h Phoenix Qi: Feng Shui Land or Landform School

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Feng Shui Land or Landform School

I guess I would have to call this feng shui phase one, the Form or Landform school.

This was the first form of feng shui, and we know for sure it was practiced around 200BCE, though probably much earlier. It was initially used to determine the best placement for the coffin of a deceased loved-one. It was believed that if the ancestor were in a favorable location where their spirit could be happy, the descendents would be happy and prosperous also. This art of placement is still practiced today, and is often called Yin Feng Shui.

The art of placement for living people is Yang Feng Shui. In the landform school, when we talk about the art of placement, we don't mean placement of items inside the house, we mean the placement of the house!

Animals and constellations.
Viewing orientation: standing in the center, looking up at the sky.

The four sovereign animals you will meet in a moment are derived from the twenty-eight constellations and stations of the moon. At the time this style of feng shui was developed thousands of years ago, on the winter solstice night you looked up into the sky and saw the constellations that comprise the Black Tortoise from horizon to horizon. On the spring equinox, the Green Dragon's constellations filled the sky. The summer solstice saw the constellations of the Red Bird fly overhead, and on the Autumnal equinox, the seven constellations of the White Tiger stalked the night.

The Chinese constellations are quite different from those which we are familiar, but we can roughly compare the area of the four seasonal animals. The Green Dragon spreads across Spica, Virgo, Libra, Antares, Scorpius, and Sagittarius. The Red Bird or Phoenix includes Gemini, Cancer, Hydra, Alphard, Crater, and Corvus. White Tiger covers Andromeda, Aries, Pleiades, Taurus, and Orion (which you may have noticed is now a winter constellation). The Winter Black Tortoise reaches across Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pegasus.

Viewing orientation: facing North.

Perhaps you are familiar with the phrase "as above, so below?" Here is where we transfer the symbolism of the animals in the sky above to the earth below.

Qi is scattered on the wind, but can be caught and retained by the water in the stream there at the front of the house thereby bringing good fortune to the residents. This is why the practice is called Feng Shui which I'm surer you already know means Wind & Water.

Landforms are the first thing you should consider in a feng shui reading. Looking at the layout of the land in the diagram, notice that the house is protected on three sides by hills or mountains, and that the front of the house is open to receiving qi or energy. This is often called the "armchair configuration." You can see why if you imagine yourself sitting in an armchair, the Tortoise supporting your back, and resting your arms on the Dragon and Tiger. (Just as you wouldn’t sit sideways or backwards in the chair, your house shouldn't sit in an unfavorable position, either!) There are exceptions to every rule, but generally speaking, you want the land in the back of the house to be higher than the front of the house to afford protection. If there isn't a mountain handy, a raised garden bed or fence will do.

Your front door should never be blocked unless you know that unfavorable energy or qi will enter there. (Frankly, it's best not to live in such a house.) Blocking the front door prevents qi from entering and circulating. Your house needs energy circulation – preferably favorable energy – just as your body does. Stagnant environmental qi can be as unhealthy as sluggish or blocked flow of your qi or your blood through your body.

For the purposes of feng shui, streams and streets are equivalent since both can be corridors of qi. The stream or street should meander past your home instead of rushing past and taking the good qi with it. Living on a busy street can negatively impact your energetic quality of life. You should also avoid living in a house at a T junction where oncoming traffic zooms directly at your home.

Landforms are also symbolic of the five phases of energy (see the previous post on the five phases of energy if this is new to you) based upon shape: Very pointed forms represent the fire phase, flat forms like wide plateaus represent earth phase, rounded-top hills are metallic in energy, rolling hills are considered to belong to the water phase, and tall, thin hills with flat tops symbolize the wood phase of energy.

This is very basic knowledge about environmental qi, but a good first step in understanding traditional Chinese feng shui.


Anonymous said...


I am truly enjoying and finding your articles on feng shui of great value!

For a few years now I have been interested in learning more about feng shui and have been reading various books. For the most part the books have left me confused! So, I've been using my own sense and knowledge of energy in the practicing of feng shui.

Your articles are helping me pull it all together, so that it makes sense. Thanks much for all your efforts in providing us with valueable information. . .


Phoenix said...

Hi Charlsie,

I'm glad you are finding the information useful! It can be a challenging topic because we in the West don't think of subtle energy and the movement and cycles of that energy the same way as do the people in the East.

Knowledge of Traditional Chinese feng shui can be very valuable, and make a real difference in a person's life.

Anonymous said...

Sacred Places and altered consciousness