Resolving the “Magnetic North v True North” controversy.

Whether we should measure directions in feng shui using the true north or the magnetic north has been a question around for 100s of years. I remember having a yearlong argument with Robert Matusan Boyler a few years back, when he insisted on using the true north because that was what the Chinese first used to measure directions according to the sun angles, or the true north.

On this trip we had the chance to visit one of the oldest Luopan makers in China, the “Wu Lu Heng” 吳魯衡 Luopan store in Wan-An 萬安 and also its Luopan museum. At the end of our visit we had a chance to interview the store owner, Mr. Wu Zhaoguang 吳兆光, who is an 8th-generation direct descendant of the original Luopan maker, Mr. Wu Luheng.

Since they make both the Rugui sundial and the Luopan compass by hand since 1723, I asked Mr Wu what was their difference? He replied that the Luopan is used to measure the geo-magnetic influence of the earth via directional reading with the feng shui compass, whereas the sundial is used to tell the local time and also used to select an auspicious time to act in feng shui. He then showed us how to use the Rugui sundial and no reference was made at all to directional readings.

In other words, the sundial is not used to measure directions it is used to measure time instead according to his family tradition. Mr. Wu also mentioned that the Chinese character for magnetism, Ci 礠, has the same root and the same sound as for the character Ci 慈, meaning compassion, which implied that we have a sympathy with the earth’s magnetic field and that it is part of the Earth Qi we want to connect to in feng shui.

I noticed Joseph Yu, another feng shui teacher, also came to the same conclusion. http://www.astro-fengshui.com/fengshui/truenorth.html

The Rugui Sundial and the Luopan Compass.

The Rugui Sundial and the Luopan Compass.

Mr Wu Zhaoguang, owner of the Wu Lu Heng Luopan store in Wanan.

Mr Wu Zhaoguang, owner of the Wu Lu Heng Luopan store in Wanan.

Zhouzhuang 周庄 is a water town in Jiangsu Province about 80 Km west of Shanghai, it is well-known as the “Venice of the Orient”. The town is located and divided by lakes and rivers; all in all it has 14 bridges with the “Twin Bridge” being the symbol of the town. Because of the limited arable land and dense population surrounded by water, the traditional houses of Zhouzhunag have a much tighter spatial arrangement and smaller courtyards than the traditional houses north of the Yangtze River. The smaller courtyards are more like light wells than a garden courtyard, and since all the water flows down into the courtyard in the middle of the house complex, the layout of the Jiangnan (south of the Yangtze River) houses, like the ones in Zhouzhuang, are often called “Double Water Entering the Mingtang” 两水入明堂 in Feng Shui terms and is considered very auspicious. “Double water” refers to water from the front and back, left and right of the house. After the water is collect in the middle of the courtyard it is often channeled to the outside according to a particular compass direction, so not only the form and configuration of a house is auspicious and but the compass calculation is also considered desirable to “hasten the luck” for the occupants. Pictures below showed the Twin Bridge in Zhouzhuang and also the layout of a typical Jiangnan traditional courtyard house like the one shown in the site plan indicating the location of the two bridges in town. We will visit this water town in the forth-coming Feng Shui Study Tour of China, from 17 – 30 October 2015, and will stay there for a few days to study and enjoy the Feng Shui of a traditional water town. There is still a few vacancy left for the trip, if you are interested you can find out more information about the study tour by clicking onto the pdf Flyer for the tour. We hope you can join us in China this year. Flyer for Feng Shui Study Tour of China 2015 The water town of Zhouzhuang showing location of the Twin Bridge

The Twin Bridge in Zhouzhuang

The Twin Bridge in Zhouzhuang

Site Plan of the Twin Bridge showing a typical single courtyard house between the two bridges.

Site Plan of the Twin Bridge showing a typical single courtyard house between the two bridges.

Plans of Lower and Upper Floor of a typical Jiangnan Courtyard House with its Front Elevation and Section.

Plans of Lower and Upper Floor of a typical Jiangnan Courtyard House with its Front Elevation and Section.

向古典中國學習
LEARN FROM CLASSICAL CHINA
Feng Shui Study Tour of China
17 – 30 October 2015

The best way to learn Feng Shui is to visit and see how Feng Shui is used in traditional and modern Chinese architecture and planning with your own eyes, especially in the location and layout of residential dwellings, gardens and villages, as well as temples and sacred mountains.

In this 14-days trip we will concentrate on the rich agricultural “belly” of China, starting from Shanghai and travel a “loop” through Hongzhou, Suzhou, Huangshan, Nanchang and Xiamen, then back to Shanghai. The mode of travel will include by road, by train and by air.

You will see scenic mountains, sacred temples, quintessential Suzhou gardens, well-preserved ancient houses and villages, also the very special Fujiang earth dwellings (Tulou). During the trip, we are invited to participate in a Daoist festival high up in the Qiyuan Mountain to mark the 9th day 0f the 9th moon in the Chinese calendar. The Daoist monks from the Wanshouguan Temple in Nanchang have also offered a very special blessing ceremony for us when we visit them.

We will stay on top of the Huangshan Mountain to watch the sunrise high above the clouds. Also you will have a chance to learn about Chinese calligraphy and painting in a local artist’s studio and also visit a Luopan maker and his museum in Wanan. Another special treat for this trip is you will meet a local Feng Shui master in Xidi and see his work on Yinzhai (gravesite) Feng Shui.

This is a unique opportunity for you to experience classical China that is fast disappearing. To maintain the “exclusive” nature of the trip (it is not possible to experience a sacred China with a large group), a limit of 25 participants is set, so please register early to avoid disappointment. The language used is mainly in English with some translations when feasible. Cost is to be finalized but it will be in the vicinity of Euro 2,500.00 – 3,000.00 to cater for 4 to 5 stars and “unique” accommodations.

To register your interest, please contact us by email and we will send you a detail itinerary for further consideration.

Howard Choy and Gyda Anders,
Feng Shui Architects
European College of Feng Shui (ECOFS)
Langhansstrasse 66,
13086 Berlin, Germany.

Web: http://www.fengshui-college.org
Email: fengshuiarchitect@hotmail.com
info@arqitektur.com

China Tour Map

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