Archive for July, 2007

Playing hide and seek

As a Feng Shui consultant, most of the time I see clients and visit properties in a full ‘consultant regalia’ – long sleeve shirt, tie, leather shoes and sometimes a business jacket. Even when I’m visiting a construction site or a memorial park, I feel more comfortable in my normal consultants’ attire. But there comes a time (or a few times) in every Feng Shui consultant’s life, when roughing it out is required. And this was the case last week, when I was in India to follow up on a consultation engagement in a rural part of India.

The location of the consultation was the outskirts of Ranchi, which is about 4 hours by train from Calcutta. The actual site is a further 3 hours from Ranchi itself. Now, I am used to rural areas because I frequently have to visit such areas in China to do research for my China Excursions with my students. But these rural areas in India are a lot more rural than rural China. We are talking about trekking country – we are talking about places where the roads are mud passages – we are talking about places where there isn’t a village in sight for miles!

A Land Rover was provided for us to traverse the audit site, which covers 12,000 acres of virgin land. We were supplied a map but as we soon discovered, the map was seriously outdated. Many of the cartographic markings were off, such as the location of the river. So, I was going to have to do this consultation, much like the traditional Feng Shui masters of the ancient times. Except thankfully, I wouldn’t have to do it on horseback or on foot. A Rover and our driver, together with our client’s representatives, would transport me and my assistants around.

Normally for such a large site, I request for expediency and speed, that the client arranges a helicopter sweep of the area as was the case during my last visit to a similar area on another consultation about 1 year ago. An aerial perspective usually makes things faster although the approach to sighting the Landforms (Luan Tou) is different and requires you to picture the Forms differently because you’re viewing them from an above perspective. However, as it is the height of monsoon season now in India, a helicopter ride is not feasible (although for the 2 days I was surveying the site, it didn’t rain a drop! I was thankful I selected a good date for this expedition).

Start at X

With 12,000 acres of land, we were to select a suitable location in which to build a power plant. To get an idea of how big this site is, the average American football NFL field is 1.322 acres. The site is big enough to house 9077 American football fields! It took us the better part of 4 days to survey the entire area. And then there is the question of how one actually begins to audit such a large plot of land. There is no “X marks the spot” on the map we were given.

The Snow Heart Classics (Xue Xin Fu) has a saying “Look for the Water Mouth When Entering the Mountains, Seek the Bright Hall when you have reached the Meridian Spot” (Ru Shan Xun Shui Kou, Deng Xue Kan Ming Tang).. So first, I would have to find the Water Mouth.

After hours of driving around, I noticed two distinct mountains that caught my attention. They looked like two lions, looking at something in the distance. In the Classics, there is a line about a land formation called ‘Great Beasts Facing the Meridian Spot’(Shou Dun Xiang Xue). Aha – we were finally onto something.

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So off we went to look for what the mountain lions were looking at, which were two hills in the distance. I was sure we would find the Water Mouth there; even though there was nothing marked on the map to indicate the presence of water. Sure enough, as we reached the hills (after ploughing through some serious secondary jungle and very rough terrain), we found a stream. It was unmarked on the map as it was not a major river. The two Beasts were in fact the “Guardians of the Water Mouth” (Shui Kou Sha), when viewed from the location of the stream.

Now, once we have found water, we have found the Qi mouth. The Meridian Spot or Long Xue had to be not too far away. Immediately I looked around, again using the line of sight of the Water Mouth Guardians, and there it was, the Dragon Vein coming from a Rewards Star (Lu Chun) mountain that could only be perceived from the Water Mouth location. So off we went to the Vein to check out the quality of the vein and see if it was suitable for the client’s needs. This required actual trekking through muddy ground.

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At the vein, it was a sight to behold indeed. It is hard to imagine that deep in the rural heartland of India, one can see such incredible Feng Shui. The incoming Dragon Vein was at Geng Direction, with good penetration(Chuan Shan Long) into the land. It was supported by two Mountains – an Earth Door (Di Sha) and Heavenly Bright (Tian Guang) Mountains as the greater embrace.

The land itself is a Bowl Formation, which is a gently dipping area, perfect for gathering Qi. There was a Huge Door Mountain (Ju Men Xing) indicating good wealth prospects and excellent expansion and growth opportunities. Opposite, there was a beautiful Ru Yi Table Mountain (Ru Yi An Shan), which is also called the “Lying Down Wood Table Mountain.” This serves to lock in the Qi and enable it to be tapped. Coupled with the Guardians in the distance, to lock the Water Mouth, this site was looking really good.

