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Classical or New Age

Sunday, August 14, 2005
By: Joey Yap

The main goal of this weekly column on classical feng shui is simply to educated and inform.

The main purpose is to help you understand the difference between New Age and Classical feng shui.

Many people weren't aware of the difference between these two methods of feng shui that are advocated today until they started reading this column.

Many times when the word "feng shui" is mentioned, the people will quickly assume it's about fixing problems in a house by placing an object or item in a specific corner.

Well, if this is your impression of feng shui, then chances are you are practicing "New Age" feng shui.

Classical feng shui does not advocate the use of symbols or objects.

This type of feng shui taps into the environmental energy (qi) by using mainly four important factors - environmental features, building (direction and location), residents (birth data) and time.

All that is needed for a good feng shui is for the residents to tap the qi. No need to enhance or remedy anything.

Classical feng shui methods include San Yuan, Xuan Kong Da Gua, Ba Zhai and San He which are all traceable to ancient classical literature.

These works are available from libraries and Chinese bookstores and they document the actual form of feng shui as practices since the Tang Dynasty until the present day.

These works are available from libraries and Chinese bookstores and they document the actual form of feng shui as practiced since Tang Dynasty until the present day.

And, believe it or not, none of these words make any references to the use of symbols of objects in the house.

Hence, the term for feng shui that involves placement of objects and symbols is "New Age" feng shui simply because it's really something very new.

After the introduction of this column, a number of readers have asked me how we can harness Qi and, more importantly, how they can apply it correctly in their own homes and offices.

And of course, as usual, they wanted something very easy to learn and be used immediately.

How many people would like a simple solution that will bring about an immense change in the feng shui of their property?


Me too. Honestly. I would really love it if feng shui were a weekend do-it-yourself project that required nothing more that a couple of screws, a hammer and an electric drill.

And possibly a simple diagram of what goes where.

However, the truth of the matter is that feng shui, like any science, requires a great deal of study and is not a weekend subject.

The various systems of classical feng shui - San Yuan, San He, Xuan Kong, Ba Zhai, etc are already an indication of how vast and rich the knowledge contained in feng shui is.

But readers are always interested in something they can implement "right now" and get quick answers and quick fixes to problems that they are facing.

It's sad that people are willing to trade quality for a quick fix that may not even work effectively.

Although there is no such things as a quick fix, the easiest method I can prescribe for you would be the simple Ba Zhai (eight mansions) feng shui technique.

There are many parts to this system - House Gua, Life Gua,m Na Jia and Eight Mansions Water Method - to name a few.

Several distinct ancient classics relate to this particular system of feng shi and most of them are pretty sophisticated.

The simplest method available to us is the Life Gua method.

Your initial starting point for this methodology will be your date of birth.

Based on this, we will then ascertain your Life Gua or your Ming Gua.

Each Gua is unique and will indicate your favourable and unfavourable compass directions and locations.

A common mistake among beginners who attempt this method is using the Chinese lunar calendar rather than using the Chinese solar calendar, which is used for feng shui calculations.

The solar calendar is based on the 24 qi seasons and each year starts on the Western calendar's Feb 4 (with a variance of one day on either side).

Feb 4 of the Western Gregorian calendar synchronizes with the first day of the Chinese solar calendar.

A primary difference between the Chinese solar and lunar calendars is that the former is based on the position of the Sun while the latter is based on the moon and as such contains an additional month every few years.

If you were born before Feb 4 of any year, use the previous year as your point of reference when calculating your Life Gua.

Once you have established your year of birth, refer to the following table for a step-by-step guide to calculating your Life Gua.

Notice that the males and females have different methods to calculate their Life Gua.

Calculate your Ming Gua using the directions shown in the graphic.

These numbers are categorized into two groups. The East and the West Group.

Some clients have asked me why are there no North and South groups. Well, these are just names to demarcate and Greater and Lesser Yin transformation of the Tai Ji.

They do not literally represent directions. East Group is the Yang group while the West Group is the Yin.

East Group Gua include 1, 3, 4 and 9. Those who are Gua 2, 6, 7, and 8 are West Group Gua.

The graphics (on "Compass Directions") following table will give you a quick reference of the Auspicious and Inauspicious compass directions of the East and West Group.

Each direction is governed by a star. In the Chinese texts, these are called the "Wandering Stars".

Sheng Qi (life generating), Tian Yi (heavenly doctor), Yan Nian (longevity) and Fu Wei (Stability) are suspicious stars.

(An interesting point to note here is that in some references, Yan Nian, meaning verbatim "Prolonging Years". If you are serious about feng shui, the terminology is very important and you need to ensure that you are correct.)

The Inauspicious Stars are Ho Hai (mishaps), Wu Gui (Five Ghosts), Liu Sha (six killings) and Jue Ming (life diminishing).

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