Feng Shui and Urbanization
February 7, 2009
While teaching the Jiu Xing Pai Water Method 九星派水法 in Krakow Poland last weekend, I told my students that many of the old Liqi methods (the Compass methods) in Feng Shui were invented for a pre-urbanized China and when urbanization came, these methods went from being real and physical to being virtual and psychological.
A good example is the Five Ghosts Transporting Wealth Water Method (Wu Gui Yun Cai) 五鬼運財 from the Jiu Xing Pai or the Nine Stars School made popular by Taiwanese Feng Shui Master Wang De-Xun 王德薰, where the original aim is to use the Liqi calculations to locate a house near water and have it coming from a safe direction.
It is interesting to note that when one looks at the results of the calculations, they always end up with a house that has the Coming Dragon at the back (that is a higher at the back for better drainage and protection), the Five Ghosts (the Lian Zhen star) at the facing and the nearby water comes from the Heavenly Doctor (the Ju Men star) at an angle, either to the left or to the right. In a traditional Chinese village, there is a physical advantage in living near a water- course and having it meandering towards the site where the facing is always the same as the front door.An easy access to a safe body of water would have a greater chance of gaining wealth and that is the rationale behind the Five Ghosts Transporting Wealth Water Method.
However, when urbanization came to China and the roads are built to carry traffic and often in straight lines, this connection to the life giving Sheng Qi water is lost and a new way to connect to the auspicious water is done with a pathway from the front door to a straight road instead of a meandering water course.
Later still, when high rises are built to accommodate the ever increasing density of urban living, the connection to the water became fully virtual, although one still use the same calculations to obtain the results. A fish tank or an electrically operated water wheel, located somewhere to the left or to the right front corner of a living room or an office, now replace a watercourse.
The modern emphasis is on using human intention to entice wealth, rather than the physical production of wealth in an appropriate environmental setting. Without knowing this type of historical development, one might think Feng Shui, especially the Compass part, is all about “cures” and intention and nothing else practical.