The icing on the cake is that this site didn’t just have good Feng Shui. The purpose of our expedition was to find a site suitable for building a power plant. This is a Fire element site. The Ru Yi is a Wood Element and the supporting rear mountain is an Earth element. Wood grows Fire, Fire produces Earth – this site could not be any more perfect for our client’s needs. The natural formation must support the building and its function. This is the correct Feng Shui setup.

Of course, the project has a long way to go. As the client has control over every aspect of development on this land, including the location of the roads, entry points and building location, he will be able to plan the development to optimize the Feng Shui all the way. There will be date selections to be done for the ground breaking and also, the opening of the plant. It’s a long way to go. But the toughest part, the most fun and challenging part, playing Hide and Seek with the Dragon, has been done.


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Ancient Art In Modern Times

It may seem odd for me to discuss the question of ‘What is Feng Shui’ but I realized that I have been talking about Feng Shui frequently in this column and those who are new to this column may not have read some of my previous thoughts on this subject, judging by the diversity of views that I still receive on what Feng Shui really is. Even more amusing was when someone at a wedding dinner last weekend asked me if I was wearing a Feng Shui watch!

The question ‘What is Feng Shui’ looks on the surface to be a no-brainer question. Surely everyone knows what Feng Shui is? Why is there a need to answer this question?

Honestly, in this day and age, the question ‘What is Feng Shui’ is unlikely to solicit any kind of consistent answer. Everyone has their own interpretation or answer to the question ‘What is Feng Shui’. That is not to say that all those answers are necessarily correct. But at the same time, a definitive answer is not easy in this day and age. Why? Because Feng Shui is no longer the same art it was 2000 years ago, when it was known as Kan Yu and was mostly utilized by the Imperial family to select burial grounds and locate capital cities.

Feng Shui has evolved. Today, if you visit the Feng Shui section of a bookstore (sometimes labeled as ‘alternative’ or ‘Far East Philosophy’), you’ll find books on everything from crystal therapy to interior design to space clearing. So you see, the question ‘What is Feng Shui’ is in fact quite hard to answer.

I prefer to phrase the question in this manner: what is Classical Feng Shui? Classical Feng Shui first and foremost is my term for Feng Shui that is based on and utilises techniques and methods from classical texts on Feng Shui, such as The Green Satchel, Earth Discern Study Truth, Purple White Scripts, Earth Entering Eye, Snow Heart Classics to name a few. Classical Feng Shui is the term I use to encompass both San He and San Yuan Feng Shui, the two original schools of Feng Shui.

Classical Feng Shui is about tapping into the natural energies of the environment or Qi in order to improve your life and achieve your goals. This is achieved through the correct placement of doors and the appropriate location of important areas of your home like the kitchen, bedroom and study, within your house based on the natural external environmental features. Natural environmental features here refer to mountain ranges (long), landform embraces (sha), water formations (shui), meridian spots (xue) and tapping into the correct facing directions (xiang).

Classical Feng Shui is not about objects or decorative items such as lead crystals, resin dragons or toads. It is not about bagua mirrors above your main door, Mandarin Ducks on your desk and Fu Dogs at your main gate. Classical Feng Shui is not about space clearing or aroma therapy or wearing certain colours to ‘enhance your luck’. Classical Feng Shui is not concerned about landscaping your house with certain type of plants, the interior decor of your kitchen, what you put in your handbag or what number your car plate or house number is. And there’s no need to steal soil from your rich neighbour’s garden to make a ‘wealth vase’. Classical Feng Shui makes absolutely no mention of any of these practices.

These practices are more in line with what I call Pop Feng Shui or New-Age Feng Shui. Pop or New-Age Feng Shui is more about the psychological effect of objects than anything else. It has no consistent principles and its practice is not rooted in any classical theories or ancient texts. Most of the time, Pop Feng Shui or New-Age Feng Shui is a commercialised derivative or watered down version of certain aspects of Feng Shui sub-systems or misunderstood sound bites of aspects of the Yi Jing or traditional Chinese culture. The Eight Life Aspiration system is a good example of Pop or New-Age Feng Shui. This ‘system’ designates each corner of the house to an aspiration of life. For example – the North is the Career corner, the Southwest is the Love corner, South the Fame corner and so fourth. This ‘system’ involves the use of oriental-styled products and Chinese folklore objects to ‘enhance’ each aspiration in a house.

