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The Art of Fengshui Aligning the Human and Natural Realms. Stephen L. Field, Trinity University. Introduction. The Correlative Worldview…

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The Correlative Worldview…

…is the belief that the world is a system where everything is related to everything else. Correlative thinking was the universal worldview until replaced by the scientific method. It is the basis of metaphorical language and is thus hardwired in the human brain. Take superstitions for example.

In ancient China, the answer to the ontological question of what constituted the cosmos was answered by a complicated correlative cosmology and several interesting cosmogonies. One of the most famous origin myths was the story of Pangu….


Greek Elemental Theory of the Cosmos

Chinese Five Element Correlations

the chinese correlative universe
The Chinese Correlative Universe

1. Heaven

The Astrophysical Environment

(the origin of fengshui theories)

2. Earth

The Geophysical Environment

(the basis of Form School fengshui)

3. Man

The Metaphysical Environment

(the basis of Compass School fengshui)

part i the astrophysical environment
Part I. The Astrophysical Environment

Note the form of the tomb…

… and the figures that exist within its walls.


A: The circular Heaven covers the square Earth

1.KANYU, the original name of the divinatory art now known as FENGSHUI, means: “Canopy of Heaven and Chariot of Earth”

2. A Han dynasty divining instrument called the Cosmograph was constructed of a dome-shaped Heaven disc that sat upon a square Earth plate

b the heavenly bodies circle the stationary earth
B. The Heavenly bodies circle the stationary Earth

1. A Han dynasty funereal chest

with celestial ornamentation


3. The Northern Ladle, or Big Dipper

A view of the northern heavens

The cosmographic view.

c the circular heaven falls to earth
C. The circular Heaven falls to Earth

1. The Water Lord battles the Fire Lord

2. The Flight of the Dragon

part ii the geophysical environment
Part II: The Geophysical Environment

A. What is Qi?

The Dao began in the Nebulous Void.

The Nebulous Void produced spacetime;

Spacetime produced the primordial qi. . . .

That which was pure and bright spread out to form Heaven;

The heavy and turbid congealed to form Earth. . . .

The conjoined essences of Heaven and Earth produced yin and yang.

The supercessive essences of yin and yang caused the four seasons.

* Huainanzi. See John Major, tr., Heaven and Earth in Early Han Thought, The Treatise on the Patterns of Heaven, p. 62

b where is qi
B. Where is Qi?

1. Astrophysical Qi:

The six qi of heaven--cold, heat, wind, rain, dark and light--"descend and produce the five tastes," but "produce the six diseases when they are in excess.“Zuozhuan, Duke Zhao, 1st year (540 BCE)

2. Geophysical Qi:

"Water is the root of all things and the source of all life. . . . Water is the blood and breath [qi]of the earth, functioning in similar fashion to the circulation of blood and breath in the sinews and veins." The Book of Guanzi (5th century BCE)

"Earth is the body of qi--where there is earth there is qi. Qi is the mother of water--where there is qi there is water." The Book of Burial (3rd century CE)

3. Physiological Qi:

"Man's life is the assembling of qi. The assembling is deemed birth, the dispersal is deemed death." The Book of Zhuangzi (4th century BCE)

c what does qi have to do with fengshui
C. What does Qi have to do with fengshui?

1. Geophysical qi recharges physiological qi:

"Truly, life is accumulated qi. It solidifies into bone, which alone remains after death. Burial returns qi to the bones, which is the way the living are endowed." The Book of Burial

2. Geophysical qi can be harnessed:

"The Classic says, qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water. The ancients collected it to prevent its dissipation, and guided it to assure its retention. Thus it was called fengshui [wind/water]. According to the laws of fengshui, the site that attracts water is optimal, followed by the site that catches wind." The Book of Burial

d how to locate the dragon lair
D. How to locate the Dragon Lair

1. Look for the Dragon Veins:

"Arteries spring from lowland terrain; bones spring from mountain terrain. They wind sinuously from east to west and from south to north. Thousands of feet high is called forces [shi]; hundreds of feet high is called features [xing]. Forces advance and finish in features…. Where the earth takes shape, qi flows accordingly; thereby things are born. For qi courses within the ground, its flow follows the contour of the ground, and its accumulation results from the halt of terrain. For burial, seek the source and ride it to its terminus." The Book of Burial

2 the four heavenly deities become the four terrestrial palaces
2. The Four Heavenly Deities become the Four Terrestrial Palaces.

