The Chinese Luopan Compass with all its esoteric markings like the Yin Yang, the Wuxing, the Bagua, the 12 Life Cycles, the 24 Mountains, the 28 Lunar Mansions and the 64 Hexagrams etc., have always captivated the Chinese, who often felt that this instrument is magical and it has a supernatural quality unlike the ordinary compass. So, when the needle in the Tian Chi, or the Heavenly Pool, moves in an abnormal way, the Chinese would see it as a sign that the site is possessed by some malevolent spirits. Some practitioners would capitalise on this folk belief and promote the idea that they have the supernatural ability to see ghosts and spirits with the Luopan compass.

1) The Unstable Needle. 搪针.
The needle keeps moving, not able to remain still and it does not align with the middle. This indicates that the site has abnormal rocks below and whoever live there will encounter disaster and calamity. If the needle hoovers over the Xun, the Si and the Bing directions then there are antique remains to be found there and the site will attract wanton women, shamanic practitioners and lonely bachelors.

2) The Rising Needle. 兑针.
It is also called the Floating Needle, the head of the needle is tilted upward, this indicates a presence of benevolent Yin Qi and the source comes either from the deceased ancestors or from some protective spirits.

3) The Sinking Needle. 沉针.
The head of the needle is tilted downward, this also indicates that there is a presence of Yin Qi but in this case, it is neither protective nor harmful, instead it indicates the deceased has met with an unusual and an unjust death and felt uncomfortable being buried without a resolution.

4) The Turning Needle. 转针.
The needle cannot stop rotating, it indicates the presence of malevolent Yin Qi, the Qi of hatred and resentment will not dissipate and whoever live there will be physically harmed or emotionally hurt.

5) The Dropped Needle. 投针
The needle is half sinking and half floating, it tilts alternatively upward and downward, neither all the way to the top nor all way to the bottom. It indicates that there is a grave below and and whoever live there will experience sadness, gossip and lawsuits.

6) The Inverse Needle. 逆针.
The needle does not sit on the central line smoothly and the head tilts to one side or the other. This indicates that the place will produce a rebellious person and both the person and the wealth will decline; there is no good feng shui to speak about.

7) The Inclined Needle. 侧针.
The needle has stopped but does not return to the central line. This indicates that the site is suitable only for a temple or a religious alter and not for a residential dwelling.

8) The Proper Needle. 正针.
The needle leans neither to one side nor the other, it sits steadily and it aligns with the central line. This indicates that the site is a normal one and one may consider different aspects with discernment.

PS: Anyone who uses the Luopan compass long enough would know that it is not unusual for the needle to behave in an abnormal way occasionally. Some would prefer to look for a physical cause, while others would believe in a supernatural one. The choice is up to you.
The reference I used on the Qi Zhen Ba Fa comes from a Taiwanese Feng Shui teacher called Yan Shi 顏仕, he is the Principal of Dahan Yijing College. I understand he wrote about the 8 Abnormal Needles after doing his own research from writings of the past on the Luopan compass.

After a house is built, Liqi Pai 理氣派 or Compass School Feng Shui is concerned with how the building is engaging with the environment from a Gua Qi 卦氣 (Qi of the Trigrams) point of view and there are three ways to do this, according to the San Cai 三才 theory of Tian Qi, Di Qi and Ren Qi or the Three Abilities theory of Heaven Qi, Earth Qi and Human Qi:

1) To “ride” (Cheng 乘) the Earth Qi.
2) To “face” (Xiang 向) the Heaven Qi.
3) The “take in” (Na 納) the Human Qi.

For this reason, a compass method, like the Bazhai Mingjing 八宅明鏡 Eight Mansion School, would use the sitting direction, called the Fu Wei, to calculate the locations of the eight Wandering Qi through Yao line changes, the idea is to use the correlations of the compass readings to calculate how the house is “sitting on” or “riding” the Earth Qi.

Another system, like the Xuankong Sanyuan Feixing Pai 玄空三元飛星派 or Space-Time Three-Era Flying Star School, would use the facing direction to calculate the location of the flying stars, with its resultant sitting and facing star influencing health/relationship and wealth/officialdom respectively. The idea is to use the facing direction and its subsequent correlations of the eight Trigrams in the eight directions, to calculate how the house would face the Heaven Qi and whether a particular direction is auspicious or harmful (ji-xiong 吉凶) from a health and wealth perspective.

Still another method, like the Yangzhai Sanyao Bazhai Pai 陽宅三要八宅派 or the Three Essentials of a Yang Dwelling Eight-Mansion School, would use the front door as its Fu Wei, to calculate the locations of the eight Wandering Qi memorized by the Song of the Yearly Cycles (Younian Ge 遊年歌), namely Fu Wei 伏位, Sheng Qi 生氣 , Yan Nian 延年, Tian Yi 天醫, Huo Hai 禍害, Jue Ming 絕命, Liu Sha 六煞 and Wu Gui 五鬼, instead of using the sitting direction mentioned earlier.