The ‘Eight Life Aspirations’ is not a proper Classical Feng Shui system documented in any of the classical texts. It is, like much of Pop or New-Age Feng Shui, a modern and purely commercial invention.

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Making an Identification

If you are uncertain as to whether or not something is Classical Feng Shui or some form, version, itineration or off-shoot of pop Feng Shui, there is an easy way to separate them.

Typically, all forms of Classical Feng Shui will have the following characteristics:

a) utilize a Luo Pan for the purposes of acquiring directions
b) involves the analysis of location and direction (North, South, East, West, Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast)
c) requires the observation of Luan Tou or environmental forms, which include but are not limited to natural mountain shapes, embrace of land by mountains, flow of water and direction of water
d) takes into account time aspects
e) considers the residents of the property
f) Does NOT require the placement of symbolic items or good luck objects.
g) Does NOT involve any spiritual practice or spirituality or any religious or spiritual activities such as chanting, placement of joss sticks or prayers to deities or figurines

If none of these characteristics or features form a part of the technique, method or approach, then it is unlikely to be part of Classical Feng Shui.

Now, it’s tricky these days sometimes to separate the ‘pop’ from the ‘classical’ because some Classical Feng Shui practitioners have resorted to adding ‘New Age’ components to their practice, in order to pad their bottom line a little. So they practice Classical Feng Shui, but are not beyond trying to flog you some trinkets or cures.

If you like the psychological aspects of Pop or New Age Feng Shui, or if you find it uplifting or motivational, that is fine.

Today’s article began with a question: What is Feng Shui. So I would like to end with a question: What is the kind of Feng Shui you would like to utilise? By knowing the answer to this question, you will better be able to seek out the right kind of Feng Shui for you, and your home. There’s a place in this world for all kinds of people, and so by necessity, all kinds of Feng Shui. As long as you know the difference, and you know what you want and what you are getting – that’s what matters.


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The Year of Paris and iPhone?

I’m in Australia right now, for a series of events and courses and I can’t help but notice how much media attention is being given to a) the Apple iPhone and b) Paris Hilton coming out from jail! The coincidences of course have not escaped me – Paris Hilton and Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) are both Bing Fire Day Masters. I was prompted to write this article because one of my students asked me during a class this week: can the BaZi tell us if Paris is really just a ‘dumb blonde’? After all, few people would risk jail and drive their car knowing their license is suspended, especially if that someone is an heiress to a multi-million dollar hotel business. So, let’s take a look into the BaZi of Paris Hilton and see what it tells us.

The Sun shines in Paris

Paris Hilton’s BaZi tells us that she is a Bing Fire Day Master. Bing Fire is the fire of the sun and so it is not surprising that she is such a prominent socialite and celebrity. The sunlight after all, gives off brilliance, warm and makes us feel happy and optimistic. This particular Bing Fire is born in the Growth Star (Chang Sheng) month and also sits on a Growth star (Chang Sheng) – do you see the double Tigers in the chart?

In the study of the 12 Growths, the Growth Star represents a child at the moment of birth. It is cute, adorable and innocent – the center of attention and the one everyone coos at and who everyone wants to carry and cuddle with. And when was the last time you saw someone lose their cool or temper with a baby? Babies can do no wrong. And so Paris, can do no wrong.

Despite her well-publicised sex tape scandal, and her apparent rift with her co-star of the Simple Life, Nicole Ritchie, and despite the fact that she broke the law, hordes of adoring fans continue to love her! A fan even wrote on her Facebook website that she was an inspiration to many people and so should not be sent to jail. Newspapers reported that when Paris was told she had to spend 23 days in jail after being released to serve her sentence at home, the press reported she ‘burst into tears’ and wailed like a baby. She certainly wasn’t putting on a diva act there – she was just being, herself!

Now, we can see from her chart that she comes from a wealthy family and she’s spending family money. Notice how the Wealth Star (Xin Metal) is rooted in the Year Pillar of the BaZi? This means it is family money. Now, this is a Xin Metal Wealth Star, so that tells us that the wealth is not just obvious, it’s on display for everyone to see. And she’s not shy about displaying her family wealth either – this Xin Metal appears in the Heavenly Stems, indicating it is exposed. Literally, her wealth is on display for all to see.

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An Independent Woman?

