October 31, 2015
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