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Angi Ma Wong
Feng Shui Primer
June 2002

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The Compass Directions

The following list provides the eight compass directions and what they represent in the Compass School of feng shui:

North = Career, business success, black, winter, water/metal, tortoise, 1;

North East = Knowledge, wisdom, self-development, success in school, turquoise/tan, winter becoming spring, earth/fire, 8;

East = Family life, health, nutrition, harmony, prosperity, green, spring, wood/water, dragon, 3;

South East = Wealth, prosperity, abundance, green/purple, spring becoming summer, wood/water, 4;

South = Fame, fortune, longevity, festivity, joy, fire/wood, red, summer, bird, 9;

South West = Marriage, mother, relationships, love, romance, spouse, yellow/white/pink/red, summer becoming autumn, earth/fire, 2;

West = Children, childrenís fame, creativity, white, autumn, tiger, metal/earth, 7;

North West = Supportive and helping people, international trade and travel, interests outside the home, father, autumn becoming winter, metal/earth,grey/metallics, 6.

The 5 Components of Destiny

Many Chinese grow up believing in the forces of destiny: fate, luck, feng shui, charity and philanthropy, and education, self-development and experience.

Fate is who you are, the family, birth order, economic circumstances and social status that you are born into. You might call these the gifts from heaven. After all you have no choice in the matter. I like to say that this constitutes about 70% of our lives.

Luck is about 15%. There are three kinds of luck. One of these is heaven luck. Heaven luck puts you in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time.

The second kind of luck is man-made luck. Thomas Jefferson was the one who came up with the basic concept: man-made luck is creating and recognizing opportunities and then moving to take advantage of them.

The third kind of luck is pure luck. This is the kind that we say as someone being lucky. Finding money, winning the lottery or a major raffle prize, etc.

Fourth on the list is charity and philanthropy. I like to describe charity as opening up your heart and philanthropy is opening up your wallet. I believe that this is where karma comes in and that whatever you send out to the universe, thatís what you get back. Like the Bible says: you reap what you sow.

Lastly is education, self-development and experience. These are what helps you grow, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically and in every other way.

While you may think that feng shui at 5% doesnít exert much influence in your life, but if you add man-made luck, charity and education, all of which you can be proactive about, the percentage increases.

Grand Master Yap Cheng Hai says there are only three components to oneís destiny: Heaven luck, man-made luck and feng shui luck, each at 33.33%. So Iíll let you decide!

The 3 Major Concepts of Feng Shui

To understand the fundamental concepts of feng shui will provide you with the Basic knowledge upon which it is bases.

The first major concept of feng shui is that of the flow of energy which flows in and around all things. Chi is the life force, cosmic energy, spirit, soul and aura. Beneficial chi flows like the wind and like the water, in curved or wavy lines, just like the waters of a stream or the breeze that moves the tail of a kite. The wavy energy flow in the land moves in dragon lines while in people it moves in meridians. When the chi is blocked or obstructed in people, they become ill and perhaps die. Acupuncture, acupressure, herbs, tai chi, chi gong, and martial arts all deal with moving chi in our bodies. Negative energy is called sha chi, literally, ďkilling energy.Ē In nature, we only see perfectly straight lines in short segments, such as in sugar or bamboo canes, but in every other instance, those straight lines are man-made, and therefore considered unnatural.

The second major concept is that of balance. Most of us has seen the yin-yang symbol known as the tai chi. Its two halves are equal, interdependent and complementary. One side canít move without affecting the other. Yin is female, soft, passive, nurturing, negative, dark, even numbers and the right side of our bodies. Yang is male, hard, positive, bright, active, odd numbers and the left side of the body. In the tai chi symbol, notice that there is a dot of black in the white side and a dot of white in the black side. This indicates that the Chinese recognized thousands of years ago that every woman had her masculine side and every man had a feminine side. It is interesting to note that Western thought and medicine has just recognized this concept.

This balance is basically what makes an environment feel comfortable. Whether outdoors or indoors, human beings feel the most comfortable when that balance is present. Indoors, it means that a room should be approximately half darker colors and half light colors. For example, that means that the flooring, whether it is wood, tile or carpet, should be a darker shade, the walls a medium tone, and the ceiling the lightest.

The third major concept is that of the five elements which relate to each other in two different ways. The first is the generative or creative cycle: wood feeds a fire, fire creates earth, earth generates metal, metal makes water and water nourishes wood. The second is the destructive relationship: Wood destroys earth, earth dams water, water extinguishes fire, fire melts metal, metal cuts wood. These two relationships represent the core of Chinese medicine, for each element is associated with organs and parts of the body. If you are suffering an ailment, the Chinese doctor will trace it to either an obstruction or imbalance of the generating element.

The Characteristics of Good Feng Shui

There are four basic considerations that affect the feng shui of land and buildings:

  1. Shape of the land
  2. Plants and animals
  3. Historical and spiritual events
  4. Man-made structures

The ideal feng shui location is the horseshoe or armchair formation, which traces its roots to the classic Chinese gravesite, the origin of feng shui. It is described as being halfway up a hill, with two smaller hills on the front sides and a wide front, preferably of water. When choosing a home or office, oneís choice should not be the tallest or shortest building on the street but taller buildings behind your home or office represent the protection of mountains and give you support in your endeavors. Facing close or distant water is always a plus as water throughout history has brought trade, commerce and subsequently wealth to a region. Another good feng shui sign is clean water running in front of the property and none behind which represents prosperity being carried away.

Secondly, observe the native plants and animals that are present at the site. Do you see and hear birds singing and chirping? Are there healthy plants and trees growing? Is there a good balance of sun and shade? Is there an clean, earthy smell to the land? Do you have a feeling of peace and serenity at the site? Are there gentle breezes or good air circulation throughout? Watch out for dead or diseased trees and plants, smelly, stagnant water, too much yin energy in the form of dark shade, rough or sharp rocks or rocky outcrops.

Third, research and consider the history of the property. Avoid locations with a history of murder, suicide, bizarre or unnatural happenings, injuries or deaths, bankruptcy, miscarriage, fatal accidents, terminal illnesses or disease, loss of weath, divorce, etc. A house, office or building that has been vacated by a successful owner or business has good feng shui; one in which a business has failed or the owner has had negative familial or financial experiences has bad feng shui.

Last but not least, observe all the man-made structures all around the building. This includes everything from alleys, roads, bridges, freeways, tunnels, businesses such as mortuaries, cemeteries, schools, churches, temples, hospitals, government and other municipal buildings, parks, stadiums, etc. Also look out for lamp posts, fire hydrants, power towers, drains, sewers, and all other man-made structures. It all begins with how the road comes to your house. A general rule of thumb that I like to share is that if any car headlights from a road hits any part of your house, it is in the line with sha chi. It is most important that good feng shui sustains life with fresh breezes and clean-running water, with the hills behind and an open area or field in the front. Bad feng shui generally is distinguished by hard, sharp rocks and mountains, stagnant or drainage water, decay, lack of air circulation and sunlight.

Born in China as the daughter of an industrialist and diplomat, Angi Ma Wong grew up in New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Washington D.C. She is a recognized authority and popular feng shui lecturer, practitioner, and writer. Angi has appeared on Oprah, CBS Sunday Morning, and Time Magazine, and has had articles featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and many others. Copyright © Angi Ma Wong, 2002. All rights reserved.


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