When a house is not yet built, Feng Shui is concerned with its location to the landscape, so in systems like the four San He Water Methods, they use the incoming and outgoing water in front of the site, as well as the direction of the Coming Dragon of the mountains behind as their reference point, to set up the 12 Life-Cycle (十二長生訣), to calculate the auspicious and harmfulness of a location.

In Xuankong Dagua, the aim is match the siting of a house with its landscape (Shan Shui or Mountain and Water), so the direction of the “Coming Dragon” and “Going Water” of the land is matched with the Sitting and Facing of the house, according to the correlated numbers or Trigrams so the 4 numbers/trigram are either of the same, adding up to 5, 10 or 15 or they have Hetu pairing relationships to be ritually correct and auspicious.

Thus we can see the Compass Feng Shui Schools have different metrics to reflect the different way a house would engage its environment, and these are used as reference points for calculations, both before and after its construction, also internally and externally.

When this is understood, the compass methods may seem numerous and complicated, but they all have the same objective: how best to engage the Qi of the environment, so it can energize and nourish us in a meaningful and ritually correct way. Obviously, the best way would be for a house to be able to “ride”, to “face” and to “take in” the Qi of the environment in the most appropriate or auspicious way at the same time and this idea should be the core principles of any Compass school of Feng Shui.


The other day I was asked this interesting question about the annual flying star, which is a question of concern during this time of the year.

How big of an effect are the annual flying stars to a home’s Feng Shui? Or rather how should people be using this info to benefit their Feng Shui?

The annual flying star is based on the Luoshu, which is a general representation of the universe according to the ancient Chinese, where the even numbers represented the square Earth and the odd numbers represented the circular Heaven above (see picture below). Consequently the yearly flying star is a pattern language using correlations to represent space-time and the regular cyclical changes in Nature.

The annual flying star is not meant to be a specific picture of what would happen in the coming year in the 8 directions, it is there to stimulate us, using correlative thinking, to think about our relationship to our environment with our fears and longings in the present, so we can make plans for the new year.

The effects in the different directions suggested by the annual flying star of all sorts should not be taken literally, just like when we are born in a certain year we are correlated to a certain animal. This animal is only a metaphor of what we could and can be, we are not literally that animal.

But this information can be used to examine different space in our house, we can use the chart to reflect on our hopes and our fears for the coming year and also how to plan and manage another 12 months, knowing that things will always go up and down in cycles.

For example, if there is an indication of theft and robbery in the South-West because the 7 Red Metal “Broken Army” Star of Robbery has landed in this direction in 2017. Don’t panic, the 7 is not going to cause you trouble literally, it is just an indication that there could be some issues relating to the 7 and its correlations in this direction, so check what is there? Is the security sound? Is the security of the house a concern? Did you renew you household insurance for next year? And so forth and if it still worries you, put up a picture with blue colour or with a water scene there because Water can weaker Metal and in this way you begin to redecorate and to refresh your home for the new year as well. That is how it could be used to benefit our feng shui and enrich our life at the same time annually.



Xuankong Mingli (XKML) 玄空命理, or Space-Time Flying-Star Divination, has a different way to look at the yearly stars than the usual ones we encounter in the market place every year.

Instead of just looking at the stars on their own and ended up, most of the time, the directions where the four Purple-White Stars (1, 6, 8 and 9) fly to become the most auspicious directions with the other four directions being inauspicious, XKML uses the yearly star on duty as its host and then look at the Five Phase relationships of the other eight stars. Not only there is a Host-Guest and a Five-Phase relationship to consider, XKML also uses timeliness of the stars and the seasonal strength of a star to make a final judgment on the desirability of a direction for each year.

Lets take an example for the 9 Purple Fire Star in the SE for next year (2017), most readings are similar to the one below:

“The Nine Purple Star provides residents of Southeast-facing houses with a blissful year in 2017. You will have a smooth sailing year as there are no inauspicious stars present this year”.

The way XKML would read the same star in the SE is as follow:

9 is declining while 1 is timely, timely Water controls 9 Fire, but because the Fire Qi of the 9 Purple is located between the seasons of Summer and Spring, it is rather active with vigor, so the Water cannot put it out fully, but in the conflict the vitality of the 9 Purple Fire is injured.

If we take, host-guest, timeliness and seasonal strength into consideration when we look at the relationship between the yearly star on duty and the other 8 stars, then the SE is not as auspicious as some would suggest. Instead it would be desirable to introduce some Wood into the SE to make sure that the declining Qi of the 9 Purple Fire in this direction can remain prosperous during 2017.

