To Feng Shui - Part Two
Form School Feng Shui
Having looked at
the Ba Gua and a little bit of Compass School Feng Shui,
this post looks at the other main school of Feng Shui
- Form School
Form school Feng Shui dates
back to around 2000bc in South-Western China. In a nutshell,
Form School is a to Shamanism what Compass School is
to the Medicine Wheel. Natural forms are representative
Form School Fung Shui basically
uses the shape of things we see in our environment as
representations of the elements, of animals or other
Form School Fung Shui has
more to do with the environment property stands in,
than the internal environment, though there is nothing
to stop us using Form School in choosing furniture for
a particular room or even the whole house: if you've
ever walked into a room where the furniture did not
seem to "fit" or a room seemed uncomfortable,
even though it was nicely decorated and furnished, there
are chances that elements of the room were competing
in their "form", or perhaps one particular
form/element domineered the room and so balance was
Feng Shui goes "Off
to the Hills"
is known for its mountainous terrain - like many mountainous
areas on the globe, the mountains in this part of China
can sometimes be very striking and vary considerably,
both in their shape and variety, and also in the number
As we discussed earlier,
the siting of the a home was considered important, and
it became custom in these mountainous regions to associate
the mountains with particular elements. The shape associations
originally derive from acupuncture and the energy flows
in the physical body (which we can discuss at the end
of the series when we discuss body Feng Shui).
Recognizing the Elements
were considered earth areas, others water, others fire
etc. Over a period of time, the shape of these mountains
became archetypes, long flat or square shaped mountains
were earth environments (don't forget all this was long
before the theories that earth is a sphere came into
popular philosophies), tall slender mountains (like
the trunks of trees) were wood environments etc., etc.
Thus, each of the five elements is assigned a shape
in Form School Feng Shui.
The Shapes of the Elements
Metal is represented
by rounded-topped shapes (such as a dome). Earth is
represented by low flat square or rectangular shapes
(rectangles laid with their long side downward), so,
anything that is rectangular shaped and is longer than
it is high is generally representative of earth. (i.e.
a long row of townhouses). Wood environments are column
shaped rectangular shapes similar to earth, except that
this time the short end is downwards like a column,
so anything rectangular that is higher
than it is wide is considered a representative of Wood
(i.e. skyscrapers). Fire environments are represented
by pointed shapes such as triangles, (ie the Pyramids).
Water environments are represented by wavy zig-zag shapes
(such as the Sydney Opera House).
Color and Texture in Form
The materials a
building is built of also has associations with the
elements, both in terms of their texture and their color.
Colors can be used as discussed under Compass school
Feng Shui to represent various elements, but also the
colors of the natural materials have representations.
Brick and clay colored building
are representative of earth. Glass, a reflective material,
is representative of water. Buildings clad in sheet
materials, particularly very smooth sheet materials
are representative of metal. Buildings made of wood
and buildings colored green are representative of wood.
Plastics and buildings colored red are representative
Conflicts can be
seen in the archetypal two storey house we all drew
as kids - a square with a triangular roof. The basic
shape is earth, the roof is fire, with brick walls (in
the UK (made of clay)) which are earth, or walls of
wood in the US, with a roof covering of blue-ish black
slate, (the material representing earth, yet the color
representing water). The glass windows, being reflective,
represent water. Window frames are often wood or metal
(often painted white, a metal color), and the door is
often a mixture of wood and glass (water) but painted
just about any color. So, you get the picture - conflicts
are common, however, these "conflicts" can
also be used to bring about balance to a building: bringing
all elements into the structure; debilitating the destructive
cycle or helping the productive cycle.
Animals in Feng Shui
As previously discussed
animals are important in Feng Shui. Many animals are
given significance, the Dragon being the most important
as it represents prosperity, and represents one of the
"Celestial Animals", and is always sought
in the environment a building is placed in.
The more features of an animal
that can be found (head, eyes, feet, tails wings etc.,
etc.) in an environment, the better the environment.
The dragon is always paired with the tiger and if one
is found the other is assumed to be there, regardless
of whether its form can be witnessed. However to find
all four celestial animals: Dragon, Tiger, Tortoise
and Phoenix, is very auspicious, to find none is very
Recognizing the animals
The four celestial
animals are always looked for in any environment, and
there are certain land formations that are representative
of the animals. Whilst it is possible to have a piece
of land that does not have the tortoise or the Red bird,
and still be a reasonably auspicious landscape, it is
not possible not to have the tiger and the dragon and
still expect auspicious surroundings.
