By studying the laws of both Heaven (astronomy) and Earth (geography), the Chinese ancestors codified the guidelines, Feng Shui, for choosing the environment best orientate to receive positive qi and thereby improve their quality of life.
Feng Shui in Ancient China
Feng Shui has a long history in China. One Ode in «The book of Songs» (a collection of odes written between BCE1134 – BCE515) says: One of the Zhou ancestor,before approving a suitable place for his people to put down their roots, meticulously examined the location and tasted the local water.
Also, beginning with imposing structures in Neolithic and Bronze Age (approx. 2080BCE – 1580BCE), the design and layout of all the Chinese capital cities was in tune with the rules developed during the Zhou dynasty (1121BCE – 221BCE) and recorded in the “Manual of Crafts”. These ancient architectural rules already included the concepts and ideas for achieving harmony not only in the material world but also in the spiritual world.
Rebuffing Wind but Receiving Water
Located in the northern hemisphere,China, for most of the time, enjoys sunshine from the south; however, in the winters, the cold winds blast from the north. These facts promote the Chinese concept of “facing south and back to north” as being the orientation most desired.
The ultimate is to have mountains or high hills in the northblocking the bitter winds and, at the same time, an open space to the south receiving the warmth and pleasant moisture. It is no wonder that originating in ancient times, not only did the Chinese palaces most frequently face south with the rear to the north, for even simple shelters such as a tent would be pitched in the same manner.
Feng Shui Influneces the Qi
The term “Feng Shui”, literally “wind-water”, derives from a passage of the “Book of Burial”, written by Guo Pu of the Jin Dynasty (276 – 324AD): ” ‘Qi’ rides the wind and diffuses; however, it is captured when encountering water”. It continues to note that the Chinese ancestors, by residing near rivers fanned gentle winds, conserved the “qi”; thus these recommendations came to be called “Feng Shui”. Another name for Feng Shui is “Geomancy”.
The Chinese character for “wind” takes the instance of wind ruffling the feathers on phoenix’s head to indicate the current of air. A “Phoenix” is a bird with crest and plumes. In the character for “wind”, probably because the focus point is the crest, the “bird” is replaced by a much simple symbol, “worm”. Another popular interpretation is that “insects are born under the influence of wind”.
“Water” is simply represented by “flowing water”. “Qi” is depicted as “Wisps of vapour” and is the generic word for “air”.
Feng Shui Extracts Positive Energy
In terms of Feng Shui, “Qi” is the positive or negative life force or energy. It is a necessary factor in decisions such as the location of a construction. In order to optimize its best effects, the context, the climatic conditions, the shape of the land, and soil quality, etc. all need to be considered. For example, “The Book of Burial” states that an appropriate burial, on a proper site with correct structure of the grave, takes advantage of the “concealed qi”, which is the “vital qi” that engenders life.
As such, Feng Shui was originally developed by Chinese ancestors in opting for an appropriate place for the building of a Palace, developing a village, or locating burial grounds and, consequently, creating a prosperous habitable environment. During the course of its development, around the Tang and Song dynasties, Feng Shui became one of the esoteric arts, (with various schools).
Feng Shui for Homes and Tombs
Amongst the many disciplines, since ancient times, Feng Shui for tombs, was the dominant influence in imperial China. However, no matter the Feng Shui for homes, businesses, or cemeteries, the overriding objective in following Feng Shui precepts remains in checking everything before making the final decision.
Generally, Feng Shui practitioners use a Chinese compass or, in earlier time, a south-pointing spoon, to determine the directions, in finding an auspicious site in a desired area which offers the maximum potential for a harmonious relationship between humans and the universe.
To many people, Feng shui seems a mysterious solution for various concerns in life. It nevertheless is the knowledge and practice accumulated after thousands of years of experience in Chinese societies.