Now, the million-dollar question whenever anyone thinks about Paris Hilton is the ‘dumb blonde thing’. What does the chart say? The chart does not show water except in the Hour in the form of Gui Water and it is a negative star. The Tiger in her chart repels the Monkey (Monkey and Tiger is one of the Six Clashes in the study of BaZi), which is her Intelligence Star. Now this does not mean she’s not a Mensa club member, but rather it means she gives the impression of not having too many brain cells.

There is some speculation Paris Hilton is in fact, a well-oiled business operation, a brilliantly conceived brand that has been marketed very well by Paris herself. This chart indicates that Paris certainly knows how to make money and she is financially shrewd as Bing Fire combines with Xin Metal. And with regards to how she makes money, she has no qualms about appealing to the lowest common denominator – launching a record, perfume, licensing clubs, and even going into the clothing business in quick succession.

How do we derive this? At the higher level of BaZi, we look at each Pillar in totality. Paris’s Wealth Pillar is a pure pillar of wealth – Metal Rooster (Xin You). In advanced BaZi imagery, this is akin to the image of a box of rings. Many common objects put together that don’t really stand out. Hence, commercial ventures like clubs, perfume and a CD, items that appeal to the masses.

But I am of the view that her behaviour has less to do with ignorance or lack of intelligence and more to do with the independent nature of Bing Fire Day Masters. Bing Fire Day Masters are typically highly independent types that do not like to be told what to do. They will often follow their own path, despite the advice of those around them who may know better or who are trying to protect them from themselves. And because this chart has always been and will always be indulged thanks to the double Tigers in her chart, she is used to doing what she likes. Often Bing Fire Day Masters do not consider the consequences of what they are doing – they just do it because that’s their independent nature.

Jailhouse rocks with Paris

In 2007, the Pig combines with the two Tigers in her chart, and also produces a Destruction. The Tiger is a very important star in this chart, as it is what gives Paris her ‘can do no wrong’ card. If we analyse this using the 10 Gods method, the Tiger is the Direct Resource star and relates to a person’s good name and their sense of comfort.

So what was the source of her problems? The Pig is the 7 Killings star for Bing Fire Day Masters. 7 Killings, amongst other things, is a devil-may-care star and the star of legal problems and legal wranglings. Paris drove her car despite knowing that her license had been suspended and it could be argued that this was a devil-may-care attitude on her part since given her celebrity position and wealth, she could easily have afforded a driver! Her 23 days of jail were essentially of her own doing – a form of destructive behaviour.

The Direct Resource star typically also makes people complacent and often dependant on the goodwill of the people around them to get things done. If a person has a Direct Resource structure like Paris Hilton’s chart, these are people who often get away with getting people to do what they want by simply asking nicely or in Paris’s case, probably batting an eyelid or two. As this Direct Resource star in the Tiger is affected this year by the Pig, Paris is not able to talk her way out of the problem or charm her way out of the situation. Her ‘Get out of Jail card’ has been taken away from her.

Will Paris rise again?

The sun, no matter how gloomy the day was, always rises all over again to shine and brighten the day. And we look to the sun, to signal the end of a dark period or gloomy morning, and to shine and bring brightness and brilliance to our world. So, people will still look to Paris for inspiration, for happiness and will continue to adore her. This will not be the end of Paris, and certainly will not be the last we will hear of her. She’ll no doubt be back.

But, her current luck pillar, which is that of the Water Snake (Gui Si) indicates possible future problems with the law if she is not careful. This is because Bing Fire dislikes Gui Water as Gui Water, being the rain clouds and the mist, covers the brightness of the sun. Gui Water, is the Direct Officer star of Bing Fire and so indicates more problems caused by going against authority.

Certainly, she will not be able to eclipse her popularity in the previous luck pillar of Water Dragon (Ren Chen). The visual image of Ren Chen is that of a beautiful river. Bing Fire shining down on Ren Chen is like the sun shining over the beautiful gently flowing river. At the highest level of BaZi, appreciation of a BaZi comes from seeing the BaZi in pictoral form, like one appreciates a beautiful painting. When the scenery or picture painted by the BaZi is a beautiful one, then we can see that the person’s life at that point, is smooth and fortuitous.

Of course, as I write this, the iPhone would have been released in the US and we will be seeing the media onslaught from Paris’s appearance on the Larry King show, talking about her jail experience. It will be interesting to see which of these two Bing Fire Day Masters, will prevail at the end of this year!


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