The Tiger and the Dragon
are represented by horse-shoe-shaped hills encircling
an environment. The hill ridges being the back-bones
of the two animals laid back to back, with their tails
intertwined. The Green Dragon on the right as you look
at it from the open end of the horse-shoe - will always
be slightly higher than that white tiger on the left.
The most opportune point is at the
feet of the animals were their tails
inter-twine i.e. directly center of the area encompassed
by the horse-shoe shape, the front facing the open area
of the horse-shoe.
The Phoenix (red Bird) and
Tortoise are represented by small hillocks both in front
of and behind the house. These could be brought into
the landscape if not already present by the addition
of large boulders.
To gain most advantage from
the Celestial animals and a general rule of Feng Shui
is that main entrance doors should always face south.
Recognizing the Portends/Omens
in the City
In a modern city
environment, you may think it difficult to find the
mountains, and so the animals. In a city environment,
we look at the buildings and structures around us to
represent the portends. So to have a slightly larger
building than ours to the east represents the Dragon.
A larger building in the west, but slightly smaller
than the one in the east represents the Tiger. Similarly,
smaller buildings in the north and south can be used
to represent the Tortoise and the Red Bird/Phoenix.
Districts as Elements
We can ascertain
from the shape of the natural features or structures
in an environment whether it is a primarily one type
of elemental environment or another. And by using the
elemental cycles, we can decide whether any particular
structure is going to be helped or hindered by the features/buildings
Further, when looking at
any particular site or building, both the particular
site under observation is looked at and the environment
as a whole, so even though a site may not be particularly
auspicious, the "district" it is situated
in may be, and so the site may still be a good site
and visa-versa if the site is auspicious even in an
As an example of how a building's
materials and shape can affect the prosperity of the
occupants and its surroundings can be given by that
of a speculative-developer-built, glass- paneled, pyramid-shaped
office block in an area of predominantly earth-shaped,
brick-clad buildings, close to where I live. The fire
shape and glass (water) cladding are on the destructive
cycle (the shape (the fire element) being the predominant
feature of the building being destroyed by water (the
glass cladding). The building stood empty for many years
after first being built. It was eventually taken by
a bank that has a strong ethical policy (an offspring
of the largest co-operative society in the UK, and priding
itself on its ethical investments). The bank's policies
and background in the co-operative society support the
community and the wider earth-plane: directly in the
local community, but also by not exploiting the third
world investment opportunities many investors now favor.
Fire supports earth, so the building (through its shape)
not only now supports the environment it stands in,
but a much wider segment of the earth's community. The
water (from the glass cladding) prevents the building
(and so the bank) becoming too strong in the environment
- the earth (community). The bank has gone from strength
Sharp edges and straight
paths spell Feng Shui danger!
Edges of buildings,
i.e. the corners of buildings, or anything tall and
thin like telegraph poles, power-pylons, lamp-posts
(street-lights) church spires or even trees all "point"
as do other common objects such as satellite-dishes.
Roads are one of the worst offenders, as are paths that
lead in a straight line to the front door. All these
aspects of the environment are Shar-chi (harmful chi)
also referred to as "secret arrows". Power
lines and telegraph wires are conductors or Shar Chi.
We shall discuss ways to negate these elements under
the cures section in the next posting.
Water in the environment
an important part in Feng Shui. Great care should be
taken when considering buildings near water-courses.
The flow of the water should be meandering and slow.
Water represents prosperity and to see water flowing
straight and fast is to see prosperity rushing past
and draining away. The direction of the flow is also
important for obvious reasons - water should always
flow towards the property or around it, never away from
it. To live with water gently flowing around your property
in an L or U shape is generally good, providing you
are inside the U or the L and not on the outer side.
There are many, many, rules for Feng Shui and water-courses
which can appear at first quite complicated and are
difficult to describe without the aid of diagrams. So
for this reason, i am not going to go into great detail
here: just keep in mind that it should flow slowly towards
you and it's course should be meandering!
If you have water flowing
actually on your own land, you should not be able to
see it flowing away off your land - although if it goes
off your land underground this is auspicious. Water
should never flow off your land from the same direction
it came in, forming a loop around you (looks too much
like a hangmans rope).
In a modern city environment,
roads take the place of water, so living close to a
fast, straight road is not a good Feng Shui environment.
