Types of feng shui
Types of different feng shui schools and styles explained
Books on feng shui sometimes seem to contradict each other. This is because, over the years, feng shui has developed in various different directions, which has resulted in a variety of ‘schools’. And even when the underlying core feng shui concepts remain similar, each situation requires selective individual analysis, with the result that different feng shui consultants may offer different suggestions. It doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone is wrong. There is usually more than one way to achieve a desired result.
The origins of feng shui
Feng shui originated in ancient China and all the classical feng shui schools and methods were developed there. The observation and analysis of landforms, waterways and structural placement are basic to classical feng shui. So are the formulae for calculating things such as the distribution and quality of qi, elemental balance, auspicious and inauspicious directions and locations, etc, which determine the measures to be taken in order to achieve the desired outcome. Read more about history of feng shui
Different feng shui approaches: classical and contemporary
The main feng shui approaches and differences between them are summarised below.
• Form school
The form school is the oldest documented form of classical feng shui. It was originally concerned with the placement and orientation of tombs for the dead, and later its principals were transferred to the buildings used by the living. It examines and assesses the ‘form’ of physical objects and shapes in the natural and built environment, along with transformational elements, qi flow and the manifestations of yin and yang.
• Compass school
The classical compass school involves numerical calculations based on the direction in which a building faces, which is determined using a western compass or a Chinese ‘luo pan’. Analysis is then based on the eight compass sectors and the trigrams of the Ba Gua, and the Luo Shu is used for ‘flying stars’ analysis. Birth dates are sometimes taken into account in certain calculations that help to identify the relationship between individual people and the energy pattern of the environment.
• Contemporary feng shui
A contemporary western interpretation of feng shui has gained popularity, particularly in America, since its introduction in the 1970-80s. This approach is based on the psychology of how to achieve goals through a targeted focus on the different aspects of life as well as classical form school principles.
What feng shui is and isn’t
Feng shui is not a science, as its core concepts haven’t been tested by scientific method but this is changing. There is a movement towards scientific validation of feng shui. There is now an Academic Journal of Feng Shui, and feng shui has been examined from a scientific perspective at several International Conferences on Scientific Feng Shui and the Built Environment. Read more about feng shui research
I’m still confused and don’t know which feng shui approach is best for me
Although the various forms of feng shui can be confusing initially, whichever approach most appeals to you is probably a good place to start. All types of feng shui (and related feng shui disciplines) have certain basic similarities, and even the traditionalists welcome the many books using non-classical methodology which have appeared in recent years, since they have doubtless helped stimulate the current growth of feng shui and are helping feng shui to evolve and meet the needs of modern live.
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