door? Or is there any negative formation affecting the quality of the Qi entering the property? There are no negative forms affecting the Main Door – the road that brings guests to the hotel is a curved bridge, not a straight T-junction or straight road that will bring gushing, aggressive Qi.

There is a small fountain in front of the Main Door that acts as a mini-table mountain. It is shaped like a Huge Door Mountain (ju men). There are actually 81 types if Huge Door Mountain and this one, which resembles a volcano, is known as a Jade Pillow Huge Door Mountain or yu zhen ju men.

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At first sight, it would appear as though the fountain is obstructing the Main Door. However, there is a spacious distance between the Main Door and the fountain (a necessity given that the guests are all being ferried to the hotel in stretch limos or Rolls Royces). And the little round about it creates actually helps Qi to collect and circulate.

The fountain is also an interesting feature because its position, by necessity, means the Qi is forced to enter the building through the Southeast and Southwest sectors, thereby conforming to the Indirect Spirit principle of San Yuan feng shui. This is also mimicked at the macro level, as there is a large intersection in the Southwest direction of the hotel. In feng shui, this is called the internal conforming to the external and is ideally what we would like to see in a large structure.

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Bright halls aplenty

As you enter the hotel, it is clear that its layout conforms to the three internal Bright Halls requirement – according to the feng shui classic Ru Di Yan (Entering Earth Eye Classic), this is a Goldfish Ming Tang Formation or “Goldfish” Bright Hall Formation. This is simply poetic language and is meant to allude to the Qi flow being like the shape of a goldfish and to indicate it slows in a meandering and sentimental way. It has nothing to do with the real fish itself.

The immediate reception area is Bright Hall number one. There are two large aquariums located at the Southeast and Southwest sections. Again, the Indirect Spirit formula is present, on a micro scale.

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Generally, a feng shui practitioner will not use Flying Stars feng shui for such a large structure. Flying Stars is actually inadequate as a system to handle such a large building. But, coincidentally, the positions of the two large aquariums are in the Facing Star #1 and Facing Star #8, so it is not too shabby.

If you saw images of the Burj on TV, you will probably have seen the atrium located above the lobby. This atrium is the tallest hotel atrium lobby in the world and is large enough to accommodate the 38-storey Dubai World Trade Centre building! So that’s a pretty big Bright Hall, which is the second bright hall.

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Style and feng shui subtlety

So where’s the third Bright Hall? It’s on each of the individual floors. Each floor has several suites on it and each of these floors has several suites on it and each of these floors features an individual check-in reception area. This is Bright Hall number three and it serves to collect the Qi on each floor. From the hospitality and feng shui aspects, this is a great set-up as it ensures that the guests feel relaxed.

What about the rooms? Aside from the fact that they all boast of a fabulous view of Dubai, each spacious duplex-style suite opens to a small foyer (mini Bright Hall) and then to a very large, high ceilinged living room. So the Qi flow from the check-in reception on each floor flows to the rooms unobstructed and then into the individual room’s living room. Guests feel comfortable because the Qi is flowing freely from the entrance all the way into the rooms.

Of course, for a hotel the rooms are important but the administrative offices are the key to its ability to have and retain good and regular business. As a guest, that was not part of the hotel that I was shown, so I cannot speak for its business feng shui. I would say that a minus point that is evident is the main entrance of the hotel’s spa on the 18th floor, which has less than ideal forms and is also located on a floor that doesn’t quite correspond with Xuan Kong He Tu calculations.

I hope my two articles on the Burj Al Arab have in some ways helped to improve your understanding of Classical feng shui. So, if by any chance you are going to visit Dubai, keep a lookout for the subtle feng shui features that I’ve mentioned.


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Copyright © 2008 by Joey Yap. All rights reserved worldwide.