What is Feng Shui?

The term ‘Feng Shui’ translates in English as ‘wind water’. It is an ancient Chinese science which studies the natural and ‘built’ environment and has been practiced for thousands of years. The term ‘environment’ here refers to that of any place one is in, such as office or home. It is also applied when people are shifting to a new building or buying property. Usually, people who believe in FengShui, get the property analysed be a practitioner before they buy it. It determines what sort of relationship the inmates will have with one another, that is to say, how the property will affect the different relationships that will exist there. Suggestions are given on how to improve the relationships. Feng Shui is believed to have influence over health factors, prosperity and overall well-being.


Feng ShuiFeng Shui is a Chinese form of ‘Geo-mancy’ or ‘Earth Wisdom’. It has evolved both as a science and as an art. The science part of Feng Shui involves the many calculations and methodologies used in analyzing a property. The art lies in the wisdom that is acquired by practitioners by virtue of performing a multitude of analysis and knowing the exact degree to which the remedies are prescribed.


In Ancient China, Feng Shui was strongly practiced and was used to protect the health, wealth, and power of the ruling dynasties. Those who had a strong background in this subject were given a highly respectable position in the society and were considered at par with scientists. They were in charge of maintaining the good fortune and prosperity of the royal court. This knowledge was passed down through a very selective process by the masters.A careful selection procedure was undertaken in selecting the disciples.


Historical perspective

Till date the earliest available evidence of the origin of Feng Shui lies with the Yangshao and Hongshan cultures. It is said that for a long time, even before the compass was invented, FengShui depended on astronomical observations. The positioning of many significant buildings of Ancient China bear the proof of the presence of Feng Shui practices since they were built in places which will be considered pious according to the belief. For example, in 4000 BC, the doors of Banpo dwellings were aligned to the asterism Yingshi just after the winter solstice- this sited the homes for solar gain. The FengShui masters were possibly consulted for advice on the appropriate time to build a city. Archaeologists also found signs and symbols at many places such as graves and tombs which bear resemblance to modern signs of Feng Shui. All capital cities of China followed rules of feng shui for their design and layout. These rules were even codified. Graves and tombs were also built following the rules of FengShui.


As mentioned earlier, Feng Shui practices date back to the days when even the compass was not invented. Some of the current techniques started in the Neolithic China. So far as the last findings are concerned, the earliest instrument used for FengShui was possibly the gnomon. The circumpolar stars were used by the Chinese to find out the north-south axis of settlements. Feng Shui rituals involved a diviner using an instrument to examine the sky phenomena and to set the device and adjust their position in relation to the device. Among the oldest examples of instruments used for feng shui are liuren astrolabes, also known as shi. The oldest liuren astrolabes were found from tombs which were as old as 278 BC and 209 BC. However, ever since the magnetic compass was invented it was used for FengShui. Among the traditional instruments of FengShui are the Luopan or the earlier south-pointing spoon. Among later inventions is the FengShui ruler.


Theories about Feng Shui

The main aim of Feng Shui is to build the perfect human- environment or to help create one. This is done by locating spots which have good Qi (pronounced as ‘Chee’ in English). According to Feng Shui, Qi is the energy which connects all people with their environment. It is present everywhere in and around the earth as well as in our bodies. It is believed that this energy is in a constant state of flux. Lupoan is the instrument used for detecting the flow of Qi. The Yin Yang theory is another important theory of Feng Shui. This consists of two parts- one creating an exertion and one receiving the exertion.


According to the Chinese, the five elements are metal, earth, fire, water, and wood which play a very important part in their thoughts. These signify forces which are essential to the human living. When, the polarities cancel each other out, equilibrium on earth is achieved. Fengshuiis performed to describe the alignment of a city, site, building, or object with yin-yang force fields.