"Where forces cease and features soar high, with a stream in front and a hill behind, here hides the head of the dragon." The Book of Burial

A. White Tiger, B. Dark Warrior (Turtle), C. Green Dragon, D. Red Bird

part iii the metaphysical environment
Part III: The Metaphysical Environment
  • 道生一,一生二,二生三,三生万物。老子
  • Dao sheng yi, yi sheng er, er sheng san, san sheng wanwu.
    • The Dao begat the One,
    • One begat the Two,
    • Two begat the third,
    • Three begat the Ten-thousand things.
  • --Laozi Daodejing
b wu xing the five elements
B. 五行 Wu Xing: the Five Elements

1. “Heaven has the three lights; Earth has the five movements.” [Zuozhuan]

In its first appearance in the philosophical tradition, the wuxing were understood as natural processes such as water sinking, fire rising, wood bending, metal molding, and soil growing. By the Han dynasty the wuxing had become five states or phases of qi, analogous to the three states of water: solid, liquid, and gas.

2. Production and Destruction Orders. These phases were continually transforming into one another according to the following two laws of nature:

c ba gua the eight trigrams
C.八卦Ba Gua: the Eight Trigrams
  • The Eight Trigrams are the symbolic basis of the 易经Yijing, or Book of Changes, which is composed of 64 “hexagrams,” or doubled trigrams. For example, the trigram for "earth" over the trigram for "wood" forms hexagram 46, "Pushing Upward" (because plants push up through soil).
  • A unique characteristic of Compass School fengshui is its reliance on a special configuration of the eight trigrams to determine good and bad fortune. This figure is called the “Magic Square,” because each row, column, and diagonal adds up to 15.
d the palace of nine halls

Center Earth


D. The Palace of Nine Halls

2. The Four Eastern Halls are compatible with each other because each hall produces the other:

North hall Water

East hall Wood

Southeast hall Wood

South hall Fire

Water nourishes wood

Wood feeds fire

1. The Four WesternHalls are compatible with each other because each hall produces the other:

Southwest hall Earth

West hall Metal

Northwest hall Metal

Northeast hall Earth

Earth harbors metal

  • However, Eastern Halls are not compatible with Western Halls because each destroys the other:
      • Wood digs earth
      • Fire melts metal
      • Metal cuts wood
      • Earth dams water

E. 1948 Natal Guardian Stars 1983

Find your year of birth in the column of your gender (1951 male). Note your Star and Element (4 green wood). Locate your star in the Palace of Nine Halls (SE of eastern halls). These are your lucky directions (N, E, SE, S). The remaining directions are unlucky for you (SW, W, NW, NE)

*If your star is 5 yellow, you are 2 black if female, and 8 white if male.


F. How to cure the harmful flow of qi.

  • Destroy the harmful elementby enhancing the environment with the element that destroys it in the Mutual Destruction Order. [Example: your Natal Star is Wood, but your living room is in the direction of West, which belongs to the element Metal. Metal cuts Wood, so the qi of that direction is harmful. To counteract the harmful qi, you should enhance the living room with the element Fire (candles, lamps, mirrors, crystals, etc.)]
  • Produce more of the beneficial element to replenish that which is destroyed by the harmful element. [Example: your Natal Star is Earth, but your library is in the Eastern portion of the house which belongs to the element Wood. Wood saps Earth, so the qi of that direction is harmful. To counteract the harmful qi, you can enhance the library with the element Earth (terrarium, terracotta pots, etc.)]
the fengshui gate http www fengshuigate com
The Fengshui Gate

Thank you for listening to my lecture! Here are two of my websites filled with information for your personal use.

Fengshui Readings by Master Ten Li