Wind in the environment
Wind is also a
very important consideration in Feng Shui. Gentle breezes
are considered good Feng Shui as they bring Chi (good
energy). Harsh breezes dissipate Chi. Cold north winds
are bad Feng Shui and are usually protected against
in China. If a natural barrier to the north winds are
not prevalent in the landscape, then trees are planted
to buffer the wind. Front doors preferably face south
where warm breezes can aid health and prosperity.
Apartments high in high-rise
blocks are bad Feng Shui as they are buffeted by turbulent
winds and lower floors in highly built up areas are
bad Feng Shui as the areas between buildings create
wind-tunnel effects as the wind has to move faster to
squeeze through the smaller space between the buildings.
Lie of the land
It is good Feng
Shui to have hills or gently up-sloping land behind
you - the "Black Turtle Hills". This environment
will support you in times of difficulty, whereas to
have ground drop behind your house implies a lack of
The ground in front of you
property should, ideally be flat. To have ground sloping
down towards your property
at the front is bad Feng Shui and should be avoided,
as your views will always be limited (both actually
and metaphysically) and to have hills/mountains in front
represents a lack of vision/attainment. To have land
falling away from the front of your house represents
money/opportunity draining away. To have open space
in front of your main entrance door is auspicious and
is known as the "Bright Hall".
To have a property built
near a road that cuts into the side of a hillside, particularly
if red rock is disturbed is considered inauspicious,
as hills are the Dragon (symbol of prosperity) and the
red-rock represents the blood of the Dragon: an injured
or dead Dragon.
One place Feng Shui advises
not to build a house is on the top of a hill: exposed
to the elements and allowing prosperity to drain away
- with little or no support from the directions.
Arid and Verdent Landsapes
where rocks do not have water (and so clay) to bind
them together are considered inauspicious as the Dragon
could not live there (not good Feng Shui news for those
who live in Arizona!). By far a better landscape is
a hilly green verdant landscape (England's green and
pleasant land has good Feng Shui!), water to represents
Yin and hills represent Yang and greenery shows that
water is present. One particularly bad landscape is
one threatened by seismic activity: thus areas along
geometric faults are considered bad Feng Shui. Not good
news for those who live in California!
Weather in Feng Shui
Feng Shui recognizes
five types of weather: sunshine rain, warm, cold and
wind and all five should be present. Weather Chi is
the coming together of Heaven Chi and Earth Chi and
is therefore very important in Feng Shui: as a moveable
aspect of the landscape it demonstrates Earth's relation
to Heaven, which can, and has, changed over the millennia.
Such changes can occur even in a relatively short period
(i.e. droughts in otherwise wetter areas) or over slightly
longer periods such as the changes to weather patterns
due to changes in the oceans currents that are currently
occurring in the Atlantic.
Auspicious times to undertake
a Form School investigation.
an environment from a Form School Feng Shui perspective,
it should always be done at a time when the weather
is in balance - too much darkness i.e. stormy weather
is too much Yin - too much Sun is too much Yang. Consider
a landscape only when Yin and Yang are in balance and
neither predominates. The best time is sunrise, when
the way the sun lights up the land and dispels the darkness
is recognizable. Is this gradual and pleasing or too
fast and alarming or maybe too slow creating tension
as you wait impatiently for the sun to appear? In areas
with particular early morning weather features (such
as the morning fog over San Francisco) the rule is still
sunrise in summer but mid-day in winter, though like
all rules, bend them to suit the site. In all cases
the way land "feels" to you is the important
By now many reading
this may be saying "I have no chance, my house
has all the negative environmental Feng Shui and none
of the beneficial". In the modern world few people
have choices as to the exact plot of land their property
is built on, and many cures have been derived to
aid us in transforming our environment. We shall discuss
these in the next post.
Also, from natal astrology,
certain environments may be more beneficial to some
people than others! We shall be looking in more detail
at natal astrology and how this effects choices from
a Form School perspective later.
Lastly don't forget that
Feng Shui rules are there to enhance our understanding
or our surroundings, not detract from our enjoyment
of them. In all cases I reiterate comments in my last
post, that it is how YOU feel about your environment
that matters and nothing and no-one else! If Feng Shui
can improve your sense of enjoyment of your surroundings,
all well and good, but it should be taken in context
of all other aspects of our lives. We should take from
it that which is positive, not look for that which is