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Braving the new world

Sunday, January 27, 2008
By: Joey Yap

Unlike the old days, today's Feng Shui practitioners have to be more multi-faceted in their skills.

One of the challenges that those of us in the Feng Shui and BaZi profession face is the constantly evolving world we live in.

Contrary to popular misconception, just because Feng Shui and BaZi derive a great deal of their application from classical texts does mean that these fields are out of date or somehow old-fashioned and not applicable to modern situations.

After all, you don't see engineers saying that the theory of relativity is irrelevant in the modern world - if anything, science is a forward and progressive field and researchers are constantly building on the foundations of classical ideas. It is such with Feng Shui and BaZi as well.

Unlike the old days, today's Feng Shui practitioners have to be more multi-faceted in our skills.

Take the construction of a building. This is usually the flagship building of a company and if it is a multi-national organization, it will usually be a landmark structure of some sort. We Feng Shui consultants have of advantages of the environment where the structure is located, AND we have to manage the relationship between the architects and the clients.

You have to watch the bottom line and yet you cannot disregard aesthetic or practical concerns for the sake of Feng Shui. It's got to be good Feng Shui and look pretty! And somewhere in between all that, we have to be able to read architectural plans.

Improving the Feng Shui of a business organization also comes with an interesting challenge. As the Feng Shui consultant, I cannot just waltz into the client's office, enhance the Wealth star, hang up a wind chime, shuffle the offices around and collect payment. I'm being hired to fix their business problems.

Thus, even though I'm the Feng Shui consultant, I first have to understand their industry, their business model and the way they do business so that I can help to improve it. Then I also have to define and frame the challenges and problems being faced (i.e. Is it a reputation problem? Or is it a sales problem?) in a Feng Shui context.

With BaZi, the challenges are similar with this constantly evolving world of business and professions that we live in.

Gone are the days when everyone can be lumped into one of a handful job category. It's not like the "good old days" when everyone was probably a farmer, a soldier, merchant, scholar, mercenary or in the employ of the emperor. These days, we have all kinds of new jobs cropping up every day and all kinds of new businesses being developed.

For the BaZi consultants and to some degree the Feng Shui consultant, there is a need to be able to categorize the client's business or job elementally at the basic level and then at the higher level, and work out which of he 60 Jia Zi or Pillars defines the job or industry.

In this respect, Feng Shui and BaZi consultants need to not only stay on their toes and keep abreast of matters developing in the business and corporate worlds. Amazon or eBay or iTunes will perform in a given year, first I have to define these businesses within the context of BaZi (a Stem, Branch or Jia Zi Pillar), in Astrological stars if I were to be using the Heavenly Stars method or use a Yi Jing Hexagram.

Strictly speaking, these businesses or ideas didn't exist in the old days. But that does not mean that new development like the Internet or mobile phone cannot be extrapolated into the universe of BaZi, Feng Shui or Yi Jing. It is just a matter of doing the brainwork. At the same time, it is not a simplistic matter of lumping something into one of the five elements either. Amazon, eBay or iTunes can also all be lumped under the category of internet businesses; therefore they are the Fire Element.

But remember - one sells books (and it would seem a lot of other items these days), the other is an auction site, and another sells music which are elementally NOT all the same. A good consultant cannot provide their clients with useful solutions and insightful advice if we can't adequately and precisely define their business, profession or occupation.

What is blog in BaZi-speak?

A particularly interesting conundrum that was posted to me recently was the subjects of blogs. Blogs, as most of you know, started as some sort of online diaries, and then somehow became a sort of in-between diary, journal and op-ed column. Some people actually make money from their blogs and there are companies out there that specialize in blogging software or provide blogging infrastructure services. But how do we define a blog in Metaphysical terms?

This is where the destruction fun starts. Each consultant has his or her own way of figuring out this sort of metaphysical puzzle.

For me, I usually start by looking at the business angle and also the do some free association. Blogs present a unique site - make money from advertising.

And there are some business uses for blogs - most Fortune 500 companies have some sort of blog and Google actively encourages employees to blog. Now, it is similar to a website, but it is more like a diary. Web and Internet-related industries or jobs usually are Fire element, as they are electronic in nature. Now, since the Internet is highly visible, and most of the information is free, we can say it has Bing Fire-like qualities.

Websites on the other hand, are about the dissemination of information, so they are more like Ding Fire. Thus, blogs would be Ding Fire. As blogs are thoughts ramblings, musings or platforms to put forth opinions, the blogger is Gui Water as Gui controls Ding. The random nature of blogs is very close to the concept of Gui Water controlling Ding Fire.

Now, there are six types of Gui Water. So the next step, after deriving the elements involved in blogs and blogging, would be to pin down the Jia Zi or Day Pillar which represents blogs and blogging. This is where the BaZi consultants' skill in the pictorial application of BaZi comes into play.

In Advanced BaZi, each of the 60 Jia Zi or Day Pillars can be perceived in pictorial form. This method is essential in enabling the consultant to link objects, places, people, character, businesses and jobs to the 60 Jia Zi and, thereby, link a person's affinity to that particular business or industry.

The classics of course provide us with some descriptions, but these are limited because, well, the world wasn't as big then as it is now! But the pillars themselves, indeed. Metaphysics, is not an inherently self-limiting, so it is just a question of consultants learning to apply the principles to new situations.

Now, the pillar Gui Wei comes closest to the concept of a blog. In Gui Wei, the Ding Fire is hidden - it represents something that is unseen. The Internet technically does not exist in tangible form. Gui Water is on top, indicating ideas and thoughts are exposed as in a blog. Yet, this Gui Water is not rooted, indicating the ideas and thoughts are transient in nature. Gui is also erratic, unpredictable and emotional, similar in tone to many blogs. Classically, Gui Wei is seen as an emotional pillar, representing thoughts, wisdoms and ideas on top, with Fire and Wood at the bottom representing passion spreading ideas.

Yi Wood is regarded in classical BaZi thought as elementally representative of writing, scholarly and academic endeavors and being twines or roots beneath the ground, spreading and pervasive. Ji Earth represents 10 thousand things from the mundane to the deeply provocative. Again, all this in my view captures the essence of blogging and blogs.

In the process, I also considered alternatives like Gui Chou and Ding Wei. Gui Chou however, was eliminated because it does not contain the element of Fire. Fire is required because Fire represents passion, and in order to be willing to share your thoughts publicly, or at least, write about what you feel, you have to be passionate about it. Also, musings, ramblings, and in Ding Fire quality.

For this reason, I also considered Ding Wei as a possible pillar that could describe blogs. Ding Wei has the Ding Fire rooted in the Branch, and it also has the Na Yin of Water. However, as there is no actual Water in the pillar and only in the Na Yin, this means, the thoughts are only felt, but not exposed. This is contrary to the situation in a blog, where one's thoughts, no matter how significant or mundane, appear for public consumption.

To help confirm the viewpoint, sometimes we may look at historical or key events, and use a little reverse engineering. 2003 was the year of Gui Wei and that was the year when Google bought, which arguably could be said the year when blogging landed on the mainstream radar. It is also interesting to note that 1999, the year of Ji Mao, is often seen as a key turning point year for blog usage and blogging.

By engaging in such intellectual rationalizing, BaZi consultants ensure that they are able to provide timely and effective advice to clients, no matter what their industry. So if a client came to a consultant for advice on whether or not he can start a blog, or make money from a blog, or whether or not he should even do blogging, the consultant would simply check the compatibility of the industry itself, in its Jia Zi pillar form, to the person's BaZi, and advise accordingly.

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