We have only considered one direction, when we use the XKML way of looking at the stars, then the outcome can often be very different. It is not to say XKML is right and the other way of looking at the stars is wrong, I simply want to point out that when we use numbers and symbols (that is the Stars) to make a prediction, they need interpretation of the correlated numbers and symbols and each school has a different way to consider the Stars, so please take these yearly predictions with caution.


“Space clearing is the feng shui art of clearing and revitalizing energies in buildings. It’s as essential to the energetic maintenance of a place as physical cleaning is to the physical maintenance. The term “space clearing” has passed into the English language as a generic term for all kinds of energy clearing techniques, but originally it was the name I coined to describe the ceremony I have pioneered and developed since 1978.” – Karen Kingston.

Space Clearing as defined by Karen Kingston is not Feng Shui, the techniques and ceremonies she pioneered and developed since 1978 are her own creation, they have little to do with traditional Feng Shui.

The Chinese term used to cleanse the Sha Qi of a space out of balance is called Huajie, or Jiehua 解化, commonly known as a “cure” in the west. To chase away an evil spirit or to get rid of a ghost is called Bi Xie 避邪 or “Ward Off Evil Spirit” and Qu Gui 驅鬼 or Ghost Exorcism respectively, both involved special techniques and ritual passed down from the Chinese religious tradition and they are nothing like Karen Kingston’s own inventions. These ceremonies, especially the more powerful ones, are very often carried out by specialists invited by the Feng Shui expert.

Then there are the more popular and simple ceremonies, like “paying homage to the four quarters”, which every feng shui practitioner can learn, to help their clients to move in and to take possession of a new home.

At best Space Clearing is an add-on skill to Feng Shui, it is not Feng Shui itself in the traditional sense, but it has been adopted by New-Age Feng Shui in recent years and they claimed it is part of Feng Shui, which is not true.

1676269 (photo taken from


The answer is the flow of air or wind has Qi but it is not Qi in its fuller sense, because Qi in Feng Shui is made of Form Qi and Formless Qi, similar to Einstein’s theory of relativity that energy and matter are interchangeable, from his famous equation E = mc2 so we have to look at the two parts and what effects their relationship has to each other to use the term Qi.

Form Qi, as the name implied, has form and a shape, it is manifested, tangible and visible, it is also measurable and quantifiable, whereas Formless Qi has no form, it is un-manifested, intangible and hidden, it is not measurable and not quantifiable, it can only be felt individually.

Form Qi is something that actually exists, while Formless Qi has the ability to become but not yet manifested, and we cannot pull them apart when we talk about Qi in its totality because they are the complementary opposites to each other like Yin and Yang, one cannot do without the other.

This idea that there is Form and Formless Qi within each other implied that Qi is in everything and Qi is everywhere, it is both material and spiritual, it combines “potentiality” with “matter” and we cannot just see it as matter on its own, neither as potentiality by itself. That is why it is so difficult to define and measure Qi, because it is a thing and an idea and it is also concrete and abstract at the same time.

With this in mind, let’s get back to question, “Is Qi the same as wind”? The answer is yes when we talk about Wind Qi, but no, when it is only about wind as a physical force that we can measure its effect but not its potential to become. So in a way we have to speak about wind and its “windiness” before we can say it is Qi, because Qi is more than energy, it is energy that has the potential to become matter while remaining what it is. Likewise, Qi can be matter, but is more than matter, which has the potential to become energy or a force while remaining what it is.


Master Jiang 江靜川, my colleague from Hong Kong, has given some simple but valuable advice on Yinzhai Feng Shui in his recent Facebook posting, I think what he said is also applicable to Yangzhai Feng Shui, so I did a quick translation of the important parts of what he wrote to share on my Blog, with my comments in brackets.

一位有功夫的地師要掌握以下三大法則,才算稱職合格 :
三僚補救三大法訣 :

An accomplished and skilful Feng Shui practitioner needs to master the following three skills:

1) The skill to trace the Dragon (i.e to follow the mountain tops and the valleys to work out the Qi flow of the land) and pinpoint the burial spot (I.e. knowledge in Form School Feng Shui).
2) The skill to calculate the desirable orientations for a site (i.e. knowledge in Compass School Feng Shui – the term used is 消山納水 “to sort out the mountains to obtain water”, that is knowing the Yin and Yang of the sitting and facing).
3) The skill to remedy the deficiencies by man-made means.

(That is he is able to) make use of the sufficient and remedy the insufficient.

The San Liao School (Yang Gong Feng Shui) has three ways to do the remedy:

1) Use earth moving to overcome the deficiency in the landform.
2) Use trees and greenery to remedy the imbalance of Yin and Yang (e.g. light and shade, open and close, etc.).
3) Create an embracing structure to capture the Qi Vein with Form adjustments.

Master Jiang said if one can follow these three Yang Gong recommendations, then every descending generation can prosper.

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