How Feng Shui became superstitious

December 7, 2009

Superstitions in Feng Shui come about when technical application of a philosophical concept is misunderstood. The Toilet Sha is a good example in which the modern inventor misunderstood the meaning of Sha Qi.

Sha Qi 煞氣 is “above form (“xing-zhi-shang 形之上), it is a philosophical concept expressing the undesirable state when things are out of balance and harmony. It is complementary opposite to Sheng Qi.

Toilet Sha turned this metaphysical idea into a “below form” (xing-zhi-xia 形之下) physical agent (a “vessel” or a “qi” 器) that can cause sickness if it is in line with a toilet bowl. That becomes a superstition because it misinterpreted a metaphysical concept and turned it into an irrational belief that a toilet bowl can “kill” (sha 殺).

Some people tried to bring in good hygiene to explain the Toilet Sha but the health effect of air-borne bacteria is a scientific observation that does not need the Toilet Sha to explain its working nor the other way around.

This lack of understanding of the key concepts in Chinese philosophy often turned Chinese metaphysics into superstitions, and it not only happen in “New Age” Feng Shui but also in folk Feng Shui in China and SE Asia.

Toilet Sha travels in a straight line, penetrating through solid walls to give anyone sleeping in its path health problems, in this case a thumping headache or even a tumor in the brain!

5 Responses to “How Feng Shui became superstitious”

  1. Alexey Skoblikov Says:

    Dear Howard.
    Thank you very much for another one effort to dispel those funny ideas.

    • howardchoy Says:

      Hi Alexey,

      I recently answered your question regarding Castle Gate in Replacement charts in the Five Arts Forum, I have cut and pasted the question and answer below:

      Q. If the house faces the border between sectors and we have to use substitute stars, then in the case of using castle gates method, should we use substitution there as well, or not?

      A. The answer is yes, you can. For example for a Period 8 house, Ren Mountain (N1) Ding Facing (S1), there is no main Castle Gate (it has one in the normal chart) but there is a secondary Castle Gate at Wei (SW1) for the replacement chart.

      But for a normal chart you can also check a replacement chart to see if it can give you a Castle Gate. For example, a Period 5 house, Bing Mountain Ren Facing, the normal chart is a reverse chart (Up Mountain and Down Water), which requires water at the back, but if you check the replacement chart, the Chou direction has the timely Water Star 5, so Chou becomes the Castle Gate for Bing Facing.

      I hope the second bit didn’t confuse you. It is another way of saying in the replacement charts, some stars do not need to be replaced.

  2. Sue Says:

    Hello, I have a question about our house. It was built a period 5 house and we moved in in 2006. We have replaced all the windows and put a new roof on. Also all new flooring and paint, only we haven’t replaced the front and back doors. Do you think we are in a period 5 or period 8 house now? Thank You, Sue

  3. X. Says:

    My mum loves feng shui and I love (looking at) architecture! But I do find a lot of these superstitious or “scientific” explanations trying to dispel these superstitious rather than correcting the misunderstanding from an authentic chinese philosophical point of view.

    I’m currently in NYC but I understand both simplified chinese and english. What books/courses would you recommend for an absolute beginner in fengshui interested in the practical as well as philosophical and design aspects of it?


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