Feng Shui beginners often get confused by the different schools of feng shui and which they should follow.
Feng Shui History
Feng shui (fung-shway) means wind and water and is the ancient Chinese artform of placement. The five basic elements create a cycle that must be observed and kept in balance.
Feng Shui was perceived as the emperor's magic since the knowledge was kept secret by the emperor's priests. No one else was permitted to know about feng shui much less use it. For thousands of years, the secret of feng shui was closely guarded but as the boundaries between the Eastern and Western civilizations crumbled, the rest of the world learned about it.
Understanding the Feng Shui
The Chinese believe that chi is the governing life force of all living matter. It's the connecting energy that makes the world cohesive and dictates how everything cycles into each other and creates life.
Yin and Yang of Chi Energy
Chi energy is divided into two opposite forces yin (female) and yang (male). For a healthy existence, chi energy must be balanced. Too much yin or too much yang creates an imbalance. When this occurs within the body, you're more prone to disease. On a global scale nature suffers. In your home, life becomes off kilter.
Different Schools of Feng Shui
There are three main schools of feng shui in the Western world but only two are considered traditional or classical feng shui.
- Shapes and Form Feng Shui (Traditional)
- Compass Feng Shui (Traditional)
- Black Hat Sect (Western)
Shapes and Form School
Typically called Form school, this is one of the traditional or classical feng shui schools. In the modern world it's rarely practiced by itself and is usually combined with the Compass School. It's known as Form and Compass Feng Shui. Shapes and Form Feng Shui focuses on land formations and the elements surrounding the house. Exterior elements have a greater impact on the home than which room you use for a bedroom.
For example, if a dead-end street ends directly across from your home, then you and your family can experience health-related issues and financial stress due to what is called the poison arrow effect.
A home located with a mountain behind it has great support in life. Those dwelling inside will reap great health and enjoy solid financial success.
Compass school relies on taking compass readings to determine the sitting/facing directions of your home. It also employs calculating the house's Kua number (calculated using year house was built and compass reading), and each family member's Kua (Gua) number (birthdate). In addition, the East and West System or Eight Mansions and Flying Star System are calculated for each member within the home.When combined with Shapes and Form school, you get a very concise and mathematical evaluation of your home and each family member.
- Flying Star Theory (change annually and monthly)
- Eight Mansions or Directions (four auspicious and four inauspicious)
- Pillars of Destiny (birth month, day, year, and hour)
- Kua Number (personal number and number of house)
- BaGua (Pa Kua)
- Luo Pan Compass
- Lo Shu Square
Black Hat Sect
Black Hat Sect was invented by Lin Yun, who first discovered the Black Hat sect of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism as a child in Peking. He was trained in the sect's mystical arts by a high lama. Lin Yun is responsible for bringing the Black Hat Sect Feng Shui to the West. Traditional Feng Shui masters have dubbed Black Hat Feng Shui as "fast food feng shui" or "pseudo feng shui."Traditional feng shui practitioners don't recognize it as a genuine school of feng shui. This hasn't stopped its popularity from sweeping the United States. Many Americans believe Black Hat is traditional feng shui and have yet to discover Form and Compass Schools.
The reason classical feng shui masters hold the Black Hat Sect school in such great disdain is because it has borrowed some of the traditional feng shui principles while discarding the rest. In Black Hat feng shui a bagua is the same for every house. It's placed over the home according to the location of the front door, not the house's facing direction as in traditional feng shui.
According to traditional feng shui, if you place elements in a one-size-fits-all bagua overlay for your home then the elements are being placed in the incorrect areas.
Traditional feng shui experts claim that Black Hat cures may work or appear to work due to applying the basic feng shui principle of getting rid of clutter which frees up blocked chi energy.
A prime example of the differences between Black Hat and Traditional Feng Shui: The north is controlled by the element of water and is a career sector. Black Hat dictates placing a water fountain in the north sector of your home to activate your career.
In some cases, this could literally end your career. If you're in a year where inauspicious flying stars have moved into the north sector of your chart, then adding a water fountain will only boost those negative influences. This why a fountain may have worked quite well for you the previous year but suddenly the magic seems to have disappeared and your career is failing.
Advice For Feng Shui Beginners
As you can see, Feng Shui is a complex system. Feng Shui beginners should educate themselves about all schools of feng shui and then decide which they prefer to follow.