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 ‚Äėprosperity‚Äô bandwagon that understandably, everyone wants to hop on to this time of the year.
So what relevant ‚ÄėChinese New Year‚Äô 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 ‚ÄėGod of Wealth direction‚Äô 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, ‚Äėdeveloped‚Äô 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‚Äôt 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.
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 ‚ÄúTai Sui‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äėauspicious‚Äô for starting work after Chinese New Year. In fact, going by proper date selection technique, days are never described as just ‚Äėauspicious‚Äô and ‚Äėinauspicious‚Äô. 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äď 1pm (Except for those born in the Dragon Year)
Sixth day of CNY: 7am ‚Äď 9am (Except for those born in the Horse Year)
1st of March: 7am ‚Äď 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 ‚ÄúSky Happiness‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs BaZi is necessary.
Incidentally, there is no need to ‚Äėdo‚Äô 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‚Äôt do any of these activities. The most important thing is to get the time right and start work!
There‚Äôs technically no need to ‚Äėstart work‚Äô 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.